Week 7: Technical aspects

After finalising our concept last week, we were tasked to work on the technical aspect of the installation which is how to create the repulsion to cause the balls to disperse in a randomized way.

Through researching, we found that we could only control the qualities of a magnet through creating an electromagnet. However, during the testing we found many loopholes and issue with this circuit. Firstly, the electromagnet created using nails and a battery is not strong enough to attract and repel even another nail. the attraction force we got from two 1.5 volts battery is not strong enough. Secondly, the circuit of powering the electromagnet caused the batteries to over heat very quickly. We saw that as a major problem as we would need to power a large number of electromagnets since they are the buildings in the map. The overheating issue would definitely be a big issue especially powering so many electromagnets. 

The way to increase the strength of the electromagnet is to increase the number of coils created by the wire on the nails. For our installation, aesthetics wise it is tough to have the buildings be seen in coils but the concept and idea is still plausible.


With the circuit idea possibly having problems, we decided to try to use the natural forces of the magnet to create the dispersion through repulsion. We use neodymium magnets which are extremely strong magnets and hence their repulsion force is as strong as well.

3 thoughts on “Week 7: Technical aspects

  1. I’m worried because I still don’t see any design!

    If, by chance, the electromagnetic idea will not be possible to implement (which is very possible) we are left empty hands! You’re relying too much on this.

    You need to show some design or soon it will be too late!

    …2d/3d drawings, renderings, materials simulation…

  2. BTW something I already said to others: if you need power you must harvest it

    …this means that you should integrate PV in your design, this also means that your installation should be placed somewhere under the sun to collect power, this will influence very much your design (for example: it should be an outdoor installation, how can you see the buildings light up under the sun? do you think people will be willing to play outdoor with sun/rain? do you think this will change the kind of interaction you’re looking for? …and so on and on…) When you will start thinking deeply to the project in its complexity you’ll have to answer to all these questions and many more.

    Please, start combining all the ideas you showed us so far into a design proposal. I the idea you showed last week about floating maze but you should go further than a napkin sketch. Do something and we can start discussing about it.

  3. Hi Fabrizio,

    We mentioned before that we would use solar panels in our piece during the previous weeks. Last week Ker Siang told us to try out if our circuit idea works before moving on to the form. Thus, this week we are looking at the technology aspect which is the magnet repulsion to see if it would work out.

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