A physical interactive mirror to enhance the experience of an area
Today with the busy life that surrounds us, we barely have time to look and pay attention to our environment. The goal of this project was to make a change in that routine and attract the attention of the people who pass by these mirrors. By giving the user time to acknowledge themselves in these mirrors, even for a few seconds and maybe more. A project inspired by the works of an interactive media artist, Daniel Rozin, I started planning to see how I can make this mirror to attract the attention of the audience. The work initially started with the idea of movement and vibration and later in the process, the sound factor was added to the elements of the attraction of this project.
Design a physical model with proper materials that can be used as part of building the interior, transforming the existing environment to enhance the experience of people passing by and possibly increase the foot traffic in that area. Considering environmental factors such as light conditions, view, circulation (foot traffic), access, inherent aesthetics (or lack of).
Below is a proof of concept of this interactive experience, as a solid object gets close to the ultrasound sensors, the mylars sheets start vibrating separately from each other depending on the position of the object in front of them.
Exploration and Ideation (Connector)
Mirrors are very interesting materials and many fascinating art and technological creations have been built so far with them. The visual research for this installation was with different mirrors or reflective installations. The main inspiration was from Daniel Rozin works which was a true delight to explore. This installation was to improve the Artpit area of the Trafalgar Campus at Sheridan College. Designing an aesthetic installation would magnify the chaotic yet beautiful colourful space in that area. The Design is simple yet very effective. It consists of 5 connectors which come together to form a single modular shape. This design is directly focused to enhance that specific space and environment.
Mockups and sketches (Connector)
This piece could be connected in different forms and yet needed to be smart and simple. Research and observation of different types of connectors were as follows:
- Connectors with straight extensions.
- Connectors with angled extensions.
- Connectors with straight and angeled extensions.
- Connectors with extensions around a hub.
Sketching the initial ideas included both straight and angled extensions, which led to designing the final connector.
Used some modeling clay to bring the sketches into physical form and see how each one will serve better as a modular hub.
Stepping further by creating these models in Rhino application, and managing to create a modular hub for testing.
Connector's Final Design
The final modular hub was designed with a simple concept in mind, to hold tight and hold the material at the same time. The design consists of 3 threaded holes for #4 machine screws. The top screw holds the connector tightly to the surface they are attached to. The other two screws intersect with the carbon fiber rod in the center of the body of the connector and hold the rod intact and straight. The machine screws were used to avoid damaging any surface in the college they get attached to.
The material exploration started with exploration and visual research through the Internet. I wanted my peace to connect in different directions and yet be smart and simple. My observation on different connectors was as follows:
The materials were the major struggle and as the project progressed, the strategy had to be changed to overcome the obstacles of using those materials such as plastic, metal and wood together. The cutting and shaping the materials also proved difficult but finally it was possible to overcome those issues toward the end of the project through iteration and testing.
The initial sketches of the modular design including the electronics required to meet the design requirements were to have the motors and the box holding the Arduino on top of the attachments of the mirror. The sensors would be on the bottom of every other mirror and the wires to be zip tied behind the mirrors. However, this concept was further enhanced by using four conductor wires and a project box to keep the design and aesthetics in the best form possible.
The fritzing diagram to show how each sensor is connected through the Arduino
Final Modular Hub
Since the project was assembled in small room with very little space, we could only attach the mylars to the wall. The sensors were still at the bottom of the mylars, however since there was no spine on mylars, we had to compromise and let the wires and cables go through the bottom of the mirrors instead of on top as originally designed. Another reason was also the requirement of weight. End of the mylar had to be heavy enough to stretch the material and light enough not to bring the whole film down from the wall.
This was a very big challenge for me and there were so many aspects to this work that was to be considered. I'm glad that I went through this work successfully as I learned a lot from this project and learned how to make an engaging experience using physical interaction for the users.