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Resonetics: Making a difference --- one Amoeba at a time


The lab features a Resonetics micromachining laser system. The system is capable of cutting objects on the scale of microns. The system is best used with subtractive cutting techniques. The simplest objects designed for the system would be created as follows:

·        Design a 2-dimensional representation of the object

·        Save as a DXF

·        Extrude to create a 2.5-dimensional representation

·        Import into and save as a .oms file


To try this laser system, I designed a tuning fork.  I imagine the fork could be used as follows:

·        The fork will sympathetically vibrate only at its natural fixed frequency

·        Although the fork’s vibrations will be difficult to detect directly, light will reflect off of the fork, and the changes in the reflection of this light could be detected by sensors. This will allow us to detect the amplitude of the vibrations.


I also wonder if the tuning fork might make a difference for our friend the Amoeba. Consider that there is still a great deal that is unknown about Amoebas. But even simple films of the Amoeba show us a fascinating and possibly surprisingly sophisticated world. Indeed some strains of Amoeba show the ability to form social networks and even solve mazes. What responsibility might we have toward these animals to develop their culture further?


As a musician, I know how important it is to have a highly developed sense of pitch. Therefore, making instruments for Amoebae to perform on is useless without first attuning their sensitivity to small deviations in pitch. I hope my tuning fork may be an initial step toward this exploration.


First, I designed a tuning fork which resembled the traditional tuning fork. Here’s the DXF and a GIF of that. This fork might not work, because it would be very difficult to actually get such a small thing upright. I changed the design to lie flat on the ground, structured more like a cantilever. Here is my second design, as a DXF and a TIF.


For this second design to work, we will have to undercut the prines by plasma etching. The amount of displacement we can get is small. As an alternative, we can cast the vertical forks in rubber.


In considering the tuning fork, I came up with this alternative design: a circular base with a spiral prine inside. Here’s the DXF.


The tuning fork will be completed the week of November 29, at which point I will post pictures and/or video to document the results.