FINAL : Physical Computing

Physical Computing FINAL : PROGRESS

As I continue work on the eye tracking code in Processing, the microcontroller code in PIC Basic Pro, the IR camera hacking, and the VCR hacking poblems abound. When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions! Follow me:

The Camera:

The original camera I was working with was an infrared sensor b/w camera ordered from All Electronics some three years ago. It has since passed:

As I hacked the 6 individual IR LEDs to lengthen the legs and give flexibility of focus the power was cut and the board divoted beyond repair. Time for a new camerea. And a new hack. Success:

Time to try my hand a hacking a better VCR than the $20 Samsung I have been using. I turn to a forgotten SONY left as a partial sublet payment. It’s got a jog wheel allowing for greater speed control between normal play, fast-forward, and rewind:


These were important factors as the line between “invisible design” and the installation having a sense of self-reference. I chose the VCR over screen based imagery in processing for two reasons. [1] I wanted to hack into a household device, a device of popular culture. A product, a throwaway, consumer trash. [2] A VCR calls attention to itself as a slightly dated device for the mechanization of memory. Contrary to data stored on a hard drive, a video tape shows linerarity. It is our happy days, scandal, nostalgia, and throw away culture manifest.

On to the jog wheel:

The jog wheel poses an interesting challenge. When it was taken apart, and put back together it was broken. Luckily, after 2 hours of jamming my pinkies into the leads, I am starting to get some results. 5 leads control four different controls: PLAY / STOP / INCREASE SPEED / DECREASE SPEED. The reason I am not calling this “fast-forward” and “rewind” is due to the fact that the jog wheel, when turned one click to the right, and in PLAY mode, will increase the speed by 200% (X2). One more click to the right and you have yourself a full-fledged FFW. The same works in reverse. From FFW, one click to the left is “X2″ play. One more click is PLAY. One more is slow motion. Further clicks to the left result in further slow dows and eventual reversal.

All told there are ELEVEN speeds the VCR can feed the tape through the heads:

X2 reverse
reverse play
reverse slow motion
reverse frame by frame
forward frame by frame
forward slow motion
forward play
X2 play

The beauty of this is the fact that these eleven stated result sequentially from only two “button presses.”