Archives for category: spring 2011

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Here is the “final” documentation for our final project. I enclose final in quotations since this project will continue to grow as we explore more options for sound, materials, and installation possibilities.

video showing soft circuits code :: (in-line audio using audacity with arduino)

video showing cybernetic code :: (piezo speaker and with arduino)


After a few snags in materials and construction, Paola offered us a fantastic solution. She suggested placing fabric around the boxed structure and focus on using the materials that we know work (i.e. the elastic), instead of forcing the materials we considered more aesthetically in line with our concept. As mentioned in a previous post, the elastic works much better in getting a dynamic range from the painted on liquid graphite; the other materials, such as spandex and jersey, ended up breaking the connection too much after a few uses.

Below are the videos documenting our first working prototype for the final piece and a bit of user testing:

The music instrument that I am proposing offers a new form of a hybrid performative experience. The project revolves around patterns: patterns of language, music and visual representation of the two. By analyzing the frequency of each letter key on the typewriter, then grouping them in appropriate sectors that are then converted to a range of MIDI notes, my goal is to create a performative experience where individuals discover the connection between language and music as they play and interact with the MIDI typewriter interface. The visual output will be mapped in a grid similar to a digital MIDI sequencer piano roll notation, where the frequency level appears along the x-axis and the duration moves across the y-axis. My goal is to make the graphical score connect the meaning between the language that’s being typed and the MIDI notes that are being outputted.

please visit my website for more information + documentation
the code is available here

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Schematic — Tlc reference

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<a href="">pcomp1 : IR ranger_1</a>
<a href="">pcomp1 : IR ranger_2</a>

User Testing

Binary Clock

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The first image is a schematic that helped me connect the parallel series LEDs with the Chronodot.

<a href=”Light_Time_workingVersion”>pcomp1 : binary clock</a>


For this project, we are required to use a sharp IR sensor (an infrared range detector) and make something that exhibits calm technology. I started thinking about a specific location in the building of Parsons on the 10th floor where 4 separate areas meet in one small space. Because there is so much traffic going in various directions, it is hard to see if someone is walking, or sometimes running, around the corner. I’ve noticed that people accidentally run into each other because of the blind spots created by the corners of the walls. So, the role of my project is to prevent human collision and create a visual indicator that will indicate if someone is approaching the area and from what direction. Because the IR sensor picks up a very short distance in range, I need to do some testing and figure out where to place the sensor, giving it a jump start (few seconds) to detect that a person is moving towards this small area.

Images of area & prototype sketch:

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Some things to consider

Look & Feel:

I need to figure out exactly where I should set up the IR sensor and the visualization. The lights need to be noticeable, but not right above the doorway. One question I have is regarding color and how I can prevent using red and green as indicators. I am not sure if this will work, but maybe with the right placement and use of fading in and out of the LEDs. I am thinking that the LEDs will slowly animate from low to high (nearby to too close).


Input : sharp IR sensor

Output : some sort of LED display that visualizes a person approaching this area. I will be using a PWM driver, TLC5940, which will allow me to use up to 16 LEDS and create a calm gradient or wave of color as the person walks towards it. (which will be shown in the opposite space)

Overview ::
For these prototypes, we painted the liquid graphite (no base) directly onto small piece of each substrate, then connected them to Arduino. Overall we found that the sonic success of this project is heavily dependent upon the fabric used. The woven jersey was the least responsive to the ink; it cracked under the pressure of pushing thereby losing the connection needed to sustain the connection. The spandex was very responsive; it did not crack and held the connection. The black elastic was by far the most responsive, but more out of line with our original concept. Our next step is to try silkscreening the pattern onto the fabric to see if it will hold the connections better.

Spandex ::

The properties of spandex are friendlier than the jersey. The material absorbs the paint, so cracking is not an issue at this point in the usage process. The only “faulty” aspect is the warp of the fabric where the paint is, but I think this can be exploited with a different pattern printed onto the material.

Elastic ::

This test went extremely well; the elastic absorbs the graphite thereby increasing and solidifying connections.

Woven Jersey ::

This is a first prototype for our final project in Soft Circuits. As you can see, jersey doesn’t hold the paint very well; all of the cracks prevent any type of connection. However, before the cracks occurred, this design produced a much more dynamic range of sound than a simple strip.

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Liquid graphite
Fabric Substrate
(shown here: woven jersey, elastic band, spandex)
Paint brush
Electrical tape

For this assignment, we were asked to use the New Haven Display – (NHD-0220D3Z-NSW-BBW model)

First I connected the LCD screen to my arduino, using 5V, ground and the RX pin (RS232 Serial input port)

Here is a sketch of my ascii characters: (I translated the bit numbers to hex)

Here’s a video showing my custom characters :

ascii code

In class, we extended this assignment and worked with a couple different libraries.

This video shows what I programmed using the Software Serial Library:

code : lcd ascii with library : software serial

Here’s a video showing how I used the New Soft Serial Library:

code : lcd ascii with library : new soft serial