The zodiac wheel is an interactive object that projects your horoscope in the middle of the circle when you touch your zodiac sign.
My team was inspired first by a unique medium: Bare Conductive Electric Paint. We loved the versatility of this paint and the endless possibilities of what we could create. We researched examples of using the conductive paint in different circuits with sensors and interactive elements. We were particularly inspired by a project that used the paint to create an interactive poster. Our early direction was to create a type of calendar where the user could touch a day of the week and somehow view events for that date. We decided to simplify this idea, but keep a similar interaction. Instead of something as personal and detailed as a calendar, we created a piece that could be hung in a more public space that would be applicable to a wider audience: a display of the twelve zodiac signs that could display the user’s horoscope.
To begin constructing our product, we started by testing the paint on thick watercolor paper to gauge the amount of paint we would need to work with to create a properly functioning circuit. We built a simple capacitive proximity sensor with the conductive ink, a resistor and the Arduino.
Next, we experimented with processing code to display different text on screen when different sensors are pressed. The different colors displayed would become different horoscope texts displayed when different sensors (made using capacitive paint) are pressed.
We decided to use wood as the best material to construct this piece if its final setting might be mounted on a wall in a public space. We painted twelve circles in a clock-like format around the perimeter of the wood circle using the conductive paint. Each of the 12 circles would represent a different zodiac sign. To create sturdy and reliable wiring, we inserted nails in the middle of each circle, painted over the nail with the conductive ink to make a black circle, and then soldered a wire to the nail sticking out of the back of the wheel to wire to the Arduino and breadboard. Next, we connected the circuit (right) and tested the communication with processing. We then mounted the Arduino and breadboard on to the back of the piece and drilled two holes to insert hooks for mounting or hanging the piece on a wall.
To pull everything together, we used a projector to project the zodiac signs onto the middle of each of the circles. We played with the idea of painting the symbols on top of the conductive ink in a different color acrylic paint, but decided that projecting the signs might make for a more versatile future for this piece. What if the zodiac wheel could become a regular clock? What else could the 12 circles be adapted into? After testing with the projector, we also thought that the projected symbols were really beautiful and charming — maybe more so than painted zodiac symbols might have been. They also glowed a bit brighter than light acrylic paint might have dried on top of the black conductive ink.
In considering improvements for our piece, we aim to pull horoscope readings from a source that’s updated daily using an API with processing so that a user could walk by the Zodiac Wheel and interact with it daily for a different horoscope reading. We would also ideally hide all wires completely and possibly finish the wood a bit differently, or even paint the wood.