The Sensor Technology in Vehicles

The vehicles that we drive – regardless of whether or not this expression is appropriate – are on their way to becoming autonomous mobile environments of their own. The Tesla Model X, unveiled by Elon Musk in 2014, was the first car to incorporate a HEPA style filtration system into its production. Tesla, a corporation whose reach and influence spans from aerospace technology to energy and transportation, saw the feature as a crucial standard for its vehicles. It’s implementation goes beyond that of traditional HEPA filter, and holds within it the ability to neutralize and eliminate pollen, viruses, bacteria, mold, and pollution.

In order to test the highest setting of the Model X’s air filter, Tesla engineers placed a Model X in a large bubble contaminated with extreme levels of pollution (1,000 µg/m3 of PM2.5 vs. the EPA’s “good” air quality index limit of 12 µg/m3). They then closed the falcon doors and activated Bioweapon Defense Mode.

What this chart shows is that the influence of the Model X extends beyond its contained environment, and seeps past its steel and carbon fiber chassis into the world that it drives within. It is this ability of the Tesla to act in three capacities – as an agent of sensing, an agent of environmental filtration, and as a gateway for both indoor and outdoor environmental regulation – that make it such an interesting object in the sphere of citizen sensing technologies.

Beyond the capabilities of Model X is the question of the car itself. Today’s cars are complex systems of sensors. They know how large they are, where they fit, and where they don’t. When and where they can and can’t open their doors. How fast they should be traveling, and when to yield. Today’s cars know how to get to their destination, and they can do it on their own. But it wasn’t always that way. The first cars had no capacity for interpretation. They used combustible engines, and were controlled by wheels and levers that mechanically altered their performance. Turning the steering wheel of a car used to literally turn the wheels of the car. The wheel itself was only a physical extension that shortened the distance between you and the gears below your feet.

From the time that the car was introduced in the mid 1800s until the 1960s, there were no major ‘updates’ to its operation. The first was electronic fuel injection, which gauged and moderated the injection of fuel into the pistons of the engine. Then came the automatic transmission, which moderated the gears and RPM. Then in quick succession were anti-lock braking systems, electronic airbags, and GPS navigation systems. What should be noted here is that in the first vehicles, the humans were the sensors. This is nothing new to those who learned to drive stick shift growing up, where you are taught to sense the vibrations of the motor in order to properly time and execute a shift. Going even further, the need for precise multi-limb coordination was replaced by the automatic transmission, the importance of a good sense of direction was replaced by GPS, and so on. In a sense, each new and important iteration of the automobile was born out of the implementation of a new sensor. And each one of those sensors removed a responsibility of the human to be an engaged actor within the vehicle.

Platform Characteristics of Buildings

“Buildings are the wealth of nations, our largest capital asset, the ornament of cultures, and where we spend most of our lives.” – Stewart Brand

On the 14th of July, 1988, President Mitterand of France announced his intention to build a library in Paris for the modern world. He passed the logistics of this task onto the committee of the “Association pour la Bibliothèque de France,” who over the following months deliberated over the proposals of 244 internationally renowned architects. Four of these proposals were brought to President Mitterand for comment, and Dominique Perrault – a lesser known 36 year old French architect at the time – was chosen to complete the task.

Inaugurated in December of 1996, the French National Library’s four towers stand at 259 feet tall. Their 2,690,978 square feet of surface area is often categorized by its lack of decoration, where thick sheets of glass – intended to refract the sun’s rays – enclose it and its users in a greenhouse where temperatures rise high enough to increase the aging of books on the shelves. As a result, slabs of wood were added at each window, giving users their necessary shade. This monumentally increased the construction costs of the FNL, and caused the French Finance Ministry to cut the budget for book purchasing in the following years.

The question of buildings as platforms is complex. The ‘building codes’ that guide construction and the political systems through which these considerations are formulated, the architects, planners, contractors, and labor demanded, the users who inhabit and modify, and the physical construction – wood, concrete, and metal hide beneath, creating an exoskeleton of services – are all at play.

Looking to the example of the French National Library above, we see an instance in which various actors made predictions that resulted in disaster for various users, and where these decisions brought with them new platform rules. Using this same conceptual framework we are pushed to evaluate who acts as a user in the platform of the FNL. Professors and students? Books?

As platforms, buildings organize human activity, display a manifestation of tradeoffs, and profess user identity. Buildings are only started and never completed. They are in a constant stage of transformation. They moderate and compete with their users, like platforms, locking and unlocking possibilities. Buildings come and go, in the most severe form, of demolition and reconstruction.

