March 2011 Archives


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Photo 148.jpg
Our project is meant to be used by one person at a time, but experienced and appreciated by many others simultaneously.

Who doesn't love dancing like a fool? Unfortunately, such joy is not often experienced during daylight, while sober, and in the judging eyes of your close friends. Our project is meant to embrace the silliness of late-night raves and put it on the pedestal. While wearing our box-helmet apparatus, the user will experience an overwhelming light show that syncs with a mesmerizing dance beat. The experience will draw a fine line between mesmerizing and obnoxious, and if the user does not suffer an epileptic shock, they will likely be drawn into the fantastic light show and explore the interactive features of the helmet while stumbling across the designated dance rug. Tilting the helmet (side to side, front to back) will alter the light effects and adjust filters on the music. So the more you bob your head, the more you get out of the party. The user will be encouraged to move around with the helmet, sing along, dance, head bang, etc., while the rest of the class looks on, laughing, pretending they don't deeply desire to wear the party helmet.

presentation schedule

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March 29th - Tuesday
• Vanessa
• Kristen

April 12th - Tuesday
• Josh
• Brett

April 14th - Thursday
• Teroy
• Emily

April 19th - Tuesday
• Bradley
• Jamie
• Sara

April 21st - Thursday
• Sam Fuentes
• Boyuan Yang

April 26th - Tuesday
• Sam Molstad
• Caleigh

Jamie/Sarah Collaboration

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robot control.jpg

The guests of this installation gallery will approach a glass window that separates them from a small, dark room, where two individuals stand motionless among a table, chair and couch. On the spectator side of the window is a Control Panel that features five buttons and a reset switch. This control panel is rested atop a table. The red buttons beg to be pushed, and upon pushing any button, an audio command will play, accompanied by the illumination of one of five lightbulbs hanging behind the performers. The lightbulbs will feature gelled lampshades,(white, blue, red, green, yellow) and each lightbulb coincides with a specific audio clip as well as the particular button that triggers both the illumination and the audio clip simultaneously. Each button features a specific audio command, audible to the spectator. The commands are then acted out by the two performers in the small living room type of setting. The commands are as follows: "Get Down". "Make me Laugh", "Get to Work", "Ponder", "Eat". The reset switch interrupts any audio clip and returns the given light to a non-illuminated state, signaling the performers to return to their original positions.

The idea behind this project is to investigate how humans are an extension of technology, and how an audience member may interact with both live performance as well as a pre-programmed system of sound and light.

Artist Presentations

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Artist Presentations are designed to encourage you to find out about a range of artists who are working in the genre of New Media :: Making Art Interactive.

Chose an artist or collaborative group of artist as the focus of your presentation.

Plan a 20 minute presentation followed by a discussion based on a question that you pose to the group.

Include the following in your Artist Presentation:

• Background information about the artist.

• Discussion of what attracted you to the work of this artist.

• Two examples of this artist's work. Use these to describe the artist's relationship to concepts of interactivity and art as experience.

• Your perspective on how these works relate to the artist's larger body of work.

• A second artist whose work you consider to be relevant to the artist you selected as the focus of your artist presentation. Discuss the relevance via content, process, technology, perspective, etc. This may be another contemporary artist or an artist from another time period. This may be an artist working with interactivity or not.

• Discuss how these artists informs your own thinking.

• Propose a question, related to your presentation, as a catalyst for a 5 - 10 minute discussion with the class.

Following your presentation, enter a post on the blog that includes:

- a description of why you chose this artist
- links to examples of the artist's work
- a discussion of how this artist's work and/or process informs your thinking.

Introduce yourself to the work of a range of artists:

- Stephen Wilson's links

- Amy Young's links

- Ken Rinaldo's links

- Hiroshi Ishii's Tangible Media Group

- We Make Money Not Art

- Rhizome

eLight Documentation - arm hole

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Arm Hole.jpg

I was very pleased with the final aesthetic of the project. The project plan was completely conceptual, but I had a particular image in mind of the whole experience. I was confident the programming would work, but I didn't realize how much of my project actually depended on the visual image I had in my head. Luckily it all came together exactly the way I imagined it, which doesn't happen often. I'm very pleased with the qualities of color and precise intensities of light inside the box. The illumination of buttons from their respective LED banks was just enough to see the buttons, but not enough to see beyond.

