Making Furniture Interactive

December 16, 2007

Lending a Hand

Filed under: Exercise 5: Mechanical Movement — mjlevy @ 11:15 pm

mrhand So this exercise was mechanically a failure, but I ended up learning a great deal, making it ostensibly successful (this covers mechanical movement and motorized mechanical movement).  The beauty of these automata is how with such simple mechanical movements, incredibly complex stories can be told.  Mechanically, what I built was very simple, but a brain looking at it makes incredible assessments and leaps in logic, applying an entire innate knowledge base about hands and how they work.  Such things aside, I learned a great deal from this project.  Firstly, movement is complicated.  That was a genuine lesson that I guess I had not quite internalized.  As an industrial designer, I’m used to making rather static objects.  The leap to the kinetic was a large one.  I had a great number of difficulties with different parts of the movement.  The cams were unsuccessful for several reasons, foremost their geometry.  There was far too great a change in radius in either direction in too short an amount of time.  Thusly, they were never fully incorporated.  Among the other major hurdles I ran into were material choice for the “tendons,” the amount of throw for each of the finger joints, and having far too lofty of goals (my first idea was a Michael Jackson moonwalker-bot).  Even though the project did not turn out the way I had originally hoped it would, people still responded very viscerally to the hand and were immediately drawn to it.   

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