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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Bossy

A very rough brainstorm of things that could possibly be done if I don't end up colossally failing

Enter stage left, a brand new class on Interactive Exhibit Design that pretty much gives the students the freedom to set their own deadlines, create their own projects and document the process online- just my style. Needless to say for somebody who doesn’t crave a lot of structure, this should be fun.

I had no idea that Western had so many cool digital opportunities to create interactive, physical projects. The Maker Lab offers it all from a 3D printer (you heard me, it prints real stuff) to “makey makeys” where you can literally plug some fruit (or a whole gammit of other things) up to the device and use it like a keyboard and mouse. I mean, I didn’t even know these things existed.

So our goal for the semester is to try to create a project that is super hard and that presents the possibility that you may fail…hard. Literally, failing hard or succeeding amazingly are the two routes you have to pull a decent mark in this class. Play it safe and that’s a fail buddy.

So here are my ideas so far in no particular order with random videos and images that I found online to inspire me.

3D Printed Vinyl Record

This is where I started originally. I know I want my project to be music-based but I’d like to take it into the history field as well somehow. Maybe something to do with Woodstock or Yorkville but for now I’m just thinking about the different ways we can maybe do this.

There’s a way to do it where you change the audio file using a program (unfortunately I don’t know what program but I’ll keep digging. When you print it it’s fuzzy but it sounds pretty good overall and Shazam picks it up. Plus, it looks pretty cool. Here’s a video I found:

Issues I’d have to work through:

The 3D printer we have access to doesn’t print the size of an actual record. Because 3D printer records have grooves 10x wider than a regular record this would probably mean getting only a very small portion of the song onto the record.

Although she played it on a regular turn table in the video, I’m scared of what it would do to my needle! Maybe experiment with creating my own needle or some kind of robotic turn table?

I have no idea how to start- but I can fix this.

Mini Turntable and Records

You might remember the retro Fisher Price toy that played little mini records. They’re back now and a little bit different so maybe I could model after something like that, using better music of course. Originally, they were run by crank but now they are electric and battery operated. If possible, I’d like to create something using the crank idea.

The original Fischer Price toy used the bumps on the records to play the notes as the “needle” hit them. The new one only has to read the chip and not individual notes. If I could create a record that would play on either of these I would be pretty happy. Maybe a good starting project!

Issues I’d have to work through:

How do I figure out the pattern to actually get a song onto one of these babies?

Will the plastic we use in the lab work on this toy

How do I get my hands on the vintage version? E-bay.

If this doesn’t work on the old toy or the new toy, should I make my own? How?

The Creepy Thomas Edison Doll

In class when I was brainstorming, Edison’s Talking Dolls came up as an idea for me to pursue and although I appreciate it I’m not sure I want to pursue it on account of….they scare the crap out of me. Anyways, the idea is that Edison made a miniature version of the phonograph and inserted it inside toy dolls to make them recite nursery rhymes. Apparently, by the time these dolls were shipped they sounded awful because the delicate phonograph had been damaged during the process. This made them sound ultra-creepy.

BUT. I could use the idea. The phonograph uses little wax records. If plastic would work maybe I could mount it inside something a little less creepy and a little more sturdy.

Here’s a video that explains how it works:

Interactive Tour Posters

This project idea is really in its infancy. I love the looks of lots of different iconic concert posters and I think it would be neat to make them digitally interactive. I’ve already used layar so I could do it that way fairly easily but I would love to find something different and cool to do with them. Who knows!

….well that’s all for now folks!

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