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Whatcha ma Thumper An Interactive Musical Toy Creators Nathan Wilcox and Jim Carlson Things That Think Spring 2004 1 Introduction The Whatcha ma Thumper is an interactive mechanical percussionist which responds to timing of the user waving their hands over light sensors by playing various instruments at a related tempo There are four instruments a drum a triangle a clapper and a strummer Our concept was to create a musical toy that would engage the user both visually and through sound combining familiar elements in an unfamiliar way 2 Mechanical elements Each instrument has an mechanical apparatus that is mostly separate from those of the other instruments which allowed for parallel and independent development and testing The goal of these separate units is to make musical sounds from their associated instruments The following sections describe the mechanics of each of these player modules 2 1 The Drum The goal of the drummer module is to strike the drum once when given the appropriate signal from the Cricket There are three main mechanical components that accomplish this task the hammer the cam and the motor The hammer The drum is struck by a hammer that is mounted on an axle This allows one degree of freedom the head of the hammer may move up or down The resting position comes from the balance between gravity pulling the head down and a spring opposite the head If the hammer head is lifted or the tail is pushed down and then released the weight of the head swings it down until the tail contacts the spring The head bounces a few times until it comes to rest The ideal operation is for the head to strike the drum only once upon the initial bounce The spring which is used to counteract the downward motion of the hammer was made adjustable for this reason The spring is mounted in such a way that it can be raised or lowered slightly to accommodate the height of the drum allowing this motion to be fine tuned The cam In order to cause the hammer head to be lifted and



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