The Cricket Parts/Materials:
The design of the Magic Party Cup relies heavily on the Cricket’s many different removable parts. The parts of the Cricket used to build the Magic Party Cup are as follows:
In addition to these Cricket parts, the Magic Party Cup uses the following items to make the cup functional and aesthetically pleasing:
plastic Starbuck’s cup
When put together properly, these parts can form a Magic Party Cup. Click on the Photo Gallery tab to see the Magic Cup in its different building stages, as well as the final project. Click on the Program tab to see exactly how the Cricket was programmed to perform the many functions of the Magic Party Cup.
The concept and creation of the Magic Party Cup did not come about easily. The design had to be tweaked several times in order to achieve our vision. The first problem was finding the perfect cup. This was not an easy task, as the cup’s criteria were very specific. It was important to find a cup that was solid and that had a lid so that the cricket would be protected from the beverage. It was also important to find a cup that had a straw hole, was aesthetically pleasing, and had some sort of “bubble” lid so that the cricket parts could be visible. We tried store-bought plastic cups, Dunkin’ Donuts plastic take-away cups, and finally Starbuck’s plastic cups (Venti-sized) with bubble lids. In the end, the Starbuck’s cups worked the best as they were large, solid, clear, and all of the cricket parts fit inside the “bubble”.
Our second problem was how to fit and secure all of the cricket pieces in the bubble. We discovered that by taking one Venti-sized bubble lid and one Tall-sized bubble lid we could create a spacious sphere that was large enough to house all of the cricket pieces. Furthermore, the straw holes allowed us a place to run the blender down through as well as a place for the Magic Lights. We mixed-and-matched different cricket parts and rearranged the several times to find the best fit. Finally, using adhesive Velcro strips cut to size, we secured the cricket pieces inside the plastic bubble such that we had access to the cricket, but it was secure enough to exhibit.
Programming was another difficulty we had in creating the Magic Party Cup. We were using the PicoBlocks software and although it was extremely user-friendly, it was unfamiliar territory for us and we had to play around with all of the functions in order to achieve two fully-functioning control dots. The Magic Party Cup has a variety of different functions and in order to make them occur using only two control dots, we had to rearrange the functions so that they occurred in conjunction with the other functions. For example, when the connection breaks as the drink is finished, a light goes off and a song plays. And, while all of this is happening, the car alarm feature is constantly checking for any infrared signals. For more information about the programming and how we did it, click on the Program tab.
The remaining problems that we had with the Magic Party Cup were contained to issues of how to exhibit the cup and how practical the cup really is. For example, we had to burn straw holes on the side of each cup because we realized that in order for the connection to work, someone would have to be drinking out of a straw rather than tilt the cup to get a drink. Using a straw also reduces the wear on the cricket. There were also some sanitary issues with exhibiting the cup. As we only had one Magic Party Cup prototype, we did not know how to allow people to try it themselves. We decided to transfer the Magic Party Cup spherical lid from cup to cup to blend the drinks/exhibit to those interested the functions of the cup, without letting any one person drink from the cup with the Magic Party Cup lid on top. This method led to other issues of mobility and whether or not the Magic Party Cup would be solid enough to travel between 50 different cups. To solve this problem we reinforced the plastic lips on the bubble bottom of the sphere with hot glue.
The Magic Party Cup prompted several engineering and programming problems.
Armed with the knowledge we acquired from the Robotics Design Studio
2005, however, we were able to tackle these problems and create a functioning
(and fun!) Magic Party Cup.