Post from Long Term Projects 1 - Spring 2016

Long Term Projects 1 - Spring 2016 | Projects | Grove (Burning Man) | Portfolio

  • The breath sensing flower went through a complete design overhaul over the past two weeks. For the first week of the studio we worked refine the existing design of the flower. As we did this we were also working on getting the opening mechanism working. We recreated the flower base to make the flower easier to open. The base was split into two snap together parts in order to make it easy to 3d print, and the bottom piece was made larger to allow the strings from the flower to come down at a less steep angle. The new flower base helped with the ease of opening the flower a little bit, but it was still fairly hard to pull the strings. In order to open the flower we designed a crank mechanism that would pull the flower strings down as it turns. We soon realized that for this mechanism to work the strings would need to be easy to pull. If they were not then the crank would either break or not move at all. When created We designed and 3d printed a stem for the flower with a small hole in it to which the crank would be attached. We also made a second piece of the stem to add two holes close together in order for the flower strings to come out of the stem right above the crank. This method seemed to work fairly well, but it was hard to turn the handle.


    During the second week we got the humidity sensor to work for detecting breath, and we came up with a better design for the flower opening mechanism. We linked Arduino and Processing so that the humidity and temperature sensor values could be read by Processing, and then used them to influence the sizes of two colored circles on screen. While the sensors may not be the most sensitive, we will be combining them with code to separate peoples breathing rates from the noise around them. Since the string and crank method we were using was hard to implement and use, we decided to start experimenting with a much simpler design. The new mechanism utilizes a pulley mechanism that will reduce the number of parts that we use. Instead of using springs, strings, and a crank, the new mechanism will just have a stem with a locking slider that pulls the flower petals down. The petals will be attached to the sliding ring using a stiff part instead of strings, allowing the slider to both open and close the flower. Throughout the next two weeks we will continue working on this new design in order to make a full model, and possibly even the final iteration before production.

    Throughout our second Grove studio we focused on choosing a final leaf pattern and design.  We started out trying to modify our simple cupped leaf design.  We had only cut them out with scissors so far, so we started designing them in rhino.   We had to pay attention to the shape, pattern, and how the leaf will hold together.  Working with the idea that the trees are an extension of the body, we also worked on making the leaves with lung patterns.  While designing the leaves, we took pictures of lungs and traced them in rhino.  We altered the trace to make the shapes more abstract, and then started cutting different versions of it. 

    After designing a few lungs, we decided to start layering the lung pieces to make them have more volume.  The first pair we designed was a lung with a layer of veins running through it.  We used the lung pattern we had designed the day before and traced out the veins to layer it.  This design worked well because it made the lung look more lifelike, but it was hard to tell where the different layers started and ended. 

    After we had worked on the patterns, we started looking at shape and arrangement.  We came up with a few ideas that we liked, but decided to start with having many long and thin leaves fan out from the branch.  We took our lung design from the day before and started stretching it out to make it look more like a leaf.  After making it longer, we had to start looking at the rim design.  we had a lot of trouble making it because we didn’t know exactly how we wanted it to look, but we finally settled on a very abstract and organic curvy edge.  This design comes with many complications.  We have to make sure that the attachment is flexible so that the leaves sway and can move around,  but we also have to make sure that they will not be destroyed by the wind.  

    For the rest of the studio, we worked on making a small Grove.  The point of this was to make 10-15 tiny Grove trees and figure out how they can be arranged and design. We started by making all of the bases for the trees.  The bases we made varied in height and size.  We decided that each tree would have one thick trunk and six small branches.  These were attached by holed in the base that they could stick into.  The one thick trunk took a place in the middle of the base and the six thinner branches stuck into the base around it.  The branches wrapped around the trunk on their way up to the top where they fanned out.