Recitation 4 Documentation – Jake Scavone

Drawing Machines


  • 1 * 42STH33-0404AC stepper motor
  • 1 * SN754410NE ic chip
  • 1 * power jack
  • 1 * 12 VDC power supply
  • 1 * Arduino kit and its contents

Step 1: Build the circuit


Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my Arduino kit to class. As a result, I was required to check out the equipment I needed for the project. All the wires they had available were red so please excuse the mess.

Wiring wasn’t too difficult. It would have been easier to wire if I could color code, for example, red wires for 5V Power and black for any wire that’s grounded. Overall the circuitry wasn’t far different from what we’ve done prior, and comparing the result to the diagram in order to check everything was very helpful.

Step 2: Control rotation with a potentiometer

After I connected the potentiometer correctly according to the diagram, I loaded up the code required in the Arduino software. After uploading the code to the board, nothing worked. I had to troubleshoot and see if there was something wrong within my wiring. Although it was quite difficult to find when all the wires are red, I ultimately discovered that my problem was a simple wiring error. Once I fixed said problem, I was faced with another challenge. I uploaded the code again and started the program. The potentiometer started rotating, but after about five seconds everything stopped working. The Arduino board lost power and refused to turn back on.

Step 3: Build a Drawing Machine!

The two problems I faced with the Arduino left me with no time as well as no working motor to assemble the drawing machine. My partner, Stanley Virgint, was ultimately able to get his working, but we were unable to find an available student who didn’t already have a partner and were up to the same step.

Question 1:

What kind of machines would you be interested in building? Add a reflection about the use of actuators, the digital manipulation of art, and the creative process to your blog post.

Although more fantasy, this topic is soon becoming a reality. Exoskeletons have fascinated me since I saw the movie Iron Man released in 2008.  I would love to build some sort of exoskeleton on a smaller scale, perhaps just for an arm or something. Theoretically, I would use multiple actuators and motors, all connected to a variety of sensors within a brace-like structure that would go over someone’s arm. When the sensors detect that your arm is moving in a certain way, it would use the motors to assist the user. Exoskeletons are currently being tested for soldiers carrying heavy equipment over long distances. The goal is to take all of the weight and strain off of the user.

Question 2:

Choose an art installation mentioned in the reading ART + Science NOW, Stephen Wilson (Kinetics chapter). Post your thoughts about it and make a comparison with the work you did during this recitation. How do you think that the artist selected those specific actuators for his project?

An art installation mentioned in ART + Science NOW that caught my attention was Andy Gracie’s “quasi-symbiotic environment” maintained by a robot. On the topic of replacing jobs with more efficient and precise robots, this installment closely relates to where I think the future of agriculture is headed. In this environment, the “robot cares for plants by moving back and forth to control nutrients and other conditions.” This is similar to what we did during the last week’s recitation. The relationship that I see most is how small inputs produce bigger outputs. This is seen by how we made small rotations with a key on our potentiometers to instruct the arm to draw accordingly. Andy Gracie’s installation also requires little inputs but ultimately fulfills an entire task on its own.

Week 4 Research Project: Jake Scavone (Leon)

To define interaction in my own way, I reflect upon the daily communications I have with different technologies. From pressing a button in an elevator to speaking to Siri through my phone, interaction can be witnessed through many different mediums. Interaction is the occurrence of an input of some sort, followed by an output, in this case usually over some sort of technological interface. Two examples of interaction that I would like to reflect on is the ALEXA Smart Mirror made by Grensom on YouTube and the Breakfast Machine by Simone Giertz, also on YouTube.

A channel named Grensom on YouTube posted an 8-minute video about his most recent project. This impressive project is what he calls the ALEXA Smart Mirror, and the author even includes a tutorial on how to build it yourself. Personally, I liked everything about the final product. The ALEXA Smart Mirror is efficient, clean, and so useful that it comes off as an absolute necessity for an average person’s daily life. Also, this interactive device also has lots of feedback consisting of many people in the comments on the video interested in purchasing one, so it’s clear that this device is appealing and has a market.

Video Link


On the contrary, I disliked a product made by Simone Giertz called the Breakfast Machine. Although the creation of this device is obviously not to be taken seriously, it provides a good example of certain interactive devices that are the opposite of the direction we should be taking technology. While such technologies are supposed to improve our daily lives, making tasks more time-efficient and friendly, the Breakfast Machine does the opposite.

Video Link

When given the task to prototype an interactive technology that would be used 100 years in the future, I couldn’t help myself from thinking about drones. The use of drones in our daily lives is inevitable and is undeniably going to cut out countless conventional standards for performing certain tasks. My group decided to come up with a design for a food delivery drone and create a basic prototype that we could present to the class.

