E. Coli Muller Plot

I helped scientist Rohan Maddamsetti create a Muller Plot and supporting diagrams for his paper on E. coli evolution.  Rohan provided the raw data and we worked together to merge it together into the final diagram using Adobe Illustrator.

The paper was awarded the “1st Centennial Award For Population And Evolutionary Genetics.” More info from the Genetics Society of America.

The full scientific article: Adaptation, Clonal Interference, and Frequency-Dependent Interactions in a Long-Term Evolution Experiment with Escherichia coli

Exhibit Rendering and Sketching

Rendering

These renderings were created to lend form to exhibit concepts and sell them to funders and other stakeholders.  Tools: Adobe Photoshop and Wacom Cintiq

Water v1 copy
Concept for a new water room at Impression 5
Sound v1 copy
Concept for a Sound exhibit at Impression 5
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Concepts for a dental health exhibit at Impression 5
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Concepts for a dental health exhibit at Impression 5
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Concepts for a dental health exhibit at Impression 5
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Concepts for a dental health exhibit at Impression 5
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Concepts for a dental health exhibit at Impression 5
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Concept for an exhibit about manufacturing, Maryland Science Center
Overview Rendering v2 WEB copy
Revised concept rendering, after construction methods and components were refined, Science & Main.

Sketching

Pen, pencil, and paper

Sketchbook

Various life drawings, ideas, and illustrations, mostly personal work

Robo Crab

(mini-project)

When I found out we were paying $200 every few weeks to replace the mechanical robot in one of our exhibits, I knew there had to be a better way.  I worked with volunteer Paul Stankiewicz to create a durable, low-maintenance, and affordable replacement.  The Robo Crab uses an over-sized motor, linear guide rail, and pivots with bushings and shoulder screws.

Above: Paul decommissioning the last of the ‘disposable’ $200 robots, before replacing it with Robo Crab

Materials cost around $200, and thanks to Paul’s generosity, it only took a little bit of my labor to manage the project.

Spectrum

Goal

Create an exhibit that empowers visitors to explore the science of light and color. See the captions of the images below for more detail:

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Artwork in foreground created by Lansing artist Abbey Hoffman
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Light Challenge component: I worked with an intern to create the meters, which measured the amount of light concentrated on the photocell. When enough light was concentrated, the meter would turn from red to green.
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The table was designed with an array of small holes so that meters and barriers could be easily moved.
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Hanging edge-lit graphics, created with the CNC router
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Control panel for the light-painting component
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I was responsible for the electronics on the color-mixing activity. We wanted a reliable point-source LED for crisp shadows and zero-maintenance. I sourced and fabricated the LED circuitry and kid-proofed the potentiometers.
Laser SpiroGraph v1.00 DRAWING v02
Final construction drawings, created in Solidworks
Lens Play DRAWING v03
Final construction drawings, created in Solidworks
Lens Play DRAWING v03
Final construction drawings, created in Solidworks

Role

Concept designs, prototyping, electronics, final designs and graphics

Location

Impression 5 Science Center, Lansing MI

Completed

2014

Color-changing Light Mosaic

 

Goal

The Spectrum exhibit sponsor requested that we include a giant ‘Lite Brite.’  I thought that we could do even better and create a color-changing version, but the complexity and cost of the obvious solution (RGB LEDs and rotary encoders) was prohibitive.  I invented a simple mechanism that consists of 4 parts per peg (2 custom parts, an o-ring, and a dowel pin), and has proven reliable over the years.

Design and Manufacture

Each peg assembly would go through thousands of cycles, and there would be a couple thousand peg assemblies, each with a potential for failure, so I took extra steps to ensure longevity.  See the photos below for more details…

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A Light Mosaic created by artist Abbey Hoffman as a social-media promotion
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Visitor creations
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Visitor creations
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This testing jig was used to test the reliability of a carrier. It simulated an estimated 5 years of use. I made a small change to the design based on this testing.
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I used the in-house ShopBot CNC machine to cut out all custom pieces
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I tracked the parts in batches and coordinated with volunteers to conduct final assembly.
Light Mosaic Drawing v14
Light Mosaic Drawing v14
Construction drawing of a finished module. The final wall consisted of about 20 100-peg modules.

 

Roles

I was project lead, handling design through install.  Many volunteers and a few employees assisted with assembly.  My coworker Josh Smith fabricated the cabinet and installed the lighting.

Location

Impression 5 Science Center, Lansing MI

Completed

2014

Fenner Nature Center Concepts

After seeing my designs at Impression 5, Fenner asked me to conceptualize a new space to reinvigorate their aging exhibit area.

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Overview of the final gallery design
Fenner Ideas v03 - Backdrop and environmental copy
A materials and finishes rendering used during the design phase.
Fenner Ideas v03 - Backdrop and environmental copy
This is a title test
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Test caption added in gallery.
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Build Zone

This was a very quick, low-budget project to fill a gap made by a departing traveling exhibit. Other staff developed the activities, and I designed the exhibit layout, look and feel, and environmental treatments.  The project took 2 months from initiation to completion.

It turned out to be one of the most popular exhibits in the museum.

POP

Goals

Redesign and relocate the aging bubbles exhibit at Impression 5 Science Center.  I added to the atmosphere with iridescent plastic panels that resembled the thin-film effect seen on bubbles.

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The Bubble Tower component was prototyped by other museum staff, and I was tasked with designing the cabinet.
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I was also responsible for the graphic system and graphic design
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SketchUp model

 

Roles

I served as exhibit designer, graphic designer, and assisted with fabrication and install.  Prototyping and fabrication by Cyrus Miller, Matt Hill, Josh Smith, and Larry Stump.

Location

Impression 5 Science Center, Lansing MI

Completed

2013

Pan-Tilt-Zoom Camera Controller

Electrical vs Mechanical

When it comes to hands-on exhibits, I usually favor mechanical solutions over electrical because mechanical methods are more obvious to the user, often allow for wider exploration, and often require less maintenance.  However, there are times when circuits make sense.  I have the ability to design and implement simple circuits, including PCB design and integration with consumer/commercial electronics.

The Project

I was tasked with creating a camera setup that would allow visitors to remotely view birds at a feeder.  Unable to find a kid-proof control interface, I created a controller that allows a pair of Suzo Happ analog joysticks to control a Sony EVID70 commercial grade pan-tilt-zoom camera.

The software allows a technician to easily change various parameters (such as maximum zoom, pan/tilt ranges) with a laptop via a serial interface.

Code

If you would like to examine my code, please see this ZIP file.  Contents are in .INO (Arduino) format.

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