Author Archive

DATA IS THE NEW OIL

“DATA IS THE NEW OIL” – Jer Thorp
Case Study by Ginger Guo and Natasha Mody

jerthorp

Introduction and General Overview:

“Often my work stems from a question in my mind or an interesting data set,” says Thorp.

Our case study was based on a very profound data visualization artist, Jer Thorp, whose work focuses on adding narrative meaning to huge amounts of data.

An artist and educator from Vancouver, Canada, Jer Thorp currently lives in New York and has a background in genetics. His digital art practice explores the many-folded boundaries between science, data, art, and culture. Thorp’s award-winning software-based work has been exhibited globally.

Not only is Jer Thorp the co-founder of ‘The Office for Creative Research’
a hybrid research group, working at the intersection of technology, culture and education, but is also a Professor at New York University’s ITP Program, has collaborated recently with NASA visualized in ‘138 years of Popular Science’, has exhibited work at MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) in Manhattan, has been a speaker at multiple TED Talks and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s ‘Council on Design Innovation’.

Our presentation of Jer Thorp’s work included an overview of his select pieces and an in-depth study of two specific projects that Ginger and I found captivating for many reasons.

Jer Thorp and the Office For Creative Research:

TED Talk:

 

Select Pieces – Context:

Among Jer Thorp’s many incredible works of art, an overview of the following select pieces were presented –

Project Cascade (2010 – 2011) –
visualizes the sharing activity of New York Times content over social networks.
Sustained Silent Reading (2010) – the system uses semantic analysis to ‘read’ through a base of content.
Random Number Multiples (2011) – 
produces screenprints from the work of computational artists and designers. 
138 Years of Popular Science (2011) – a visualization piece that explored the archive of their publication

What fascinates us most about some of these projects and makes it even more significant, is his exceptional ability to digitally transform data that serves multiple purposes –
1. The accurate representation of the information and it’s engagement, as well as
2. The metamorphosis of data into visually stunning pieces of art, that can in fact be purchased and become art collections!

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-8-42-03-pm screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-8-42-15-pm screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-8-42-24-pm screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-8-42-36-pm


In-Depth Study – Context & Technical Overview:

Project 1 – On Data And Performance

According to Thorp, “A rare datum might find itself turned into sound, or, more seldom, manifested as a physical object. Always, though, the measure of the life of data is in its utility. Data that are collected but not used are condemned to a quiet life in a database”. Jer Thorp and his colleagues have been investigating the possibility of using data as a medium for performance. Here, data becomes the script, or the score, and in turn technologies that we typically think of as tools become instruments, and in some cases performers.

In this performance — A Thousand Exhausted Things, the script is MoMA’s collections database, an eighty year-old, 120k object strong archive. The instruments are a variety of custom-written natural language processing algorithms, which are used to turn the text of the database (largely the titles of artworks) into a performable form.
During this entire period, all of the dialogue that is spoken by the actors is either a complete title of an artwork, or a name of an artist. A data visualization, projected above the performers, shows the objects as abstracted forms as each artwork is mentioned.
By using such a non-conventional form to engage with the collections database, they tried to ask the audience to think of the database as not just a myriad of rows and columns, but as a cultural artifact.
Performance provides rich terrain for engagement with data, and perhaps allows for a new paradigm in which data are not as much operated on as they are allowed to operate on us.


A Thousand Exhausted Things:

data => viewer to data => performer => viewer

 

Project 2 – Algorithmic Design And The 9/11 Memorial

In late October, 2009, Jer Thorp was contacted and commenced work on a project with an Experience Design Studio called Local Projects located in New York City. The aim was to design an algorithm for placement of names on the 9/11 Memorial.

According to Jer Thorp, “In architect Michael Arad‘s vision for the memorial, the names were to be laid according to where people were and who they were with when they died – not alphabetical, nor placed in a grid. Inscribed in bronze parapets, almost three thousand names would stream seamlessly around the memorial pools. Underneath this river of names, though, an arrangement would provide a meaningful framework; one which allows the names of family and friends to exist together. Victims would be linked through what Arad terms ‘meaningful adjacencies’ – connections that would reflect friendships, family bonds, and acts of heroism. Through these connections, the memorial becomes a permanent embodiment of not only the many individual victims, but also of the relationships that were part of their lives before those tragic events”.