The delivery drone is a very realistic product that would make massive improvements to the current delivery system of food. In theory, food vendors would own one or many of these drones. After receiving an order, the food is prepared and then placed in the compartment under the drone. This compartment would then be locked, and the delivery address would be inputted into the screen interface by the vendor. The drone would then send off and arrive at the destination within minutes of ordering. When the drone arrives at the consumer’s address, the person who ordered it would then have to scan the QR code on the drone to verify the correct purchaser. After, the compartment would be unlocked, and the food could be taken out. The drone would then fly back to the vendor and remain ready for another delivery.

The Delivery Drone would open an entirely new market for vendors. First, it would cut down delivery time dramatically. It would also reduce the need for delivery cars, which is an ecologically friendly alternative as well as reduce traffic in highly populated areas. An extremely big upside to our product is the increased market base. If you open any food delivery app on your phone, you’ll notice that you only have the option to order from places that fall into a certain distance radius. With the delivery drone, this radius would increase massively, allowing for food vendors in obsolete locations to provide for a much larger market.

When I view interactive technologies such as the ALEXA Smart Mirror and the Breakfast Machine, I can’t help but think about the practicality and realism associated with these products. The Smart Mirror is a beautiful device that clearly has a market and practical use, while the Breakfast Machine is rather pointless. The Delivery Drone would be an extremely useful technology that would provide many more possibilities for tens of thousands of food vendors across the world.

Recitation 3 – Jake Scavone

LED lights by an Infrared Distance Sensor

My partner and I created a device that utilizes an infrared distance sensor to control a series of three LED lights. Certain LED’s are assigned different value categories from an infrared distance sensor. There are three LED’s: green, yellow, and red. Depending on how close an object is to the distance sensor (in this case, a hand), different lights will be activated. If the object is far away, the green LED will toggle on. As the distance decreases, the yellow LED turns on, then the red one.

Electrical Diagram

Electrical Circuit



Question 1:

What did you intend to assemble in the recitation exercise? If your sensor/actuator combination were to be used for pragmatic purposes, who would use it, why would they use it, and how could it be used?

My partner and I wanted to create a circuit that would provide an example of how certain distance sensors could work. This type of system is widely implemented in technologies that already exist. A good example of this is the parking sensors on modern vehicles. As you get closer to a obstacle, such as a curb or wall, the display on your car warns you similar to how our circuit does.

Question 2:

Can you identify your circuit with any device you interact with in your daily life? How might your circuit be used to have a meaningful interaction?

A device that I interact with in my daily life that uses a distance sensor is my iPhone. If you are on a phone call, the screen will automatically turn off every time you put the phone to your ear. This is because of the infrared sensor on the top of the device, and it turns the screen off so that when your phone touches your face it doesn’t press any buttons unintentionally.

Question 3:

How is code similar to following a recipe or tutorial?

When following a recipe, the goal is to follow every single thing correctly and replicate the final product. This is very similar to coding because if you follow a specific guide, you’ll end up with the same results as long as you did everything correctly.

Question 4:

In Language of New Media, Manovich describes the influence of computers on new media. In what ways do you believe the computer influences our human behaviors?

The computer has a profound influence on human behaviors, as it serves as such a powerful tool, capable of altering human behavior in a means to accomplish tasks more efficiently.


Recitation 2: Arduino Basics – Jake Scavone

Recitation 2: Arduino Basics

Jake Scavone and Stanley Virgint


1 * Arduino Kit and its contents

Recitation Exercise:

Circuit 1: Fade

The “Fade” circuit utilized a minimal amount of materials, making it the simplest circuit to create. All that was needed was an LED and one 220 ohm resistor. As seen in the video, the program instructed the LED to fade brightness continuously.

Circuit 2: toneMelody

Constructing the “Tone Melody” circuit was similar to the  “Fade” circuit, as a minimal amount of materials were needed. The whole circuit consisted of one buzzer. Once the program was uploaded to the Arduino, the buzzer played a short 4-second melody, as seen in the video below.

Circuit 3: Speed Game

The “Speed Game” circuit was definitely the most difficult circuit to construct. It required a variety of materials, which included 2 LEDs, 2 buttons, 4 resistors, and a buzzer. Our first attempt at creating the circuit was unsuccessful, as the LEDs were not receiving power. However, after analyzing the circuit, I was able to pinpoint a wire connection issue and resolved this problem. Once completed, my partner and I were able to play a 10-second game, competing to see who could press the button the most times. As shown in the video below, the LED light would turn on to indicate the winner of the game.


Question 1:

Reflect on different interactions with technologies that you have observed in your daily life. Pick a few of these and write down your own definition of interaction based on your observations.

In my daily life, I interact with a vast amount of technologies. These include, but are not limited to, Amazon Alexa, the elevator, and the key card-activated entrances.

