■ FIGURE 3. The FACE window
sent off to The Children's Museum.
Before long, I received a response
from the Exhibit Director. My proposal
ITS PERFECT! BUT,
CAN WE CHANGE ...
With the proposal accepted and
the funding allocated, all we needed
to do was have a small meeting with
The Powers That Be at the museum to
work out the "details" of the project.
At the meeting, the museum folks let
me know that, though they loved the
proposal, they would like to make
some small changes.
For starters, they didn't want the
kiosk to use bats in its design theme.
Secondly, they wanted the unit to be
mostly transparent so the visitors
could see the inner workings. And
lastly, they wanted the unit to
operate without playing music. At
first I thought they were kidding.
Turns out they weren't (uh oh).
■ FIGURE 6. Bruce Tabor marking up
the panels for the kiosk.
■ FIGURE 4. The STAR window
Of course, this was all presented
in a very positive way. In fact, I could
take it as a compliment of sorts that
they believed I was creative enough to
take my gutted project and resurrect
it into what they envisioned. But, no
matter how I looked at it, it simply
meant a lot more thinking, designing,
BACK TO THE
I spent the next few days
banishing the bats and banning the
"boogie" from all the designs. I
decided to focus on making a kiosk
where visitors could simply interact
with sonar ranging in a real-time,
visceral way. I settled on three
different interactive experiences that
would be solid examples of sonar
ranging. In my new design, the three-sided kiosk would have three separate
clear plastic "windows" that would
each reveal the components inside.
In my new sketches, I named the
windows "FACE,” "STAR," and
■ FIGURE 7. Cutting the window holes
in the kiosk panels.
■ FIGURE 5. The PIANO window
"PIANO," and they worked like this:
The FACE window (Figure 3) used
a robotic positioning system that
moved servo motors in proportion to
values received from the sonar sensor.
A pair of ping-pong ball "eyes" would
appear to follow the visitor's hand as
they moved it closer and farther away
from the sonar sensor "nose" in the
window. The eyes in the window
would eventually cross in a fun and
silly manner when you had your hand
right up against the nose.
The STAR window (Figure 4) was
designed to provide a very visual
display of sonar ranging. This window
would be filled with concentric rings
of colored LEDs in a circular shape.
As a visitor would bring their hand
closer to the center of the circle,
more sets of lights would activate,
creating a moving, colorful star burst
that expands and contracts in
relation to the distance of the
■ FIGURE 8.Window holes cut and
routed in the kiosk panels.
May 2009 17