Over many years, staff at the 9/11 Memorial Foundation undertook the meticulous process of collecting adjacency requests from the victims next of kin, creating a massive database of requested linkages leading to a total of more than one thousand adjacency requests. The next challenge was that of optimization as they had to find a layout that fulfilled these adjacency requests. However, Thorp found a solution to the problem and in order to produce a layout that would give the Memorial Designers a structure to base their final arrangement of the names, his team built a software tool in two parts: First, an arrangement algorithm that optimized this adjacency problem to find the best possible solution, and second, an interactive tool, built in Processing, that allowed for human adjustment of the computer-generated layout.

9-11-memorial9_11

The Algorithm:
The solution for producing a solved layout for the names arrangement was placed at the bottom of a precariously balanced stack of complex requirements. Some of the challenges included – a basic spatial problem where the names for each pool had to fit, evenly, into a set of 76 panels (18 panels per side plus one corner), another obvious challenge was to place the names within the panels while satisfying as many of the requested adjacencies as possible as there was a dense set of relations that needed to be considered. To add to these problems, within the crucial links between victim names, there were a set of larger groupings in which the names were required to be placed: affiliations (usually companies), and sub-affiliations (usually departments within companies). However, Jer Thorp, found solutions to these problems through the generation of an algorithm in which the complete process was a combination of several smaller routines: first, a clustering routine to make discrete sets of names in which the adjacency requests were satisfied. Second, a space filling process which placed the clusters into the panels and filled available space with names from the appropriate groupings. Finally, there was a placement routine which managed the cross-panel names, and adjusted spacing within and between panels.

The end result from the algorithm was a layout which completed as many of the adjacency requests as completely as possible. With this system, they were able to produce layouts which satisfied more than 98% of the requested adjacencies.

wtc_drawer3-1024x644
wtc_full-1024x644

The Tool:
Early on in the project, it had become clear that the final layout for the names arrangement would not come directly from the algorithm. While the computerized system was able to solve the logistical problems underlying the arrangement, it was not as good at addressing the myriad of aesthetic concerns. The final layout had to be reviewed by hand – the architects needed to be able to meticulously adjust spacing and placement so that the final layout would be precisely as they wanted it. With this in mind, they built a custom software tool which allowed the memorial team to make custom changes to the layout, while still keeping track of all of the adjacencies. The tool, built in Processing, allowed users to view the layouts in different modes, easily move names within and between panels, get overall statistics about adjacency fulfillment, and export SVG versions of the entire system for micro-level adjustments in Adobe Illustrator. Other features were built in to make the process of finalizing the layout as easy as possible: users could search for individual names, as well as affiliations and sub-affiliations; a change-tracking system allowed users to see how a layout had changed over multiple saved versions, and a variety of interface options allowed for precise placement of names within panels.

Conclusion:
In conclusion, Thorp goes on to express his views on the profound emotional connect he had with this 9/11 Memorial project. The very reason in fact, why I chose to do an in-depth study and focus on this unique project, given the passionate New Yorker I am, and the intensity at which it resonates, since I lived through the tragic event.

He articulates the importance of the weight of data and his awareness of the names that he was working with, were those of near and dear one’s who were tragically lost in the 9/11 event. He expresses, “In the days and months that I worked on the arrangement algorithm and the placement tool, I found myself frequently speaking these names out loud. Though I didn’t personally know anyone who was killed that day, I would come to feel a connection to each of them”.

For Thorp, while names of the dead may be the heaviest data of all, almost every number or word he worked with, endured some link to a significant piece of the real world. He says, “It’s easy to download a data set – census information, earthquake records, homelessness figures – and forget that the numbers represent real lives”.

The experience through this process helped add meaning to such a significant monument and will never be forgotten.

Related Projects:
Here are some artists whose work was, in some shape or form, related to Jer Thorp’s and was an inspiration to us as well-

Music script turned to an weaving physical data sculpture –
http://nathaliemiebach.com/musical.html

Music Performance With Data:

Final Presentation:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0v0C2NFCXOiUTYyWkZYQnpGRkk?usp=sharing

References/Bibliography:
https://ocr.nyc/
http://blog.blprnt.com/
https://tisch.nyu.edu/itp
http://blog.blprnt.com/blog/blprnt/all-the-names
http://localprojects.net/
http://mashable.com/2012/12/11/data-visualization-jer-thorp/#dWRv2smhgkqr
http://www.thelavinagency.com/speakers/jer-thorp#591255794400107479
http://blog.blprnt.com/blog/blprnt/on-data-and-performance

SKYNPHONY

Skynphony
by 
Mudit Ganguly, Natasha Mody, April Xie

Project Description and Overview:
The very fact that our final project for this course required focus on wearables/portables that would be carried with us and taken into the real world, brought about numerous fun ideas and thoughts. From s
oft cushioned pocket hand-warmers to a digital pet, Tamagotchi, to a brain relaxing sensor inspired by deep breaths, and finally to conductive skin tattoo technology, we thought of it all!

