Colin Ancalmo – Paper Nature

For my Paper Nature project, I took inspiration from the Icosahedral, a mathematical shape found in nature, to make an interactive origami piece. Icosahedrals can be made of paper using modular origami sub-parts called Sonobe modules.

30 Sonobe modules are needed to make this shape, of them I had 5 pieces that had either aluminum foil or copper tape glued to the back surface of those Sonobes. Because the way they fold, you get the Al / Cu on both the inside and outer faces of parts, allowing for touching on the outside and electrical routing on the inside. To add some variety, I created different patterns and textures in the conductive surfaces, like placing the copper tape in different patterns and pressing the aluminum foil into a cheese grater!

Once all the pieces were assembled and wired from the inside, I routed all the wires through the bottom gap. Using cardboard I then made a holder for the origami as it would be hanging in the middle of the screen! It also gave me a place to mount the Makey Makey board and wires, while still allowing the origami to be fully picked up and interacted with.

Here’s what the final product looked like:

Updated Video!
The white dot was to illuminate the bottom of a small quarts shoot.

In Max, I had each conductive Sonobe trigger a different image of a gem floating on the gem background. I made the crystal sounds in FL Studio.

Max Patch. The “slide” block is how I got the gems to float more smoothly

For the graphics of the Max patch itself, I used a few royalty-free images, editing them in Photoshop and manipulated them further in Max. The links to the original images are below:

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Daniel McDonough says:

    I find it interesting that the organization of the pieces are not glued together and they are actually separate entities. You really used this to your advantage to hide the wires and produce a sturdy object that can easily be taken down and altered. The origami and the the use of the ring as a ground was done very well.

    A way this may be improved is by adding more moving parts or by perhaps incorporating the center figure in more animations. Although the animations fit into a central theme, there may be more elements that differ one animation from another.

    Do you think its possible to add a gyroscope like feature to the tilt/rotation of the origami?

    1. Colin Ancalmo says:

      Thanks for the pointers! It would be really cool to have an accelerometer or gyro-sensor in the origami to sense its own movement. Maybe having a rattling sound when shaken and a shattering sound when there’s an abrupt acceleration. Perhaps once we enter Arduino land.

  2. Jonathan Shiery says:

    The overall design of this contraption is incredible interesting. It is simple and compact, which makes interacting with it straightforward. The way the wires are hidden adds to this aspect of the design. The sound design is also extremely well done. Each sound has a soothing tone to them, making them pleasant to listen to.

    While I do like the overall design of the crystals, the crystals that pop in are a bit hard to see when they are on top of other crystals. My idea would be to move the border out, or move the crystals onto the black more, so that they can be more easily distinguished.

  3. Joy Tartaglia says:

    The paper craft is really cool. How you gave the aluminum different patterns was a great idea and it adds even more variety and complexity to the piece.

    The brown box base visually is a little out of place. Coloring it black might make it blend a little better with the background on the screen.

    Was it difficult assembling the origami so none of the conductive parts touched each other?

  4. Tom Towadros says:

    Holy moly you made sound effects in FL Studio are you insane? It’s been years since I’ve used it but as far as I remember it’s a glorified drum machine. Lol whatever floats your boat I’m sure you have a been understanding of it than me. I loved this project the integration of the prop with the screen and the visuals and sound; it all comes together in a coherent experience. I think something that would have brought it to the next level would a been a housing that wasn’t just plain cardboard, as well as better, less tinny sound effects (have you tried Reaper?).

  5. Sylvia Lin says:

    I was surprised when you said that this is purely origami – no tape was used at all. You must have put so much work into this project. You also did a fantastic job hiding the wires. The music and animation are very appealing.
    One thing I would suggest is to color or just not use the cardboard as the base of the origami piece?
    Did you know each horoscope has its own gemstone? I think that might also be interesting so you might experiment with using 12 different patterns of origami paper.
    Last question, where did you get your inspiration from?

  6. Jeremy Trilling says:

    I really like the origami design. This is what i was planning on doing until I noticed you were already! The wire routing you implemented is really awesome and allows the user to immerse themselves!

  7. Ryan Doyle says:

    Excellent controller and great job at hiding all the wires. The presentation as a whole is magical.

  8. Matt Johannesen says:

    This is some outstanding craftsmanship! Everything looks like it fits together perfectly, and none of the visible wiring is unnecessary. I also really liked how you planned out where the copper tape had to go before folding it – I had assumed that the paper was just made to look reflective already!

    On the audio side of things, I also appreciated the reverberation that accompanied each sound. It made me feel like I was in some mystical cave!

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