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Object: Final Project

Task: Create a physically interactive system of your choice

Time Frame: November - December 2019

Course: Object

Team Member: Michael Morris

Summary: Ideation, Sketching, Fabrication (Soldering), Painting, and Playtesting


Our final project follows the trend of “Unnecessary Inventions”: objects which are meant to be fun and functional but are not in demand by consumers. We wanted to create something that was enjoyable and whimsical to use. So, we created the Steampunk Super Glasses. These glasses are not your ordinary sunglasses. They have two main features: flip up lenses which respond to the amount of light around you and miniature wipers in case it is raining. The wipers are activated by a switch on the hat. The lenses flip up according to data read by a photosensor on the hat. The interior of the hat conceals all of the electronics and wires for the glasses.

The outset of the project went rather smoothly. We were able to use what we had learned in the motor lab to get the electronics working with the motors. We also knew that space would be at a premium so we opted for the metro mini board. This allowed us to take up less space than its bigger cousin, the Arduino Uno we used in class. For power, we knew that since this was a wearable device then we wanted to have some sort of battery power instead of a hook up to a wall outlet or a laptop. So we procured a portable charger which could easily be stored inside the hat. After all of the electronics were done, we began assembly of the glasses.

For the glasses, we took existing sunglasses and retrofitted them with all of our necessary parts. It was a bit of a challenge to find a place for all 3 of the servos especially. One servo controlled the lense flip ups and the other two controlled the 2 wipers. We opted to place the two wiper servos directly behind the wipers and lenses despite it slightly interfering with the user’s face. To combat this problem, we lengthened the sunglasses arms to allow them to still fit the user’s face. The lenses were even trickier to get working because a single servo had to lift up both lenses and return them to the same spot every time. We used dowels to connect the lenses so that a single servo could lift both lenses. The top of the lenses were affixed using metal wire as a hinge. 

After lots of trouble shooting, hot gluing, and making necessary fixes, we taped up the lenses and spray painted everything black. This gave it the true “steampunk” aesthetic. Along with the gray beanie to conceal everything the glasses turned out rather fashionable! 

After the paint had dried, we took product photos in the white box in the ENVD building. We also filmed the product video at this point. The final presentation was fun and we got lots of positive comments on our Steampunk Super Glasses. With that said, we recognize a few areas for improvement if we were to work further on this product. For example, we would explore with sewable technology for implementing in the beanie. This would be more comfortable and less intrusive for the user. We would also move the wiper mounts to the bottom of the glasses so that they would never be in the way of the lenses. We certainly learned a lot about the difficulty of creating things with lots of moving parts throughout this project. But, we got a lot of practice with problem solving and overcoming electrical issues. Overall, we are proud of how our object turned out and hope you enjoy our whimsical invention!

Our final video and process photos are in the gallery to the left. The code and interaction diagram are below to the right. The schematic is at the bottom of the page. 

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