— Alexia @ITP

October, 2017 Monthly archive

For my final project I was inspired by this coin eating robot I found online and wanted to create my own little coin eating monster. I actually though it was going to be simple at first but I was totally WRONG! This was by far one of the most challenging projects I have take on. I first started by laser cutting my pieces in cardboard to create a small prototype and understand how this was going to work. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgUQXgQumng


I then changed the dimensions of my piece and made it a little bit bigger. I had to make a lot of calculations as to where to laser cut the holes for the rod to go in and created proper mounts for my motor by adding two slots on my base for the mounts to sit in.






I tested my dimensions for the mount with cardboard again before laser cutting  wood just to make sure that the motor would fit in perfectly.


After laser cutting all my pieces in wood, I drilled my L brackets in to put the box together. I then used a standoff to create a stronger mount.

I soon realized that because it was really hard to straighten the wire I found on the hardware store it would be really hard to trigger my rod to rotate because it created friction and therefore the height of mount needed to be increased. Also the holes that I made on the laser cutter for my rod to go through were a tinny bit smaller than what they should have been so I drilled in a bigger hole that ended up being a mistake because the hole was just too big to keep the rod stable. After my motor stopped working, I  finally decided to remake the whole box  after my motor stopped working and  because I really felt I could make it much more functional this time. I decided to create the straight rod myself and found a stick on the shop and laser cut this small bridge that would trigger the spindle easily. This is an image of my old rod and the new rod I made out of wood:


This time I decided not to use a standoff because the slots I had created already created a strong mount so ti was unnecessary to also use a standoff. I connected my motor to power but the spindle would still not rotate. In fact, not only it did not rotate but every time the spindle touched the rod it would ruin the spindle from friction and would cause the spindle to stop rotating. I should have used a different motor, one that doesn’t turn that fast but it was already too late to get a new one. I also should have used different material than wood because it was really to heavy and would make it even harder for movement to be generated. After not sleeping for 2 days, I decided to stop working on it and reflect on what I did wrong and how I could keep working on this to make it work.

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Mark C. Taylor is among those very few writers and thinkers who are able to take many different disciplines of knowledge  and perform a compelling synthesis which creates wisdom. For me, “Screening information” is a precedent of how in today’s complex world of abundant information we should all be thinking and processing knowledge . Our thinking  process should be an unending examination of information in order for subjectivity and objectivity to constantly evolve. I really enjoyed how Mark C. Taylor studies the word “screening” and gradually creates a profound meaning of this word by drawing parallels with the study of knowledge and intelligence. As he quotes, “intelligence is the process of selecting relevant information carefully so it can skillfully destroy the rest”.  An interesting point he makes is how the excess of information becomes “noise.” But how can we distinguish between what is noise and what is relevant? I think that this distinction is mainly subjective based on our influences growing up, on our identity and also based on what we personally choose to absorb or believe. This unavoidable subjectivity in combination with the large flow of information also explains how there is so much miscommunication in our world nowadays. But when you think about it, can there ever be a single truth? Or are there multiple truths?

I believe that as things become more complex, people long for greater simplicity. People need filtered information and don’t have the patience nor the attention spam to examine information carefully and thoroughly. The concept of the “World Brain” and Well’s idea of the World Encyclopedia which will be “a sort of mental clearing house for the mind, a depot where knowledge and ideas are received, sorted, summarized, digested, clarified and compared” raises this idea of filtered information. As the world becomes more interconnected, the necessity for careful  cultural analysis increases. If in network culture, technology is an “indispensable prothesis through which body and mind expand” can technology act like a thoughtful agent that will create this codependence and coevolution of the  physical, biological, social and cultural systems? Imagine all information presented in the form of  a hypertext rather than linear. This is how people should be thinking of information and technology could help achieve that. Another way for the coevolution of nature and culture to exist is for educational institutions to collaborate with each other in order to create a new open system and curriculum that will merge different disciplines and will draw analogies from multiple streams of thought.



