1. Physical object prototype with EL wire and 12v Stepper motor:
Using radiant acrylic as the main material, and then laser cutting the shape of robotic plants. To make it move I simply used a 12V stepper motor for a quiet and smooth rotation. There was a hole on the customized base of the plant which enables the plant to sit on the motor while rotating. To make it looked nice under the darkroom environment, I use EL wires to wrap the surface of the motor. Before using EL wire to create high contrast look, the plant looks like what showed below:
-Findings: After this prototype, I started to worry about how to create an interesting movement that will intrigue audiences. Stepper motor is quiet enough for a subtle movement, but I definitely need something more organic or mysterious.
2. Muscle wire test:
I bought a 1feet, 1mm muscle wire from Tinkersphere, and used 5a 10v power source to heat it up by attaching to the alligator clips. The movement of wire is vicious! I tried to build a circuit using photocell and Mosfet to heat up the wire based on the light amount received by the photocell. I found the reference from a book Arduino Wearables (Technology in Action) 1st ed. Edition, there is a chapter inside talking about shape memory wires. However, the circuit doesn’t work because of the insufficient electricity from the 9V battery. After a long run research, I found out the 1mm muscle wire is too thick to heat up without a large amount of electricity. After this prototype, I started to seek ideal components for my project including 0.012 mm muscle wires, tip 120 transistor, and 12v power source. The next step will be testing out the most stable circuit to generate the movement I want.