Tech Time

by Jamie Bishop, Olivia Pellegrini, Joel Braunstein, Kieran Keliher-Burke

Overview of the Piece

Our robotics project is triggered by the user placing a phone onto a platform that is centered on our piece. The sensing of the phone causes our handmade clock to tick at a speed faster than 60 seconds per minute, and it also causes our miniature Earth to rotate around the phone. Our idea behind this project is to highlight the changes in our perception of time while using technology, in that it speeds up and causes us to lose sight of our daily activities. It also demonstrates how our world today revolves around technology more than ever, where people who have access to utilities such as an iPhone, are generally speaking very reliant on its simplifications in life.

Mechanics & Materials of Piece:

For the construction of our piece, we used two motors that rotate the clock and the Earth, and we also used a sensor to record the distance from the phone placement and make the motors spin. The earth is made out of a styrofoam ball in which we painted green and blue, that is connected to a stiff wire wrapped around the motor. The clock is plastic and we connected it to two hands made from the 3-d printer, which is also connected to a separate motor that is hidden in a cardboard sphere propping the whole piece up on a wooden stand. We chose these materials based on malleability and of sturdiness.

Explanation Video
Demonstration Video

Next Steps:

Next time, we would have focused more on the aesthetics of our project, and the appearance of the presentation. We found it hard to conceal the hummingbird’s wires and motors, while not interfering with the rotational motion of the Earth. In the end, we put the motors running on a timer, that was started by the phone placement, because the recorded distance data retrieved by the sensor would not increase after the phone was taken away, so it just stops on its own. That being said, the code was still successful in its ability to detect the phone (the whole premise) and start the motors. We also found that the clock turned out very well, with the hands being able to turn without getting stuck by the screw.