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Engaging the young - Delta Pyro... Commander of the New Fire

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Whilst there were several Korean students dropping in from time to time, it was obvious to the team at ICCF17 that there was a severe lack of young involved in the field. This is not surprising, there are nearly twice the number of people on earth now as there were adults that could have seen the 1989 announcement (1971 to todays population figures). In the intervening years the few that did witness the events then became jaded by the offensive against the findings and were then unlikely to pass on the story. Most likely the recollection if given, was negative.

The majority of the worlds young are in developing nations and many of them are distracted by handheld smart devices and associated entertainment, just like their western counterparts. Where ever the young is, it is they and the planet we leave them, that are in most need of the benefit that the New Fire would bring.

We decided that if we were going to have a real chance of bringing this thing to the world, we would not only have to take the scientists that have laboured in the shadows, with us, but we would have to find a way of capturing the imagination of the young. Only with a holistic approach could we ever hope to convince the politicians and industry when we had something, that it was worth investigating. It is one thing to have a load of technical stuff to wade though, but if a decision makers kid starts asking if their parents have heard of this really cool thing - then they might just pay attention. Pester power is a prime energy all of its own!

Bob suggested he could offer his animation and graphic design companies talents and associations to bring a mascot character to the project that might help a wider and younger audience learn about the science. So as soon as he had the Quantum Heat website cobbled together, he started work on the character concept.

With a few ideas he contacted his business associate Mark Teague in California. Mark was trained at Disney and worked on their number 2s (strait to DVD animations) as well as working at Lions Gate Films and Marvel (even drawing new characters for Stan Lee!). He was really excited about what we were trying to do with the MFMP and said he would help Bob with the concept. Essentially Bob called for a friendly engineer, like a plumer that was to be a fusion of a number of the potential reactor shapes from the field. He would be called "Delta Pyro... Commander of the New Fire" with the characters name being derived from the Greek for 'change fire'.

So on the 21st September 2012, a character shape design lineup was posted to the team to see if we wanted to adopt one. You can see it here.

At the time Bob commented

"So... Tin Man is good - how good can a boiler look? Basically - a steel man, rivets - a bit steam punkt but not copper with a "window" like a Nautilus sub portal into his glowing heart. Arms would maybe be cable to power sockets for backs of hands. Legs would be gas line feeders to storage vessels

The team quickly came to a decision and on the 24th September 2012, Mark posted back a sketch, that had a little adjustment to become the basis of our mascot. You can see him on the right.

And so the artists started work on the modelling the following day.

By the 6th October, the character was beginning to take shape

Not sure we like the skin on the head, he is meant to be a tin man, but it does humanise him. We then set about digitally sculpting a set of expressions for him which were largely concluded by 11th October, some of them you can see here.

Buy the 15th October, the halo animation effect was taking shape. See an earlier animation test here.

By the 25th October, the painstaking re-topology of the expressions was well underway, this will allow for facial animation and use in game engines.

Here is a quick expression test from the 29th Oct.

All the parts were then merged together and the character rigged, that is a animation skeleton was placed into the character and configured to control the various parts of our friends body. This allows us to animate him as we wish.

Our first body movement animation test of Delta Pyro is here.


Where you come in!

We are going to be supplying 3D prints of Delta Pyro for you to play with or give as gifts. He will be one of the many exciting pledge rewards you can choose from in our Kickstarter (look out for the imminent post). If you have any comments for our friend, model/texture/animation ideas, what poses he should be supplied in etc. let us know. We don't want to give too much away about how we see him looking as you likely will have a better idea!

Should we put high quality renders on t-shirts? Any ideas like this for maximising how we can capitalise on him will be greatly appreciated.

NOTE: No donors money has been spent in developing this character, this was purely funded by Bob and created by his own companies artists as a donation to the project. 

Comments   

 
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0 #20 Robert Greenyer 2013-03-12 11:13
@Erik

Again you have some good ideas, I simply do not have the personal resources to take it this far at this stage, what you describe is all possible, but these things take a lot of time and money to develop. At this stage, a few poses and and motivation/ ideal something along the lines of your suggestion may suffice.

Somthing like "DP - here to help discover/explor e the New Fire"
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0 #19 Erik 2013-03-12 09:10
Great to hear things are looking positive. You mentioned above that kids today are "distracted by handheld smart devices and associated entertainment", if that is the case this is also where the promotion should be aimed at.