However, the group, after much brainstorm and deliberation, decided to develop the conductive tattoo idea further. We did a lot of in-depth research while weighing the possibilities, given the time constraints and other circumstances. The conductive tattoo concept posed multiple challenges and issues, but it inspired us to create a whole new product, our very own musical instrument, Skynphony (skin+symphony=Skynphony).

Skynphony, represents a piano, worn on the arm that is touch responsive to play musical notes. The overall prototype consisted of an arduino setup on a protoboard attached to a powered battery, which was then integrated into a mock-up of black felt with conductive copper tape strips (denoting 7 music notes in C major scale – C, D, E, F, G, A, B), that fit perfectly on our arm. Three pairs of conductive gloves were made as well. They were used to press firmly on the copper strips that emitted sound.

The Syknphonist’s then went out into the world, solo and in groups, with a Play Me sign, the intention being, to invite the public to interact, engage and perform.

Video Presentation:

Images of Device:

glovefelt  glovesproto

Portrait Images:

single-aprilsingle-natasha
single-mudit


Production Materials:

Final Bill of Materials:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1D9k9HIkRFCF0JOjLExZAaGmVc1l9sK8ZkpQfVcgZorU/edit?usp=sharing

Final Circuit Diagram:


Final Code:

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0v0C2NFCXOidi0xa2ZBc1BIQlk?usp=sharing
The code was fairly simple. We set up an array that contained the sound frequencies of each key. We then setup pins 2 to 8 to be those keys. When the circuit on any key was completed, the corresponding frequency from the array was sent to the buzzer that would give it a distinctive sound. We eliminated the use of resistors by making all the pins PullUp pins. That made the circuit easier to build and repair.


User Testing Materials:

User Testing Plan:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0v0C2NFCXOianNoTzV6Qjh0YjA?usp=sharing

Preparations

  • What needs to be done ahead of time?
    • Prepare regular gloves with conductive fabric on finger
    • Cut protoboards into 3 parts for each of us
    • Create a “Play Me” sign
    • Rent GoPros from A/V for documentation. Ensure the memory cards have no prior footage and the batteries are charged
    • Charge all external power supplies
  • Do you need extra batteries?
    • Yes
  • What goes into your repair kit?
    • Copper tape
    • Conductive fabric
    • Extra buzzers and wires for trouble shooting
    • Double-sided tape
  • Be sure to take “before” photos.

During (optional)

  • Do you need to collect information during the testing?
    • Yes. A ‘User Survey’ would be created to gauge how people react, how did they play, what types of questions did they ask, their response, etc.
    • Compare levels of interaction according to “affordances” and how obvious it is that you’re allowed.
  • Do you want the users to journal, take notes, write down significant experiences when they happen?
    • Ideally, yes.
  • Are you capturing any photos or videos of the user experience? If so, how? And how can you make this consistent across all 3 users?
    • Go-Pros with chest attachment
    • If we choose to have ‘busking hours’, we can set camera up on tripod

End of Session Reports

  • You are running this test for two days. Create a survey / form using google forms for users to fill out at the end of their days. You will end up with 6 entries (3 users x 2 days.)
    Potential Questions –

    • How separate did your body feel from Skynphony?
    • Did Skynphony influence your behaviour? How?
    • Did Skynphony influence the way people interacted with you? How?
    • FIGURE OUT ALL SCENARIOS TO TEST
      • How many people initiated playing with Skynphony with a ‘play me’ sign?
      • How many people engaged with Skynphony while you were just walking by?
      • How many people initiated playing with Skynphony while Skynphonists are in a group, vs solo?
      • Should we dress up our arms like an instrument?How effective was Skynphony as an interaction?
  • How much creativity does Skynphony allow those playing it?
  • Was the user interface of Skynphony engaging and simple to use? Did it make people come back for more?
  • What were the reactions of those who engaged with it?
  • Does the overall product or the next iteration have the potential to be sold in the market?
  • Is there a better or more efficient way to execute Skynphony?
  • What have people gained from interacting with Skynphony?