Buildings as platforms constantly take up roles never intended by their designers. Coffee shops, for example, can serve as meeting venues, napping spaces, and concert halls all while still being coffee shops.

Buildings in certain ways are also stacks. We see this through British journalist Stewart Brand’s investigation of the shearing layers of a building in his 1997 documentary “How Buildings Learn”. Working from the outside in, a building begins with a site. This location is eternal. Next follows the skin, a thin layer of visible of material that composes the facade, physically visible from the outside. Behind this facade is the structure of the building, which is composed of all load bearing elements. Between the the inner facade and the outer facade – or the interior design – is the service layer, where pipes and wiring intertwine to give the building life. And on the innermost point is the stuff. These layers are constantly in conversation with each other, sometimes moderated by the user, and sometimes not.

Shanghai’s Xujiahui

Since its establishment in 1847 by French Jesuits, the Xujiahui Library (also known as Bibliotheca Zi-ka-wei) has stayed intact despite the fall of the last dynasty, wars both world and civil, and political and economic reforms and upheavals (King). It stood as the first public library in Shanghai – and the first public library in modern Chinese history – as well as a historical location for many important events that influenced the flourish of Catholicism in China. Following its founding in 1847, it became a repository of scholarly knowledge and at its peak housed over 200,000 different volumes. It was also known for its writings in Chinese and European languages of missions in China and abroad. Standing across from the library sit the both St. Ignatius Cathedral and the Xujiahui Observatory. Founded in 1872, the Xujiahui Observatory was one of the world’s foremost observatories for the continuous long-term evaluation and collection of climatological data. It also produced the first weather chart of East Asia in 1895, and became a hub for meteorological, astronomical, geomagnetic and marine research. The St. Ignatius Cathedral was originally constructed in 1851, and then reconstructed and enlarged between 1906 and 1910 by English architect William Doyle. It was known as the great cathedral of the far East, and could house almost three thousand worshipers at once.

I propose an expository documentary that takes on the role of decoding the lasting survival of these monuments, and that investigates their historical significance – as well as the role of other landmarks and relics of Xujiahui – as a part of a diasporic settlement that was mediated by the Jesuits and that served the role of a “cultural and geographical crossroads between the East and West” in Shanghai (King). This documentary could thus take on many different scopes. One of those would be the architectural history of these sites, as well as the specific events, people, and stories that are tied to their founding. Some of those people might include Xuguangqi (1562-1633), one of the most important early Chinese Catholics closely associated with Matteo Ricci (1552–1610), the founder of the Jesuit China mission. This documentary could also investigate their role as a hub for mediation of culture and knowledge by the Jesuits themselves. What role did they play and what role do these institutions still play? Because of the complexities of this story, the scope of the documentary will largely depend on the interests and willingness to participate of our subjects. Possible subjects for the documentary include:

Joanna Waley-Cohen, the Provost for NYU Shanghai. Her research interests include early modern Chinese history; China and the West; and Chinese imperial culture, especially in the Qianlong era.

Francesca Tarocco, visiting Associate Professor of Buddhist Cultures at NYU Shanghai. Tarocco’s research interests are in the cultural history of China, Chinese Buddhism, visual culture and urban Asia.

Davide Cucino, Chairman of Italy Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of Fincantieri China since January 2017, who graduated from Venice Ca’Foscari University in Oriental Studies, and studied Chinese History at Beijing University.

Lena Scheen, Assistant Professor of Global China Studies at NYU Shanghai. Scheen is a member of the Urban Knowledge Network of Asia (UKNA). Scheen’s research explores the social and cultural impact of China’s fast urbanization, focusing on Shanghai.

King, Gail. “The Xujiahui (Zikawei) Library of Shanghai.” Libraries & Culture, vol. 32, no. 4, 1997, pp. 456–469. JSTOR

Hanbury-Tenison, William, and Anthony E. Clark. “Seminary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (1932–35).” The Memoirs of Jin Luxian: Volume One: Learning and Relearning, 1916-1982, Hong Kong University Press, 2012, pp. 37–42. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1xcs3t.14.

Golvers, N. “Old Provenances of the Western Books in the Former (And Current) Xujiahui (Zikawei)-Library, Shanghai.” Sino-Western Cultural Relations Journal, vol. 36, Sept. 2014, pp. 25-42. EBSCOhost

Liu, Yu. “The Complexities of a New Faith: Xu Guangqi’s Acceptance of Christianity.” Journal of Religious History, vol. 37, no. 2, June 2013, pp. 228-244.

