The concept

Shadow is erratic. It is flat and weightless, just a tiny light effect cast on every day object. Haruki Murakami wrote a story about a person whose shadow was stripped off his own body when he wanted to go to a fantasy world called ‘hard-boiled wonderland’. The shadow actually is holding our past footprint and was engraving something on our beloved land for us. How can a shadow be weightless? We would like to weigh the weight of shadow to give people a new perspective of seeing their shadow by perceiving the weight of their shadow.


We want to weigh the shadow using something has a symbol of weight, which is round stones that as a unit for weighing things in the ancient times.
By stretching a cloth, we are actually defining a concave and convex space, which is soft and flexible. We want to use the stretch of cloth and some tiny sphere-like stones to make a erratic shadow. Its weight can be changed by the stretch of the cloth. If there is more force stretching the cloth, then more stones will come into the shadow and therefore, weighing the shadow’s weight.

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The idea of the interaction process:

At the beginning, the balls are randomly distributed on the fabric. When the person approaches the device and the sensor senses the human body, the motors pull the fabric through a plurality of strips, so that the balls move and aggregate, presenting the shape s adult shadow. When the person leaves, the motor pull  around the fabric with strips so that the balls are again randomly distributed on the fabric.
fabric selection:
We tried a variety of fabrics with different elastic thicknesses.
Alternative shadow object selection:
The fluidity of the water is very good, but the fabric is difficult to waterproof, so we eliminated it.
2. Sawdust
The weight of sawdust is too small and the fluidity on the fabric is poor, so we eliminated it.
3. Wood beads
The weight is right, and the fluidity on the fabric is good, but the diameter is too large, so we eliminated it.
4. glutinous rice
Because the shape is flat, the fluidity is weaker than the wooden beads, but the size is moderate.
5.Black bean
The shape is close to the sphere, the fluidity is good, the size is suitable


Shadow Shaping

At first we tried to sag the fabric with our fingers, observed the movement of the ball, and then tried to sew several strips on the fabric to pull, but we found that our shape of the shadow is not perfect, so we laser cut the wood board to make a hollow shadow silhouette and fill the bulge with the paper in the part that is not hollowed out, and place it under the fabric. we continuous pulled  strips and when it closed to the board, the ball will gather in the hollowed-out silhouette area.


Our procedure of carrying out this project

  • step1

    • Rapid prototype: to decide how we can shape the particles by stretchinng the cloth

      • particles should be round and light

      • cloths should be smooth and stretchy

      • there should be some part under the cloth to help shape the shadow

    • our shadow seems to be like a Patric Star, which is really fat

  • step2

    • testing circuit: Testing how we can stetch the cloth using the dc motor we have

      • David told us to use the dc motor

      • We try to control the small dc motor using driver

    • We order the same DC motor on adafruit, which will be shipped around next tuesday

  • step3

    • We buy the wood material from bruno Hardware

    • We made the upper frame out of wood which is used for fixing the cloth

    • We carry out the test again and find some rules of the shape under the cloth

    • The problem is that the particle tends to be still when cloth is stretching them

  • step4

    • In order to make the particle move, we try serveral ways: We want to make the particles to be fluid and energetic

      • First, adding a dc motor that will constantly beating the cloth

      • Second, adding a rubber band under the cloth to give the cloth an accelleration.

      • Zan brought her ultrasonic teethbrush to try to viberate the cloth

  • step5

    • Go to Mood Fabric to find cloth

    • Go to TinkerSphere and buy the viberating motors

    • Laser cutting the under layer of human shape

  • step6

    • Using paper with glue to shape a rough human shape

    • Using air dry clay to shape a smooth human shape

    • soldering part of the circuit

  • step7

    • Get all circuit connected

    • Making the rotating structure under.

    • Fix them together

  • step8

    • Dealing with ML5 poseNet

    • Dealing with serial communication


The Final Look