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19/ Prototyping!

Updated: May 9

This week I have began some prototyping of my current concept in preparation for the mark 1 prototype on Tuesday. Speaking with my mentor Fraser at the start of the week solidified my idea to follow on with a wave powered light within a buoy to improve the visibility for ALL water users. In turn the product would reduce the loss and damage of fishing equipment at sea, saving the fishermen thousands of pounds. On the other hand, the device would reduce damage, money and improv safety for other water users such as ferries and yachts.




The sketch below demonstrates a consideration for my display at the degree show. The current aim is to showcase the design concept. This will include having a water tank to simulate the movement of the buoy with the light and having a 'look and feel' model of the light integrated in the buoy.


The wave tank! The image below shows my current development of the wave tank. The aim is to generate movement in the water which would represent the movement of the water at sea. The wave tank will hold a small buoy, representing the final product, which will light up when their is movement in the water.




I am interested in keeping the wave tank interactive for the purpose of the degree show, however have also considered using a servo motor to power the level which would generate a wave.


I recently spoke with Malcom Bradley, recent graduate from Product Design, as he used a wave tank in a previous project.


Malcom allowed me to consider other methods in which I may want to have the wave tank working. His work can be seen in images below.


A project which used live data from Magic Seaweed ( a weather channel, primarily used by surfers and other water users), to simulate the current wave in a desk top water tank, from a specified location.




He also suggested very lo-fi prototyping with plastic bottles to demonstrate levers for the water, which may be helpful with prototyping for time management!



Moving on to the development of my mini buoy for the wave tank!


Creating a mould from compressed foam on the lathe, I then used a vacuum former to create a plastic container for the top half of the buoy to contain the components.


There was a lot of experimenting with different materials and thicknesses - and some of which did clearly not work! To create a desired muted effect of the light, I experimented my sandblasting clear 2mm acrylic (post formation).



My next steps will be to explore a different form for the components, as this current model is quite tall and is testing the plastics capabilities! (As you can see from the stretch marks and lines at the base of the mould once formed).


Alongside developing the casing for the components, I have also ben working on the code for the light which is reactive to the motion of the waves within the buoy. Using an accelerometer to read the X,Y and Z axis movement, I will be able to use an 'if' statement to light the light between certain values measured, according to the movement of the waves.



My next steps are to get the code working and implemented into the buoy which should light when there is movement in the water!


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