Assignment #1: model/render/animate/... a final project
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Final Project Idea: "Living Color Cubes" (Working title...)
I want to make a set of cubes, that have the ability to change their color and communicate with each other by touch. When 2 of them touch, they will exchange information and at least one will change its color.
To get a feel of the idea, here are 2 short movies, prepared with the Blender tool:
I imagine a huge pile of white bricks. Then someone takes one brick, and touches it to a color in a special color pallet. The brick changes its color. It is then thrown into the big pile, and the bricks it touches change their color too. Then the color change spreads, in a viral manner, from cube to cube until the whole pile is colored.
There are many things
that can be done, which I think could look very neat visually:
- Put more than one color at different edges of a big pile, and see how the colors spread and interact
- Have 2 colors that come in touch mix and create the correct mixed color (open questions: will both change color? just one? how to decide?)
- Have the color "skip" generations - meaning if we counted encounters between cubes, do one thing at each even numbered encounter, and something else at odd numbered encounters. This can add more dynamics to the cases when you have several colors that are running around the cube pile, and have demonstrations with constant motion.
- Introduce some features that would modify the the colors either within the cubes or in the information that they forward. For example: have the colors fade with each "hop" they traverse, or accumulate to get a stronger shade. Maybe introduce mutation, where it will change to a different colors by some triggers, and so on.
- Create different layouts of cubes, that would convey different things and cause patterns to emerge etc...
The cubes can be used to demonstrate concepts of genetics, life, societies, propagation of information and ideas, in addition to communications and networking.
They can serve several purposes:
Artistic/Fun - arrange cubes in a certain way to create living installations of moving colors
Educational - I have seen many toys intended to demonstrate Technological concepts, but I have not seen any toy that its main goal is to teach principles of networking and propagation of information
Use for demos at the Viral Communications group - show networking concepts in a tangible way.
Some initial thoughts on the design
These cubes should be easily held by one hand (perhaps also by a child's hand?)
Do I want to make them hard or soft on the outside? should they be "throwable"?
I guess each color on the pallet communicates with the bricks in the same way they communicate with each other
Each cube should also have some sort of "strength" measurement - when they collide, the stronger color will win or at least have greater effect. These strength can be made to diminish as time goes by, or with the number of hops that a message passes. Are they inherent in the cube or are they inherent in the color messages that pass through?
Originally I thought I would have to use LCD screens on all sides, in order to get the full range of colors and tones that I want. It would probably be very expensive.. Although if we had that, we can pass more complex forms of information, such as pictures, animations, etc., but thats for a different phase of the project anyways... I heard that I may be able to use multi-color L.E.D.s, but I still have to look into that and see how many colors I can create with them.
How to communicate between the devices - I don't want them to have omni-directional radio signals, because I want the information to pass only to the next hop and not to other cubes. Maybe IR? Some way to communicate using magnetic touch between devices?
Maybe I can use internal mirrors to duplicate the IR signal and the colors to the different sides of the cube? (or at least to more than one?)
What about power and battery life?