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Wearable Vambrace controls Ornithopter Kinetic Sculpture #WearableWednesday

Thanks to Phillip Dupree for sending in his project – nice work! Check out more info here.

“Personal Statements” is an annual event put on by the Stanford Graduate Design Program. Each second-year creates a piece that in some ways exemplifies them as a designer. I created a large kinetic sculpture – inspired by an ornithopter – controlled by a wearable vambrace. It was a melding of the old age of exploration, evinced by the Da Vincian ornithopter, and the excitement of future technology, demonstrated by the wireless gestural control. This project – named Flight – was my greatest challenge to date.

Flight Itself.

“Flight” is the name of the overall project and the kinetic sculpture mechanism individually. Created out of a fusion of wood (oak, alder, birch) and metal (aluminum, steel), its maximum height is 8′, and its wingspan is 12′. The entire structure and mechanism was designed in Autodesk Fusion 360.

The Mechanism.

Flight is actuated by a linkage mechanism powered in turn by a chain-driven drive shaft. The source of movement is a large and powerful DC motor. A Texas Instruments Tiva Launchpad microcontroller functions as the brains of the sculpture, communicating with the vambrace and controlling the motor. As it turns out, creating giant actuated mechanisms single-handedly is incredibly challenging. The stories could go on for a while, but all’s well that ends well.

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