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.”

FINAL : Physical Computing

Physical Computing FINAL : START

The Project: I have chosen to create an installation that uses video tracking to control a VCR.

The Plan:

As the user watches a television screen on which the content is displayed a camera attached to the television tracks their eye movement. The pixels are captured into Processing and the darkest part of the pupil is tracked. Processing talks serially to a PIC microcontroller which, in turn controls a hacked VCR. The VCR displays the content to the TV screen.

all:most state machine diagram.jpg
This cycle opens up possiblilities of strong artistic statement and relevent content. The user’s eye “controls” the content which in turn “controls” the user’s eye.

The Process:
(week one)

Things are still very buggy as I concentrate on the physical computing side of controlling the VCR serially through Processing.
thumbs up pcomp.jpg

VIEW the clip

whether man

Industrial Design Final Project : Make a thermometer.

The result: follow the makings of a human thermometer.
whether man 11-25-05.jpg

whether gets press!!!


whether man OBSERVER.jpg

jackie o’ver easy

Industrial Design Project 3 : BENT

The Project:

Use The New Media Center’s laser cutter to etch or cut a “pattern” into a material. Bend the materials to make a new object, practical or otherwise. The BENT project is the most loosely defined project in the Industrial Design class to date. We are encouraged to play.

The result:

I chose to experiment with new materials. The laser cutter allows a cut more intricate and precise than a traditional hand cut. It uses heat to burn through or etch into a material.

The white of an egg changes consistency and color when heated. My goal is to use the laser cutter to precicely “cook” a pattern into an egg.

The pattern:
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

The process:
jackie o eggwhites.jpg
A glass ashtray was used to hold the whites in place while the laser raster etched an Adobe Illustrator file of an image of Jacquline Kennedy Onassis into the white of an egg.

The result:
A thin layer of cooked egg was extracted and is in refrigerated storage.

cardboard chair

The long awaited finale to the Cardboard Chair Project:

But is it sittable?




Applications of Interactive Telecommunications : BUS

The Project:

Take the M5 bus from Houston and LaGuardia to the last stop – The George Washington Bridge – and return.

Make notes of what you find surprising – e.g. changing neighborhoods, changing people, changing architecture, or none of these – and write your own personal experience of the trip – observing, imagining, and reacting to New York.

The assignment is a short 5 page personal story of your experience. If you choose to create media, a short written piece is required as well.

The Result:

Picture 2.jpg

eyes to the soul.

This week marks the start of the second PCOMP group project. You can view a description of the project
under “Project 2.” Ed Purver, Brijetta Hall, Summer Bedard and I will be working together. Summer has put together a website where you can view some of what we are thinking…about doing. Week four’s (servo) lab results are also posted here.
- or -
watch the week four video

A brief outline of Project II

The Device: A window

The Action: Opening and closing a window

Other actions considered: cleaning the window, writing/drawing on the window

The Medium: 1. Sound
2. Temperature
3. Viewpoint
4. Smell
5. Communication.

The Goal: To affect change in the immediate environment.

By opening the window, the participant changes their immediate environment by making changes in the above mediums.

The degree of change in each medium is variable, according to how wide the window is opened. For example, if the window is opened just a crack, then there is only a small change in the sound and in the temperature, and the viewpoint does not change. However, if the window is opened wide, then there are much greater changes in sound and temperature, and viewpoint can be changed by leaning out of the window.

Different degrees of opening affect varying degrees of change in different mediums. For example, a window that is open just a crack may not immediately change the temperature of a room, but may quickly change the smell of a room.

The Physical Parameters of the Action:
Opening a window requires physically moving part of its structure.

Observations on this action:
1. Often requires both hands
2. Often an awkward activity that requires the exertion of force (usually pushing or pulling) from an uncomfortable
position, such as bending down, or reaching up.
3. Often hard to position body close to the window, due to furniture, heaters, other obstacles, or the position of the window itself.
4. Sometimes the window will not stay open
5. Different designs of window require different specific actions. For example, pushing up vertically as opposed to pushing out horizontally, or winding a handle as opposed to pulling down.
6. Sometimes hard to make the window stay open.

What patterns appear when the action is repeated?
1. Desire for change in the environment.
2. Build up and release of force.
3. Reaching, pushing, pulling.
4. Pausing. Suspension of action as the window is opened.
5. Increased awareness of senses as environment changes: smell, hearing, sight, sense of touch.

Physical characteristics of the device
1. Creates a variable, transparent boundary between an “outside” environment and an “inside” environment.
2. Security: locks.
3. Heat/Sound efficiency: double glazing
4. Frame
5. Design for motion: hinges, pulleys/weights, etc
6. Design for physical interaction; hand grips, handles, etc
7. Safety: not falling out
8. Enclosed in a greater structure, such as a wall.

What are the physical characteristics of the medium that are a given?

We think that the only given is that change has to be affected in the immediate environment, and that this change is physically initiated and controlled by the user. The glass of the window could possibly be replaced by video screen or projection. The device could be a “virtual window” or some kind of reference to a window.

past PCOMP work.