How To Make Almost Anything

Project 13

Machine Design

The sequence of the last few weeks has worked perfectly for my final project, in terms of spiral development. My goal this week was to create a Max MSP patch that would take in serial data from the accelerometer and use that data to start gesture recognition. I managed to track two gestures, one up motion from striking a match, and a trembling motion, like the start of an earthquake. It was my first time using Max MSP, but luckily, my partner was in town, and he has extensive experience, so he was able to coach me through the interface and help me with troubleshooting.

  • Design Challenge: Assemble and build a machine as a group
  • Date Completed: 12.07.16

The Design Process

This week was our first group project, and we needed to assemble and build a modular cardboard machine that did...something. Our group decided to build a silly hot glue gun 3D printer. I started off by working with the laser cutter to cut out all the cardboard stages. The design can be easily printed on tri-fold science display cardboard, and there was no issues with cutting and scoring.

Here is the sketch that Qicheng drew for our group
Laser Cutting
Preparing to laser cut cardboard stages

Meanwhile, other group members worked on making the PCB, soldering, and assembling the cardboard pieces. Isn't group work great sometimes? We were all quite busy!

Making the PCB
Gluing the cardboard stages

Next, we began testing the electronic components and making our own wires to use later. Meanwhile, I worked on assembling the four stages. We altered and cut off tabs on the cardboard stages, poked new holes, and fastened the stages together with washers, screws, and nuts. Eventually, we got all four stages assembled and attached securely (though a fire alarm forced us outside as firemen inspected the media lab.)

Testing the electronics
Me posing for a picture once everything was assembled
Assembled machine, ready for the electronics!
Waiting outside in the cold

I adapted the patch from IRCAM to read accelerometer data. In short, you "teach" the patch each gesture, and then it follows the data, trying to match the data with the gestures you record.

Gesture following patch adapted from gF patch from IRCAM

All in all, much more needs to be tweaked, so that it doesn't take 5 or 6 tries to get the patch to recognize the gesture. and how I can get it to read the serial data coming from the output. Ideally, I can set an if statement in MAX, that asks the program to pull a particular sound track when the values are within a certain range.

The presentation version of the Max patch