Making Furniture Interactive

October 23, 2007

Imran’s Exercise 6 – Autonomous Fishy Game

Filed under: Exercise 6: Motorized Mechanical Movement,Imran Sobh — imranixd @ 2:19 am

My plan was to take my previous project and convert it into a game that could run on its own without the third person needed to crank it continuously. Once I got a battery pack to power the motor instead of Arduino, I was happy, but also disturbed at how fast it was rotating:

The first problem I was having was simply using the old gear setup to turn the gears. When I cranked it by hand, I could easily adjust for any problems the fish had in getting caught on the fins underneath. So the gears were just not catching, especially at the speed it was running. If I slowed the speed down, there simply wasn’t enough power to get it to move the gear. Buying a much larger motor did not help, and I couldn’t find the motors that were shown in class.

I cut off the old gear teeth and then cut new ones:

I constructed the patented motor stand, as seen in Milo’s head, for the much larger 9-18V dc motor hoping that I could run it at a slower speed but still get the energy to push the gear. No such luck. I ended up having to run it a ridiculously high speed, making it nearly impossible to play the game, and instead rendering it as an artistic motion piece. Cutting the gears in this new way did in fact make it easier for the small gear to catch the large one, but also slowly tears away at the weak foam core, meaning that it can only be run a handful of times before the teeth grind away. Not only is it a physical motion art piece, but it is one that expresses the ephemeral nature of prototyping material.

In all seriousness, I think I have reached the limit of foam cores usefulness with motion. It doesn’t slide well (I ended up adding some cloth material underneath to try to alleviate some of this), it doesn’t rotate well, and is generally frustrating. I’m sure there are people who can do wonders with foam core, and I’d really like to meet them. But I think for the future I will either use wood or try to re-appropriate another device.

For completions sake, here’s the code:

int transistorPin = 11;
int motorCount = 0;

void setup()

pinMode(transistorPin, OUTPUT);

void loop()


if(motorCount < 2000) { analogWrite(transistorPin, 200); } } [/sourcecode]


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