Recently in independent project Category

Responsive WindWall

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As a way to experiment and start prototyping physically responsive spatial elements, I developed a simple "windwall" incorporating a passive infra-red (PIR) sensor, an actuated switch, and a number of ordinary house fans controlled by an arduino microcontroller.

As was evidenced by my class demo, the arrangement of the motion sensor to the zone of activity caused the relay to be consistently triggered. I programmed the sensor with 30 seconds of calibration time to create a baseline with a relatively high amount of motion, but it was ineffective at creating the response I wanted. Repositioning the sensor, creating a smaller view cone for the fresnel lens, or using a PIR with a manually controlled sensitivity would have made the interaction more satisfactory.

One very helpful tool was the PowerStripTail, available here for less than $20. It is essentially an independently powered relay that allows for the conversion of electricity between the 5v microcontroller and up to 120v AC. I powered three house fans on an ordinary powerstrip plugged into the PowerStripTail. This greatly reduced the time and circuitry required for this experiment.



Running Game

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For this project, I come up with an idea about how to make the LED light become a signal that can direct people's physical actions, so people will have a chance to be directed by LED light and become a participant. So I come up with an idea of running game, and the LED light will blink into different colors and blink at different frequency, and each color represent a certain object and a certain frequency represent the certain distance, so firstly, when players see the LED light, they need to transfer the light into certain signals, and actually the interactivity here is different from the traditional notion of interactivity, like the traditional one is to actually touch or smell or something to be interactive. So, people transfer the visual effect into signal and for running part, they need their respond ability like who can respond to the frequency and color changes faster who can win the game cause they take actions first

Shadow Light

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shadow light 2011.m4v

calibrate code pdf.pdf

I was pleased with how the shadow light box turned out, even though it wasn't working perfectly. The piece is meant to be explored on both sides and call attention to the relationship between the show and the actor--the actors in this sense, are not necessarily performing, but they are exploring. That explorer cannot fully enjoy their show, because the lights that their shadow creates are displayed on the the other side of the board. The use of the lense helped add a mysterious quality to the contraption, and helped create a window effect, which almost surprisingly for me, conceptually realted to another idea of a window I had been thinkinking about for a different project. I was pleased when I discovered that connection!

All in all I think i would play more with the lighting of this piece. I probably would have had a more angled effect to produce a more strinking shadow, and also would have had a smaller slit of directed light, rather than it be so much like a spotlight.

I am interested in playing more with shadows and light--

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For my independent project, I continued to explore the bus shelter idea, working on the technology that I could use to realize it. For this iteration of the bus shelter, I focused on communication: either between two shelters (relevant to the earlier game/communication ideas, or between a bus and a shelter. This variation would allow a waiting passenger to know when the bus is approaching, perhaps by flickering colored lights in the ceiling/roof of the shelter. The lights get brighter as the bus gets nearer (as the diagram below shows, which I include in lieu of a video) and could be different colors for different routes.

Emily and I submitted a proposal to an upcoming local art festival with this idea, and the limited budget encouraged us to look at other solutions besides the Arduino. I am interested in using RF for this project, as wireless access may be spotty and RF options are low-cost. I came across the JeeNode as one potential option: it uses the same chip and programming environment as Arduino, but has a smaller footprint, requires only one AA battery, and has an on-board RF transmitter (so it can send and receive messages).

For this project, I focused on getting two JeeNodes to talk to one another. It is still fairly basic, but (as in the images below) one JeeNode sends a message every second and the second blinks when it gets that message.


The messages can be up to 66 packets in length. The interesting thing is that when the JeeNodes are far apart, not all of the packets are received. I realized that this could be utilized as a de facto proximity sensor: the LED's brightness could be determined by how many packets are received, so that it would be brighter if the transmission was strong (the two JeeNodes are close together) and dimmer if the transmission was weak (they are farther apart). I haven't been able to get this part of the programming working yet, and there will most certainly be problems with my logic about the proximity sensor thing, but I'm excited to keep playing with this idea over the summer with the goal of installing it, if only temporarily, in a bus shelter some evening.

My code is in the files below, which require additional libraries for the JeeNode.