Crunching the data

  • How will you structure a debriefing conversation?
  • What will you do with the data and media once you find it?
    Once we have the results of the ‘User Survey’ we can collate and analyse the information we receive and further discuss how we can improve the overall prototype and potentially turn this into a robust product that can perhaps be sold in the market.

End of Session Reports/User Survey:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1qOY22EQINGCNF4PUuLTqWzRZasplNRLZoAc_Sg7Mdu0/edit?usp=sharing

Photos, Video, or Other Media Gathered in the Field:

img_4687img_4696
img_4713 img_4700

Summary of the Overall Process:
The overall process needed to be well thought out and one that could be executed with ease. Our initial ideation consisted of conductive tattoo’s on vinyl material that would stick to our arm. However, since that posed multiple challenges and we wanted to create a product we could ‘own’, we agreed on Skynphony. The name emerged from the evident connect, skin+symphony=Skynphony.

We started by creating some rough sketches of the various possibilities and considered the different materials that would work well for the prototype. Since vinyl on skin wasn’t an option any longer, we chose to use felt. Black felt in particular, since the conductive copper tape stood out, making the look and feel very graphic. We tailored the felt to fit perfectly on our arm and 8 strips (ground+7 music notes) of adhesive conductive copper tape were stuck, at intervals, to the felt, representing a piano. Each of the copper tape strips were connected (soldered) to the wires in the circuit that contained the Arduino (with code uploaded) attached to a protoboard. We used an external power supply, a battery, that was placed in a cloth pouch attached to the inner arm of the prototype, that helped run the circuit. Velcro was used to keep all the various components in place. Adhesive conductive fabric was cut and ironed onto the finger tips of three pairs of gloves. GoPro cameras were secured on our chest to record footage. 

Worn directly on our arms, wires and circuitry concealed in the prototype and hardware enclosed in a small pack, Skynphony, emerged successful.

Step-by-step Process Details: 

Construction Process –

 A. Code and Circuit

  1. Tested basic breadboard circuit with DC buzzer and one 2-pin breadboard tactile button. Pin runs through resistor, then to ground. (https://www.creatroninc.com/product/2-pin-breadboard-tactile-switch/?search_query=button&results=296)
  2. Extended basic circuit to three buttons and coded value tones for each
  3. Developed code for seven tones on C major scale
    1. Based foundation of code on: https://godspeech.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/simple-piezo-piano-using-arduino/
    2. Frequencies did not translate fully to our buzzer, as the code was meant for a Piezo buzzer and we used the cheap DC ones. Lots of trial and error adjusting frequencies by ear and tuning app: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/tuner-lite-by-plusadd-ultimate/id635828559?mt=8
  4. Code originally had each pin run through a resistor, then to ground. We began mapping out possibilities for a clean, aesthetic circuit layout, prototyping with copper tape. This proved difficult with our circuit, as it was impossible to lay it out without tap crossing over each other to reach ground.
    diagram
  5. With Kate’s help, we refined code and circuit so that pull-up resistors were integrated into code, and physical resistors were eliminated from circuit. Circuit became simple to arrange in a clean, cascading L layout.
    arduino
  6. Cascading L layout would be laid out 1 cm above a line for Ground. User would complete circuit between each ‘L’ and ground to sound the note.
    Fritzing diag
  7. Considered using a vinyl cutter for printing out the final cascading L circuit out of copper foil – we decided against this, as we had never used the vinyl cutter before and we were running out of time. Decided to stick with copper tape for final prototypes.

B. Wearable Material

  1. First iteration: painting circuit directly on arms with conductive tape
    1. Cons: conductive paint was not responsive unless thick layer was applied; would need to re-paint circuit on day two; connecting hardware onto painted skin would be challenging, especially with size of Arduino Micro
  2. Second iteration: apply circuit onto vinyl sheet converted into armband
    1. This would be an alternative to directly painted skin, where the transparency would still allow for an interaction that feels close to the skin
    2. The vinyl also proved tricky to use. It was too flimsy to carry the weight of all the hardware attached.
  3. Third iteration: Felt armband
    1. We decided to scrap the transparency of the prototype, and make an opaque, felt armband that was worn like a sleeve. The felt held the hardware fine. 

