Mechanical Design

For this weeks assignment I focused on the development of my final project and the initial design and production of some of the electronic components.

What will it do

For my final project I wish to build a piece of interactive furniture which is capable of communicating information to external objects that are placed on it's surface. The project will focus around the construction of a simple plywood table that will appears ordinary until interacted with. When specific objects are placed on the surface they will receive information through a pulsed magnetic field and respond accordingly.

Much like the work of Yiting Cheng I wish to construct a table that has a concealed draw within which the electronics will be placed. The table will contain a small area of electromagnets which will pulse to communicate information to the items placed on it's surface. Using the LED matrixes previously constructed I will also place some of these under the surface in a similar manner to Matt Blackshaws interactive cube. This will provide a second interface from which information can be displayed.

The completed table will communicate to a computer which will control it's interaction and the information that is being transmitted to the objects. This will create an ambient display that will give feedback on various pieces of information such as e-mail alerts, news, Skype statuses etc.

What's been done before

The are various other examples of interactive furniture and ambient displays that have been created. In terms of the table construction I shall be building upon the work of Yiting Cheng and his Secret Stash work.

What will need to be developed

Over the last few weeks I have already development some of the elements of the project and so the majority of my time will be involved in combining these within the table structure.

Casting Mold
Object Electronics - Light
Controller Software
LED Matrix

To Do
Object Electronics - Vibration
Electromagnet Controller Board
Hollow Table Construction
Demo Application


Week 1 - Order wood, Design table & generate machining files, Cast testing electronics, Vinyl cut LED Matrix, Design Electromagnet controller board

Week 2 - Assemble table, Develop application, Test

Materials & Components

The majority of elements of this project are from the FAB inventory. Components such as the electromagnets have already been bought and so there are no further costs.


How do you control 3 Watt 12 V electromagnets - MOSFET/Relay?

Yiting Cheng - Secret Stash (2010)

Cast Electronic Objects

Magnetic Field Object Electronics - Front

Magnetic Field Object Electronics - Back