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Redwood Discovery Museum around the world in twenty digits

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Abstract[edit]

"Around the World In Twenty Digits" is an interactive number systems exhibit designed for the Redwood Discovery Museum in Eureka, CA.

Background[edit]

The Redwood Discovery Museum in Eureka, CA is a children’s museum that focuses on interactive exhibits to promote hands-on learning. The goal of their exhibits is to broaden the horizons of children and inspire lifelong curiosity in the areas of science, art, culture, technology, and healthy living.

Problem statement and criteria[edit]

The Redwood Discovery Museum desired an interactive exhibit that would expose children to the written number systems of different world cultures. The below criteria informed the design objective and are listed in order of importance.

Criteria Definition
Safety Must not harm user.
Durability Require minimal maintenance.
Interactivity Must require physical contact.
Cultural Expansion Two number systems minimum.
Education Value Must encourage learning.
Cost $350 maximum goal.
Transportable Easily carried by one person.

Description of final project[edit]

The exhibit is a puzzle featuring the first five digits of the Roman, Mayan, Chinese, and Greek number systems as removable wooden puzzle pieces. The puzzle features a test button in the lower right corner that allows the user to test whether they have correctly placed the puzzle pieces. When the test button is depressed either a green or red light will illuminate beneath each column. If all the pieces of a column are in the correct location the green light will illuminate. If the pieces are in the incorrect order or missing the red light will illuminate.

Project Gallery
Figure 1: Puzzle with Roman numerals in incorrect order.  
Figure 2: Puzzle with all numbers in correct position.  
Figure 3: Image of magnetic reed switch circuit underneath the puzzle.  
Figure 4: Magnet embedded in back of puzzle piece.  


Costs[edit]

Total material cost: $ 412.73. Total hours spent on project 120+.

Item Price ($)
Plywood 36.80
Bulbs 71.45
Switches 139.16
Other Electrical 49.86
Sand/Stain Materials 34.46
Laser Engraving 81.00
Total $412.73

Maintenance[edit]

Minimal maintenance is expected to keep "Around the World in Twenty Digits" running.

Troubleshooting[edit]

The electrical test circuit is the most likely feature to fail. There is a circuit diagram and spare switches and bulbs stored inside the puzzle. If further assistance is needed contact Craig Mitchell at chm33@humboldt.edu.

Likely Component Failures
  • A light may fail within a year. Though glued into place they can be easily extracted with a pair of pliers. Two replacement lights of each color are included and can also be purchased on Amazon. Simply glue in a replacement light and attach the new light's wires to the same wire nuts that the failed light was connected to.
  • A magnetic reed switch may also fail within a year. Five replacement switches are included. The reed switches are also glued into place and may require plying off with a knife. Be sure to place the new switch in the exact location and orientation of the old switch and to place spade wire connections on the exact terminals as the previous switch.