Pursuits of Design and Robotics

The documentation of concept development and general processes

SoapBox Physical Process

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This week was a total mess and I have only just now felt comfortable sitting down and reflecting. But before I reflect, I should talk about the process.

Priya and I began with a similar practice to the one Ali Momeni had us do in class where we jot down 10 ideas in 5 minutes. After doing this we took turns telling each other our ideas and building off each one, after which we cycled through and eliminated one each round until we found the one we were most excited about. Our favorite ideas were a drink that tells how long it will be desirable for, a robot that dodges your punches, and a simple DJ that determines your mood or color and plays music based on that.

The robot dodging punches seemed particularly cool. We knew we couldn’t make a robot really dodge punches though. We could, however, experiment with how far we could take a simple distance sensor and interpret the input to general a wide range of responses, as opposed to a simple activation once a target distance is reached. The fastest solution to a robot that would do this was most easily an old used toy of mine from my childhood that we could bring to life. We originally envisioned the bot being a dramatic bratty character who always looks like it’s about to cry, and would ask needy questions or act abused. Since using the toy dog, the character changed a bit to a more loving but still needy puppy. The biggest struggle with this pup was his skeleton.

Here’s some documentation of our struggle:

Materials considered for skeleton- No idea what I’m doing.

We thought this could be a decent skeleton. We didn’t think how this would hold a Servo.

This is what the arms would look like in wood.

As you can see, these pieces puzzle together so that while we glue it while inside of the puppy, the skeleton will hold itself together to a helpful extent.


This is what we came up with in a half hour after failing for 8 straight hours with the other skeleton alternatives. We thought we could just use sticks and metal. How wrong we were. This worked better than everything else.


We felt we were successful in making him look pitiful. Nobody seemed to notice in class though 😦


I liked the simplicity of his design. Why does he need anything more if it’s just for the sake of character? I think for me it was the fact that I’ve had him for a very long time that made him exciting just as he was.

For the final design we made him a couch made of foam and covered with old bed sheets. We put the sensors in goggles around his eyes, so I guess we did add to his character, and in a functional way which was nice. See the more recent post on this project for the final product!


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