Introduction: Machine Senses: Nose Smoke Detector

About: Artist & Designer // Follow the process on Instagram: @purincess

If you think about it, machines and computers are like us in many ways — they have brains (processors), eyes (cameras), ears (microphones), etc. Machine Senses is a series of artifacts that aim to reverse the perspective on how we perceive technology. How do machines see and sense us? How do we humans feel about being seen and sensed by them? What if machines have personalities and feelings just like we do? Machine Senses serves as a reminder that as we design and develop new technologies, we must not forget that machines can and should be as human as the ones interacting with them.

The Nose Smoke Detector takes the form of a human nose. Underneath the cover, it's actually a conventional (and functional) smoke detector. This instructable details how one can take apart an existing smoke detector and reframe it into a functional art object that remind us that machines are, in many ways, just like us humans.

Requirement: access to 3D printer

Step 1: Take Apart a Conventional Smoke Detector

I got the Kidde 10-year smoke detector from a local hardware store for roughly $30. I then carefully took it apart by unscrewing the plastic cover from the circuit board with a small phillips screwdriver. This should be fairly simple and straightforward to most tinkerers.

Step 2: Design + 3D Print the 'nose' Cover

I used Autodesk Fusion 360 (free for 1 year) to design the rounded square 'base' of the nose cover. I then downloaded a nose model from this website. I then combined/blended the two elements together in Autodesk Meshmixer (also free). I'm attaching the STL file for your reference — feel free to design your own version.

I then 3D printed the model using the Objet Connex 3D printing machine — a fairly sophisticated/expensive 3D printing system. However, the file can be printed with a consumer-grade 3D printer like the MakerBot Replicator. I then removed support material from the model material.

Step 3: Putting the Smoke Detector Electronics Inside the New Cover + Make a Back Cover

Because this was the first functional prototype, I didn't really design the nose base/cover to perfectly fit the circuit board from the taken-apart smoke detector. Instead, I made the wooden pieces to securely fit the board inside the cover. You can imagine designing the circuit board holder in as part of you 3D-printed model.

I then laser-cut a piece of 1/8" black acrylic to make the back cover, with a hanging hole built in. Additionally, I had to drill into the 3D-printed model to make room for the switch that would turn on/off the unit. While this is optional, it makes it a lot easier to silence the unit when the smoke alarm is activated. I designed a little piece to cover this ugly cutout (see attached files for the lasercut parts). Ideally, all this would be designed into the 3D-printed model before it was printed.

Step 4: Hang It Up and Done!

Hang it up on a wall. Burn some smoke near it and see if it works! Hopefully it makes a loud noise! If it doesn't, troubleshoot — your life may depend on this machine that smells smoke for you. See the attached graphic on the optimal location on the wall.

3D Printing Contest 2016

Participated in the
3D Printing Contest 2016

Home Hacks Challenge

Participated in the
Home Hacks Challenge