C. Construction

  1. Applied copper circuits to armbands
  2. Cut protoboard into three; soldered pins onto each cut protoboard for Arduinos; soldered DC buzzers to protoboard; soldered 1 wire per musical note onto protoboard
  3. Attached pocket on the sleeve for portable batteries that would keep Arduino powered through USB
  4. Attached velcro strips onto ends of armband; created felt covering to hide protoboard hardware attached at end
  5. Made wearable gloves: bought polyester gloves from Dollarama and ironed conductive fabric onto the fingertips

Summary of the Testing Process:
The testing process was definitely tedious and time consuming. Although much trouble-shooting and testing was done while we were at the lounge, oftentimes the notes, i.e the copper tape strips would stop working on field, either due to soldering that came apart or a loose component. However, we carried the extra essentials – wire to test the notes, sticky tape in case a component came apart, additional copper tape if it ever peeled off or got damaged.

Troubleshooting Process:
Many times during the field test the sounds would stop. We had a procedure in place for fixing this.
Step 1. Take conductive wire and connect it directly to the Arduino Resistor Pin and Pins (2,3,4,5,6,7 or 8). If the buzzer was activated then move onto Step 2. If the buzzer was not activated the problem was in the code.
Step 2. Run conductive wire across the conductive tape and connect it to the ground to see where the buzzer stops. Fix the break in connection. If the buzzer is not activated at all then move onto step 3
Step 3. Make sure the solder is strong enough and check if the conductive tape is always in contact with the arduino through the soldered conductive wire.

Reflections on your Findings:
All three team members went out into the real world together and then decided to split, using different approaches to invite people to interact with Skynphony. We experienced different reactions. Even though most people were a bit hesitant in the beginning, they had a lot of fun trying it out. When letting people know it was a school project, they were more willing to give it a shot, whereas simply telling them to ‘play my piano’, didn’t necessarily get the response we wanted initially, but was eventually effective as well.

We also observed that different locations and environments, brought about different results. For instance, there was a greater response at places like Nathan Philips Square and Burger King or 100 McCaul but passers by and those about to get on a subway, or then those in a meeting in the VA Lab, were less inclined to interact with it.

However, some of the most common responses that were experienced by us all, was that no one was really interested in playing the sheet music and were happy to play their own tunes, the Play Me sign wasn’t all that effective unfortunately and overall, the product was disruptive and got people’s attention. Another common feedback we received, was that it could definitely be a finished product launched in the market. 

Summary Materials Presented at the Critique:
We presented three Skynphony prototypes to be interacted with. Our our Professor’s and classmates, the Skyphonists sure had fun with it. We also presented a fun video that documented our overall process and experience.

References, Support Material, Project Context & Related Work:
The links below weren’t just references and support material, but also served as a source of inspiration to our end product. A lot of our ideas were triggered through our rigorous research and the content within it. 

http://www.hybrid-ecologies.org/projects/12-skintillates
http://makezine.com/2016/11/17/lighting-body-temporary-tattoo-circuits/
http://www.hybrid-ecologies.org/uploads/project/paper/12/lo-skintillates.pdf
http://www.555-timer-circuits.com/toy-organ.html
https://godspeech.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/simple-piezo-piano-using-arduino/
https://www.hirschandmann.com/portfolio/creating-music-with-your-bodies-electrotone/
https://www.slashgear.com/tech-tattoos-put-a-working-circuit-board-on-your-skin-25416060/

Project Context and Research:
A. Electronic / ‘smart’ Tattoos:

We were interested in adapting materials and techniques of other skin-adhesive electronic devices. There were a few technologies recently developed that achieved this –

  • Electronic Tattoo With Silicon
  • “Trying to make electronics as flexible as possible” using bendable, elastic silicon – “potential to revolutionize the healthcare industry”

B. Arduino Piano Projects:

  • There are many examples of ‘Arduino pianos’ on the internet, many of which use a buzzer. Many of these projects move off the breadboard and run the circuit through unconventional conductive objects, such as –
    • Bananas
    • Coke cans
    • Paper circuit Arduino piano with conductive paint

 

