Earth & Sky Gallery Calgary Science Centre 197 (Medium)

Telus Spark in Calgary wanted their visitors to understand how you can use magnetism to detect underground geological materials.  They ask us to build a variety of magnetometer sensors that visitors would use to probe a graphic representation of an underground portion of Alberta.  The exhibit is planned to be used by at least two visitors at a time.  Visitor #1 hides geological materials in a drawer and visitor #2 then uses the different sensors at its disposal to try to locate the underground “gemstones”.  Four (4) sensors were built:

  • LCD  is showing the direction of the field through a moving arrow
  • LCD is showing the milliTesla reading of the module of the magnetic field
  • Blue LEDs are showing direction and strength of the magnetic field (aka Sonar sensor)
  • Blue LEDs are showing intensity of the field along the sensor (aka Magic Wand)

The four sensors built actually measure the 3D vector of the magnetic field and provide feedback to the user.  No fakes here, real measurements!

Some initial renders of the sensors:

The casings for all four sensors were designed using Solidworks and 3D printed using our high resolution 3D printers.  The final products in the museum are the actual 3D printed parts.  The FDM process extruding ABS renders strong enough part to be vandal proof when designed properly.

The Sonar and the Magic Wand sensors each got a custom-made electronic board.  The Sonar has one sensing element while the Magic Wand was fitted with six (6) to allow for accurate field interpolation.

Early prototype of the Magic Wand sensor:

Telus Spark wanted us to deliver a functional prototype to test visitors interaction and for them to provide feedback.  What you see in the following two videos are proof-of-concept prototypes in use by one of our engineer.

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