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This week we experimented with the perception neuron kit. We started out by connecting each component to the right part of the body.

Once everything was in order we started the calibration process which proved to be a very painful experience since we could not surpass the first stance for more than 30 minutes. But we finally got it right!

I had a lot of fun playing with pastel psychedelic textures for my world. I still don’t feel entirely comfortable in Unreal Engine, but I feel like I’m getting better at navigating and looking for desired assets. I also added the retro gaming props from the store and added colors to them.

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I have always wanted to make a zoetrope so I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of this assignment to create it. I found these three plastic materials on the junk shelf:

  1. A plastic base

2. A plastic plate

3.  A motor

I measured the motor’s diameter with a digital multimeter to make a hole in the center of my plate so the motor can pass through my plate using the drill press.

I then sanded the excess black piece around the motor to make it look smoother.

I bought some foam and laser cut a base to create a softer surface for the motor to “sit” on because it wouldn’t be easy for the fan to spin on the hard base. I used hot glue to stick the motor through the soft base.


I soldered the wires and tested the spinning of the plate.

The spinning was good but I noticed that the fan was getting a little bit stuck on the edges of the plate so I used hot gun to melt the edges.


I designed the strip to be the same length as the circumference of my plate and made my slits the same distance apart as the pictures. I cut the strip and etched my bird animations on an oil board. I used oil board because I really like its color and I  wanted to use something thicker than matboard so that it can be stable.


Here is my final result. A bird animation zoetrope made primarily out of plastic and oil board.

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I found an enclosure on Amazon which was perfect because it had removable metal face and back plates so that I could customize the box easily. I was also interested in working with metal for this project because it’s a material I haven’t worked with much yet. I wanted to make an enclosure for a speaker.

I bought my buttons from Tinkersphere and started making different holes on wood to make sure I had the right drill bits for these specific buttons. It was quite challenging to find the exact size bits for my holes because I also had different buttons. This was my first time using the drill press and I also used a spade bit for my bigger button for the first time.


I learned quickly that because of the rigidity and thinness of this metal pieces, both sides of the plate had to be clamped down to get the perfect hole. One of my holes is a little eaten up because the bit wasn’t tightened very well. I found it tricky to tighten the drill bit well in this machine.


I then etched on the metal which was definitely a step I had to do first because it was really hard to position the etchings right under the holes and find the exact position. So I started by testing with cardboard and matching my metal plate on top of the cardboard after just to make sure the position is correct.


I then inserted my buttons. My on/off button had to be glued because my whole ended up being bigger so I used hot glue to fill in the gap between my hole and my button which I felt like was my only choice. If you have any other advice please let me know.



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Unfortunately, we experienced some technical issues in our Lab this week. We all wanted to record more movements for our worlds so we can bring them into Unreal. We started off by placing all the necessary points for the skeleton to be tracked properly on all 37 points but our skeleton was not showing up. We re-calibrated the room and started the whole process from the beginning by using a different body to add the points  but we had no success. Therefore, I could not record and export the scenes and bring them intro Unreal.

I used level blueprint to modify my script so that it turns my  light on when the player enters the room and turns off when we exit our room.

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For our third lab we have to review our data from one of our recorder MoCap session and correct and fill any data that were missing as well as assign back to their original position any unassigned markers. Overall our MoCap didn’t present many gaps and was smooth throughout.

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I created my character Avra  using Fuse and created some animations in Mixamo. I built a new world this week and tried out different materials and textures for my mountains. I have become a fan of 3D pastel animation and was looking at Anny Wang’s artwork. I love how Anny works with mixing pastel colors and holographic reflections, surrealist arrangements of geometric objects and still life. So I tried creating a world inspired by this artist and a character that would “fit” this surrealist world.

I imported my character and Samba dance  animations successfully in Unreal by following Todd’s tutorial. I wanted to create an awkward trippy dance movement for my world.


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