After building a viable prototype in the first week of working on our Spooky Interactive Hand Mirror, we finalized our ideas and put everything together in the second.
The most pressing task ahead of us was gathering materials — I bought black poster board from Blick’s and two skeleton hands from Halloween City, while Queenie tackled laser-cutting our frame from recycled cardboard.
Some of our assembled parts
Once we had everything, we could start on the actual assembly process. We cut a hole in the poster board and overlaid the frame, then stapled an old pillowcase taut along the back. Using the poster board we cut out, we cut two legs and glued them to the corners to allow it to stand.
Overall I thought this appearance turned out really well! It was a challenge to make the poster stand on its own, but I think we achieved the look we were going for.
What our project looks like from the front.
Another task we had to do was install and program our distance sensor. We used the Pololu Vl53l0x sensor, which can read distances up to 2 meters. For the purposes of our project, we decided our mirror would be triggered anytime the sensor detects a presence between 5cm and 30cm. We soldered header pins to the sensor to make attaching female wires easier. To install it, we cut a small hole in the bottom of our poster board so that the sensor barely pokes through.
Next, we tackled what went behind the frame, our moving hand contraption. We initially struggled with building this out of the materials we scrapped from the junk and scrap shelves. We initially used cardboard and hot glued our servo arms to our arm, but found that overall the base and arm were way too weak to hold the weight of our skeleton hand.
Iteration 1 of our arm. You can see the servos straining against their cardboard mounts at the base.
The solution we found was to use this foam board we also found on the floor, which was lightweight but also sturdy and cuttable. We glued the arms to the sides of the board, then reinforced it with tape. To stabilize the motors on the foam base, we cut slots in the foam to fit the lower notch of the servo, and then nailed two blocks of foam to the side to form ‘walls’ that the servo could press against. Our second iteration was a huge improvement from the first— things felt much more stable and clean.
Finally, we taped our two skeleton hands to the arm, and adjusted them to make sure they hit the screen at the right angle. It took a bit of tinkering, but overall we were able to positioned them so that they hit the fabric at the right angle.
The motion of the arm was definitely way jerkier with the added load of the two skeleton hands, but overall it didn’t make a huge difference to the viewer on the other side of the frame.
Here’s our midterm project in action! Feat. my partner, Queenie, as the user: