Fabrication + Build
For the fabrication of our high fidelity prototype, we got rid of the cardboard joints and went to an all acrylic structure. The pieces (mainly triangles and squares etc) were adapted from their SolidWorks versions into Illustrator files, and then into the CorelDRAW format the laser cutter can print. After the first cut we found friction points and other issues with the triangle pieces, so we adapted our design and cut again. The second batch came out much better, and we used methylene chloride (solvent glue) to attach the pieces to each other and our servos.
The assembly process went well. All the parts fit, and after a little finessing we managed to reduces friction at a few troublesome spots. We discovered, however, that the all-acrylic structure was significantly heavier than our Phase II design. The four servo motors struggled to move the creature. We got some advice about ways we could reduce weight while maintaining the structural integrity of our creature–including cutting holes in the mid sections to reduce the amount of material. This helped a lot, and allowed our creature to move on its own power again.
Throughout Phase III we have been working with our circuits, servos, sensors, LEDs and code to refine our technology as much as possible. We have met our goals of 1) moving the creature forward 2) going faster in bright conditions vs dark and 3) changing colour under brightness / dark conditions. Big steps forward included condensing breadboard circuits to fit on the mini breadboards, and mounting these in the body of the creature. We also developed a new timing function for our program that let us put the lighting and movement code on one Arduino board.
Project Poster (see for digital renders, exploded views, multi-view, product families)
If we had an unlimited budget and time, there are a few more things we would like to pursue. The biggest challenge we had in our project was power. The servo motors use a lot of it, and when we tried to run the creatures on batteries (no computer tether) it did not move at all. When we tried to move more than one servo at a time we had similar issues. So one of the next steps we would be interested in is exploring how to successfully power the creature with batteries.
We are also interested in more kinds of motion. Perhaps direction control, or having the creature roll up into a ball. If our resources were truly unlimited, some form of WIFI or remote control would also be a solid addition.
We have created two Loricatus Lumardeus (kinetic sculpture creatures), and they are energy use displays in the shape of life. Built using a blend of parametric design tools, fabrication techniques, electronics and programming–they respond to differences in light energy by adjusting their speed and colour.
When exposed to a bright light source the creatures will move quickly and glow red (indicating high energy use). When in a less bright environment they will move more calmly and glow blue.
We explored product families by providing personalized coverings for the body modules. The creatures serve the same purpose, but are distinct from one another.