If our object was going to reasonably exist in the world, it had to be attractive, so we used clear acrylic and laser cutting and the inspiration of Chinese sky lanterns. We coated the insides of the object with black construction paper to help direct light upwards. The original plan was to have a top piece coated with holes that would direct light up. We experimented with a number of hole types, but none of them allowed enough light to penetrate far enough to create the spray of light points we had been hoping for. We swapped our hue lightbulb for a higher intensity flood lamp and were finally able to get some results. Although light was now projecting onto surfaces in dark rooms, the results were fuzzy and shadowy and required deep darkness for a short distance effect. (The flood lamp also runs so hot it started to melt the paper coating the inside of our lantern.) Finally, we switched to a miniature projector, which allowed us the most control over the projection visuals—a sky full of lights. While the miniature projector is small enough to fit inside our lantern, the top doesn’t rest flat. Ultimately, we’ve decided to hold the projector outside of the lantern so we can control precisely where the projector is projecting. While not ideal, this best conveys the idea—which is fine for our prototype stage.
We faced a couple of issues with the particle board. First, the speaker is not as loud as we hoped it would be and is even more difficult to hear when enclosed within the acrylic case. The second issue was that we were limited to six LEDs that could not evenly light up the perimeter of the bottom section. However, this was likely an artifact of us not wanting to require an external power supply to drive an array of LEDs. The reason we wanted to avoid an external supply was to limit the number of cables entering the device to two - Particle power & Hue power. One benefit to this approach is that the device has a simpler aesthetic.
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