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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.