Monday, November 30, 2009

Hey Look Ma! A Module!

The prototype of our module, of which for the final there will be 36 of them, stacked.

We're working on small final revisions before our final order for materials (acrylic & aluminum). This upcoming week and weekend will be a whirlwind of water jet cutting aluminum, laser cutting acrylic, glueing, veneering and all manner of little problems that we are trying to anticipate but are sure to pop up.

11 days until the final project is due. Gulp.

Testing 1,2,3...can anybody hear me?

We spent last weeks class period testing our LDRs (light sensitive things) and getting a reading of how sensitive they are and generating ideas on how to arrange our modules in the final iteration. We came up with some cool graphs, which I won't take time to explain since I doubt many are interested in what exactly they told us, but none the less they look nice!

This was our super scientific controlled experiment, stray foam core and cardboard. Funny thing was 2 designers and 1 architect set up the experiment to gather data for the engineers (I scoff at your scientific method!)

Thanks for reading.

Friday, November 13, 2009

For the love of God...

I'm beginning to tire of this course.

My group mate Neil said it best on his blog, The Smartest Surface.

"The last two weeks have gone something like this:

1. Come up with idea
2. Find some flaw or concern
3. (Friendly) Debate amongst the team
4. Modify the idea
5. Talk to Professors
6. Modify idea
7. Debate amongst team
8. Modify idea
9. Talk to Professors
10. Debate amongst team
11. Completely scrap idea
12. Repeat Steps 1-12."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Solar Surface Sketch Model

Yea for group work! After Josiah, Mike, Neil and I made the structure yesterday, Brieana and Taylor coded it to work this afternoon! It sounds like the coding was easy, but I'd rather build with czech toys than code any day of the week!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Building What We Can

We'll we're in final groups of course now. I really like my group, we work well together and all get along which is even more appreciated after the last group!

Smart Surfaces Team One is (since I've not posted on it before)

Josiah - Architect
Brieana - Architect
Michael - Materials Science
Neil - Materials Science
Taylor - Design

I'm excited to work with all of them.

Today we got to work on prototyping something to show roughly what we want to do with our project. It's good to make something, it's what I as a design student love to do. Book work sucks, working with your hands is the best.

It's also nice to have a doable project at this point. We've redefined the project twice now. First idea was, well three ideas, which we ran by the class (no one liked any of them) and we moved on in a different direction. (The first ideas were things like making a solar stadium or retrofiting Michigan Stadium with solar panel bleachers). We then moved onto solar umbrellas and really developed the idea quite far and had a great presentation that really went over why these solar umbrellas were awesome, what they would do, why they were needed and such.

The presentation went over great. Then why do you ask did we redefine the project a second time?

Eugene Shteyn. (The guy sitting in the chair in the picture above)

This guy single handedly saved our project by making us really think about it. Eugene is the Director of Intellectual Property and Standards at HP and teaches as Stanford. He went through finding high quality problems that are implementable. We also went through reverse brainstorming, which is basically finding problems with solutions not solutions to problems. We had to think up 70 real problems with our project. It was surprisingly easy and I think it really overwhelmed all of us how flawed our project was.

70 problems with the solar umbrellas. That's me looking back!

But after working on it for a week, I think we've really figured out how to simplify our project and make it work for a gallery presentation. Yep, gallery presentation. The final projects must fit in a 8'x8'x8' space.
Also, this new project is easier to build.

Unfortunately I'm not sure how best to describe our final project now, but it's going to be great and basically still deal with shade but in a simplified and much cooler interactive form. Basically there will be a surface of solar panels above you in some public place and when you move under them they flip over. So as you walk around under it, the flipping follows you around! Cool!
So picture of what we build today will have so suffice until I borrow/pirate a better description from one of my groups members blog!

As part of the class we've got these random Check metal toys. Kind of like an erector set, but cooler because it's Euro! We had 'play time' and built with the toys today. It was great. This post is titled Building What We Can because we are waiting on our materials from our $500 dollar prototyping budget and we really wanted to have something to show for Friday.

Those are the 'solar panels' on the axis. It was surprisingly fun, best group meeting yet, because we got to build stuff with toys! Great!