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Vibrating Pixels, Mechanical Mirror

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The following tutorial guides you through the basic steps in creating this vibrating-pixel-mirror (feel free to help me with a name), which uses tiny motors to vibrate an array of mirrored pixels and distort the image. The motors are individually addressable through an Arduino board, allowing simple animations to be created. I'm hoping to translate this prototype into a larger array with greater resolution and the possibility for more complex animations and interactions.
 
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Step 1: Making the face of the thing

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1. Figure out the size.
Again, you can make it as big as you want, but a grid of 9 pixels is pretty manageable for a first try:
Mine consists of an 8" square with nine 1" diameter circles arranged a grid at 1-1/8" from center to center.

2.
Laser-cut your shape out of a sheet of mirrored acrylic.
The circles cut out of the center will be used as the face of the pixels. I used circles to avoid trouble later on in orienting and aligning them.

3. Put some rubber on the back.

The black rubber shown is 1/4" neoprene sheet. Cut out a 6"-7" square of it, at least big enough to cover all the holes. Super glue it onto the back of the panel. The neoprene is what the pixels will eventually be attached to, and seems to do a pretty good job of holding them firmly while not dampening the vibration.

4. Make a frame.

If the thing stands up on it's own, everything will be a little bit easier. To this end, I built a wooden frame for the panel to mount to . Make it deep enough to mount the Arduino uno board inside, around 3". For more details, maybe find a woodworking friend, or find a wooden box the right size, or make one out of cardboard, or macaroni.











Kiteman3 months ago
You're in the Ponoko blog:

http://blog.ponoko.com/2013/12/30/laser-cut-vibrating-mirror/
thecheatscalc3 months ago
I've got a suggestion for this. if you want to go high resolution, buy a DLP projector with a dead bulb. (IE http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mitsubishi-Model-XD206U-Table-Top-Home-Theatre-Display-Data-Projector-No-Lamp-/370946828455?pt=US_Video_Projectors&hash=item565e2768a7)

take a large lens and focus it on the DLP sensor, and have it reflect directly back out. A dlp sensor is nothing but a bunch of vibrating mirrors that each represent a pixel. You might be able to remove the unnecessary components and project a "picture" that makes the pixels vibrate like you want, achieving a high resolution version of this with pretty minor effort. The issue I see with this idea though is the lensing. It might be too difficult, but it could be worth a shot!
Eh Lie Us!3 months ago
Very creative and looks like a lot of fun but I already don't like what I see in the mirror!
astrong03 months ago
Just had an idea with this. Using an entire, large mirror have a camera that would track to where people are walking and then only make the pixels right in front of them vibrate so that their reflection is blurred but nothing in the back ground is.
For scaling this up, I'd suggest buying square mirrors in huge bulk and having the whole thing pieces together with no base mirror. Then see if this provides enough vibration to get a nice effect. https://www.google.com/search?q=Flat+Button+Type+Micro+Vibrator+Motor If not, then this certainly would https://www.google.com/search?q=Coreless+Micro+Vibrator+Motor but in large scale art installations, price is the enemy.
wolfgang kahler (author)  RichardBronosky3 months ago
Thanks. As currently constructed, squares create an added difficulty because they have to be properly aligned (if circles rotate it dosen't matter).There might be a way around this. I agree that with a larger installation the back portion might not be entirely necessary. Also this one currently uses the flat button vibrating motors that you reference. They're plenty strong and surprisingly cheap
Crimson-Deity4 months ago
Not to be rude in any way, but what's the point of this?
It's ArT. Art is not required to be exclusively practical; that would be a tool. This piece invoked certain emotions; I was first perplexed, then curious, amused (after watching the video). I think this piece did its job. It's just f****ng cool.  I would love to see a large array and watch a video of people reacting to it. Maybe the large array would react to the motion of people walking by. I picture a wave washing through.
A large scale version would be awesome!
wolfgang kahler (author)  industriald3 months ago
Ya large scale is the dream. Just need a space and some funds! Proximity sensing would be super easy too. maybe coupled with sound sensing for when you feel like singing, or screaming.
Because you can.
i was thinking about the same, and i like the answer. :)
trophygeek4 months ago
OK. Neat idea.

If only there was some way to hide the seams in the little mirrors so that parts of the image would "soft focus" without you brain knowing why.
EXACTLY what I was thinking!
mdeblasi13 months ago
Crimson,
I think of it as a kind of work of conceptual art, that has an electronic component.
It becomes a portrait of who ever is looking at it.
You can build it and put it on your wall, but you can't say you are the artist, that honor goes to wkahler.
randofo4 months ago
This is nice. I like what you have done here :-)

It would be interesting if it were scaled up a lot or if the mirrors were arranged in a more arbitrary configuration.
dj_nme4 months ago
The video is private :(
What does this thing do?
looks like an interesting project, your video doesn't work for me it says its private. can you fix it?
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