Fall 2008 ICM/PCOMP final project page
by Juri Imamura, NOV-DEC 2008
This is a page dedicated to providing my progress of final projects for Introduction to Computational Media (ICM) and
Introduction to Physical Computing (PCOMP) classes in Fall 2008 term at Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).
Week 1 (Nov 5-12): Concept DEVElopment
I originally had two separate ideas for two classes, but I eventually decided to work on a single
concept that applies to both classes.
(1) Original idea for PCOMP
I was thinking of creating a remote device/tool that tells users a status of the selected food in a refridgerator,
aimed at solving everyday problems of people forgetting food in the fridge, end up shopping same groceries
twice or have them expired.
I presented this idea during PCOMP class on November 5, and got following responses:
- Scalability, start with a small-scale project
- Focus on one product to communicate for a prototype purpose (i.e. WiFi Milk)
- Will people bother to scan their food everytime they buy things?
- Research: there is a fridge that has similar functions
- Perhaps you can think of the behavior of users (i.e. using technology to keep recipes, shopping list, etc)
After I received a feedback from classmates at PCOMP class, I started thinking about different approaches
and different possibilities, ideas and inspirations for my final project.
I felt so stuck. I decided I needed to get away from my frustration for a while. I walked around SoHo area,
taking randompictures of buildings and shop interiors that caught my attention. I also went to MoMA and
spent an entire day observng and being inspired by the works of Van Gogh and Juan Miro.
At MoMA, I came across this photography of a spider web by a German artist Rosemarie Trockel.
I was not familiar wth the artist, but I was shocked and amazed by the power of nature, organic yet
pretty complex structure. I thought it was so beautiful. I think I was standing in front of the piece for
a while, thinking what made the piece so special to me.
The more I thought about it, the stronger I felt I wanted to make something that follows my instinct
and heart, something beautiful and organic. The problem that I had suddenly became clear. I was trying
to be too practical for some reason. And I was forgetting to have FUN.
So, I wondered about what I wanted to achieve this semester: I wanted to make something that FUN
- something PORTABLE? I want to put it on my desk and play with when I'm bored.
- something 3D.
- something that uses basic algorithm in Processing.
- something that allows me to familiarize myself with serial communicaions and sensors like accelerometers.
Concept: To create a toy that responds to the way you move it.
I was inspired by child toys and Japanese traditional doll called Okiagari-Kobushi.
I'm think of making an organic structure and surface, with small LCD screen embedded to the front,
where I will display an array of small creatures, which will roll, rotate, fall, bounce,(and perhaps yell
at you when you roll too hard) etc..when you interact with it. And no matter how hard you roll it, it will
automatically roll back to the original position.
Ideally, I want the toy to have an organic structure like an egg with a small LCD screen,
BUT first I'm going to use my laptop(screen) and controller(Arduino - accelerometer) for the prototype.
And if the time allows, I will try to use a SDcard to store animated images, each of which will be called
by the accelormeter to be displayed on the small LCD screen.
Here is a short progress video report for the experiment with accelerometer and basic structure vol.1.
Here is the code for Arduino and Processing (as of Nov12)
Photos that show details:
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Week 2 (Nov 13-20): PROGRAMMING & PROTOTYPE DEVELOPMENT
I developed a basic structure/mechanism and programming to have an accelormeter
talk to Processing.
(1) Got my own accelormeter
I finally received an accelormeter that I ordered from Sparkfun a week ago. The accelormeter was so small that
I had difficulty in soldering it to a header until I asked a second year student, Chris, for help. He kindly taught
me how to solder* and within ten minutes I had my accelormeter ready to wire!
*Three easy steps for soldering an accelormeter:
<1> Put a tip of soldering iron at the edge of the point you want to solder. Leave it for 4 seconds.
<2> Let a solder touch the point, which should be warmed up by now. It should immediately melt.
<3> Make melted solder go inside of the hole so each hole is completely covered.
(2) Re-built a circuit
Re-wired and built a new circuit, attached Arduino to a breadboard to make everything compact enough to fit to a
structure I am making.
(3) Built a basic structure vol.2
Next I built an tear-drop structure as the second model, which has a weight installed at the bottom to maintain the balance,
and a small container made of cardboard to hold Arduino/breadboard.
Thank you, Marco, for letting me use your plastic sheet!
(4) Tested serial communication: Arduino and Processing
Then I tested the serial communication with codes that I programmed in week 1. It worked fine
as you can see in the picture below. Remember I had such an unstable value for x position last week,
because I could not solder the accelormeter which I borrowed? This week, with my new accelormeter that
I soldered, it got much better!!! Now I have an ellipse moving without any blinking or flicking movement.
(5) More programming: Processing
As my initial goal was to have Processing imitate the physical movement of an object controlled by
an accelormeter (structure), I studied different ways to represent movement in Processing.
Some examples are as follows:
- A circle that rotates around a circumfence of a larger circle (source code)
- A circle that goes back and forth along a circumfence (source code)
(6) New structure
As I tried serial communication, I figured I needed more solid structure. So I went to Canal Plastics to get a plastic sphere,
and started building the third mock-up. I used plasic sphere, weight (heavy screw), cardboard and tapes.
And voila! Here is the new structure!
The bottom view.
I ended up placing several plexi sheets just to give weight against the weight of Arduino/breadboard.
To sum up, here is the progress video report for week 2:
And here is the code for Arduino and Processing (as of Nov19)
Week 3-4 (NOV 21-DEC 3): PROGRAMMING & PROTOTYPE DEVELOPMENT CONTINUED
(1) What is "chickabiddy"?
"chickabiddy" is my attempt to create a toy that responds to users.
Inspired by tumble dolls, chickabiddy is a rounded, sphere-shaped toy that users can roll, touch, throw and shake,
and a chick inside of the egg will move, bounce, fly or even peep depending on how you move it.
(2) Ideal usage & users
I want users to use "chickabiddy" to entertain themselves when they are bored. It could be break between classes,
or when you feel burnt out and bored at work, at home..etc.
My target users are students and young professionals, who are familiar with digital gadgets.
chickabiddy uses an accelerometer to evaluate the movement of the structure, and Processing application to animate
and visualize the chick.
In terms of structure, I initially want a small LCD screen embedded in the egg structure,
but for the first prototype, I am using Mac (laptop) to substitute the small screen.
(4) Trial of the prototype
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