frolicking egg is a 3D puzzle that attempts to emulate the experience of interacting with an alien artifact. Engaging with the egg yields a variety of clues spanning multiple senses, but until it is unlocked and opened, its 'true nature' is inaccessible.
The images that follow originate from a longer presentation. The full document is available at the bottom of this page.
When the upper hemisphere is rotated, the egg produces sounds from within that emanates from three "speakers" visible from the outside.
Internally, rotation adjusts the position of two small gears on a central pole. When the gears are in alignment, the top hemisphere unlocks and can be removed.
By shining a light from a hole in the bottom of the sphere and peering through the speakers, a glow can be seen within when a gear is in the correct position.
I began the design process with some inspirational case studies for aesthetics, forms, functions, and processes.
Specifically, I focused on contrasting/divergent examples that share an air of mystery – a sense of the unknown or ineffable. My hope was that a synthesis of such examples might lead me to a design that intuitively motivates the curiosity of the user.
I settled on a puzzle based on sound emanating from an unseeable source, which seemed to fit the emotional experience that I was interested in developing.
A non-descript, resonant exterior naturally led to a smooth, spherical shape. Placing all of the more complex biological aesthetic cues on the instead establishes a strong contrast that increases the satisfaction of completion.
The top hemisphere is locked by the gears on the bottom hemisphere. Aligning the gears enables the top hemisphere to be removed.
An "arm" on the upper hemisphere reaches into the lower hemisphere to engage the gears and the sound creation substrate around the circumference of the resonant bowl.
While I made a 3D printed prototype (PLA and resin) as a 'form factor' test, a functional prototype will require testing with different materials for the resonant bowl in order to maximize sound output.