CANDY LOVE

Project Title :
Candy Love

Project Description :
The objective of my project was to collect data over an 8 hour duration (over 2 days) while keeping the concept simple, effective, engaging, fun and interactive. ‘Candy Love’ emerged after much brainstorming and the process of elimination. The initial idea was to work with a sensor that detected the opening of a door with the use of Adafruit HUZZAH ESP8266 WiFi microcontroller board that would notify email/tweet/text the owner when their door was opened. A concept that would be way more cost effective than a guard dog or an alarm system for that matter. However, I wanted to turn this into an exciting and fun project, so I decided to use a personal locker in the Digital Futures lounge that would have a similar set up and a CTA (the big surprise, the bait… candy!) that would draw people to engage with it by opening/shutting the locker door. The result was very effective. Not only did the lockers active and resting stages result in a lot of data, but the candy vanished as well…as you can imagine! Everyone had fun, including me 🙂

Video Presentation :


Contextual Images : 

img_7472        img_7471

20161121_160032        20161121_160111        img_7473


Photographs / diagrams that describe what you learned from the testing :

screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-2-36-21-pm   screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-3-27-55-pm    screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-5-15-26-pm
graphscreen-shot-2016-11-22-at-8-53-02-pm


Circuit Diagrams :

circuit-board circuit-board


Code & Overall Process :
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0v0C2NFCXOiYU9NV0FqLUMyYXc?usp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0v0C2NFCXOiUWN6WVpjSkVzcE0?usp=sharing

The process consisted of 3 primary stages. An arduino code that was uploaded to the Feather Huzzah/Breadboard which was in turn connected to Adafruit for data collection and IFTTT for data visualization through an automated excel spreadsheet. The resulted excel sheet was then converted into a graph in Adobe Illustrator that represented the number of times the locker door was opened in the duration (the spikes in the diagram) and the time that it remained in its resting stage (the plateaus in the diagram). The circuit board (with the Feather Huzzah) was also connected to a charged portable power supply to allow it to work continuously for 4 hours at a time over 2 days. The candy jar was placed in the middle of the locker. One of the challenges I had, was ensuring that the candy was taken without touching the set up. Perhaps, the next iteration could have a better execution so that the circuit board and power supply are hidden and less precarious. Another challenge I seemed to have had is the time code in the excel sheet, which seems to be showing Indian Standard Time even though I made changes in the settings to our current time zone.

Project Context :
https://learn.adafruit.com/using-ifttt-with-adafruit-io/overview
https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-io-basics-digital-input?view=all
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpEON8j2rEI
https://io.adafruit.com
https://ifttt.com/create/if?sid=0

The reference links above inspired me and directly contributed towards my project. The use of a sensor with the opening and shutting of a door to collect data that informed us of how often it was opened was the primary goal.

LOVE BOX

Project Title:
‘Love Box’
by Katie Micak & Natasha Mody

20161110_201627  screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-7-38-06-pm
20161109_123148 20161110_165756
screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-7-37-58-pm colour_wheel

Initial Idea:
Our project emerged and was greatly inspired by ‘Zoroastrianism’, one of the world’s oldest monotheistic religions. The very spiritual ‘Zoroastrian’ worships in fire temples, where a sacred fire is kept burning to signify an eternal flame, and fire is always present during special prayers and ceremonies. This germ of thought led to the idea of ‘light’ and the use of NeoPixel LED’s as a visual interpretation.

To widen the realm, we started to think of how light might act as a method of communication and an indictor of connection over distance. After much research and the exploration of multiple diverse ideas, we finalized on the concept of a ‘Love Box’.

Concept & Project Description:
The purpose of ‘Love Box’ is to help create a simple visual that would allow couples in long distance relationships to communicate visually, that they were thinking of each other. To create a device that people could personalize to tell each other simply where they were located which then led to different colours meaning different circumstances – ”I’m at work” or “I’m safe”. To have an object represent a feeling of missing, in turn providing comfort to people living far away from their loved ones – All of which would be triggered via a ‘LED Illusion Mirror’, an infinity mirror that would light up a colour on the click of a browser or app button.

We chose the object of the infinity mirror to talk loosely about flattened space and light travel as a metaphor. It could function well in a domestic space as light has an implied presence and could represent a person easily.

Circuit:

20161111_132637   20161108_174901  screen-shot-2016-11-13-at-7-57-45-pm

Process Journal & Code:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0v0C2NFCXOieHJ0UzAwTkhBU1U?usp=sharing
This project was very interesting but quite challenging at the same time, especially given that both, Katie and I come from backgrounds that don’t involve coding. We are both novices to all languages of code in fact, but very eager to learn. That said, we eventually worked out an idea that we hoped would be ‘simple’ and easily implemented.

