Category Archives: Experiements

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This week our interactive bin project is starting to visually and technically coming to fruition. The boxes have now been painted plus we have soldered all the LED wires  on the outside of the box that will house them, to longer wires to fit into the breadboard we have acquired.  We tested the LED’s with resistors that were slightly too high. This resulted in the LED’s dulling. After a bit of calculation we bought 180ohm resistors which fixed the problem. Here is a photoshop visualization of the final product in action. Gallery Scridb filter

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A Sense of Motion

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This week our Interactive 8Bit bin contemporary art project has started taking shape. The front panel that holds the perspex pixels has been CNC machined to perfection! We also re-appropriated an Airwick IR motion sensor to detect when rubbish is being placed in the bin. We changed our programming to accept the sensor into digital pin 2 and play a random LED sequence once the sensor has been activated. Another member of the group put together a a max patch that also plays random 8 bit (Chip Tune) sounds when the sensor is activated. It takes in a number of samples created using a plugin called Bitspeek within an Audio editing application. We also managed to get a fantastic speaker for a good price  Airwick IR Motion Sensor Test   Mighty Dwarf Speaker and Max Patch Test   An Example of the max patch   Photos Scridb filter

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Getting Practical

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This week we have been getting on with the build of our contemporary art project. We decided the best course of action would be to build the bin ourselves using recycled materials. We built the bin to the same scale as the matching 8Bit LED display so that they resemble large pixels. This week we also built the cardboard boxes that will house the LED’s. They will also have a diffusing material inside to spread the light evenly across the perspex cover. The perspex has has been sand blasted to also help diffuse the light from being a circular shape. We have programmed the Arduino Mega to generate a random number and display a particular light sequence depending on the random number. Another member of the class has taken PIR sensor from an air freshener. This sensor is exactly what we need as the LDR would mean we need a lid on the bin. We really would prefer not to do this as that would add another step to the person disposing the rubbish into a bin. If they can simply drop it in a box it may not deter them from doing it. This is about getting people to place their rubbish in a bin and not over the edge of the living bridge! During the Easter break we plan to come together to get the sensor set up to the sequences of the LED lights. We have ordered 30 LEDs from china and should be here within a week. When we start coming to the fruition of the build we will begin the promotion of the 8Bit Bin. Eimear has already began drawing up design of our 8Bit logo. Scridb filter

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The Role of the Body

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On Friday last 3 members of the class presented a seminar on the role of the body within interaction design. They discussed how interaction can become more engaging, experimental and intuitive by directly engaging with interactive artifacts rather than a mediating input device.Areas looked at were; wearable computing, gesture recognition and the power of brainwaves as a control device. Activities in these areas were carried out to test the effectiveness of this type of Human-Computer interaction. First there was the Magic Device. We were given an futuristic electronic badge that could have the functionality of anything. There were ten functions given to us and we decided how the magic device would complete this task. Our group chose finding a space in the car park. We decided the device would be scanned at each row of the car park by an electronic pole. the pole would then change its colour to green or red depending on the availability of a space. But this is a magic device! Why stop there! We also added the idea of a holographic display emanating from the device showing where the space was. Also the driver could book the space. The next activity explored the area of gesture-based interactions. We were given a set of everyday computational tasks e.g. copying a file, turning on a laptop etc. Our group chose to copy a file. There were four in our group so we decided to stay away from the traditional idea of gesture based interaction such as making a square shape with thumbs and fingers to take a picture. We wanted to explore the idea of using all four of us to copy a file. We stood in a line and the person behind would tap the person in front which made us spread out like copies! The last activity involved a more out-there approach to the role of the body. One of the presenters brought in a star wars game where the user puts on a headset that reads the brain waves of a person and translate them into message that lifts a ball in a tube. This seminar was of particular interest to me as my project will have users that will only have the use of their body to navigate and control the environment. It was fantastic to see how involved and excited the class became when they weren’t stuck to their chairs, humped over, face first into a screen. I will definitely be researching the resources available on the wiki page. Scridb filter

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Getting Organized

On Wednesday I met my supervisor who advised me to start managing my research content. By doing this early on I will be able to access information I have collected fast and efficiently. To tackle this I have set up a Delicious account. Here I can bookmark links I have found that are relevant and organize them into stacks. My account can be viewed here. I also have began writing up the thesis. I have labeled all sections that are required and for now I will put information that I think will fit into the section and its reference to keep me on track so I’m not searching for information that I have found months prior. I have been researching the possibility of integrating the move.me SDK with Unity. I have found a number of documentation that supports it such as this wiki for example. Now what worries me is the fact there is no native plugin for Unity. I created an account with the Unity Answers Community and I have been inquiring about this subject. I have found a plugin for the Move called uniMove but it is only available for mac. I have emailed the author of the wiki for further information. Scridb filter

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Multiplexed!

After taking a look into the technical aspects of our build we realized that the Arduino only has 13 outputs and we need 32. To over come this we have been researching a method known as multiplexing and charlieplexing. This approach allows us to regulate the 5 volts that the Arduino allocates to each pin on a clock to a number of LED’s using a shift register. Basically each LED is attached to one pin of the shift register and it is counting up to 8 bits and lighting each one incrementally. So fast that the eye can’t see the LED turn on and off. This is a very simplified explanation of multiplexing. Below is a video that goes into greater detail. below is an example of our attempt of using this method to light 8 LEDs from 3 Pins on the Arduino. We succeeded in doing this but it was very tedious and complicated with more the set up of electrical components over the programming aspect. With time constraints in mind we have decided to look into the Arduino mega.   Experiment Scridb filter

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Experimenting with Arduino

For the last couple of weeks Mikael Fernstrom has introduced us to the Arduino. We were given a basic kit consisting of the Arduino, Piezo sensor, a potentiometer, resisters, light dependent resistors and wires. Before we began attaching electrical components and programming the Arduino we were introduced to the fundamentals of electronics. We looked at measurements and schematics examples of a curcit layouts of different components e.g switches, capacitors, sensors etc. Once familiar with the logic of electronics the experimentation began. The first program manipulated the piezo sensor (normally a pressure sensor) to play a melody. Following that we re-appropriated examples given by the Arduino programming environment. e.g. to accept analog inputs and outputs, to change the LED blink rate using the light dependent resister and to change the LED blink rate using the potentiometer as a dimmer switch. Scridb filter

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