infrared sensor on a moving gate, so an early optimization
was to move the sensor to a fixed position. The Kinetic
Masters also proved themselves to be masters of
sophisticated design by going a step further to ensure
consistent and accurate sensor readings.
To adapt to ambient light effects, the team took a
reading at an ambient base line. When it was time to run
the sculpture, the sensor took readings of the current
conditions and updated the ranges that defined the
different colors for the marbles. The team’s design efforts
bore fruit — which was consistently and accurately sorted
according by color.
Alpha Wolf Squadron
Taking the blend of engineering and artistic creativity
characteristic of Cluster 2 very seriously, Team 5 declared
themselves to be the Alpha Wolf Squadron and presented a
mini-sculpture they called The Life of Anthony. Anthony had
an ambitious goal in life: to catch balls of varying velocities
in a moving basket. The motorized basket at the bottom of
the track was programmed using a velocity function, and a
sensor higher on the track made the reading.
The Alpha Wolf Squadron exemplified one of the
changes in COSMOS over the last five years: Their mini-sculpture was equipped with a 3D printed part. Five years
ago, the COSMOS program did not have access to a 3D
printer. The Design Studio has been equipped with a
deposition printer since Evan was taking lower division
classes, but even those few years ago the printer was so
slow that there wouldn’t be enough time for a cluster full
of students to all have a chance to use it.
In the last few years, 3D printers have undergone a
surge in both technical progress and popular attention.
Now, the Design Studio is equipped with a new 3D printer,
and this one is quick enough so as not to raise any fairness
problems. The Alpha Wolves created a 3D printed part that
put a fork in the marble path. A motorized gate above the
fork selected the path for the marble. The 3D printed part
was integrated seamlessly into the marble track, with the
marble gliding over the smooth plastic as gently as a curling
stone sliding blithely towards the house.
Team 5 were the Runaway 5, and their mini-sculpture
featured a death defying human interaction portion. At one
point, the marble track contained a gap and a moving
pendulum-like bridge filled the gap. The bridge’s default
position left a gap in the track, and a button interface
would move the bridge into position for a limited time
before returning to the default position. The human
interaction took on a game-like quality as the user strove to
protect marbles from the certain doom of definitely rolling
under some cabinet somewhere if they fell through the
track. In another display of sophisticated design, the
Runaway 5 eschewed easy to program but prone to error
solutions like merely activating the bridge motor for a short
SERVO 10.2014 73
THE AUTOMATED MARBLE CATCHER
FROM THEALPHA WOLF SQUADRON.
USING 3D PRINTED
PARTS LIKE AN