For Amazon Alexa, the device is activated and controlled by the user’s voice. This method of interaction between consumers and technology is relatively modern and can be found on many different devices. An example of the interaction between Alexa and myself is when I ask it to set an alarm. I simply say “Alexa, set an alarm for 9:45 tomorrow morning” and it does that.

The elevator is another method of interaction. Universally simplistic, you just push the corresponding button to your floor number and it will bring you there. The elevator is also packed with sensors and such that make sure the ride is safe. For example, a sensitive pressure sensor makes sure that when the doors close, if there is something obstructing its path, it will stop and return to being open immediately.

Every day walking into the academic building at NYU Shanghai, students and faculty alike are required to put their key card close enough to the gate sensors in order for them to allow entrance. This method of interaction allows for a secure and efficient way of entering buildings.

If I was to define interaction in my own words based on my personal experience, it would best be described as the collaboration and interface between a consumer and a technological product. Another interesting thing to note is how the interaction between the consumer and technology seems to get more efficient and productive as time goes on.


Question 2:

During the assembly of the circuits, we used many electronic components as inputs and outputs. Which of these components do you recognize in the circuit?

One of the components that I was familiar with was the Arduino UNO microcontroller. Throughout my computer science and engineering courses in high school, we would often use microcontrollers to make our projects.

Question 3:

If you have 100000 LEDs of any brightness and color at your disposal, what would you make and where would you put it?

If I had 100000 LEDs at my disposal, I think a fun project to make would be a giant clock that would be able to shift from digital to analog at the user’s choice. It could also have some cool features, for example, every time it becomes a new hour it all shifts into a giant colorful projection of that hour.



Recitation 1 – Simple Circuits

Date: September 7th2018

Name: Jake Scavone

Instructor: Rudi

Button activated LED

For this task, we needed to set up a circuit that when a button is pressed, a LED light is turned on. The materials used were:

  • 1 * Breadboard
  • 1 * LM7805 Voltage Regulator
  • 1 * Arcade Button
  • 1 * 220 ohm Resistor
  • 1 * LED
  • 1 * 100 nF (0.1uF) Capacitor
  • 1 * 10K ohm Variable Resistor (Potentiometer)
  • 1 * 12 volt power supply
  • 5-8 Wires

The breadboard acts as a prototyping platform that has electrical conductors running between multiple cells. By using the breadboard, we were able to input the wiring and other materials into a somewhat organized fashion. Below is a picture of the said breadboard:

Displaying image2.jpeg

In order to have a successful result, we used the given diagram as a reference:

By following the order in which each component is connected with another, everything should work out. The circuit starts at the “12v” located in the top left. This represents the 12-volt power supply that will be powering the circuit. In the image below, our power supply can be seen connecting at the top left of our board, with a red wire for positive and a black wire for negative. Displaying image1.jpeg

Connecting wires to the different components step-by-step similar to the diagram allowed us to complete the circuit. We pushed the button, in hopes to see the greed LED light flicker on indicating that we did this experiment properly, but unfortunately, that was not the case. The light did not turn on, which means something was incorrect. We tried backtracking, seeing if we missed something or if the wires were incorrectly places. We couldn’t find any flaw in our circuit so we asked one of the instructors to take a look. After a few minutes of their analysis, they claimed that everything was placed correctly and should technically be working. He mentioned it may be a faulty part, so we started replacing components. Finally, we found the issue; the LED light was broken! After replacing it, our circuit worked perfectly. The light would flash bright green every time the button was pressed.

I learned a valuable lesson from this error, although it was neither of our faults. There’s always going to be a chance that a certain component will be faulty, so it’s critical to test them beforehand, especially if the circuit being made is an intricate one that could take a long time to troubleshoot. I asked the instructor how I could test components like an LED light before using them. I was told that I could set up a simple circuit on a breadboard with just a source of power and connect the component to see if it turns on. As for components such as voltage regulators, ohm resistors, and variable resistors, I can use a multimeter and set it to the respectful setting to see if there is the proper current going through the piece. Unfortunately, because of this dilemma, we did not have enough time to try creating the other two circuits.

Question 1:

After reading The Art of Interactive Design, do you think that the circuits you built today include interactivity? Please explain your answer.

The circuit we built certainly includes interactivity. There’s both an input (pressing the button) and an output (the LED turning on) in our experiment.

Question 2:

How can Interaction Design and Physical Computing be used to create Interactive Art? You can reference Zack Lieberman’s video or any other artist that you know.

A great example of interaction design and physical computing being used to create interactive art can be found in the video we were shown in class. The video showcased the final result of a project where a wall mirror shows two different parts to the eye, white and black balls of cotton. The “mirror” tracks the movement of whoever is in front of it and then portrays the image of them in real time but by using the combination of these two colors. This project can most certainly be viewed as interactive art and included lots of interaction design and physical computing to create.