tim   .


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.   hunkin




`Its better give than to receive' is the  hospital's motto. The game is to drop the coin into the nurse’s cup as she passes the coin slot. Three pushbuttons on the monitor unit select different speeds for the nurse to rotate - for different skill levels - its quite addictive as a game.

My other problem was deciding how political I dared make it - there's so much fuss about nurse's pay and productivity, and private financing of parts of the NHS. In the end, I left it subtle, but the idea of the insatiable patient and the bottomless pit of NHS funding are there for anyone that likes analysing stuff.  

Technically, the main challenge was handling the coins. Coins have sharp edges and tend to dent things they fall on. I soon abandoned my original idea – which would have involved many coins missing the patient’s mouth and landing on his face. In its final form, the nurse stops in a precise position and every coin goes into the mouth.

Even then, it took ages to get the coins to flow reliably, without the occasional one bouncing out of the mouth, or off the side of the cup. It’s a bit like making contraptions involving water – you really have to double the amount of time you think it will take to make. With coins, the key thing seems to be to remove energy – the slower they are moving, the less far they can bounce. But there are other less obvious factors. Towards the end of the testing period, coins started bouncing out of the mouth because the nurse’s polythene cup was becoming scratched, so coins were being tipped from unexpected angles. Replacing the cup with a stainless steel one solved the problem.   




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