May 4, 2012

The DRILL SYNTH (there’s gotta be a hammer-time joke in here somewhere). Really enjoyed working with this tiny speaker (and very quiet, you’ll have to listen to the video closely). I decided to attach a potentiometer to my drill so that it’s inertial force would allow for the pot I turn with the rotation of the drill - this controls the pitch of the speaker and it’s great fun as a toy, probably not the greatest instrument.

May 4, 2012

The amazing beer can light switch - soldered my wire to the conductive tab at the top but the can itself is not conductive, so my other lead was taped to the metal cutout portion. When the tab touches down to the can, the led turns on. If this were fabricated on an unopened, full can of beer (with some insulating material to hold over until first user comes) there could be a lot of great gimicky results (and I would still have a beer)

May 3, 2012
Localized Light Meter (Final Project)

For my final project, I chose to give an attempt at my “fantasy device” described in concept here.  To sum up, this tool would be used in tandem with a large format (4x5 in this case) photography as a light meter that could indicate the relative light levels (that is, the amount of luminance) hitting that particular part of the negative as a means to previsualizing the image to follow since the varying amounts of light hitting each portion of the film is directly correlated to the tones resultant in the final image.

From the outset, I intended for this project to largely be a proof of concept.  This was particularly due to the Arduino Uno only having 6 analog inputs — the meter’s effectiveness is increased with every added photocell.  An alternate design that I have since thought of could have been to use a single cell that could be moved about the frame driven by a motor so that separate readings could be taken at any point on the frame.

In the end, I was able to construct the meter, with it fitting into a camera perfectly (modularity was a cornerstone of the motivation for this project), giving back values and having a software-based interface.  The calibration of the photocells ended up being one of the most difficult elements of this project, and honestly my math skills were not polished quite enough to get truly calibrated values, but more on that after the jump.

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March 30, 2012
Interactive Block-in-Hole Game (Midterm Project)


For our midterm project we decided to animate what is normally a fairly static toy for a child.  Insipiration (of course), came from which my teammate Josue introduced to us.

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March 4, 2012
Fantasy Device


Although “fantasy” doesn’t typically elicit such thoughts, I am aiming for something that is very practical (to myself at least).  I work frequently with large format cameras (as seen above) and am able to take full advantage of the “zone system” (read more here) as such.  Essentially, the zone system is a means of controlling the various technical aspects of photography to as fine a degree necessary to be able to visualize the final print before ever snapping the shutter.  The core of this philosophy is recognizing the photograph as a relation of tones within the frame — this task being well-suited to the large glass on which large format photographs are composed.  This interaction is certainly an intimate one, with my face pressed uncomfortably close, under a cloth to gain the finest degree of precision possible in composition.  Unfortunately, these same strengths force the photographer to look elsewhere in understanding the tonal (rather than structural) elements of the subject.  Typically one uses a spot light meter that uses a very narrow angle of view (precision in what is being metered is key).  I would like to bridge these unnecessarily separate functions into one so as to make the process of visualization that much more seamless.  It works well that these cameras take a standard-sized film holder (the position of the film must be identical to that of the composing glass) — I plan to bring the metering portion inside of one of these holders.  In this way, one can be sure that what has been composed, is what is being metered.  


With the large size (4x5” in my case) of this film compared to the small size of photoresistors should make it possible to read out localized (within the negative, thus within the subject photographed) light values.  In this way, it should match up very well with the zone system in that measuring light occurs in meaningful, small portions of the photograph, as seen above.  The results would need to check for similarities across local areas of sensors.  Using the scene above as an example, I would need to be able to tease out the similar (but slightly different) values of the sensors corresponding to the snowy peaks to see that this is light from one element of the subject and should be interpreted as such.  This information might be best output visually on a computer screen and compared side-by-side with the composition on the glass to see what values correspond with which elements.


February 15, 2012

For my switch, I ventured a little further into our kit and figured out how to use a photoresistor as analog input.  I used this value to adjust my “time” variable so that the LED would blink more rapidly as ambient light dimmed.  And thus, I have an LED that is afraid of darkness — not sure if this is irony?  Below is my code, will post a video shortly.

const int led = 2;
const char photo = A0;
int time = 1000;

void setup() {
  pinMode(led, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(photo, INPUT);

void loop() {
  int sensorValue = analogRead(photo);
  time = sensorValue;

February 1, 2012
Defining Interaction


Our popular understanding of interactivity has improved a bit in the decade since this text was published.  I think we’ve moved past the point of assuming that any use of the computer is “interactive”, but one portion of Crawford’s definition is still often overlooked today.  Input and output (or speaking and listening) is not enough to make for (meaningful) interaction — thinking is critical.  And it is in the thinking that interactivity is granted spirit and direction.  Considering this issue at the level of society rather than the individual reveals that if there is only speaking and listening, there is no progress, merely spinning wheels.  The toy above illuminates this fact well.  The blocks provide a very simple environment, a reactive one.  But keeping in mind that something can be “interactive for the child … just as surely as it is not interactive for adults” we can see thought on the part of both actors.  That a square peg doesn’t fit into a round hole comes as no surprise to those already containing that knowledge but it must have taken a great deal of consideration to realize that such a reactionary event might be an educational one for the child — one in which this new information solidifies their understanding of matter.  Of course, for the reasons above, the same toy does not serve the same purpose for the adult who doesn’t need to think about whether or not the atoms extending from the square peg will block its entry into the round hole.

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