Design Review: Infinity Mirror Prototype

My design finds its inspiration in many of the modern devices we use today. I love the sleek, modern, and futuristic aesthetic. It seems innovative and creative and insinuates a sense of wonder and mystery.

I recently received an Amazon echo dot, and loved the aesthetic of it. It is so simple looking yet strikes me and this futuristic and modern device. So I sat down just drawing things that resembled that aesthetic. I started with a sculpture that just included some lights,then some of my own echo type devices,then out of nowhere I remembered this really need mirror and light trick. By using a mirror, some two way glass, and some LED’s the effect of an infinitely deep box can be created. I thought about putting a new spin on this by making the mirror inside the box move closer and further from the LED’s giving the illusion that the depth of the infinity mirror is changing. I knew I wanted my project to be clean looking, modern, and black. I wanted the feeling of mystery and an aesthetic resembling outer space and the future when the object is looked at. I plan on 3-D printing the box to give it a seamless futuristic look. The LED’s will change color and patterns seemingly randomly and the button to turn on the machine will have an LED that pulses with an almost breathing effect. I would like to make this device small enough to fit on a desk or shelf, but large enough that the infinity effect isn’t hindered.

While refining my design, I had to start considering factors that would define the boundaries of my projects aesthetic. I began thinking about how I would use the project, and how I wanted that to reflect my aesthetic. I was able to summarize my constraints into five categories:

The Aesthetic:

When I started the design process for this, I knew I wanted it to be dark, mysterious, and futuristic looking. The aesthetic was my constraint priority number one. This determined the material, the shape, the color, and the dynamics of the lights. I hope the aesthetic will make the user curious and feel a sensation of vertigo like falling through a tunnel or tumbling through space.

Size:

I wanted this to be a desktop sized item. It would be able to fit on the corner of a desk or on a shelf without taking up too much space. Size was also determined by my choice of material and manufacturing method. This is going to be 3-D printed so it was required to fit onto the 3-D printer.

Technology:

It didn’t take me all to long to decide to use Arduino to power my device. I could control the lights, the servo, everything from one Arduino Uno. Doing a little research I was able to find an addressable light strip, a servo, and a button to switch the device on and off. The available switches also had a little impact on my aesthetic.

Material:

Because of the size, the components I needed to install, and the function I needed a material that was easy to mold and make small features while still appearing to be seamless from the outside. This led me to 3-D printing. I could sand the final product smooth and it would appear to be a solid object without any seams or signs of manufacturing.

Cost:

I wanted this project to fit into my budget (~$100). Thankfully Sparkfun makes the technology cheap and 3-D printing filament is fairly affordable. I should only go over my budget by ~$20 or so which is fine by me. I can use the Sparkfun starter kit for many projects after this one, so I am definitely getting my money worth.

These constraint guided me into my final design. I feel that I had converged on the design and aesthetic I wanted.

Mechanically I have worked out most all of the kinks in the design. I began thinking a pulley system was the best way to go, and ultimately decided that it would be inefficient to use this system and decided on a linkage system to perform the task of moving the mirror. 

I am currently working on integrating all of the components onto the Arduino. I have the lights and the servo both coded, I now just need to integrate the two codes together.  I have yet to design the actual structure, but I hope to have everything finished by the end of the first week of April.

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10 Comments. Leave new

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Levi Cortright
May 10, 2017 9:44 pm

The infinity mirror is really cool. I am excited to see how it is all brought together. I want to know how you plan to design all of the parts in so that they could be made with a 3D printer. How are you going to make it fit so that the arm will work with all the custom parts?

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Having seen the final product, I have to say the most impressive thing about your project is how well everything fits each other, the black, matte-y 3d-print part gives a great contrast to the shiny button and mirror, very well done!

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Katherine Yarnell
May 6, 2017 12:56 pm

I really like this idea. It sound like the final version is going to be very involved. It’s very clear that you put in a lot of thought in this design. Excited to see the end result.

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Errol Romero
May 1, 2017 3:38 pm

I have heard about this mirror all semester and am really excited to see the final product. Your use of mechanical design and artistic approach really is what this class is all about. I however am a little concerned how the linkages will hold up inside the box and how the displacement will affect the optics

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Levi Cortright
March 19, 2017 11:40 pm

I really like the idea and even more, the execution. I like that you already have such a defined plan, and that your prototype is so close to how you want the final product. I like that you are going to make 3D printed parts to fill out your project with. I think that with you smoothing out the slots, you should have no problem with keeping fluid motion. I am very excited to see how it turns out.

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Dean Alibrandi
March 19, 2017 10:50 pm

This is a very unique project and I like the fact that you are not completely sure how it will look once you create it. It adds to the mystery of your project. I also thought it was really cool how you were able to create your prototype and then use it for about a week to determine if it was the correct size to sit on a desk. A lot of times in design, size is often overlooked. Especially when it is something that you would like to keep out on display or will use often. Very interested to see how this turns out. Good luck!

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Hi Blake,
I thought that your presentation was the best in our pod so far. It was obvious to me that you had spent a lot of time thinking about form and function. I think your prototype and your design follow your aesthetic of the space/mystery/future theme. I also liked how you included sketches in your presentation that showed your thought process and evolution. Your idea to use picture frames instead of cut your own glass is a smart choice I think, though it might be hard to find square picture frames. However, I think your box would lose some of it’s cool-factor if it were a rectangle. You seem to have a good handle on your project already, so I don’t really see a need for critique right now. Good job!

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Olivia Watkins
March 15, 2017 12:17 pm

I love the idea. I think its going to be super cool . I like the futuristic aesthetic. It reminds name of the movie passengers or something. I’m also super excited about the sound response part !

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Faisal Al Balushi
March 13, 2017 12:10 pm

Great Idea and inspiration, I like the fact that its going to have controlled LEDs where you can control how to light it from the inside. Good detailing on the inside of the mirror and how the mirror will be moving. Looking forward to seeing the final product

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