My “Surprise Box”Final Project – Journal 4: Project Meaning & Reflection

This is an overall summary and reflection of my final project. I “categorized” it into several parts, which I thought would make it more clear and easier to read.
Also, if you are interested, please visit the following website:      (My portfolio)   (Where you can download the parts and make the box)
The idea to create this: 
I like science and math; I like art and design; I like volunteering. These characteristics of myself kind of lead me to this project. I wanted to make something that integrates the beauty of math, some kind of “Math Art”, and I want to make something that’s beautiful and meaningful. Also, I enjoy making presents to my friends, so I want to make something that can surprise people or make people happy as well. 
And as this semester, I went on an environmental volunteering trip to Southern Appalachian in North Carolina, I was surprised by how ignorant people could be regarding the protection of the environment and how people may not realize that our actions actually can have influence on the environment. Therefore, I came up with the idea of making this box.  

The designing process & Meaning behind: 
The heart, flowers, and butterfly parts are modeled in Mathematica. This came from the idea of “Art Math”, showing the beauty of symmetry and pattern a function could give us.
The box is designed in such a way that I could hide the Arduino in the lower layer, and put the LED light in the heart. Also, the inside space that is created by a wall of hexagons is used to plant small plants, like grass or moss. 
The idea behind these designs is that: 
> The moss as background, which surrounds the heart, convey my idea that personally, I think plants have “hearts”, or their feelings as well. So when human hurt a tree, like cutting it, it can feel the pain as well. Also, the butterfly and the flowers on the heart symbolize the beauty that nature provides to all the livings in the world. They are beautiful and fragile, and they are something that while we human are enjoying, need to treasure and protect as well. 
> The Arduino part ( including a PIR sensor and a LED light) could make people surprised. When people open the box, the heart will be light up and looks pretty.
> The box is created using Fusion 360. However, the outside patterns of the box were not my work- I didn’t draw those images. I found them(the elephant, flower patterns) on google and use InkScape and Blender to extrude them and integrate them with my box. I wish I could have given credits to whoever designed those images, but I was not able to find the author names.
The box works like this: 
So you open the box, and the heart will be light up, surrounded by green moss, and you will be surprised.
The plant part is not finished yet though, as I am not very familiar with plants and am not able to find suitable plants yet. Therefore, right now I just put in some dry pine tree leaves instead.
Some afterthoughts:
This box symbolizes my idea about protecting the environment. And I also enjoyed myself a lot while doing it, because I love making people happy and I love 3D printing and different technologies. And this box is a combination of different things (3D printing, Arduino, “plants” idea) And as I am actually a Finance and Accountancy sophomore in the University of Illinois, I didn’t have as many chances to access high tech as engineering students, this project really give me the chance to try different ways possible to make an idea come true. 
I had a lot of crazy ideas when I was a kid. They were “crazy” at the time because I didn’t know how to realize them, in other words, I didn’t know the existing technologies possible to make them come true. The biggest afterthought of this project is that, how can the society make these new technologies more accessible to normal people, or more specifically, to children? I believe that if kids are able to have the chance to be introduced to different high technologies, they can really let their imagination fly and have fun and explore and learn a lot while making their “crazy” ideas come true.


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