Our overall process involved the use of a web browser triggering the output, i.e the illusion mirror that we created with wood frame, glass, film, mirror and LED’s. The web design was a simple color wheel divided into 4 quadrants. On a mouse press,  the LED’s in the illusion mirror light up with the respective colour.

We initially made p5 and arduino work independently. We then moved on to the communication between p5 with Arduino through PubNub, in lieu of a successful end product. We generated two p5 codes – one that was received by pubnub and the other that connected pubnub to arduino. This initially seemed to have worked but was very inconsistent. Multiple options and codes were relentlessly explored alongside much user testing and help from our peers. We were very close to cracking it, but weren’t too successful unfortunately. We are not sure why, and need to work on it further to have a true understanding of the technical processes we engaged in.

Project Context & Reference Links:
The reference links (below) were a source of inspiration and helped accelerate our brainstorming/ideation process. We landed a concept after much research and the exploration of many possibilities.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/0B0v0C2NFCXOiRUg5LW11YVpTdkk?usp=sharing

 

HOT SPOT

Group Members :
Sammy
Samaa
Natasha

Project Title :
HOT SPOT (H-SPOT)

Project Description :
A visual representation of brain activity during manual sexual stimulation incorporating LED lights, jello, and button activation. This interactive piece invites viewers to insert their fingers into the hole of the artwork and find the “HOT SPOT” or button that will activate the septal region of the brain.

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-3-31-50-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-06-at-3-31-33-pmscreen-shot-2016-10-06-at-3-33-52-pm


Circuit Diagrams :

circuit

circuitpcb

schematic

 

Code
Working towards the final code consisted of multiple iterations executed on arduino software –

Button
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fcGOTJ2wB6DNaQiVW8HNsLycTFWBVh5s8AM4Ftcuq2s/edit?ts=57f424dc

button

Multiple LEDs
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1osG8m-g55a4zjsRFa2qDJ0DcsGKkv9pRpF7GCCRfJls/edit?ts=57f42b18

multiple-leds

Final Code
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tBMtDZjx0HskkInTq0UzhA5f-TJq-7XrW5q41wboEeI/edit?ts=57f438af

final-code

**Code that didn’t work :
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i6J1i7CRBgNzYpds_3JnvL2s1FuseLOjPFNqmws82jI/edit?ts=57f59391

Sketches

screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-3-42-41-pm screen-shot-2016-10-06-at-3-44-07-pm


Video & Photographs
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0v0C2NFCXOiZUd2b2VuTDJUbmc

20161005_180111 20161005_182815 20161006_162013 20161006_162827 20161006_171733 20161005_175756

Process Journal
The materials that our group chose were LED, a button, and jello. Our process commenced with the exploration and a brainstorm session of ways to integrate our components and specifically find a connect between the LED and jello. We were inclined towards the idea of jello because of its translucent nature, its moldability/malleability, and its unique, permeable texture that would allow an interactive tactile experience. Our thoughts led us from lava lamps to electric eels!

We ideated further and started to think of captivating concepts that could be interactive and fun at the same time. The human brain and the various senses that trigger certain parts of the organ came to mind. We derived our final concept from that germ of thought. We did a lot of research that led us to think of interactive ways to integrate the three components to make it a unique experience.

The experience is meant to take you through a journey of the heightened senses during a state of climax with a click of a button that enhances/lights up the septal, the region of the human ‘jello’ brain that gets activated.  To develop our idea further, we created sketches and a presentation in parallel to further research and multiple trial and error sessions with Arduino.

After multiple rounds of deciphering code, cracking issues with the switch, and much ‘jello-making’ in a brain mould, we built a compact, functional and interactive prototype that worked!

Hot Spot Presentation 
https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1vPZxjAzSR2Ky9C2DEAazNvU21eLddP2Bi2BDAhc9soc/edit?ts=57f26ba8#slide=id.g181ceddd83_0_0

Project Context
All of the following references are a result of some of our research and directly connect with aspects of our project –

http://www.medicaldaily.com/brain-sex-how-brain-functions-during-orgasm-274052
http://bigthink.com/experts-corner/this-is-your-brain-during-orgasm-2
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028124-600-sex-on-the-brain-orgasms-unlock-altered-consciousness/
https://vimeo.com/search?q=arduino+references





https://www.continuuminnovation.com/en/how-we-think/blog/making-music-with-jello

 

 

 

 

 

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