Titangos, Hui-Lan H.1, titangosh@santacruzpl.org. “Xujiahui Library: A Cultural Crossroads between East and West.” Chinese Librarianship, no. 41, June 2016, pp. 1-19. EBSCOhost

Xujiahui Cathedral

Xujiahui Observatory

Xujiahui Library

Map of Xujiahui — just southwest of the Library lies the cathedral, and just East of the cathedral is the hall of XuGuangQi. Possible flying concerns are the willingness of the people who run/own/operate these buildings to participate. The neighborhood sits just outside of the airport regulated no-fly-zone.

Shanghai Qinci Yangdian Daoist Temple: An Aerial Perspective

This documentary will investigate the historical origins of the Shanghai Qinci Yangdian Daoist Temple, located at the corner of Zhangyang road and Yuanshen road, just fifteen minutes from the NYU Shanghai academic building.

Daoism, in the context of ‘Chinese religion’, is the religion of the local. Daoist temples and ritual practices often date back to specific ancestral lines, and involve priests and sacred objects that hold meaning within their locality. Daoist religious spaces carry architectural elements that help to differentiate them from other Chinese religious spaces. Daoist roofs, for example, are inscribed and decorated with ornate figurines, multicolored tiles, and clay sculptures, all of which symbolize localized elements of each Daoist temple. Aerial perspectives would allow us as filmmakers to give a unique view of the liveliness and imaginative nature of Daoist architecture and Daoist religious spaces.

Site specific interviews with local daoist priests and practitioners in addition to interviews with local religious experts and historians (Francesca Tarocco, Lena Scheen, etc) would help guide this conversation. Further on site footage could include the carrying out of rituals, performances, and music. This documentary would be conducted in Chinese and English accordingly.

Saadiyat Dash: a locative media game

For my locative media game I really wanted to do something that involved the Saadiyat campus since I’ve spent so much time here. I was thinking a lot about how during my time here, I never wander. Whenever I leave a location I always have somewhere to go next and I almost never stop somewhere else on the way. Because of this, I decided I wanted to turn this daily routine of getting solely from point A to point B into a bit of a location based game.

THE RULES
I divided the Abu Dhabi campus into 6 sections.
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I wanted to include an old game method in my new location based game, so I decided to incorporate dice. To play the game, you roll one die three times. The first role determines point A, the second role determines point B, and the third role determines one of 6 conditions.

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For example, If I rolled a 1, a 5, and a 1, I would have to get from the Campus Center to the center of the A5 building. In addition to this, I would not be allowed to come into contact with the sun. The game is meant to be played during the daytime between two people, or in teams of 3. There are different ways that you can win each round depending in the different conditions.

The conditions were specifically chosen because of the landscape of the Abu Dhabi campus and its architecture.

Some interesting findings during play testing.

The parking garage was a large asset to people who wanted to avoid the sun. However, it is very easy to get lost in the parking garage, especially if you do not know the different corridors and their numbers.

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Some parts of the parking garage are only accessible by elevator, so this definitely affects movement from one part of the campus to another.

A lot of the campus incorporates different triangle elements into its architecture, which is where the idea for the condition about not being able to step on triangle tiles came from. This was a really tricky one, and required game testers to use a combination of the high line, the parking garage, and the ground floor to get from point A to point B.

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Mapping Buenos Aires

When I first decided to use Asiya’s park data about Buenos Aires I didn’t know what I wanted to show the viewer. I messed around a lot with park size, accessibility, and a few other constraints. I knew it would be challenging to map a place without 1)ever having been there and 2) having a very limited dataset. I think its very clear to me now that data collectors and the mappers have very different ideas of what will happen to the data and how it will be used to communicate a point.

I decided what to do with the data after I came across this article by CNN.

The article discusses a study that concluded that living near nature was linked to living a longer life. I was really fascinated by this idea, and started thinking about how problematic this relationship is. I then started thinking about real estate, and how expensive in big cities to live near green space.

This led me to Sothebys, the international auction house, and their Buenos Aires website. When I compared the data set that Sothebys had on their houses for sale, it was clear that there was a correlation to Asiya’s data. (Sotheby’s data here)

In order to better convey this message to the user, I decided to make large transparent circles around the parks that Asiya had planted, and small dots where the Sotheby’s data was. This way, I could how easy it is for someone who owns expensive real estate in Buenos Aires to travel to the park.

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From the center of a large circle to the edge, it is about a 5-7 minute walk.

You can find the code for my map on the IMA github.

Streetcat Scan: an Eddystone Beacon Project

For my Eddystone Beacon project I originally planned on using beacons to send notifications to peoples phones. On the Abu Dhabi campus, you often walk past buildings like the Arts Center or the Social Sciences building but aren’t aware that just beyond the doors there is a gallery opening or a speech being given. I wanted to help make these events more visible and allow people to ‘see inside’ the buildings while just walking past.

