Kinetic Visualizer

If a picture is worth a thousand words, that means a video is worth a million!




This project was inspired from the task to create something ‘mechanically driven that uses light in an interesting way.’ I went into this project thinking I wanted to shine light onto CD’s to create interesting patterns. Through continued experimentation with various types of refractive forms, as well as different types of light, I created the mesmerizing effect shown above by refracting four different lasers off the surface of a user controlled rotating pyramid covered in crinkled CD backing.





The black box itself is meant to be a bit of a mystery box, with its sole center of focus being the top circular portal though which the viewer can watch the projected effects of the device. The viewer controls the light transformations by turning a large black disk protruding from the box’s sides near the bottom. This disk also acts simultaneously as the on/off switch, turning the red lights on and off with one full revolution.

The lights themselves have a seemingly celestial and mysterious quality to them due to their random motion, intensity, continually changing speeds, as well as their random creation and departure. This device works particularly well at calming the mind after a long day at work.

The following images are snapshots from my work process. In the very beginning of this project, I was not sure what direction I should take, so I created an initial mood board from ‘light projection’ and ‘light pattern’ image searches (above). These captured my intrigue of colored light projections into a more tangible form.




Next, I began some brainstorming and research. For example, these are some initial sketches I created while thinking through different possible user controlled ‘light projection designs.’ My research consisted of different material studies, and their interaction with light and the various effects that could be achieved.




Once I determined a direction to pursue, I began some quick prototyping using foam core and a bit of reverse engineering. As the pictures illustrate below I purchased several cat laser toys, took them apart and used them to shoot lasers at a central foam core pyramid covered in CD backing. This projected the following patterns onto the ceiling of my apartment. By rotating the pyramid I could achieve different effects.



Although this did create interesting patterns with light, the patterns were too small when projected onto the top of the box vs. the ceiling. I also found the most interesting projections were created on the edges of the pyramid. To intensify this effect I ‘crinkled’ the foil and placed it back on top of the pyramid–this created the effect illustrated in the featured picture. At that point I began working to create a working prototype, designing in Solidworks. The final design iteration is illustrated below.




With the virtual design built, it was time to fabricate it. The following pictures are snapshots of the work that followed. In all two different iterations were completed to perfect the design from both electrical and mechanical standpoints.


 Copyright © Scott Fisher

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