Author Archive

Dog wants to have fun.

Posted in 7. A Mechanical Automaton on December 15, 2009 by melloko

Here’s an assignment that I never got around to documenting.

Check it out: (very straight forward)

Some Details:

A comment:
The bell crank did not work out so well, as it was very stiff. Next time, I would change the angle and choose a stronger material.

How to make it:
1. Laser cut on white cardboard silhouettes of a person sitting, a dog and a person standing.
2. Create the chair by making a wide but skinny rectangular box, and a cut-rectangle for the seat.
3. Create another box, same thickness and width, only shorter. Glue it to the seat, near the floor. This is part of the lever.
4. To create the fulcrum, I basically followed the photo from flying pig. Cut out two shapes with a whole punched hole, tube -in this case 3 wires squished together.
5. Next, make another small box and glue the two shapes on its sides. Put the wires through the holes and blue the middle of the wires to the second box you built. There’s your lever.
6. Glue the dog’s front feet to the edge of the lever. Since feet were small and fragile, I stuck them into a piece of cardboard (normal card-b) then glued that cardboard to the lever.
7. To create the bell crank, cut out the shapes shown in the video. Make sure you have two of each shape, because one piece of cardboard is not strong enough.
8. Put the straw through the wholes of your shape. Attach string from the legs to the straw for better tilting abilities.
9. Finally, give the sitter a fat surface by gluing a (random) shape to its butt. This way, it can actually sit.
10. Done! Enjoy your personal annoying dog.



Posted in 11. Project Final Reports on December 14, 2009 by melloko

FYI: Massage-Me demo is coming up soon!

You can download my final report:

Or just click on the pictures below!

Project Overview
(Please ignore the porn in related videos)

Arduino Sketch: Melissa_Massage_ME

Massage-Me Mechanics

Posted in 10. Build the Hardest Part on December 7, 2009 by melloko

I’m building a portable massager. It is consisted of multiple vibrating pads that could be placed on most surfaces. When you lie back on the pads, you can get a personal massage from the vibrations.
The hardest part for me was to determine the wiring of multiple massage pads and how to control them independently and collectively.

Here I made two massage pad prototypes. Each pad’s vibration strength is controlled by a potentiometer.

Below are the forms of the four pads. To make the pads portable, they fit into each other.

Next steps:
-Plop the motor’s + wires to the finalized pad forms.
-Wire the two bigger pads
-Stuff the pads with cotton batting.
-Sew cloth and pleather over the pads.

An Ordinary Table?

Posted in 6 Form & Motion on December 5, 2009 by melloko

For form and motion, I made a table an ordinary table. But, when the room is dark, the table transforms into a ghost! The ghost spins and stares at you with its glowing green eyes.

A photoresistor was used to sense the amount of light above it. When a shadow is cast over it, it turns on the LEDs and the DC motor. Look out hellokitty!

How it Works:

Materials Used:
1 DC Motor
2 Green LEDs
1 Photoresistor
Cardboard from an oreo box
A hellokitty doll
1 straw
1 napkin

Circuit Diagram

Arduino Sketch: Melissa_6TableGhost


Posted in 9. Project Proposals on November 5, 2009 by melloko

Final Project Proposal

Project Statement
Ever dream of getting a massage anywhere and anytime? At the library, during a class lecture or in bed? That is my dream and I want to make it happen. I will design “Massage-Me,” a portable massager that consists of multiple vibration pads and a remote. When you stick these pads to any surface and apply pressure, vibrations will be triggered. Control the strength of the vibrations with a small remote. With “Massage-Me,” you control when and how you are massaged.