I spent a lot of time testing the EVO Things iBeacon sketch with both Androids and iPhones and was never able to successfully get a notification sent from the background to the phone. I also had the larger issue of building the database that would allow users to submit data via forums that could then be sent out through the beacons. Because of these two larger issues, I decided to pivot to something more simple, yet still meaningful.

Because I had been experimenting with cats and location based cat media this semester, I chose to make an app that detects when the StreetCat has entered the engineering design studio and displays the last time that the cat was seen there. I made the application and edited the .js through the evothings viewer.

The technical aspect of the app is simple. You attach a beacon and a battery to the cat, and use an iPhone or iPad to run the app. When the cat comes within a certain distance, the timer resets.

img_3620
Here is what the application looks like optimized for iPhone

I had trouble trying to figure out what RSSI values worked best for the cat and the best way to detect when it had entered the room. I did a lot of data testing outside the lab and plotted the points and RSSI values. You can see them below.

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The iPad is displayed in the kitchen of the engineering design studio. I chose this location because the cat comes here often, and when it enters the room it almost always goes to the kitchen for food. In addition, there is a lot of other data displayed in the kitchen (tweets, other projects, etc) so it its in with the space.

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In order to attach the beacon to the cat, I designed a small canister that fits the beacon, a 100 ma battery, and a small perf board which I soldered the components onto.

You can see a short video of the project here:

The cat unfortunately didn’t like wearing the collar, and tried to tear it off every time it was placed on her. I still need to come up with a better way to attach it to her.

Exif tool exercise

Dylan 1 image – taken in Hiroshima Japan

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Dylan 2 image – location, Dubai

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Dylan image 3 — Myanmar

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Woodruff and Szetela

This specific tool gives users the ability to view the four different google layers separately but at the same time. What doesn’t work: its clunky when it comes to entering specific placed. The location will always be in the map, but not always in the orientation you want, and when you drag around one of the maps it would be useful to be able to link dragging perspective for all of the maps, so if I want to explore then I can do so without individually dragging. What I find both frustrating and exciting about Szetela’s work is its absence of explanation. Users can easily interact without out really knowing what’s going on, and gain insight that would otherwise be lost.

You don’t get this with Woodruff’s work. Most of his data analysis and data visualizations drive people to conclusions. He works with very set and determined variables. They both seem to have very drastically different approaches (Szetela and Woodruff) to their work and I think that if each artist were to incorporate each others methods the results would be promising. If Woodruff for example were to take away information and make users interact with the data before they even knew what it was, in a similar style to that of Szetela, his users would benefit.

http://imaginedlocation.com/maplayers/index.html

Boston’s photographic colors

Location Aware Music

I watched Ryan Holladay’s TED talk on location-aware music. To me, the idea of location aware music really stems from our very personal and human interactions with nature. The auditory information we gain from being in a forest is very different from that of the city. But this is true also on a very micro level as well. It’s not just the difference between city and country.

What’s so tricky about getting location aware music right is the fact that everyone has different personal reactions to physical spaces. There is no way that a composer can always accurately predict our reactions to the architecture of different buildings and sites, but they can certainly try, and I think that the use of location aware music at places like central park and the Washington monument has this really amazing ability to augment an experience. I would imagine that when location aware music is added to these settings they add an almost theatrical emotion to your connection with these locations. It gives you the ability to center your sensory perception, not only visually, but in an auditory way, so that you can have a more absorbed experience.

Something else that I find so promising about location aware music is its ability to be tapered to not only location but also weather and time. This idea that music should also conform and interact with our environment is an idea that I also have been experimenting with personally over the last year. In Antonius’ class talking fabrics last semester I designed a completely digital wind chime that utilized conductive fabric. I first got the idea for that project while I was on a run in century park in Shanghai. At the beginning of the run the weather was beautiful. The sun was shining and the sky was fairly clear. Towards the end, the pollution had worsened and it was looking like it was going to rain. I remember stopping at a family mart before heading back and hearing the family mart jingle, same as always, and I thought to myself: what would happen if the family mart jingle changed along with the weather? This is where the digital wind chime began. One of the things that really got me excited about that project is the wind chimes ability to correspond to the environment around it. When the pollution worsens, its tones become more discordant and dynamic. When the sun comes out, it sounds more blissful and enlightened, using pentatonic tones to give a whimsical feel.

I think that location aware music would make an interesting to the Abu Dhabi campus as well. Its often easy to find yourself ignoring your surroundings as you march from one building to the next as fast as possible for fear of melting in the heat, but location aware music could help to bring out the small intricacies of the campus.

I also found these ted talks inspiring