Loading
Dream of Akinosuke

Dream of Akinosuke

by alexju katoco scientiffic | updated February 18, 2014
Clothing_icon
Electronics_icon

1

We emailed back and forth, throwing around different ideas that we could develop. Ultimately, we decided to go with the idea of a butterfly module piece.

January 16, 2014 at 9:47 PM
Created by alexju
Comments (0)

After deciding on using a butterfly module, I set about making prototypes of the butterfly itself. Modeling it after a Monarch, I used graphite paper to trace a photo onto a piece of black paper. I cut the form out twice, one side mirrored, with an X-Acto, and then used Modge Modge to put some orange vellum and white paper in between. The light quality of the vellum and the scale depict the Monarch pretty well. If we need too many multiples of the butterflies, we could laser cut the black paper, though handcutting isn't that bad.

January 16, 2014 at 9:50 PM
Created by alexju
Comments (2)
wow, this looks great! I especially like the white edges on the wings of the butterfly. what do you plan to do with the butterfly?
over 3 years ago
Wow, I hadn't realized that you made the butterflies by hand. They look really good!
over 3 years ago

I made two more butterflies and rendered better a silhouette for the piece. Not 100% sure what the electronic portion of the model will look like yet, I taped together little chipboard boxes to set the butterflies on. In our design, we will use nitinol wires attached to the wings. A memory wire, running a current through it will allow the wings to move as though flapping. The larger main component will likely have to sit on the shoulders, and wires can run through the chains connecting the butterflies. I then put together some aluminum chains to hold the butterflies together, though chain size may change. Also the box shouldn't be so tall, and will have to be made of a different material. 

January 17, 2014 at 11:17 PM
Created by alexju
Comments (1)
I know that nitinol gets quite hot when you pass current through it. Do you think it would get hot enough to damage the fabric of the dress?
over 3 years ago

Crude top motion simulation of how the butterflies should open and close. Based off of monarch butterfly migrations, the piece should respond to messages concerning warmth and coldness as hibernation becomes necessary. Having the control be remote from the piece itself and the wearer creates a certain tension, though we may add more sensors for different butterflies to respond to.

January 18, 2014 at 1:21 AM
Created by alexju
Comments (1)
here's a link to crimp beads on amazon if you guys need to order more: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B002CO0MFU/ref=pe_175190_21431760_M2T1_SC_dp_1
over 3 years ago

Because we need a lot of butterflies, I lasercut the elements. We also added a section that goes down in the middle, in order to support the nitinol. 

The prototype is missing the bottom black layer (I accidentally glued it to the table), but is interesting to compare to the initial, hand-cut version. My suitemates say the new version looks more realistic.

January 25, 2014 at 1:28 AM
Created by alexju
Comments (1)
They look so pretty!
over 3 years ago

Last week, we just connected the butterflies with some simple aluminum links making a chain. This week, I looked at possible other materials that could be used to hold the form together. These include chainmail, textured brass, patina brass, box chain, and a 3D printed chain.

One thing I'd like to do is print a chain out of the fake-wood material, which I think visually and weight-wise would work well. Because it could be printed, the design could be played with and irregular and organic. The printed sample shown was taken from an existing generator on Thingiverse. 

January 25, 2014 at 1:31 AM
Created by alexju
Comments (0)

In furthering our concept, I drew inspiration from the Japanese folktale, The Dream of Akinosuke (readable here). 

Akinosuke’s interactions as a butterfly, and the folklore concept of interactions with insects on the whole, can be related to contemporary relations of people with modern technology.

In one way, electronics and online interfaces allow us to communicate differently--to communicate as ourselves, but strangely, as the interfaces give us a different range of interactions to experience, and we experience others through their modified interfaces. Additionally, devices can be seen as manipulative, in the functions they give or take away and the forms of communication they dictate.

With a pulse sensor, one butterfly can communicate as an avatar of an element of the wearer, while the rest of the butterflies react to other stimuli and behave differently, indicative of a network of interactions.

January 25, 2014 at 1:34 AM
Created by alexju
Comments (1)
That was a really cool story and an interesting analogy!
over 3 years ago

After the critique, I lasercut some plain black butterflies in order to work on the silhouette. Finding the material fickle and fragile, however, I went back to my original idea of a net-like covering. I liked the play on the idea of a butterfly net, except with the butterflies outside and the person trapped within. 

The mesh is made of freshwater pearls and gold-color wire. I chose the pearls because I find their shape evocative of coocoons, giving the piece a sort of eerie layer. I also started sewing some of the paper butterflies underneath the chain ensemble, giving it a lacy, shadowy undertone. 

February 1, 2014 at 3:14 AM
Created by alexju
Comments (0)

The design is finished, just awaiting the attachment of the batteries and arduino! Only three of the butterflies are made to move with the nitinol, however, and I'm concerned that even they won't. The copper tape keeps falling out of the butterflies, as well as the wires in place to connect the copper tape to the battery. There's probably a better way to make this part? Hopefully it will work out. 

February 1, 2014 at 3:17 AM
Created by alexju
Comments (0)

It took a bit of debugging to get the butterflies to work consistently.  I ended up helping out with the project today, so I thought I would share the final schematic we used in the final design.

First, we used the following two documents as references:

http://newtextiles.media.mit.edu/?p=401

http://spaghettionastick.wordpress.com/2011/10/17/nitinol-flexinol-muscle-wire-shape-memory-alloy/

The second link in particular was helpful in that it had an equation we used quite a bit:

Resistance (ohms) = [ Voltage (Power Supply) / Amps (wire spec) ] - Resistance of Wire

Instead of calculating the resistance based on the length of the wire and the wire spec, we simply measured it using a multimeter.  This gave us an idea of how much resistance to add to the nitinol wire, which we adjusted using potentiometers.  This was important because if there was too much current passing through the nitinol, it overheated and would melt some of the vellum on the butterfly wings.

Finally, we didn't add a pull-down resistor as shown in other schematics.  We found this prevented the nitinol from being actuated for some reason. It was also really helpful to connect LEDs to the output pins of the Arduino to let us know when the pins were being set to HIGH.

You can see our final schematic above, and I've attached the final Arduino code below!

Design Files
February 15, 2014 at 6:59 PM
Created by scientiffic
Comments (0)

I'm attaching the files I used to lasercut the butterflies, in case anyone is interested in making some! I think I used Fabriano brand black and white paper (not that it really matters, as long as it's sort of thick but not overly so). I also used orange vellum for the middle, for the light quality. The lines in the wings could probably use a little thickening, as they break pretty easily.

February 18, 2014 at 11:08 AM
Created by alexju
Comments (0)

Thanks to Tiffany, we managed to get the butterflies to work (without burning off the wings)! We finished just a few hours before the show at Exposé.

February 18, 2014 at 11:54 AM
Created by alexju
Comments (0)

Despite a few issues, such as the hardware functioning and finding a proper dress form to use for the show, everything was resolved and the piece was successfully displayed at the opening on Saturday. The opening was a bit small because of the snow storm, but another one is planned for Thursday.

Though this piece is done, I'm sure this is just the beginning of something new.

February 18, 2014 at 12:03 PM
Created by alexju
Comments (0)