Magnet painting art – FINAL DOCUMENTATION

Magnet painting art is our project of this semester, that is creative device can detect the moving direction of individual person to synchronize the location and strength of the magnetic field, and also takes advantage of the ferrofluid physical property to indicate the location and strength of magnetic field, giving the visual view instead of invisible magnetic field.

How it work:
when user walk into the specific area, the kinect will capture the user direction and control the magnet move to change the shape of ferrofluid, at the same time the other camera will capture the movement of the ferrofluid and project on the wall, let user know what he or she does to change into interesting shape.
Final prototyping video:

At beginning of this course, we found the one liquid can indicate the location and strength of the magnetic field. As we know, the magnet field is kind of invisible bunch stuff, it always locate around the magnet and the most strength locate near the pole.
this picture use the iron power illustrates the location and strength around the magnet field.
The ferrofluid cannot only illustrate the magnet field , but also is able to move much more easily than iron power due to the liquid physics property. We did a lot research in this part, found the shape that the ferrofluid frame in magnetic environment, during the research, we found the change of magnet can move the ferrofluid or form the different shapes of ferrofluid in some specific situation, after we stare the reference video, we found some other liquid coexist, and made the special view.

And also, change the magnetic field in some methods, including changing the distance between permament magnet and ferrofluid, changing the current of the electric magnet.
Therefore, our project’s interaction comes from this factory, we needed to work out some functional device that can follow the order to change the magnetic field specifically and also can link to the computer for getting the order signal.
And then, we have to make the interaction between the ferrofluid and use, in other word, we will let the user know how he or she influence the shape and movement of ferrofluid. So we were planning to put some sensor or detector in our project as the controller of the device.

Original idea:
After we got the roughly sketch of our project in our mind, we discuss the original idea, we made a list facilities our project should have:
Mutable magnet: offer the force to change the ferrofluid.
Camera or kinect: run as detector to capture the use movement and send those data to computer.
Compute*1: translate the data from the detect to the arduino.
Arduino: control the magnet moving follow the programmer script.
Device main structure: offer the ferrofluid and magnet a stable and fit structure, and also should be aesthetic.
During the work processing, we made a lot change of the project, and also made almost three prototyping.
In week 5, we did a lot the research to finger out the leak of our idea, we roughly designed the project and the interaction, in this period, we originally think using the electric magnet for our project, and camera or kinect capture the environment change to control the electric magnet. When we finished first the group presentation, we found some important advices that we should put some more separately controllable magnet under the ferrofluid and hide them in order to create some greater picture than the reference did.

In week 6, we got the liquid and try out the culture dish can container this liquid, and does not adsorb, and also try to find the mystery solution which can coexist with ferrofluid. We try four solution: still water, alcohol, oil, finally we found the isopropyl alcohol is the solution we were looking for, the ferrofluid and it can coexist, and also the different density can make the ferrofluid on the top of the isopropyl alcohol. it is the reason the ferrofluid can moving free in the culture dish of the reference video.

In week 7, we change electric magnet into permament magnet, because we cannot get strong enough electric magnet in time, and also the ferrefluid and isopropyl alcohol is flammability stuff, the electric magnet always make to heat, So it is not good idea to put then together. Then we did a lot experiment finalize how many magnet that best option we had to use four magnets to create the device. if we do so, the view is the most dynamic,

In week 8, we make a prototyping 1 for demonstration. This prototyping used the stepper motor spin to drive the magnet jump to control the ferrofluid movement, and the camera capture the environment change to set different arrange speed and sets stepper motor moving, after the demonstration we collect the feedback, generally, the feedback reflected that the magnet jumping is not appropriate way to control the magnet field due to the jump is not long enough to frame the stable shape of ferrofluid, and the interaction is too rough to convince the user believe he or she can control that.

Prototyping 1:
Above picture demonstrates prototyping 1 that use the stepper motor to make the magnet jump in order to change the magnetic field.
Therefore, we discuss with the teachers and classmate, we did some valuable research again, we look around the industry and artwork, redefine the interaction, redesign the device again and shifted some responsibility.

In week 9, we designed to use the kinect to capture the user’s direction to make the interaction, and using the four servo to map four direction of the user.
And also, we plan to use the piston way to drive the permament magnet to up and down, to compare with previously version, piston offers more controllable structure to computer, more closer interaction with user and easily to drive with mini servo. And then, we believe the piston can made our project much more attractive from the appearance, bring the feeling in machine age to audience.
The picture illustrates the every magnet how to work as apart in our project, what need to do is that we make four piston and put the magnets on the piston. therefore, our project consist of four of piston until the end of semester.

In week 10, we did some experiment to ensure the piston movement is good enough to control the ferrofluid, the reason we did that again is that after we change the interaction of our device, we believe those change result in the result we got before was not working properly, therefore, after the experiment, we found the best the length of the piston moving and the size of cylinder bore, then we referred to those parameter to make the device again, and also found those four magnet should be the same pole to face to the top resulting the shape much more attractive.
Picture show four magnet can dynamic change the ferrofluid in we design situation that use piston control the magnet height to change the strength and location of four magnet.
In the other hand, we found the library that can catch the user in the specific area and key the that person. Because of this discovery, we thought we can ask the user stand in the middle of the area ,and key that, to capture the user’s direction. Obviously, this way should work, but require user doesn’t make sense.

In week 11-12
Because of the requirement of the aesthetic, we decided to use the optical plastics to produce the cylinder bore and the top of our device, in order that the user can see how it works when they stand near the device. And we finalized the programmer with teacher help.

In week13

We did demonstration in this week, after that we found the device had some systemic problem, due to the same magnet sometime pull each other and the force that servo offers to is too small, is hardly work like we imagine. Therefore, we had to replace the small servo to stronger servo. And finger out the big servo running problem with Rob help.
2013-11-16 19.37.41636A0737
In theory, the device on the picture should work fine, but actually four magnet pull each other made the piston stuck in the cylinder bore, therefore we have to change into much stronger servo to overcome the problem.
Fortunately, after we changed the servo, seems everything works well, and not big problem at all.
And also we solved the USB plug in problem, but we had to use more than two computers to make the whole system work.

Technical aspect:
In general, we use the kinect to detect the movement for interaction of our project. We actually take advantage of the simpleNI libraries in processing to catch the movement of people and get the detail axis value, and compare previous and recent to calculate out the user direction, and then the computer linking to the kinect will send the direction value to computer which link to the arduino, the arduino will control for stepper servo do some sync movement, the other camera capture the movement to project on the wall in order that user can see what he or she do influence the ferrofluid.

Physics aspect:
This picture shows where we put servo in the device.

Code aspect:
Coding to control the servo to sync the user direction:
The video Magnet Painting Art Interaction Part below show how we can the direction of the user, when people in the area, the programmer key and create skeleton for the use, at the same time, it also give the location value to the programmer in somehow.

Generally speaking, after we finish this project and chat with friend and classmate, we found the creative device not only rely on the functional feature , and also have to pay attention on the aesthetic. however, the functional part did as aesthetic part exist in a project, it will catch attention of audience, such as the piston and ferrofluid.

Reference list:


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