Monday, October 20, 2008

Working prototype

We had been working towards making a lamp in the form toy or a sppinning bottle using LeDs along with water balls that would help in diffusing the light.
Since that concept did not work too well in terms of its functionality, we thought of making a LeD lamp coaster. For the interaction part, we thought of using proximity sensors that would make the LeDs glow as an object would approach it. One of the main problem here was the design of the coaster which would help make use of the proximity sensor to maximum(since you hold the coaster only from one side). We were initially thinking of making the basic design on the coaster using plastic/glass boxes (to hold the water balls) and paper tray(to support the circuit). But this would look aesthetically untidy.
Hence we thought of using some other materials and finally decided to use the multiple CD holder.  As shown in the mages below, it was jus right to hold the circuit and at the same time give an appearance of a coaster.

The basic working circuit

The form of coaster using CD holder (showing the way the
proximity sensor is placed in it along with other circuit

The functional prototype of the coaster.

Here's a video to see how the prototype actually works...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

prototyping taken forward

We've decided to work on the "Spinning bottle" concept. The concept is not taken forward as we had thought of it initially but it still remains a spinning bottle, which, besides being used as a dinner table lamp or merely a decorative item, could also be used as a mobile coaster to pass on drinks. so here are images and small clips of what we have explored so far as far as the form and function is followed:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Prototyping stage-1

Since we've deciphered the code and have figured out the way the circuit functions, the next step moves into the prototyping of the LeD lamp.

The basic materials to be used:

The materials that we will be using are inexpensive and are easily available(except for the micro-processors)

1. Water balls: These are polymers (originally available in the market in the form of small balls). When kept in water for approximately 2 hours, these enlarge into bigger ones. We are using this
particular material because of its interaction with light.

2. Plastic bottle: These will be the containers that will hold the water balls along with water and help in diffusing the light.

3. Proximity sensors: these are the infra red sensors that will help in controlling the blinking and
intensity of the LeD.

4. Arduino micro-processor: mainly used for building a circuit and programming it to function in a particular manner depending upon the source code and the elements of the circuit.

5. LeDs: used as light source.

Different forms for the LeD lamp(animating it):
1. The spinning bottle
2. Balloon lamp
3. The universal cap lamp

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Link to the datasheet for the SHARP IR sensor

Work in progress.. deciphering the source code.

Here's how we have progressed with the Water-Balls project. Here's the source code, followed by the images of the circuit that works using the Arduino software along with the source code.



GP2D120 sensor example

by Tom Igoe

Reads a changing voltage from a GP2D120 IR ranging sensor

on analog input 0 and sends the result out in ASCII-encoded

decimal numbers.

Arduino/ATMega8 hardware connections:

A0/PC5: potentiometer on analog in 1

D0/PD0/RX0: Serial input from the PC via MAX232 or hex inverter

D1/PD1/TX0: Serial output to PC via MAX232 or hex inverter

Distance ranging formula comes from Acroname,

Created 6 Oct. 2005

Updated 25 Oct. 2005


int val; // outgoing ADC value

int distance = 0;

int ledPin = 11;

int outPut = 0;

//function prototype:

//void blink(int howManyTimes);

void setup()


// start serial port at 9600 bps:


// blink(3);


void loop()


// read analog input:

val = analogRead(0);

// send analog value out:

printString("Analog Value =\t");


// Calculate linear slope of reading (thanks, Acroname!):

distance = (2914 / (val + 5)) - 1;


outPut = distance



//analogWrite(ledPin, outPut);

// wait 10ms for ADC to reset before next reading:

// delay(10);


void lightLED(int value){

if( value == 9 ){


}else if (value == 8 ){

for( int i=0;i<30;>


analogWrite(ledPin, i);



//Serial.println("distance = 8");

}else if (distance == 7){

for( int i=30;i<90;>





}else if (distance == 6 ){

for( int i=90;i<120;>





}else if (distance == 5 ){

for( int i=120;i<150;>




}else if (distance == 4 ){

for( int i=150;i<180;>




}else if (distance == 3 ){

for( int i=180;i<255;>






// Blink the reset LED:

Here's the Schematic Circuit Diagram:

And here are the images of the work we did today:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All about WATER BALLS!!!

Now that we've decided a topic and have it approved from Anders, we are a little more clear as to where we are heading.
Our concept for the User Interface and User Experience design that extends till the 25th of October is based on using cheap materials, primarily water balls (that cost Rs 10 for 50 small balls) along with motion sensors and motion detectors so as to produce a kind of psychedelic effect.
So what are these water balls?
These are balls made up of specific polymers which when kept in a water holding container, absorb the water and expand. The material, is such that it can absorb the entire water and expand to a great extent making the container tightly filled.
Here are a couple of images of the interaction between water balls and lights:

So how do we intend to go about doing it?
Here's a rough plan of how we intend to execute the concept and hence create a psychedelic effect:

Our Inspiration:


Lava lamps