Author Archive

Grumpelstiltskin- Final Project

Posted in 11. Project Final Reports on December 15, 2009 by mckuhn

A Moving Chair!

Abstract – 

Many objects in our everyday environment are inanimate, leaving little room for creative interactions and social growth. A major contributor to this lifeless world is furniture: it is present in virtually every home and building, yet provides no more than a place to relax. The objective of this project is to produce interactive furniture, seeing the potential to increase human cognition. With furniture which now has personality, people will no longer take them for granted. Users will have to consider the emotions of the furniture, rather than assuming it is specifically for their use. Besides having fun, this project would benefit people in that users will become more courteous towards others and increase awareness of their environment.

Final Report


Work Completed

Posted in 10. Build the Hardest Part on November 17, 2009 by mckuhn

1) The final design for how my chair will be mobile has been decided upon. I have acquired a drill, which I will be able to mount a sprocket to. This sprocket will spin a chain which will in turn drive the chair’s wheels.

2) An IR sensor will be mounted to the seat of the chair, pointing up into the area right above the base. The sensor will feed directly into the Arduino, actuating the motor control relay.

3) The basic outline for the Arduino sketch has been produced.


Materials List:

Electric Drill, Relay, Power cord, two axils, chain and sprocket, wheels, IR connecting cord, chair, and an Arduino

Most of the materials have been acquired. Construction will begin shortly!

The “Cya Chair”

Posted in Uncategorized on November 5, 2009 by mckuhn




I want to design a chair which accommodates the needs to today’s practical jokesters. The Chair will have an IR sensor on the seat; this sensor will detect when the user is about to sit down. When the chair detects that it is in imminent danger, wheels on the bottom of the chair will throw it out of harm’s way to successfully dodge the person trying to sit on it. If the person does successfully sit down, then a speaker will yell obscenities at the user.




IR Sensor (maybe two)

High Speed DC Motor


Suspension (to not break the axle incase the user does successfully sit down)


A Chair


Plan of Action:

  • Week 1: Design motor mount to chair
  • Week 2: Attach motors to the chair
  • Week 3: Develop Sound system
  • Week 4: Testing and fine tuning

Don’t Push my Buttons!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2009 by mckuhn

  Originally I was wanting to design something that would show emotions in response to certain situations. The simplist way to do this would be to make a face. I decided to make a face which would smile (be complacent) when you are not annoying him, frown when you are trying to steal his candy, and then wave his arms around angrly whenever you ‘push his buttons’.

  The materials which I used to produce the interactive face were an arduino, Kinex, tape, wire, normal resistors, photoresistors, a servo, a fully rotating motor, and lots of cardboard.

Arduino Sketch:  States



Chicken Head!

Posted in 7. A Mechanical Automaton on October 15, 2009 by mckuhn



Inside View at Four Bar Linkage

Inside View at Four Bar Linkage

    The output of the mechanism which I manufactured is a chicken’s head pecking at the ground. The user inputs rotational motion into a giant drive gear. This gear turns a smaller gear, which in-turn spins a four bar linkage. The linkage produces an oscillatory motion. Attached to the last link is the chicken’s head.

    Whenever the user turns the input gear, the output is the chicken pecking at the table!



Interactive Playground

Posted in Uncategorized on October 15, 2009 by mckuhn
Water Shooting Cart

Water Shooting Cart


   Our group’s original design intensions were to design something which engages both parents and their children while giving both an incentive to work-out. The final product which we developed was a water squirting cart. This cart is powered and driven by an adult, where the main power input is analogous to that of a bicycle. The child is on the back of the cart, using his arms to pump up air pressure in a water tank. This water tank is directly hooked up to a water cannon (aimed by the child). Many of these carts will exist in a driving range which the parents drive around and the children try to squirt each other with water.

     We believe this is a good product since the child will probably become very engaged into the game and his enthusiasm will pressure the parent to also work out harder.

Its Always Sunny in Pittsburgh

Posted in 6 Form & Motion on October 9, 2009 by mckuhn


Whenever clouds try to pass over Pittsburgh, a photo-resister will sense a drop in light content. The arduino will notice this and turn on the windmill to blow the clouds away. If clouds are not present, then the windmill will be off.

Windmill in action:

Arduino Sketch: sunny_days

Electrical Diagram

Electrical Diagram