I am an engineer, not an artist.  My daughter is an artist and has caused me to look at the world through her lens by her art.  I have tried my hand at art as a means to connect with her on her ground.


I have played with this concept for years, but never actually got this project off the ground.  The idea is a hanging mobile with multiple arms, where the suspended objects are controllable.  At the end of each arm (pivoting around a central shaft) of the mobile would be a object that contains a small electric fan that can provide propulsion, to cause the object to move at varying speeds either clockwise or counter-clockwise around the central shaft).  The object would also contain several RGB LEDs, allowing them to change color.  When I first thought about this, my idea was to have each of the object act out an emotion, i.e  playful, fearful, anger, etc.  The objects could use color and interactions with other objects to express these emotions.  I would plan to use the Raspberry Pi and connected camera (with some image processing to identify the objects) to observe the objects and to provide commands to them so that they could interact with the other objects.


Project Plan:


The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ and the Raspberry Pi camera V2 would be the central controller, mounted at the top of the mobile (ceiling mounted), where it can observe all of the objects below.  I am thinking of using Bluetooth LE as the means of communicating to the objects below.  The camera would be used to track all of the objects and perhaps detect and interact with persons within the image frame.  The main power source and RPi/camera would be contained in a dome-like cover, with mobile's main support shaft hanging below it.


The main support shaft would supply power, through slip rings (or maybe a rotary transformer of some sort) to each of the arms, connected to the objects.


The rotating objects would be mounted to various length arms, pivoting around the main support shaft, on low friction bearings (slip rings?).  The objects would be encased in plastic (clear or slightly diffused) and have vent openings to allow the fans to blow in either directions to provide propulsion for the objects.  The objects would each contain a bluetooth transceiver in order to communicate to the RPi.  A complement of RGB LEDs would be a arranged to light up the objects.


Software - There will be a need for software in both the RPi and the object's controller, to perform the various tasks.  While software is one of my core skills (including image processing by direct pixel manipulation), RPi is a platform that I have zero experience with, so I see this as one of the risk areas of this project. 



I am well equipped to succeed in bringing this concept to completion and I look forward to opportunity to learn new skills in the process.  I also look forward to reading the updates/blogs of my fellow competitors and learning from them as I explore all that the RPi has to offer.


Thank you for the opportunity to join in on this design challenge.

Gene Breniman