If I were to continue this project, the concept would stay the same, and I would only focus the presentation. The box would instead be a hole in a wall, rather than a tube of an identifiable length. I would also like to obscure the end of the box to instill an uncertainty of length. The buttons would be larger and more button-like, and perhaps I would add a third button, and make that the final unreachable goal.

Wireless Communication Options

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Good overview of wireless communication from SparkFun.

Here are a number of possibilities of ways to communicate wirelessly with (or without) an Arduino:

RF Link module

Transmitter (connected to an AVR microcontroller, or ATiny or Arduino to create a pulse), $3.95
Receiver (connected to an Arduino), discontinued?

Optional antenna
Transceiver breakout board

How-to with AVR microcontroller

How-to with Arduino
Another how-to with Arduino

JeeNode transceiver (can connect to Arduino, but also has a built-in processor)
$22.50 each
434 MHz or 915 MHz
Needs to assemble -- kit comes with all of the parts.



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I'm excited that my Sadlet is working the way it was intended. I plan on continuing to work on it by including the micro controller inside the bracelet as well as a rechargeable battery, possibly getting an ipod battery or similar to fit inside. I will also make it adjustable in size by including adjustable magnetic therapy bands in the straps. I struggle with documenting my artwork as I go on and even when it is finished. I am trying to do a better job of documentation, but I enjoy the process of creating artwork more than the finished product so documenting hasn't really been important for me. But, I will share a video and photos thanks to the people who documented my Sadlet as well as the arduino code that I appropriated and customized for the Sadlet. In the future I will plan to do fritzing for my electronic projects.

View image


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For this project I was inspired by my own feelings of detachment from experience: feelings inspired by a vague familiarity with various post-structural and post-modern theories conceiving of the subject as something which ascribes meaning to objects and experiences as a way of creating reality, thus negating the concept of an objective reality with fixed or inherent meaning or method of understanding.

My aim was to create an object with some sort of functionality that would be performed when interacted with by a person in a certain way. The desired effect being a intimate sense of engagement, but also calm, in realizing you have the power to do things. In doing this I was attempting to create a metaphor for the idea that humans, as subjective beings, actively create their own reality.
I wanted the experience to be both calm and engaging because the ideas that inspired me often create for myself, as previously mentioned, a very negative sense of detachment. I wanted to use those same ideas to generate an experience that felt very
positive, engaging, and intimate.

The design of the object was inspired by my interest in the concept of the spectacle as an experience. I felt this idea appropriately matched my concept because it seemed that if the object had a grandiose sensibility, it would generate a greater sense of empowerment when activated. I made it hand-held and with the switches on either side so it would maintain a sense of intimacy, and so when held it would feel as though you were physically completing the circuit.

I would very much like to make another, more functional version of this project. I think would re-build the structure with perhaps wood frame and entirely fabric walls so that it would be sturdier but give the impression of lightness and/or frailty. I would also like to program the lights to blink and fade in slower, more controlled way, assistance in helping me realize this would totally be super-appreciated.


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I tried my best in the time I had allotted. Sometimes when I'm in a class with so many Light bulbs I feel like the dimly lit bulb.

eLight Documentation

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Sara eLight still image.jpg


At the beginning of this class I knew nothing of electronics and programming. I was disappointed in how the prototype strayed from my initial vision at the time of presentation; however, I now realize how much I learned during its creation. That is satisfying. I am excited to move on to more projects and eventually re-create this on a larger scale as intended.

In order to realize this on a larger scale, I would need to make some adjustments to the programming and construction. The signal tri-color LED on the top of the device was functioning opposite of my intention. I would rather have the LEDs off when the chime is at rest, and light up with rods hit to signal which rods are in use. In terms of construction, I would need to make adjustments to make the chimes more sensitive to wind and less bogged down with wires. Using conductive thread or yarn to suspend the rods would be more effective. Once these issues are worked out, I would take on building a bigger and cleaner housing for the device, complete with higher-powered fans to make the project human scale.

