Open Innovation Fall 2016

  • The Hoberman Chair is a piece of furniture that transforms between two phases, a lounge chair and a space-efficient table. The chair uses the three-dimensional scissor mechanism invented by Chuck Hoberman, and popularized in the Hoberman Sphere, to expand and contract in three dimensions. The elegant and mesmerizing motion of the petal shaped pieces gives the user the impression of a flower blooming.

    The table is formed when the outer segments meet together in the closed phase, and the piece sits parallel to the ground. In this phase, the legs are also oriented with a support that holds the table upright.

    The chair is formed when the mechanism is opened, achieved by pulling outwards on the table. In this stage, the segments open up into a ring. The piece is then tipped onto its side, and rests on the edge of two of the four legs. Elastic string is weaved in the area inside the ring, forming a seat for the user.

  • While brainstorming for possible ideas, we started with the problem that exercise bikes aren't a very exciting experience. While using a real bike, you get to move around, feeling the wind pass you by and go wherever you want. However, during the colder seasons, it becomes a hassle to have to go out and bike. You feel constantly cold, and being outside while sweating gives you an increased chance of catching a cold. The solution would be to use a exercise bike inside, but this doesn’t give nearly the same feeling. Normally in a basement or in a gym, some people even see it as boring, and don’t feel motivated to exercise during the colder seasons. With this problem in mind, we started listing possible solutions. Our first idea was to make a virtual reality game, to give you the feeling of going somewhere. However, we decided against this due to the fact that with only three weeks, it would be a challenge to first learn how to use virtual technology, and then to design our game. We did, however, like the idea of making a game, and started thinking of games that would give you an incentive to bike.

    Jokingly, we said that we could make a game where a bear is chasing you, and you have to bike away from it so you don’t get eaten. While this idea was thrown out jokingly, the three of us brainstormed on what kind of things we could add into the game to make it more interesting for the player. Starting with the pun “bumblebear,” we thought of more and more jokes involving bears, evolving the game from a simple joke to a full fledged game. As the day went on and our puns started to get sillier, we grew excited to start on this project.

    Splitting up the work between the three of us, we had one person work on the animations and art in the game, one person work on the physical connections to the bike, and one person work on the coding and programming. After splitting up the work, we started thinking of ways to make your movements connect to the game. Eventually we decided on using a magnetic sensor, and by connecting a magnet to one of the back wheel’s spokes, it would be able to read one rotation each time the magnet passed the sensor. By using this information, we could find your actual speed, and convert it into your in-game speed.

    After figuring out the mechanics of the game, we thought of ways to make our game accessible, enjoyable, and challenging. To make the game more accessible, we designed the sensor and magnet to have holders onto the bike, and by using a bike trainer, you can turn any bike into a stationary exercise bike. We wanted the game to be more accessible so that it would be a hassle to use, and anyone could play the game at their home without having to pay for an expensive exercise bike. Next, we thought a lot about how we would make the game as enjoyable as possible. We decided on making the game have a  old fashioned 8-bit feeling to it. This would make the game simple to make and play, and bring the focus of the game back to your exercising. We didn’t want the game to be overly complicated and take your attention off of the exercising aspect of the game. By making the bears have simple base models, we would have room to make them look as silly and funny as we wanted. As the game had started with a bear joke, we wanted there to be multiple bears that you would face, all of which would have a funny name. This would also be an incentive to play the game; as you progress through the game, you would encounter the multiple bears and levels we created. Finally, as this is an exercise game, we didn’t want the game to be easy. To fix this problem, we had the different bears be progressively harder and harder, giving you a challenge, while also letting you see your progress.

    With the massive list of things we wanted in the game, we quickly realized that we wouldn’t have time to put everything we wanted into the game. Choosing the more essential parts, we tried to fit as much into the game as we could, given the three weeks we had. While not everything we had planned made it into the base game, we were very happy with what we had made, and enjoyed every step of the process.

    In the presentation, you can see some of the sketches of what we would put into the game, given more time.

  • When you need a tool at NuVu, usually one of two things happen, either they waste time looking for tools in the shop, (where finding a tool can be very confusing) or are searching on their desk (wasting more time in some cases). My solution to this predicament, is to create a chair mount that will hold all the tools you need, reducing time wasted looking for tools, as well as helping desk organization.

    There are many, many wonderful things that happen at NuVu, and many great systems to help those happen. However, not every system is fantastic. Currently one of the biggest problems at NuVu is that desks are unorganized, with people not being able to find the tools they need. Although all our tools are stored in the shop, allowing you to grab a new set, this system ends up wasting a lot of transition time, as well as being very confusing at times. In the past there have been a few attempts to solve this problem, like the tool wall at the underground, as well as a similar project done last year. However, these solutions left a lot to be desired, the tool wall, although organizing the tools very well, can make it difficult to find a specific tool, as well as still requiring a trip over to the shop for grabbing the tools. The previous project did improve on this some, mounting to two tables, and holding tools via two flat wood planes with holes for the tools. While this does save trips to the shop, unfortunately the way it was designed made it difficult to put the tools in, as well as making it impossible to move the two tables without removing and reattaching the device.

    With all of this in mind, I realized that there were a few things that I had to focus on: that the tools were easy to remove and re-insert, that the tools need to be near the work space, not to put too many things in one general place(to avoid getting cluttered/confusing), that the mount needed to be removable, as well as not getting in the way when moving it around with the mount. In my design, I took advantage of the hole-filled design of the chair, using pegs to attach all the components. I primarily used specifically sized boxes to hold the tools (primarily due to ease of use, and preventing confusion for where things go). The design features a sketchbook/laptop holster on the bottom left side of the chair, holding 15+ pens/pencils, a sketchbook(obviously), as well as a slot for a ruler. On the top of the chair, I have panels vertical panels with boxes for holding the tools. When not using the top panels, they can be folded back to fit the approximate dimensions of the chair. In total, the top panels can hold: a caliper, wire cutters, pliers, scissors, a tape measurer, an allan key set, and a box cutter.

  •  

    The Hoberman Chair is a piece of furniture that transforms between two phases, a lounge chair and a space-efficient table. The chair uses the three-dimensional scissor mechanism invented by Chuck Hoberman, and popularized in the Hoberman Sphere, to expand and contract in three dimensions. The elegant and mesmerizing motion of the petal shaped pieces gives the user the impression of a flower blooming.

    The table is formed when the outer segments meet together in the closed phase, and the piece sits parallel to the ground. In this phase, the legs are also oriented with a support that holds the table upright.

    The chair is formed when the mechanism is opened, achieved by pulling outwards on the table. In this stage, the segments open up into a ring. The piece is then tipped onto its side, and rests on the edge of two of the four legs. Elastic string is weaved in the area inside the ring, forming a seat for the user.

  • Houseplants bring the beauty of the environment inside and are shown to improve human heath. However, plants often have trouble growing indoors due to irregular sunlight patterns. The Phototrobot aims to optimize a houseplant's ability to grow inside the home with environmentally friendly methods that try to preserve the natural world that's being brought inside. 

    The Phototrobot is an autonomous robot with a plant on top that follows the sun and is powered by solar panels. It was originally a line following, light tracking robot with a plant on top, but I decided to modify the functionality to include solar panels for the open innovation period. I've always been interested in the environment and fascinated with the technology being used to combat its issues. Last year in my environmental science class, I researched solar panels and wrote an intensive paper on how they work and why they could be a good investment. Since plants and solar panels both search for light, a light tracking robot seemed like the perfect way to combine their similarities. Aside from the benefits of houseplants, The Phototrobot explores how renewable energy can be brought into the home in a small, but meaningful way. 

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