Assignment 3: Ideas

Alright so the theme for this one is proximity and distance. I want to try to make a little mechanised thing that will run away from you if you get too close. I have 2 ideas for this one. The first being basically a hamster ball type thing covered in felt or foam or something with embedded conductive material, and where there is something inside that will cause the little guy to propel forwards if you get too close to it. I couldn’t figure out how this would work specifically with a hamster ball, so I figured I could make a ball out of wire mesh and coat that. I also had no idea how I could pull this off with basically making it wireless, but then I thought of bumper cars and how they get their power with the long antenna in the back of the vehicle. Something like that would theoretically work. The issue with this idea is that we only have a week and a half to complete these, and I won’t even have a chance to go look for materials until Friday. I would have to find wire mesh that is strong enough to hold its shape, and a cheap RC vehicle I could take apart and modify, which due to my frankly limited knowledge of electronics would be a stretch in this limited amount of time.

The second idea uses the same theme as above, but is theoretically more achievable. Jackie is the one who suggested it based off of my original hamster ball idea. If I make like a tiny ship and use my hobby motor as a fan, I could blow the sail of the ship in response to something getting close to the ship. I will just need felt, conductive thread, possibly steel wool, and something with fairly easily movable wheels, and something I can use as a template for the ship shape. I did have a suggestion (from Jackie) to just make an actual boat that is water-tight, but due to the fact that I will be putting my Arduino and the hobby motor in the boat, I am somewhat unwilling to risk the safety of my Arduino and other things for this project.


My sketches for the ideas for this project.

In the case that this boat doesn’t work out (I have the weirdest feeling that I may have an issue with mounting the fan on the back of the boat – the physics of thrust may not work as I’m expecting them to, I vaguely remember something from high school physics that may prove my feeling correct – but that is a bridge I will have to cross when I come to it). Worst comes to worst, I can turn the sailboat into a motorboat.

I do have a backup idea that will be very simple to complete, and that is just to make a buzz wire game. It matches with the theme of proximity because it is a game where you have to get a wire loop around another wire without touching it. You lose if you complete the circuit (touching the wire loop to the wire will complete the circuit). It wouldn’t be terribly difficult to complete, as I would just need some exposed wire, tape, some wood blocks, a few screws, a pencil or a stick, and some LEDs and the speaker from the kit.

I feel a bit better having a backup plan now. I just wish we would’ve gotten the assignment (or at least were given a heads up) over the break, as I could have picked stuff up while I was back home. I even have a few things up there that I could’ve brought back with me to use had I realised I needed them. Failing that, I would’ve had more time to go out and get materials for this project(if my initial plan fails, I may not have time to do my backup or collect materials for it…). But we shall see what happens over the next week. At least on Monday we are supposed to get some class time for this.


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