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My name is Devin Ostrom and I built the Warehouse 13 black Sphere for Stefaniuk FX STudio
The Black Sphere was originally to be a Holographic projector in the form of a puzzle.
The Sphere would appear as a "solid" object but it was actually composed of a 3 fingered puzzle shpere machined into 2 parts (upper and lower portions).
The Sphere could be seperated by pulling the appropriate hemisphere apart. One of the problems was that the sphere was rather large for the actors hands and you had to hold it "just right" and grip the upper and lower sections along the machined finger edges in order to pull the 2 sections apart. Once you pulled the sections apart you would rotate the upper section 120 degrees then re-assemble the sphere. An internal sensor would be activated and a micro-controller would drive a small servo embedded inside the lower section. This servo would retract a "plug" from the upper portion into the body of the sphere. The "plug" would retract enough to expose a ring of LED's built into the shaft opening for the "plug". This ring of LEDs would then start to slowly pulse to simulate the holographic projector. It all worked really well and I was very happy how the prop performed.
The problem was that the actors would constantly be dropping the prop because of it's size and i would have to repair the plastic "plug" and it's mechanical linkage. I finally redesigned the linkage to incorporate a spring return so if the actors accidentaly pressed into the plug or it was accidentally dropped the plug and linkage would not get damaged or be knocked out of alignment. I have all the drawings for the Sphere and small movies showing it's full action. During the filming of the series, the actress using the sphere had real problems holding it because of her small hands and fingers. They ended up not ever really showing the sphere in operation and used CGI to simulate the holographic portion....you never got to see the sphere properly perform which was a real shame...