Interactive Robot Jellyfish

This is a large scale immersive installation where the public can collectively participate to control a jellyfish which floats around the room. When capacitive letters on the wall, which represent the 3D space, are touched the jellyfish moves in the desired direction while the room is filled with underwater sounds.

I wanted to build an experience which multiple people could interact with at the same time. Individuals can control each axis and watch as the jellyfish is affected my their actions. 

This page briefly describes some of the decisions made. The full technical report is available here.

︎Technical Report

The jellyfish is 1 metre wide and is filled with helium to keep it afloat. It is made from a large balloon with other foil shapes attached to make it look like a jellyfish. The balloon is attached to three nylon strings which are practicly invisible. The length of each of these three strings is adjusted to gradually move the jellyfish to a new position. 

To ensure safe operation all the nylon threads are routed above 2.5m height to prevent people walking over them. Additionaly, all control and input electronics communicate via blutooth to prevent trip hazards from wires on the floor and make it easier to set up.

The 3 nylon strings from the jellyfish are redirected above peoples heads to the base station which sits in the corner of the room. This contains the control circuitry and the three stepper motors which accurately adjust the length of each string.

The base station communicates with the capacitive letters over blutooth. When a letter is pressed it calculates the required trajectory for the jellyfish by interpolating the line between its current coordinates and the desired coordinates. This data is then used to control the velocity of the motors in order to smoothly move the jellyfish.

The capacitive letters are made from laser cut mountboard which is painted with Bareconductive ink to allow them to be touch sensitive. These letters are then wired up to the satelite module which contains the circuitry to recieve and process the letter inputs as shown here. When a letter is pressed the Arduino sends a command to the audio FX board to play the required sound and the Arduino also sends serial data over blutooth to the base staion to inform it of the current letters being pressed.

X Axis

Y Axis

Z Axis

To create a more immersive experience for users and provide feedback to help understand when a lettertouch has successfully been received each letter needed to play a sound when pressed.

To create an underwater and mysterious feeling for people experiencing the gizmo an ambient synth sound was used with each axis having its own chord and the chord becoming increasingly more developed the further along the axis the letters are pressed. You can listen to the differnt sounds by clicking on the notes above.

For more information please see the full technical report is available here.

︎Technical Report

//Tools Used
+ Solidworks
+ iCircuit
+ 3D printer
+ Soldering Iron
+ Arduino programmer
+ Laser cutter
+ Paint brush
+ 3 x NEMA 17 stepper motor
+ HC05 Bluetooth Module
+ Foil Balloon
+Super glue
+ Helium
+ Nylon thread
+ White PLA 
+ 5mm Neodinium magnets
+ Strip board
+ Solder
+ Solid core wire
+ Mountboard
//Materials cont.
+ Bareconductive paint
+ 12v power supply
+ 2 x Arduino Nano
+ Adafruit capacitive breakout board
+ 3 x A4988 stepper motor driver
+ 8v regulator
+ 47uF capacitor
+ Audio FX board
+ May 2019

+ 22 March 2019 at Dyson School Open House