“I see you” workshop 4

Workshop 4 (thermodynamic paint and ambient devices)

In class exercise


We used the dyed pieces of fabric in the thermodynamic paint and and even the thread.

After the material is dry, you can attach three 3v batteries to form 9v to run current through the thread. The other thing you could do is, use your brad board and the 5V on the arduino. This works, but a small length of thread.





I conducted research using the worksheet provided in class. While I was going through the sheet I came up with a rough idea on what the ambient device could be. In class our brief was to think of something which is subtle and in the environment. After looking over all the examples of various ambient devices presented in class, I was very drawn to the thermodynamic paint.

Workshop 4 worksheet
Workshop 4 worksheet


1.Display information that is critical not important.

 device displays information whenever someone is close to a home. It uses a proximity sensor to change the color of the certain “parts” of the painting informing homeowners if somebody is outside or is approaching their house. It is subtle yet displays important information without being loud or intrusive.


  1. Can move from the periphery to the focus of attention and back again

This would be a painting or piece of artwork that homeowners buy to decorate their homes. These painting which are usually seen as decorative items, could also be ambiently informative.

drawing of ambient device intended use
drawing of ambient device intended use
  1. Focus on the tangible; representations in the environment.

People spend a lot of money purchasing art for their homes. Usually this is used to enhance their environment. I was thinking about making such things more informative.


  1. Provide subtle changes to reflect updates in information (should not be distracting)

The paint will will subtle change due to the electric signals being sent when mapped to the proximity sensor readings.


5) Aesthetically pleasing and environmentally appropriate.

Most homeowners have art of some kind in their home, whether they purchase high end art or ikea, these pieces are used to decorate homes. Thes pieces apart from being aesthetically pleasing, display a lot of important information.

Testing out the sensor


When I tested out the sensor with the battery pack it didn’t seem to work, The colour of the thread nor the paint changed. Hopefully this could be resolved in the future iteration by stitching a straight line.


The idea is for the proximity sensor which would send electrical pulses to activate the sensor by changing the colour of the thread.


This uses the readings for five seconds and calibrates the sensor reading.

The second part of the code sketch tells the microchip to fade away. This helps with the ambience of the sensor instead of having it just go on and off.



Learnings and future considerations

  1. Ambient devices and sensors help are great way to build a world which is ubiquitous and meshes with software seamlessly.
  2. I used the thermodynamic painted fabrics we had done in class, but the one thing I would like to experiment with in the future is the use of memory shape alloys. I would like to so a mix of thermodynamic paint and alloys to build a moveable sculpture like something that comes out the painting.
  3. when using these devices make sure the current range is what is necessary. Make sure to do a running stitch instead of a mish mash like I did.