I am sure you know the biggest country in the world. I think you also know the top 5 biggest counties but I doubt if you know top 15 largest counties. Which country is bigger or how much bigger? When a question is asked, Wolfram Alpha’s response is displayed.

People are bored of numbers and sentences. Instead of representing numbers, represent through aesthetic visuals. Instead of designing for affect-as-information, design for affect-as-interaction. Our assignment is to explore a new way to ask questions and get the results by using specific type of data.

I change a way to ask the question. Instead of asking or typing the whole questions (What is the size of Canada?), just type the country name.


Instead of giving you the answer (The total area of Canada is about 3.86 million square miles), I wanted to use different size of circle to represent the size of the country.


Process book:


Above is my first successful attempt at accessing split Wolfram Alpha’s response on a p5 canvas.  Split an array so that in every loop, those value are entered separately side by side.

In order to get some visualization, I need to extract the number out of the answer(text). I found out these answers have the same format as “The total area of (country name) is about (certain number) square miles.” That is to say I need to have the number right after “about”.

I used for each statement to find out “about” in an array. The forEach() method executes a provided function once for each array element.



I still cannot find a way to solve the problem. What I did for the code is to extract the number after “about” and to make a circle based on that number. The thing is the answers have different units and the range of those number is too big.

For example:

“The total area of Canada is about 3.86 million square miles.”

“The total area of Thailand is about 513,120 square miles.”

So if I just used the number after about, Thailand would be larger than Canada and cannot fit in canvas.

I also tried to ask the question in a different way, such as”The size of Canada in million square miles” They don’t have an answer for that question.


Process Journal 1- Jingpo

XBee Chat Exercise:

Step1: Download software(CoolTerm) and driver(FTDI USB).

Step2: Change the configurations of the radio in command mode.

We need to configure XBees to enable the communication. These radios are configured with AT commands, so we learnt some basic AT commands from AT command set:

ATRE = factory reset – this will wipe any previous settings
ATMY = my address – the label on your radio
ATDL = destination low – the label on your partners radio
ATID = pan ID – the agreed upon “channel” both radios are using to communicate
ATWR = write to firmware – this will make sure the configurations are saved even when the radio loses power
ATCN = end command mode

Open CoolTerm:

Go to Options → Serial Port

Go to Terminal → Select Local Echo

Step 3: Let’s chat!



Metronome Receiver Device:

Arduino Code:

Use “Serial” to test the code. Change “Serial” to “Serial1” when arduino is connected to xBee and send the “H” and “L” commands via the serial monitor.

Sample Code is from Arduino example, Physical Pixel. It is an example of using the Arduino board to receive data from the computer.


Add a servo and change the Arduino code:





I want to have a fan connected to the servo, so I went to dollar store and got this candy toy for 2 dollars, along with an unexpected free motor, a button and a battery.