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02 // Analog express >> a high fidelity office rollercoster/instant messenger

If you want to see this guy in REAL size, come down to my office >> E-14 (New Media Lab building), 348-P!

In our office there are four of us and (naturally??) we share the information around us in the digital world, but sometimes we still send each other physical objects, like pens, paper and USB sticks (sad, I know). Of course everyone is extremely lazy so we end up throwing these things at each other...and this is where Analog Express comes in. It is an indoor modular rollercoster system that spans through office space and lets people instant message each other in an oldskool fashion.

The system consists of the following modular elements:

  • 1. these parts are the ones that guide the UMV (Unmanned Messenger Vehicle) over the track
  • 2. support for the bases that connect the tracks with the Earth
  • 3., 4. and 5. are the parts that make the system modular. They press-fit into each other and the bases, thus with them you can adjust the height to a precision that is one third of the longer leg (depending on your scale).
  • 6. the parts that connect 3., 4. or 5. with the foundation of the tracks
  • 7. additional support for the bases where needed

Materials, machines and software used

The only material I used was cardboard with the thickness of 0.166 inches. After I experimented with the width of the opening that allows press-fitting I found that 0.153 inches works the best: it gives the rigidity needed to hold weight but it allows some movement for the parts so they don't deform. I cut off the edges of the openings so the press fitting is easier. I used the laser cutter sitting in the basement of the MIT Media Lab's Laser cutter. Also I used Rhino 4 to design the parts. All the design files can be downloaded from here:

++ Rhino files ++

In operation .. to be continued

The plan was to find a robot that could go from one end of the room (Lizzy) to the other end (Tony) on the track. We have tried three different one, but non of them completed the whole track. Maybe I will just build one during the coming weeks ^.^ .
Dögi's How to make almost anything? photoset Dögi's How to make almost anything? photoset