Scenarios to Consider
Here are possible scenarios that I will consider in the design and development of “Massage-Me”:
☺    My shoulder blades ache while I work at my desk.
o    Consider possible attachments to clothing + furniture.
o    Change vibration levels to only one or a few pads.
☺    I’m at lecture and I want a massage.
o    Quiet vibrations
o    Quiet commands to the massager
☺    Carrying the massager from home to school.
o    Pads must be small and portable

Implementation Concerns
☺    Remote: How to control the vibrations for each pad separately with a remote
☺    Materials: What materials should I use that are lightweight, durable, soft and protects the electronics built in the pad?
☺    Size: How big are the pads and how does its size connect with different parts of the body?
☺    Attachment: How to attach “Massage-Me” often without wear and without destroying the surface material
☺    Packaging: How to condense all the pads, batteries and remote so it is easy to carry and without damaging the electronics

Parts List (Subject to change)
☺    Attachments: adhesives and fasteners
☺    Cloth: neoprene, flat but flexible backing like vinyl

☺    Plastic or acrylic
☺    Fabric overlay

☺    LilyPad vibe board
☺    Vibration motors
☺    Infrared sensors
☺    External power source

Week 1
☺    Build two pad prototypes and a remote prototype
☺    Explore and finalize the materials
☺    Explore pad form, remote form and packaging
☺    Get materials + parts

Week 2
☺    Finalize the forms for pads, remote, and packaging
☺    Build a working prototype for two pads
o    Pads vibrate to human contact
☺    Have a remote prototype communicate to the two pads
o    Send commands to both
o    Send commands to only one

Week 3
☺ Build multiple pads, remote

☺ Finish coding and electronics

Week 4
☺    Finish the construction of the pads, remote and packaging
☺    Create presentation materials

Minimal Goals
☺    Have at least two pads that respond to the body and are controlled by a remote

Ideal Goal
☺    Have multiple pads whose form corresponds to the muscles of a human’s back
☺    Have these pads be individually and collectively controlled by a remote
☺    Pads, remote and power consolidates and fits into a backpack front pocket

Psychedelic Bong Smoke Machine Thing + Treasure Hunt

Posted in 5. Treasure Hunt on October 17, 2009 by melloko

Bend / flex sensor 4.5″: ($9.95) As the sensor is flexed, the resistance across the sensor increases.

Fabric/stretch sensor 2″ ($.8.95): When relaxed the sensor material has a nominal resistance of 1000 ohms per linear inch. As the stretch sensor is stretched the resistance gradually increases.

Electroluminescent “wire” (EL-wire) 3.2mm ($1.50): A wire that gives off a bright neon light glow.

Alcohol sensor: Sensor provides an analog resistive output based on alcohol concentration.

24 VDC Type Solenoid ($1.50): a loop of wire, often wrapped around a metallic core, which produces a magnetic field when an electric current is passed through it.

Linear actuator ($4.99): A linear actuator is a device that applies force in a linear manner, as opposed to rotationally like an electric motor.

Fiber optic cable ($0.50): functions as a “light guide,” guiding the light introduced at one end of the cable through to the other end.

Tiny potentiometer ($.0.50): a three-terminal resistor with a sliding contact that forms an adjustable voltage divider.

Conductive fabric ($3.95): a device used to prevent electrostatic discharge (ESD) by safely grounding a person working on electronic equipment

Thermochromic paint/dye ($22.99):  change color due to a change in temperature

Nitinol / shape memory alloy wire ($1.80): an alloy that “remembers” its original, cold, forged shape, and which returns to that shape after being deformed by applying heat.

Conductive paint ($7.50):

Neodymium magnets ($.0.10): currently the strongest type of permanent magnet.

Copper foil ($1.09): 0.003″ Thick x 3″ wide

Tilt sensor ($5.23): can measure the tilting in often two axes of a reference plane in two axes. In contrast, a full motion would use at least three axes and often additional sensors.

Peltier Junction ($12.95): the direct conversion of temperature differences to electric voltage and vice versa. Can be used to generate electricity, to measure temperature, to cool objects, or to heat them or cook them.

Interesting Component: Sun Tracking Solar Panel w/ Arduino

Most Bizarre Component: Psychedelic Bong Smoke Machine Thing

Here’s a video that describes the components in it.

What’s in my tummy?

Posted in 4. Analog Input-Output on September 24, 2009 by melloko

I made a polar bear with LEDs inside of it! Towards the end you see a little something wiggling in his tummy. The bear is made from a paper cone with cotton taped to it. Enjoy!

Pulse: Acosta_Analog_IO_1
Color Mixer: Acosta_Analog_IO_2
Both: Arduino Sketch: Acosta_Analog_IO_3
Sensor Value Limits: Acosta_Analog_IO_4