CORONA TOUCH: Touch activated light display

Introducing the “CORONA TOUCH” interactive light display.

Based on ongoing developments for the elderly and/or people with cognitive challenges, CORONA TOUCH is a touch-activated light machine that creates a wide range of beautifully animated and soothing light patterns that emanate from its core.

Corona Touch

Corona Touch

According to Wikipedia, “A corona (Latin, ‘crown’) is an aura of plasma that surrounds the sun and other stars… ” noting that “… the high temperature of the Sun’s corona gives it unusual spectral features”.  This is fitting for this little machine, as everyone who has played with CORONA TOUCH has been enthralled and attracted by its vivid colours and animated patterns.

Corona Touch

Corona Touch: the touch-activated light pattern machine

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Introducing “The SIMPLER SIMON”, a fun game for seniors based on the original “Simon” 70’s game.

Simpler Simon

Simpler Simon: sporting its four oversized illuminated buttons

Aimed primarily at the elderly and people with cognitive challenges, the current version of the SIMPLER SIMON sports three basic games – “Follow Me” (simple and blink), “Memory Pairs”, and “Memory Sequence”.

Large tactile buttons, vibrant bright colours and playful melodies make this an engaging game for all ages.

Here, the SIMPLER SIMON basic “Memory Sequence” game is being played.

Based on feedback from field testing, the latest revision of the SIMPLER SIMON includes more rounded and textured (numbered) buttons, and baffling to reduce light bleed between adjacent buttons. Additional software changes have increased the range of tones used for the buttons, provided longer intervals between successive game plays, and added the “Memory Pair” game.

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Elemental Clock

Simply put, the Elemental Clock uses three fundamental shapes – the square, triangle and circle – to display the current time in hours, minutes and seconds.

Elemental Clock

Elemental Clock: measuring 50cm x 16cm, displaying hours (square), minutes (triangle) and seconds (circle)

The design breaks apart the displayed elements of the common clock face, and repackages the “hands” into separate, distinct, and yet connected, representations of the measurement of time.

Elemental Clock

Elemental Clock:  under the watchful eye of the seconds circle, minutes traverse the three sides of the triangle, while the hours advance as each facet of the triangle is illuminated.

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MIDI Hand Drum: Finally Completed

MIDI Drum: Finally Enclosed

Finally, the completion of the MIDI Hand Drum, sporting its brand new CNC’ed enclosure. Here are a couple of videos where I am attempting to hold the camera and carry a beat! To be bettered!

MIDI Hand Drum

MIDI Hand Drum: Newly encased, showing right (and left) hand finger “pads”.

The initial MIDI Hand Drum project had been built primarily for my son, Samuel, who plays the drums (and very well, I may add!).  Although he had a full drum kit, this was designed so that he could play the drum sounds using his fingers on my Roland RD700 keyboard (using a MIDI interface). While the initial design worked well, I never got round to taking it off the breadboard and encasing it.

So, imagine my horror when I found several of my “prototype” MIDI designs had been “carefully” put aside for relegation to the workshop!   Arggg.  Shock. Horror!

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Sands Of Time

Introducing my latest work-in-progress: The Sands of Time

This is a project inspired by a piece of articulated artwork by Bruce Shapiro, called “Sisyphus Machine“, described as… “an elaborate kinetic drawing machine that uses magnets to drag rolling steel marbles through a thin layer of sand to create complicated mandala-like patterns”. I found the the patterns to be mesmerizing. I felt I could create something along the same lines to experiment with dynamically changing patterns, and – in keeping with my clock making and fascination with time- that would allow the ephemeral praxis of writing time in the sand….

UPDATE: 9 June 2016: My first sand pattern with “Sands of Time

The software traces a simple helical pattern that traverses the centre of the drawing surface so the final design shows two spirals… Neat huh!

Sands Of Time

Sands Of Time: my first sand drawing.. Here, the ball is making a pair of intersecting spirals.

A new top lip – made of 6 identical sections of alder that I shaped on my CNC machine – captures an acrylic drawing surface that is covered in a thin layer of finely ground sand. The magnetic coupling between the carriage’s magnets and the 12mm steel ball bearing is lower than expected so that the friction of the sand is sometimes too great and the ball loses connection. The gap that separates the magnet from the ball is slightly over 3/8″ – 1/4″ ply (as the top support) and 1/8″ acrylic – and this appears too great to ensure a really strong magnetic coupling. So, rather than redesigning the top to reduce this thickness, I shall try out a spherical rare-earth magnet, rather than the current steel ball bearing.

Here, a small thrust bearing is magnetically coupled to the carriage of the carousel, which is rotating underneath a temporary sheet of acrylic. In the completed design, a thin layer of fine sand will sit atop the acrylic and a ball bearing will be moved through it. Articulation of the carriage and carousel will allow for the tracing of “mandala-like” patterns.

In this clip, the carriage and carousel can be seen operating together under the control of separate stepper motors. The unique design (all mine!) places the carriage servo at the absolute centre of the carousel’s rotation. This geometry allows completely independent motion of the carriage and carousel. In other words, the carousel can rotate freely in any direction while the carriage can traverse the carousel’s diameter, and both can operate completely independently.

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CNC – Project Enclosures

With the help of the founders of the Make613 Group (Doug, Dave, Darcy and Justin), I have been learning a couple of simple CAD (Computer-Aided Design) and CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) tools to design and fabricate enclosures and other pieces for my most recent projects. The latest CNC’ed enclosure – seen below – does double duty as a 2-part case for my  Weatherman and LifeTime Clock projects.




LifeTime Clock

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Time Flows: time at its most fluid

“Time passed. But time flows in many streams. Like a river, an inner stream of time will flow rapidly at some places and sluggishly at others, or perhaps even stand hopelessly stagnant. Cosmic time is the same for everyone, but human time differs with each person. Time flows in the same way for all human beings; every human being flows through time in a different way.”

….. Yasunari Kawabata, from the novel Beauty and Sadness (Utsukushisa to kanashimi to), 1964

Inspired by these beautiful and profound words, comes my prototype of “Time Flows“, a clock that displays the current time through the controlled movement of water.

Time Flows: showing fluid digit transitions starting from “1” to “2”, “2” to “3”, “3” to “4” and finally “4” to “5”. Turn off your sound so that you do not hear the whine of the air-pump… a problem yet to solve.


Time Flows

Time Flows: liquid 7-segment display showing the number 0

Indeed, the water in Time Flows does move both slowly and rapidly, and remains at rest – stagnant even – between updates. The quotation is quite apropos!

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