When we think about circuits, we often think of wires or PCB trace. However, a circuit is anything that conducts electricity between parts. We have more options than ever before due to materials such as conductor inks and threads. Making use of conductive ink on a massive dimension, Duco is an open source wall climbing robot that can bring interaction to everyday vertical surfaces.
The inspiration for Duco’s design came from Sandy Noble’s brilliant Polargraph which was a pen-hanging machine that was able to draw huge images. The images weren’t serving any other purpose than the aesthetics. Duco expands the Polargraph idea and applies it to a new direction. With the help of a variety of pencils, Duco can draw conductive clean, dielectric or even decorative patterns on the walls. These are combined to create multiple layer functional circuits.
The Arduino Uno board controls Duco via the motor shield. It is equipped with two stepper motorsas well as a servo and a linear actuator as well as an ultraviolet light. It can switch between two different pen types -typically the dielectric and conductive ink. It is cured by UV lights the ink following Duco puts it on an exterior wall. A majority of Duco’s frame pieces were 3D printed.
In one demonstration, Duco drew a working piano circuit onto a wall. When the various components, like speakers and control boards, are added, the audience can play with the keyboard using the pads that were conductive. In a different demonstration, Duco turned a wall into a capacitive touch sensor grid, similar to an enormous track pad. Duco’s designers even played around with an add-on laser module which allowed the robot to make cuts in the “substrate” material.
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