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design for interactive experiences.

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2011 April

Running Water – Silent Library

Hitting a contestant in the face with a series of waterbottles was a fun challenge! I made a net out of some surplus green vinyl strapping, and a steel pipe frame to hold all of the bottles in single file. When a motor pulled on an end of the belt, they would drop into a hopper one-by-one. At the bottom of the hopper was a little conveyor belt powered by toy car motors, which would feed each bottle into a tennis ball launcher to fire them at the contestant.

Groin-Punching Slot Machine – Silent Library

I modified an old slot machine to perform a complicated task: First, after the contestant pulled the slot machine’s arm the three tumblers were to spin and then stop so that a fist icon was facing forward. Next, lights were to flash, the winnings drawer was to drop open, and then a rubber fist would pop out and punch the contestant in the balls.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the complete machine in operation on the set, since I was too busy flipping switches and pressing buttons to control the machine. The scissor-hinged punching mechanism was re-used in an ATM machine built for the show, so you can see it there too!

Spanking Chair – Silent Library

This one was fun to make! I traced my hand, scaled it up 200% and then made a foam hand with acrylic nails from the pattern. The arm is made out of 2×4’s glued together and swung with the aid of pneumatics. I scaled up a normal wooden chair 150% and built it out of 2x4s and plywood. The shoes are just clown shoes painted with flat black paint. I made a sleeve out of a trouser leg and Jessie Voris helped out by stitching together some pant legs for the project.

It was tested out by almost everyone in the props department.

Creature in a Jar – Silent Library

This one was a challenge! I made this creature out of all sorts of materials: lobster claws, doll parts, shells from the beach, latex gloves, ping-pong balls, dust masks, shark jaws, lots of latex, and a toy octopus… a real potpourri of stuff.

Katie Akana thought of the pneumatic mechanism to suddenly open the creatures’ eyes, and Courtland Premo wired up a remote control device which used CO2 cartridge tire inflators and servos to operate the pneumatics.

Fake Pies for Sesame Street

I made these two pies for a cooking segment on Sesame Street. One pie needed to be made out of eight complete baked apples, and the other out of eight sliced apples, with a pair of eyeglasses hidden inside. I made the crusts out of sculpey, and the apples were standard fake styrofoam fruit… I made the apples look baked by crushing them slightly so that their surface became wrinkled.

The pie filling is made out of “elastack” tinted with melted crayons. Elastack is very stretchy, so it was easy for the material to cover a hole which hid the eyeglasses inside the pie.

Also, little plastic cups are hidden in the pies and each one holds a little applesauce which could be eaten during a taste-test.

Junk Mail for Big Bird

I needed to make a few junk mail flyers that were going to arrive in Big Bird’s mailbox. I stayed late one day to make sure that the “birds in slacks” flyer was done in time.