Initial idea: food dehydrator

I sketched out a couple of project ideas. The one I’m most interested in right now is an electronic food dehydrator. See Week 1 – Plan and sketch a final project for more details on this.

Initial sketch of my dehydrator

But I’m concerned the material requirmnts might make this a difficult project to complete - I need to be able to use food-safe materials that can withstand high temperatures, and the unit itself would have to be quite big, which might be tricky to make with the tools I have available close to hand, in the lab itself.

Second idea: data-card music player

I like the idea of holding music on physical media, such as CDs, vinyl or tapes. I also like the hardware interfaces in sci-fi films where data is shared on futuristic data cards, and plugged into machines in spacecraft. There are many examples of such machines in films like 2001, Alien, and Star Wars.



Music player

I’d like to use laser-cut acrylic cards to ‘store’ the music.

The music would not be help on the cards themselves, it would be stored on, for example, an SD card inside the box. The card just identifies a particular album to be played, using something like a punchcard-style pattern of holes on the face of the card, or a key pattern on the back edge.

Data cards


Scoping functionality and systems

I’m trying to think about how I might actually make this music player. So I’ve started to break down the project in a number of ways to scope it out:

  • What qualities does it need to have?
  • How do these impact on material choice, design, functionality, components, etc?
  • What functions does it need to operate?
  • What systems does it need, and how are these functions enabled by the systems?
  • How does data flow between different systems?

I’ve drawn a map of the functions of the product as I understand them right now. And tried to organise these into systems that can handle each area of functionality. (open the image below in a new window to see it full size):