The code for this was meant to have the rods act as switches, with the center rod being a common ground which would activate a red, blue or green light on the tri-color signal. Different color combinations could be achieved by multiple rods in contact simultaneously. However, I had last minute issues with this. I rewired all the rods to be autonomous circuits that were constantly on HIGH. When these rods came in contact with the center rod, electricity would be dispersed and the corresponding LED color would be extinguished.

In addition to the rods being wired to the Arduino and tri-color, they also went to the circuit boards that controlled the flashing LEDs. These were wired in succession, so whenever the an outer rod came in contact with another outer rod, the LEDs would flash beginning with the sets of lights mounted above the activating rods.

Spring Break Building Hours

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During the week of Spring Break Hours for the building and shops will change.

Wood shop/Photo crib: 9am-4pm

Building: 7am-4:30pm

*The Building will be closed Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19th

**I've heard a rumor though that the photo crib isn't actually going to be open, so if you think you'll be needing something from there, it might be a good idea to stop by before Friday, March 11th.**

Applause Hat Documentation

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Im satisfied with my applause hat prototype because it still serves a comical purpose despite the low quality of craftsmanship. The fact that wires were evident rather than hidden, and that sometimes only 1 or 2 lights came on actually added to the appeal for the purposes of this presentation.

Now I would like to start from scratch and construct a more professional looking hat, hopefully using 20+ super bright LEDs to actually spell out the word "APPLAUSE" in lights. I look forward to developing this idea to incorporate in a live musical performance in the near future.

applause hat.tif

Code: I didn't use the Arduino for this prototype, and that would be another element to work in.

Wiring: My wiring diagram is very straightforward: 9 volt battery powering 5 LEDs; a line of 3 and a separate line of 2 ran in parallel. The switch on the heel of my shoe features a crude broken connection that triggers the LEDs when I rock my heel back to complete the connection .

Video link:


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Pure geometric bliss! Teroy and I are building a sound sculpture that can be performed by multiple participants simultaneously. The object itself-inspired by constructionist or cubist forms-will be built of wood and when completed will appear as a pseudo-inverted model of a city. The various regions of the sculpture will have unique sonic profiles and performance possibilities. The inherent resonant qualities of these regions will be embellished by different electronic elements embedded within the object. Additionally, the embellishments of these regions will be networked so that when they are played, the regions will induce change on the sonic quality of each other to varying degrees of subtlety. Mics will also be placed in the vicinity of these regions. The resultant audio signals will be processed by custom software and diffused throughout the space via loudspeakers in and around the sculpture. As participants perform the object, sound will emanate from the sculpture and its networked system of sonic tangents, effectively enabling physical and spatial sound performance simultaneously. Can you dig it?

Collaborative Project Description

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For our project, we want to create a shadow puppet window with LEDs. VAN-LAN.gif


Graphite eLight

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Brett's eLight pic .tif

I'm pleased that my prototype successfully evoked the sense of interaction that I intended, even at the most rudimentary level. I think was due largely to the fact that the piece is defined around the gestures themselves as opposed to the light effect it produces. I also felt that my colleagues' comments reflected the experience I intended in the piece. These included a sense of sincerity, deliberate action, and solitary reflection. And at a more basic level, I'm just pleased that the thing worked at all.

If I were to develop this prototype, I'd explore its potential for scale. This could include the distance between participants, the enhancement of the LED's luminous qualities by diffusing it through opaque material, and increase the number of contact points on each greeting card. I'd also like to clean up the wiring a bit, simply to emphasize the act of writing over the presence of technology.

Wiring diagram

Aduino code

Video clip

City of Light Prototype

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I was happy that both my sensors were sensing touch even if the program was not working exactly as I had intended. It was helpful to show my prototype and get feed back from the class in terms of the ultimate vision of a city of light. The programming I will need to be able to realize my ultimate vision will be largely based on learning more about arrays and setting up a matrix of light. I look forward to working on this further for my independent project.

