Team
Arnav Wagh, Chelsea Chen, Vidia Anandita, Daniel Castano
Role
Design, interaction, engineering and fabrication
Technology
Arduino, Processing, Unity, Microsoft Azure API
Challenges
Design
The very first challenge regarding the design was the window itself. With only 1 feet of depth it would have been very hard to put a convincing 3 dimensional cookie in the display.
The solution was to open up the back doors of the window and create a false back wall and ceiling to create an illusion of larger space. We were able to get about 4 feet of usable dept by doing so.
Next up was planning the structure of the cookie so that it ticked all the following boxes...
1. Visually appealing and convincing as a giant fortune cookie
2. Lightweight
3. Should open and close repeatedly and reliably without any jerking
4. The actuation mechanism remains hidden behind the cookie
Since the experience of this window display was akin to theater we approached the display design in the form of a short animation, and we created story boards for every little detail that would take place after the user activates it.
Moreover, the entire experience had to be condensed enough so as not to bore the audience as well as long enough to keep them engaged, while also taking the mechanism's duty cycle into account. The entire experience was about 42 seconds.
Interactivity
We wanted the interaction to be as simple as possible without our audience having to rely on external inputs, like a smartphone. We went with a capacitive touch sensor attached to a larger copper plate for it to conduct through 1 inch thick glass. For the actual interface we cut out a hand in mirror acrylic as a intuitive indicator and also to conceal the sensor.
A web cam, hidden amongst the clouds was fired a few seconds after the user touched the capacitive sensor. It was synchronized with the thunder animation with the LEDs so that the audience's faces were well illuminated. The faces were analyzed by Microsoft Azure face API and the resulting JASON file was parsed in Unity and a matching fortune was displayed. We had about 200 fortunes for 4 categories of facial analysis.
Fabrication
The core challenge of this project was to fabricate a giant cookie which was convincing as a cookie and something which can withstand repeated opening and closure without breaking down.
Process
I designed the cookie skeleton in CAD and milled all the individual pieces on a CNC and assembled it together to form the frame. The frame was cut in pine wood with pockets cut into it to keep it as light weight as possible.
Next step was to clad the frame in wire mesh and chicken wire
The cookie was then mounted on the back wall with a 3/4 inch axle and a bearing. At this point it was only for testing the mechanism.
The structure was cladded in spray-on foam and sanded down. The foam spraying process left natural air gaps which became visible after sanding, this added to the visual appeal of a baked cookie.
The cookie was painted in two tones with a slightly darker shade on the periphery to create the illusion of burnt edges
On the back side of the wall we mounted a lever to the axle on which the cookie was held and connected that to a 12" linear actuator. The back also housed a monitor and 3 Arduinos for the physical interaction.
The pictures below show the process of the display installation inside the window. The process took 2 days and several hours of work. The challenge here was to plan out the installation sequence from the inside out as there was only small entry point to the window space.
We wanted to place thousands of actual cookies at the bottom so we covered the bottom with leftover corrugated boxes and covered them in black cloth to add some body to the pool of cookies. A small webcam was hidden in the clouds and a small vibration speaker was hidden on the bottom left corner amongst the cookies.
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