Pentagonal button design

A project log for Bucky Glow

A geometric object that lights up and plays music

Jonathan BumsteadJonathan Bumstead 09/08/2018 at 04:230 Comments

The breakout pins of the first Bucky Glow prototype enable you to customize the Bucky Glow for any sensor or MIDI, but I want the next prototype to play like an instrument. To achieve this, the faces of the Bucky Glow need to act as buttons. In my geodesic dome project, I used IR sensors for detecting when the user's hand was close to the surface. However, they were not not reliable because of IR radiation of the environment, crosstalk between IR sensors, and inaccurate measurements. For the Bucky Glow I have thought about different solutions: frequency encoded IR sensors, capacitive touch, and pushbuttons. 

After running some preliminary tests, I have decided on going with pushbuttons. They are easy and dependable, and I think the action of the button will play more like the keys of a piano that touch sensors. The design started with a few rough sketches (see posted images). Now I am running through the modeling in Fusion. The idea is that the plexiglass pentagon will float above the walls of the Bucky Glow with spring-loaded arms. The end of the arm will make contact with a conductive material on the pentagon face.