With this blog post, we are fulfilling our promise to tell a little bit about the modest, accessible technology we used during our program. The picture shows all the technology we used; all fit into a small plastic container.
The miniature motors that nudged many small, lightweight objects to perform humorous behaviour thanks to the creativity of the participants, are small vibration motors, the same kind we have in our cellphones.
These motors have offset weights that make them vibrate when they spin. They have wire leads attached that are colour coded and pre-stripped on the ends, so they are ready to use. The red wire should be attached with a small piece of electric tape to the "+" side of a 3V coin cell battery (watch battery), and the blue wire should be attached to the other side of the battery. Dollar stores sell 3V lithium cell batteries cheap but check the expiration date.
We used two kinds of such motors, pancake motors (or coin cell motors) and pager motors. In the pager motor, the head (weight) rotates outside of the body of the motor. In the pancake motor, the head rotates inside. The pager motor we used also has a removable rubber boot that has one flat side for easy mounting. The pancake motor has one side magnetic, and the other side is self-adhesive.
LED lights - We bought all LED lights at Electrical and Electronic Supply Ltd in London. They are around 10-80 cents each depending on their type. There are small, medium and giant head LEDs, narrow and wide angle illumination, and all level of luminosity from subdued to super bright. We used flashing LEDs that cycle trough a myriads of colours.
LEDs (light emitting diodes) are polarized electronic components, so they allow current to flow only in one direction. When there is no current, there is no light. The positive side of the LED is marked by having a long leg. The other, negative side of the LED is marked by having a short leg. Attach the long leg to the "+" side of the 3V cell battery and the short leg to the other side of the battery. A reversed LED can stop an entire circuit from operating properly by blocking current flow. If you added an LED to your circuit and it stopped working, try flipping it around.
The blue LED seems to be not working in the company of LEDs of other colours. Many of our participants noticed when we attached a blue LED to the battery and started adding other LEDs, green and red, the blue LED stopped working. So, attach the blue LEDs to a separate battery.
TAPE - use only electric tape to attach electronic components (LEDs, motors) to the battery. Electric tape does not leave a gluey residue so that all components will be reusable. Glue does not conduct electricity. The moment the surface of the battery or the stripped wires of the motor get gluey, they will prevent good contact and stop working. (Don't attempt to wash them off with water.) You can also reuse the small pieces of electric tape in other applications.
So many people created animations in the last few days of the workshop, it took us a little while to compile them all. Here is the result of some dedicated object arranging.
This open workshop is coming to a close and we would like to thank all of the amazing people that have contributed. If you are in town, please consider a Saturday evening reception at Satellite Project Space to celebrate the end of this gosh-darn playful experiment.
The Animated Life of Everyday Objects
Closing reception: Sat. Aug 19 at 5 - 7 pm
121 Dundas St.
We had lots of participants yesterday who created many curious objects, mini robots and light sculptures.
Today is the last day of our project, we are open 12-5pm and will hold a closing reception at 5 pm with homemade food.
There was lots of fun explorations yesterday with the tiny vibrating motors attached to various objects. The same object can move in different ways if the motor and the small cell battery is attached in various ways to the same objects.
We have red, green, blue, purple, yellow and orange light bulbs to create colour light shadows. The combination of the colour light bulbs (at least two of them) determines what colour shadows will appear on the wall. The shadows of an object can be animated either by moving the object or by keeping the object stationary and moving the light bulbs. Depending on how you move the light bulbs, you can make the shadows elongated, shortened or distorted in many interesting ways.
We have various objects (bubble wrap, fishing net, translucent plastic sheets, solid chains, colour plastic bottles and many more) to explore how they respond to different colour light combinations.
The everyday objects on the shelves at Satellite can be explored in many ways, including finding ways to use their forms, material characteristics or functions in an unusual way. A hole in a sponge makes it perfect to be worn as a ring, or a tea strainer can be used to hold jewelry pins.
We had a wonderfully busy day yesterday with many creative explorations by our visitors. A dust factory was created from ballon, transparent tube, and a plastic bottle. A sponge ship was set in motion with a small vibrating motor underneath. Pencil shavings were trembling and circling with a tiny motor hidden from view.
Yesterday at The Animated Life of Everyday Objects, visitors produced a number of new animations out of a CD, balloon, old sign, stones, streamers, glass chess pieces, a tic tac box, mac tac, and more...
Small colour LED lights placed into a white yoghourt container can be used to mix colours. A red LED in one container and a blue LED in another one, produce purple if they are facing each other. But not all LEDs are created equal. Some acts like a flood light; it projects its light in a wide angle and some acts like spot light (like the green in the picture below) and they can't fill the container with light.