We're sorry, you need Javascript enabled to view this video.

Link to code

Playing with Bus Shelters

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(Emily & Kristen)

We are going to explore the potential for bus shelters to become spaces of play and games. At this point, we have a number of questions about what will make the interaction appealing, compelling and playful. Some things we're wondering about specifically:

  • What's the entry point? Do people get drawn in accidentally (for example, the bus responds to their presence in some way) and then interact with it intentionally?

  • At what point does it matter that there is someone at another shelter? Do you play against/communicate with people in other places directly, or indirectly (for example, you know how other people have done playing the same game at other shelters)?

  • What is the interface? Where are the sensors (inside the shelter and/or out), what kind are they, what height are they at?

  • Does it have the feeling of a game in which the object and rules are set by someone else/the computer, or a toy in which the object and rules are set by the people playing with it?

We're going to begin by making a prototype that will let us test different kinds of interactions and game possibilities, starting with a whack-a-mole inspired version that uses plexi panels edge-lit with LEDs and pressure sensors. We imagine this first game to be single-shelter, but we'd like to work up to experimenting with XBee to allow shelters to communicate with and/or play against each other in some way.


Dance Suit Prototype

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Arduino Code
Dance Diagram

Though I didn't completely troubleshoot this prototype, I feel I learned a lot about programming and about color mixing, which were my primary project goals. I also enjoyed getting exposure to DIY sensory textiles.

My immediate next steps are to complete the pressure sensors, wire a suit, and develop a light-display system. Long term, my goal is to turn the action into more of a game, either through a partner or a more programmed interaction.

Ice Light Documentation

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Video clip

Arduino code

Wiring diagram

I'm happy that I got the eLight prototype to a stage where it could be played with by others. It was a bigger frustration dealing with the ice than I imagined (I was surprised how easily it melted! I've been so cold all winter, I thought surely it would melt slower than it did!) -- I'm glad that I stuck with it and got the components working in the ice. I was happy that it generated the conversation that it did, and I was surprised at some of the comments, which was exciting to me: the sensory conflict of seeing water and wires together, the potential for the shape of the ice, and different possibilities for the behavior of the light. I was happy the idea was expressed enough that it could generate more ideas.

Next steps:
I was so focused on getting the basic elements to work, that I didn't get a chance to experiment with a number of design decisions that were thus made in a kind of default way. I'd like to try different shapes of ice and different ways of placing (or hanging) them. I'd also like to keep experimenting with the programming. I'm happy with the general operation, but would like to try a more regular pulse as the counter to the erratic flicker. And I'm still intrigued with the idea of multiples, perhaps which all behave slightly differently.

eStudio visit

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This eStudio visit is, in part, a precursor to our upcoming work with textile sensors.

9:30 - 10:30

demos and guidance re: sewing machine, preparing and importing files, adjusting for different materials, availability of thread in check out, etc.

demos and guidance re: vinyl cutter, preparing and importing files, using vinyl, using materials other than the vinyl.

10:30 - 11:00

demo of conductive thread with sewing machine, how to wind the conductive thread onto the bobbins, how to adjust the tension to sew conductive thread lines/patterns/ etc. onto fabric.

11:00 - 12 noon

time for your collaborative projects. The content focus of your collaborative project is open. The project continues our exploration of the experience of interactivity. As you discuss your ideas, talk about the what and the why as well as the how of interactivity.

Bradley Wright - eLight Prototype Documentation

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Video Link: Click Here

Arduino Code: Click here

Wiring Diagram: Click here

I think I have managed to capture and recreate the quality of light I was looking for, in that it communicates a sense of fragility and "aliveness". I enjoy the feeling and visual appearance of the object the light is housed within, even though it currently is stuck to the breadboard.

Next steps:
Firstly, I will need to make or find a larger object to house the Arduino, LEDs, battery, and other components. The next challenge would be to replace the function of the "button press" with the object being picked up or touched. This will require finding an appropriate material and sensor that will preserve the desirable elements in the current version while allowing the next steps to occur. I do not yet know what type of sensor or material would be workable to achieve this.