The Duck Machine

Electromechanical motor manufacturer Faz Elektrik needed a demonstration machine to take to industrial trade shows, but how exciting are electromechanical motors? They wanted to do something to catch attention, but inventing a new game system had been done before. So they enlisted the help of artist David Cranmer. Cranmer suggested they get their ducks in a row, and the company sent him the motors to do it.

Titled simply Duck Machine, the contraption features Faz Elektrik’s newest product, a miniature, low-cost actuator that rotates in a 180° arc. Cranmer developed a simple structure around the motors, comprised of laser-cut cams which propel flexible carbon fiber shafts through guide holes into the underside of each duck. It’s a system durable enough to survive migrations to far-away shows.

When combined with an Arduino Uno and an array of 14 quad H-bridge driver boards, each of the 49 ducks can be used like a pixel, creating the illusion that they’re riding waves or revealing ripples in an impalpable pool. By marrying straightforward mechanics, clever computation, and a Non sequitur as a subject, the true potential of Faz Elektrik’s product is revealed.

The Duck Machine was a big hit. The ducks can be programmed to ride on undulating waves or display patterns as if they were pixels. See more pictures, and watch the Duck Machine in action, at Wired. -via Everlasting Blort

(Image credit: David Cranmer)


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