Reflective Robot Flower

  • Cklara, the Safety First Robotic Flower
    Safely Reflecting beauty, one cyclist at a time.

    Cklara has been designed to be a safety aid accessory for a cyclist.  It is a designed to open and close in a slow manner; this adds an animated effect while also yielding additional time to grab more spectators’ attention.  The final product is made of Lexan, and moves via a single Arduino and Servo, along with multiple segments of fishing line.  The base has a layer of electrical tape on the outside, thus creating a smoothed, yet secure, texture to the box.  Both the shape of the flower and the base, were moulded by hand.

    The flower’s movement was inspired by the mechanics of muscle.  Muscles can only do two things, contract and relax, and it are these functions that make everyday movement possible.  So while experimenting with various techniques of movement, I came to the decision it was the most accurate and clean way to make the flower move like a muscle.  There are multiple segments of fishing line attached to each petal, that are then connected to an arm on the Servo.  The Servo is connected to a previously programmed Arduino, which is then connected to a battery pack.  The base is a cube shape, with one side that is able to open and close for easy access to the Servo, Arduino and bottom of the flower.  This battery pack then in tucked away into a pocket below Cklara.  The cyclist has been imagined to secure the base, using the three large safety pins, onto his or her backpack.

    All of Cklara is decorated with various forms of spray paint.  The petals have multiple layers of day-glow, florescent pink, spray paint; along with two layers of reflective spray paint.  This way the petals have a day-glow effect, while also being useful when the light from headlights hit the accessory.  The base, that has a layer of black electrical tape, and on top of that is a small misting of day-glow, florescent pink, spray paint; along with reflective spray paint.  This way even the base will reflect.  

    On top of the elaborate safety paint applied to Cklara, there was also a UV LED added to the centre of the main flower.  It is angled to illuminate the inside of the flower for three reasons.  First, to add more illumination on the cyclist, second to illuminate the florescent pink even more, and thirdly, it is angled in such a way that the, highly optical sensitive, UV LED does not get into fellow road patron’s vision and skew their line of sight.  It is important to keep everyone safe on the roads.  

    Remember, cyclists are everywhere.

     

     

  • Prototyping:
    Cklara was constructed with much trial and error.  At first I had toyed with the idea that a group last term had used with their robotic flower.  However, this was not going to work because of how they ran the fishing line to the servos.  Then, I researched online another robotic flower.  This was the closest of the prototypes to work the way we wanted it to, however it required a large number of servos and an advanced experience with servos and flower petals. Both of which I do not have.  Then after some very stressful brainstorming, the idea of muscles came into my mind.  Although muscles are what we use everyday to make the most intricate and refined movements, they actually only can do two things:  contract and relax.  It is a multitude of variations of these two operations that make up our refined movements.  However, I did not need the flower to be as intricate as, say a human hand, but it did need to somehow contract and relax to make the petals open and close.  And, within an afternoon of much trial and error, I had my final prototype.

     

    Computer Design:
    In today’s society, it very “forward thinking” to go by The Three R’s: Recycle, Reduce & Reuse.   Taking this to heart, I was advised to use a petal design that was created from a previous studio.  However, this design was done in some foreign computer system.  This brought on a full day of software downloading, file conversion, and Laser-Printing testing.  I ended up downloading two new (and rather “heavy duty”) 3D modelling softwares, and converting multiple files between SketchUp, Adobe Illustrator CS5.1, Rhinoceros, uploading these files on the NuVu Cloud, and then checking them on the Laser Printer software.  Finally, after much struggle, I was able to get the design I wanted, in the formatted the Laser needed.  And although this was one of the most stressful NuVu days to-date,  it was incredibly educational.  I left NuVu that day, not only happy with my design, but having a much deeper understanding for the Laser Printer, its software, and the concept of 3D design software.

     

    Construction:
    The final flower and base are constructed out of a material called, Lexan.  After the prototyping struggles, the actual construction of the final product was not very mind taxing.  It was more intense attention to great detail and waiting for the paint layers (1 Primer layer, 2-3 Pink layers, 1-2 Florescent layer[s]) to dry. The bright pink petals on Cklara were spray painted with a florescent pink base, then coated with misting layers of a transparent reflective spray paint. Next, the base; the base’s colour came about by accident actually.  It was originally constructed by just laser printing and a few strands of electrical tape, however, through construction it was found that it would look more “polished” if it was covered in a single layer of black electrical tape. Being that the electrical tape is black, the base does not have a day-glow effect, however it was lightly misted with florescent pink paint and followed up with a heavier layer of transparent reflective spray paint. Thus giving it its own glowing attributes.  

     

    Remember, Safety First!