PComp Final | Final Concept & Production Schedule

October 24:

  • After letting play-test results settle in the back of my mind, I’ve decided upon the final PComp project concept, thereby resolving issues brought up in my last update.

Final Concept

  • I have decided to use Servos after all, as the only means of controlling the blinds. Unlike during play testing, users will not be allowed to control the blinds directly. I decided this after considering what I want the piece will be used for, beyond it’s existence as a PComp final.
  • The goal of the piece is primarily art. I want it to be an art piece whose primary function is to explore the creation of space using light. I want it to be geared towards being shown in an art gallery. As such, I intend to use this piece as a way to approach galleries. The final design of the piece will all support this goal.
  • User control will be narrowly defined. Unlike the prototype used during play testing, there will be no direct way for the beholder to spin the blinds that control the light/shadow effects. I decided this because the point of the piece is a nuanced exploration of light/shadow effects — however when users are given free control, they tended to spin the blinds around in a way that does not accord with this primary function.
  • There will be a minimal interactive element: a button that will allow the user to change patterns. However, there will be two modes, an auto mode (where patterns change automatically to a set schedule) and a manual mode, where users can press the button to display a new pattern.
  • I will be using one layer of blinds, given that its light/shadow/colour effect is the strongest. Later iterations may explore the second layer, but for now, one layer is sufficient complexity to present an impressive spectacle.
  • The piece will measure 8x8x8″. This decision was made after a tester suggested I use acrylic on the sides in addition to the front so that I could see the light effects on the side.
  • After experimenting with vellum paper on the sides, I discovered very impressive effects that took the piece to its esthetic conclusion, thereby settling my thoughts on the final form of the piece. It was this consideration, above all else, that allowed me to make the final decision on the servos and user interactions.
  • Micro-controller will be housed underneath the LED board, between another layer of MDF. I am using the Arduino UNO.

Final Production Schedule

  • The main structure of the piece is already complete, since I have the acrylic front panel, standoffs that comprise the main structure, and the LED board. Things that remain are:
  • A – Making the servo/blind system:
    • attaching servos to a piece of acrylic
    • laser cutting and bending a piece of acrylic so that it fits between standoffs and positions the servos for vertical-axis rotation of blinds
    • programming the servo system to display patterns of light/shadow
  • B – Making micro-controller housing:
    • Hooking up the LED board to an Arduino UNO.
    • Cutting a new 8×8 piece of MDF and attaching the UNO and other components to it.
    • Soldering a circuit board so that the UNO and the LED matrix are wired in a stable way (i.e. no jumper cables) and connection to a suitable wall wart power supply is as simple as plug-and-play.
  • C – Side panel material:
    • The light effects can be completely accomplished with Vellum paper on the side with a piece of clear acrylic underneath.
    • I will find a way to adhere the Vellum to the clear acrylic without using tape.
  • D – Make a button:
    • I will make a detachable button that attaches to the electronics housing that prompts users to be able to generate new patterns.
  • Precise schedule to be determined organically. But since I have only ICM and PComp as finals, it would take only a few days and I could finish ahead of schedule.
  • If I finish ahead of schedule, I plan to devote the extra time to programming the light/shadow patterns.


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