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1. Principles and practices

This week I worked on defining my final project idea and started to getting used to the documentation process.

Final Project Idea

Before the first lecture, I decided to make a mist generator like fire place as the final project. Since I have already made several prototypes, I wanted to improve the system to sophisticated one.

However, inspired by the first Fab Academy lecture, I changed my mind. Integrating weekly assignments (fab skills) and create a laser engraving machine with my originality added. The following sketch is the idea: laser engraver for food named “Peaser”. (smarter name idea is appreciated!)

There are many laser cutters in the market and DIY ones, however they are so mechanical that the design does not fit to cozy cafe and my kitchen. So I am considering to make cute form factor like cloche.

  • Easy to use and non-mechanical appearance
    Recent software that control laser cutter is getting improved, but it is still troublesome for daily use and for non-fabber person. So intuitive user interface is necessary.

  • Only for raw food, fruit, and small nut. (not general purpose)
    Laser decoration for food such as cookies is very cute. Lots of trials are on the net, and I also tried many types of food. However the reason why it doesn’t spread wide is the decoration is not delicious, I think. Since laser makes it bitter, only sweet cookies with sweeeet cream sandwiched suits for the engraving. During my rapid trial, I found that nuts and bananas are good material because engrave on shell, skin does not affect inner stuffs. And also engraving ‘texture’ onto raw food is interesting for me. It will affect taste and feel when eating.

  • Engrave talked message
    This is one idea of intuitive interface. Utilizing cloud based ‘speech to text’ service like google, watson, engrave user’s message directly to peanuts. The recognition trigger is ’Push to talk’ type interface. For example, when hold the upper handle of dome cloche, it starts speech recognition.

  • Recognize orientation of objects and adjust the image automatically
    Adjusting the image size, starting point, this type of operation is troublesome. Especially when engraving images on small objects of different shapes like peanuts. Therefore image recognition by OpenCV ( my current plan ) will improve the user interface.

  • Time gradient cutting utilizing laser power control + oxidation of fruit
    This idea is to add a new ‘time’ dimension to laser cutting like 4D printing. Fruits like bananas has interesting characteristics of oxidation. Usually this gives a negative image of ‘ fruit rots’, but this idea make it positive one. When a text or image is engraved with very weak power, it is not visible first but gradually it appears. A secret message will be displayed at the end for surprise.

  • Low power semiconductor laser
    My rapid trial used Blue-purple 500mw laser for engraving. In the next step (after the academy) I would like to try longer wave length such as IR to reach inside of food. I have to keep safety in mind. During the project, I will use the proper wavelength glasses, but as for final product, I would like to design the machine that can use without glasses if possible.

Like above, my dream expands everyday.. but I should set priority to make a simple machine first. Keep triage.

System image

Block diagram:

Rapid trial