Rube Goldberg project : Documentation








One of our ideas – cappriccio

inspired by Jan Svankmajer’s work.


The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer 1987

Cappriccio is an Italia word, means based on imagination,close to the fantasia.

As you can see, We have a printer, a motor and a light from printer, and a few small stuff ( small sensors, small swifter , round rubber eraser )

So far, we have done the swifter to control the printer belt move.

My neighborhood and work Trash map

These are the basic areas where I am looking for salvageable stuff, havnt found much as of yet, A few power chargers and a noise machine.


Rube Goldberg Video!

Here’s a video of our machine operating!

Everything goes by super fast in the video, but to break things down here’s the flow:

1) The power gets activated. (Shown by pushing the ‘test’ button on the power supply)

2) Power activates the motor which sends the ink tray across the printer. Since the motor would normally keep trying to push the ink tray one direction, causing a nasty clicking sound, we installed a kill switch that the tray flicks as it passes which turns off the motor.

3) The ink tray knocks over part of the old printer’s power supply casing which is tied to a string, which is in turn tied to a lever. When the casing drops it pulls on the string with enough force to throw the lever.

4) The lever starts some gears in motion that drops the paper tray on the printer.

5) The paper tray is attached by a string which is tied to a camera lens. When the tray drops it pulls the lens’ zoom.

6) That lens has a small arm that extends and retracts when manipulated. We attached to wire leads to that arm, causing another circuit to be closed or opened depending on the lens’ state. When the string pulls the arm is retracted and the circuit closed, causing the scanner’s light bar to start moving.


Rube Goldberg Progress & Damange Report

Our group was able to get our hands on two old printers and had to do something with them. There wasn’t much electronics to work with so we decided to focus on the non-electronic mechanisms that we were able to trigger with what we have and to have fun! So this was what we were thinking:

This is how far we got today. Terese and I managed to get the top sliding part(the cartridge holders) to slide across, then smash into & turn on the switches, which then set the bottom part(paper feeder) going and shooting out pieces of paper bills. A needle was attached onto each cartridge holder on the inside so that when the holders smash inwards, the needles would also pop the balloon, making an explosion of confetti (tiny polystyrene foam balls). We didn’t take any videos cus all hands were on deck(holding wires or trying to hold something in place)…

 back – we powered both of the paper feeders on just one power source. We weren’t sure whether it will power also the top sliders and didn’t want anything to explode so used another power supply for the top part.

The magical part.

Everything was going fine and we were going to work on the finishing touches the next day and

This happened.

Due to intensive testings and aging of the band that runs on the gears & pulls my cartridge holder, BROKE
It was so bad that I wasn’t able to pull it back together…:(
Nor could I replace it because of THIS:

The pieces of loose string (that made up the band) were stuck and got tangled up with the gear.
You can tell how unhappy I was ‘cus I didn’t even feel like getting my camera out, haha

We were also thinking to attach a piece of rollable paper to the cartridge holder so that it unrolls and reveals the secret message when the cartridge holder slides inward & pulls. Also party poppers that goes off at set times when the slider goes across but it was impossible to find them?

It’s a major bummer but we’ll manage to figure something else out, hopefully, by Tuesday!

Tangible Musical Interfaces Performance

Dr. Sabine Seymour | Assistant Professor of Fashionable Technologypresents Martin Kaltenbrunner, who will discuss his work in sound technology and interaction design.
80 Fifth Ave, Room 802

Martin Kaltenbrunner is Professor at the Interface Culture Lab, University of Art and Industrial Design in Linz. His research concentrates on tangible user interfaces and the development of novel human computer interaction concepts within open tools for creative production. As co-founder of Reactable Systems he had been mainly working on the interaction design of the Reactable – an electronic musical instrument with a tangible user interface. He is author of the open source tangible interaction framework reacTIVision and the related TUIO protocol, which have been widely adopted for the realization of tangible tabletop applications.


Scrapyard Junk Walk

Even though I wasn’t here the first week, my neighborhood is perfect for finding lots of tossed out electronics. In fact, we’ve gotten a lot of stuff off the streets immediately around my apartment. Unfortunately, though, the few electronic items we’ve tried have all been broken, but I think that’s partially a matter of just bad luck.

Since I came into this class a bit late, though, I think I missed a round or two of garbage pick-up and I didn’t find as much good stuff as I normally would. I did come across a decent printer and a fan, though.

Walking map

I forgot to take a picture of the fan before I disassembled it, but here’s the printer:

HP DeskJet

Hopefully after this class I’ll be able to really figure out how to use all the great stuff that I see each week on the streets!


Reflections on readings

Lessons from the Scrapyard
I’ve always had an interest in working with electronics, but since I never really got any practical lessons on how to do it, it always seemed like soemthing that only the technologically savvy could take on and work with. And this article really highlights what I have been wanting to do for so long, and why I decided to take this class in the first place.

What struck me most about this piece is the degree to which complete amateurs could make such creative interactions in their work, especially with electronics. The wearable challenge interests me, and as D+T students, there is clearly a need and a drive for learning these kinds of things, but the MIDI challenge is where I think a lot of magic happened. The yes/no shaking helmet seemed like the epitome of using a strange assortment of supplies to produce a robust fun interaction. In this age of gestural interfaces, it doesn’t get much simpler than that.

But the project that really stood out to me was the Bottle Violin. It was completely elegant in its simplicity, and it seemed completely intuitive as a violin, even though the parts and the principles behind it are so far removed from the string instrument. It’s particularly incredible when you think that the student had no electronics background before this. The technical issues at play aren’t exactly ground-breaking, but they are difficult at first and the implementation was a really clever use of them.

I’m hoping our class will be as fruitful.


7 Overrated Technologies
It’s funny how obvious these things seem, but how little we actually use them in real life. It really isn’t much more work, really, to do the simpler more traditional ways of being environmentally responsible, and in almost every case it’s the healthier and less-wasteful option too.

To me, though, the problem I see is that the way the “headlined” items are presented, it almost seems as if they are bad things. Sure, we tend to forget the “sidelined” items over time, but isn’t it better that we still use the new, and sometimes more improved options (eg. compact fluorescents) in conjunction with the old ways? And even if people tend to disregard the old, arguably better, ways, isn’t it better that we at least do the new ones?

The technologies listed as sidelined all require more work and thought or planning. People didn’t just forget those; they were time-consuming and difficult. I agree with the gist of the article that we should be making more responsible and consciencious decisions, but they are not something we can impose on other people. If we want more success in making bigger impacts on a personal level, we need to change the underlying problems or make the hard things easier to do.

Class Moved to Parsons Building , 6 East 16th Street, Room 1204B

As of today, Tuesday, September 13th class is moved to Parsons Building , 6 East 16th Street, Room 1204B

Junk Hunt

So I just moved to Downtown Brooklyn, by way of California, and I would have thought there would be tons of electronic junk hiding in the crevices of all the buildings. I was so mistaken. I’ve been making it a point to explore/learn my neighborhood everyday, and I have yet to see anything useable for this project. Last night, was my first documentation of my junk run(s). I mostly come across some regular trash, recyclables, and broken furniture. Everything has pretty much been bagged and sealed, so I use my foot to tap the bags in hopes that I would feel some type of electronic shelling. No luck. I even wandered into the garbage rooms of other buildings, but there was still nothing visible for the taking. After all my searching outside, what I was looking for was at home all along… 🙂 My roommate blessed me w/his old Blackberry and a broken printer. It’s not much, but it’s a start. The next time I look for electronic junk, I’m definitely venturing into a different neighborhood.