As soon as the basic design decisions have been made, we went on to produce various working models made of different materials like cardboard and rubber that could be manufactured very quickly by laser cutting. This allowed us to test and refine certain aspects of the design, like distribution of the electronic components, fitting, etc.
A detailed wiring plan was worked out and the necessary connections between the electronic components were determined. We also started to do some casting tests in order to find silicone that was neither too soft nor too hard, that provided enough elasticity and could be easily removed from the moulds. Certain surface patterns were also tried out at that stage. One reason was to keep the lower part from touching the body with its entire surface to prevent excessive heat and sweating. A second reason was to create a texture for the upward-facing layer that would moderate between the parts sticking out and the otherwise flat surface. This pattern was generated in 3D modeling software using a graphical algorithm editor based on certain rules: the proximity of a component like a microphone or a rangefinder would large the knobs that cover the surface, and an increase of distance would result in their height’s decrease. The result was a smooth transition from an almost flat to quite bumpy. At the same time, the soldering and wiring of the electronics were taken care of by the electronics team, and since the actual enclosure at that time was not near to be finished, they were given a dummy copy of the base layer, so that the length of the cables and the position of the electronics could be accurately taken into consideration.