After the first user test round, and more prototyping, I decided to approach the tidal movement with a different form of the same material. I found using airbeds to control the balls was a bit too challenging and hard to control even if I succeed on building out a structure that could float the balls. I thought of using thin translucent plastic sheet to stimulate water instead. It had even more flexible possible movements that can really visualize tides (i thought to myself). Eventually, it will be a sea of plastic sheets simulating tidal waves.
plastic sheets (cut from typical plastic bags we see daily)
servos + mechanic arms (30 pairs)
*sensor (kinetic camera?)
rough estimate of cost $300
The plastic sheet will lay naturally rested as the default setting.
First, it will need to have an up and down movement that will cause the gentle tidal wave form effect and also demonstrate the sea level rising.
Second, it will need a stronger tidal effect to visualize the wind speed.
The tidal data that could be provided by NOAA's api.
After sketching out one unit of the wave would be structured like, I started prototyping the movements. First, I had to figure out which kind of mechanism was needed for the sheet to start flow in the air without the fan blowing.
In this video, I was testing what kind of up and down movement will generate a simple wave form from the default resting position. In conclusion, from the lowest point to the highest points needs to be at least 9cm high, if there's a near 45 degree angle then the wave form will be even more dramatic.
I've also tested a 12V DC motor fan blowing the sheet, it can create a nice strong blow at the position of 9cm below the sheet.