To attract kids and especially younger adults, I think you should give him a more subversive character, an underdog "hacking" the quantum mechanics?

Or have him create a fictive dialog with established science, acting the devils advocate if you like?

Something like: "mr Physisist, we know that we can go from this isotope (points at X) to this (points at Y), releasing energy in the process. How can we be absolutely certain that the only pathway between these two states goes through a large plasma at ridiculous temperatures and what is temperature anyway? As I see it we are not breaking the principle of energy/mass conservation, what about that of entropy?"
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0 #18 Robert Greenyer 2013-03-12 08:16
@Erik

I think the approach you suggest is a good one, we are all about objective science, whilst we are necessarily positive in our pursuit we do not take anyones words for granted. One of the reasons we are still here so many months later is that whatever we do - we seemingly get positive results to varying degrees. But we grind through each successive criticism of the experiments in the hope that when no criticisms remain the truth will finally present itself.

I think we do it like this, DP first mission is find the New Fire - His name means "change fire" so in the first instance this can be read as his 'role'. He wants fire in his belly.
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0 #17 Erik 2013-03-12 04:18
Who knows, I don't think the winner (Motorolas 68000) had any comic books attached to it, (even though it made its way into many arcade games of the time).

What is starting to puzzle me is wether this is about creating belief or about objective science. Positive thinking alone will not make lenr work.

What I do like about mr Pyro is his expression of scientific curiosity. "Lets get to the bottom of things" would make a good moto, I think a "this works already, trust mr Pyro" moto would be an over-optimistic approach.
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0 #16 Robert Greenyer 2013-03-11 21:26
@Erik

Was the Z8000 a failure because the competition just had better products or did the marketing make it a failure. As I said before, if something sells, people credit the product or service, if it fails they blame the marketing.

The only intention of DP at the moment is to provide a novel momento at the lower end for those that don't want a DVD, T-Shirt or Bumper sticker. People can vote with their wallets, that is the beauty of 3D Printing, made one at a time, if someone wants it they get it, if not, no loss. It is something people can put on their mantle piece as a curio. If no one buys it, then no problem.

We are not promoting a product or service as such, but a fundamental new area of science and not all people respond to the same form of promotion.

Right now in the UK one of the most popular children's cartoons is Octonauts and it deals with scientific concepts and names brilliantly in a cartoon teaching real facts in a fun way.
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0 #15 Erik 2013-03-11 19:24
Zilog tried promoting their Z8000 processor with a comic, it was a failure even though the comics looked pretty cool:

http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/accession/102646293

http://www.zilog.com/captain_zilog/
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0 #14 Robert Greenyer 2013-03-11 01:06
@Robert Ellefson

Thanks for your input, when I and my team get a slot to work on him a little more, he will be improved greatly in appearance.

Quite separately we have a New Fire trust mark that we developed - if you go to the Kickstarter rewards in the next blog - you can see it on the t-shirts.

We want him to be fun and friendly - to stand out and make people smile and enquire what he is all about - that will be easier if he is a bit rediculous.

He is not to be targeted at the converted. We need awareness on a grand scale - especially in the pester class.

I have worked on Action Man in the past for Hasbro, and the little silver phone mascot for Carphone Warehouse in UK, the Tweenies and many others - Maybe he could have a serious sidekick - but these things take a lot of time to develop.

I am sure he won't please everyone, I am keen to see what others can come up with.
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+1 #13 Robert Ellefson 2013-03-10 17:32
I love the idea of an icon to represent LENR, and I love the name you picked, but I think you're aiming a bit too young by having him be quite so cartoonish. His facial expressions are rendered to an extreme that makes him seem clownish, and not somebody to be taken too seriously, IMHO. I hope this doesn't seem too harsh, because I am all in favor of your efforts here! That said, I would suggest that you attempt to make him more appealing to college and post-graduate student "youth" rather than primary school ages, and not have him be as likely to be percieved as less-than-serio us by decision makers of any age.
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0 #12 artefact 2013-03-08 08:21
ahhhhh ... I read too quick and thought that you ment
3D red green things like:
http://www.asien-news.de/wp-content/uploads/3d.jpg
I knew I should go to bed.
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