The Useless Machine
Physical Computing, Product Design, Team Work
Aged 19-24 Minimalists
Product Designer, Physical Computing Code & Assembly
00 Problem Overview
A light that doesn't stay lit, but still captures your attention. The useless machine aims to force a user to interact with it, randomly responding with different light colours.
Create a simple product that inspires interaction regardless of functional use. Use minimalist design, in combination with coloured light to alter the overall look of the design.
01 Benchmark Studies
Light, Sound, and Motors
A series of Red Green Blue (RGB) LEDs were used to create variation in colouring.
Using a combination of balsa wood, opaque plexiglass, and white thread, a simplistic material pallet was maintained.
Form studies on speakers and 3D tessellations were investigated to create geometric forms that were open and light feeling.
02 technical drawings
Models were created using Solidworks Parts and Assembly modes. Drawings were then created for the final assembly, with dimensions added for recreation of the project in the future.
Caleb Jones created the isometric drawings pictured in Adobe Illustrator for an accurate perspective view.
Files were exported into illustrator, and prepped for being laser cut with a Tortec 400. All items for the base were cut out of opaque white plexiglass, while the balls were cut with plywood as the base material.
04 Physical Computing
A small circuit was created with Arduino which connected 3 RGB LEDs and a button. When pressed, the button would generate 3 random colours.
05 Form Construction
The three balls were created using different patterns to generate various patterns when the light is turned on.
Experimentation of Tan, White, and Black strings were used in order to test the highest range of colour variations when lit.
06 Final Piece
The final machine was assembled and mounted to each pedestal, with a hidden compartment within the stand that would hold the Arduino when the machine is powered on.
Beyond: Useless Machine
Moving forward, a smaller computer would be used to create a more compact rendering, in addition to a series of lamps with varying shapes and sizes.