Science fiction portal

MIT Product Design 2014

For our Product Design class, our team of six was tasked with the goal of designing something for a new science fiction themed walk through adventure by 5 Wits Production. Our team converged on the idea of making a science fiction door, and after several iterations, we settled on a circular design in which the doors open while revolving. The final prototype was built at 1/4 scale (a 2’ tall opening), complete with lighting effects, pneumatic actuators, and a sensor based safety mechanism.

Initial Brainstorming

After an initial round of storyboards, our team decided we wanted to moved ahead with designing a science fiction door. To us, science fiction meant bright lights, unnecessarily complicated opening mechanisms, and a sleek aesthetic. The circular door, one of my initial concepts, was what inspired the final design.

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Exploring Lighting

I explored the fabrication methods and aesthetics of different lighting effects for an iris style portal while other teammates explored other aspects of different doors. We eventually scrapped the idea of doing an iris door, due to space constraints.

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Safety Mechanism

An IR LED and IR receiver serve as a safety mechanism to ensure that the door does not close when anything is in the doorway. The two are oriented such that the emergency state will be triggered when objects break the line of sight between the LED and receiver.

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Final Model

For the final model, I worked with a teammate to design and implement all the lighting effects. I focused on programming the lights using an Arduino, and designing and fabricating the components that created the door edges. These edges acted to simultaneously house and diffuse the lights, as well as to provide a seal between the two parts of the door.

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