Shell Games

A project log for Perceptoscope

A public viewing device for mixed reality experiences in the form factor of coin-operated binoculars.

bensaxbensax 10/21/2016 at 19:330 Comments

I've been away the past couple of weeks for a whirlwind of travel and partnership development, and finally have a moment to catch my breath and give everyone an update.

Last week I was in Austin presenting Perceptoscope as part of SXSW Eco's Place by Design. It was an amazing experience hanging out with a ton of other innovative artists, designers, and place-makers. So much happened over those few days that it's difficult to give a quick update, but a lot of exciting opportunities are coming together that will really get this project out in front of people around the city and the country. As more firms up I'll be sure to share here, and my presentation should be going up online in the next couple of weeks.

Speaking of exciting opportunities for the project, Perceptoscope is one of the finalists in the PLAY category for LA2050. If you have a moment to spare, please vote for the project and help us bring Scopes to exciting locations around Los Angeles. Voting ends October 25th, so spread the word!

In terms of fabrication milestones, vacuum forming my current shell mold proved to be less than successful, but I learned a lot about how to improve the process going forward. First the results!

The laser cut ribbing definitely held up ok, but unfortunately I didn't use a thick enough material outside the ribbing to survive the extreme suction of vacuum forming. You can see how the outer shell bucked a deformed a bunch, especially on the front of the shell.

The clear window came out of the process OK, but I'll need to make sure the surfaces are super smooth if I want them to maintain optical clarity.

I was in such a rush to get something done that I didn't build proper drafting into the molds either. This made it pretty difficult to remove the positive from the shell piece after it had been pulled. It's probably going to take me a bit of time next week to get the positive just right, and then I'll work towards a new set of shell pieces.

Though it came out of the process a bit janky, the more important thing to recognize is this process will absolutely work for producing the shells quickly and cheaply once I've got the mold issues sorted out. Even when something doesn't work as you'd hoped, lessons are learned and you just have to keep moving forward.