A site specific installation for the UCL north Observatory, Orbital Thresholds is inspired by the mechanical movement of the Orrery. A tradition of exquisite kinetic models that describe astronomical orbits. A fascination with the science of visual spatial-perception has led the team to consider how projection can give the illusion of spatial transformation through light alone.
A multi-axis rotating mechanism constantly manipulates a reconfiguring projection system. Occupant behaviour is tracked and activates the motion of the systemâ€™s projection arms. Animated lines-or-shapes projected from the onboard lasers encouragesÂ participant interaction and spatial negotiation. The public are invited to visit and explore through interaction, by how light shapes the boundaries between virtual and visual space.
How can peopleÂ feel ownership andÂ agencyÂ within a space, creating a transformative environmentÂ that respondsÂ toÂ their paths of motion andÂ gestures? Starting from theÂ questions, the aim of Orbital Thresholds is to create aÂ spatial experience from intangible space with laser projection. We will also explore how people relate to one another inÂ these spaces. Using lasers, real-time tracking technology, a bespokeÂ structure in the UCL observatory is being developed. People tracking tech is used to trigger intrractionsÂ between the virtual and physical.
Fig1. The site survey: UCL Observatory.
Version1: These figures shown below areÂ the first prototype ofÂ theÂ mechanism design of theÂ interactive installation â€œOrbital thresholdsâ€.
Fig3. Holder Structure.
The structure is fixed in the observatory ceiling. When participants move in the observatory, virtual walls and different patterns can beÂ created by the â€˜wall makerâ€™Â according to participants’ movements and behavior.
Fig6. Parts of prototype 01.
The prototype is made following the shape of the observatory which is circular. The mechanism of orrery is applied to move each part that holds the laser pointer, galvanometer motor, detecting camera is fixed in the bottom part.
Fig7. Generating virtual wall and pattern.
The illustration show the sequences of how the wall makerÂ works. The rotation is the trigger and mechanism from the galvanometer motor are the key in transforming point into surface. With the help of fog machine, the virtual wall can be seen and give experience to people.
Fig8. Prototype Model.
The effects:Â 1) Multi-laser projection.Â 2) Rotating Laser.Â 3) Dynamic projection
Fig9.Â The effects of dynamic projected lines.
Possibility of cutting space with projecting lines:Â 1) Parallel lines.Â 2) intersect at different points.Â 3) Intersect at the same point.Â 4) Hydrid
Fig10.Â Possibility of cutting space with projecting lines.
A scenario and effects shown (white: participants; green: projected lines):
Â Fig11. The effects photos in scenario.
In Figure 11, the axonometrical drawing of the core rotating part is analysed. One arm is driven by one stepper motor. Its function is to let the arm rotate clockwise and anticlockwise. In order to ensure that the arm can be balanced and the rotating function can perform well, a spherical roller bearing (no.7) and a thrust bearing are used on the top and bottom of the rotating core part. Spherical roller bearings are self-aligning and are therefore insensitive to misalignment of the shaft relative to the housing and to shaft deflection or bending. At this point we need to reassure that the whole mechanism runs successfully and evenly. The mechanism of the design was simulated in Solidworks software.
An section animation ofÂ the core rotating part shown:
With the design of one single arm, the four multiple rotational axis arm was designed, as shown in Figure 13.
Fig14. Four multiple rotational axis arm analysis.
Fig15.Â The latest arm version with laser set.
Finally, the overall installation is tested in the observatory, using a holding structure which stands on the dome part to firmly hold it (Figure 14).
Fig15. The final installation onsite.
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