Interaction Lab Final Project

5/17/18

Partner: Maudie Carey

For Maudie and I’s final project, we decided to do a continuation of our midterm. After receiving much helpful feedback from user testing for our final and learning new material in class, we decided we could really improve our midterm.

What Our Midterm Was and What We Wanted to Change

Our midterm was a flower meant for people to who wanted to take care of a plant, but didn’t want to face the consequences of possibly killing a real plant. In the midterm, we had the plant rotate based on light values it was receiving, while an animation of the sun was playing in the background. Additionally, we had the flower that was wilting raise when you “watered” it that also had an animation of rain playing based on moisture values.

A lot of the feedback we heard about the project was about how people couldn’t really see/focus on the animations because they were so engrossed with the physical reactions of the plant and how it would be nice if the animations were more realistic. With this feedback in mind, Maudie and I decide to make the following changes for the final:

  • change our animations to make them more realistic and work better
  • take out the physical changes of the flower so users could focus more on the animations
  • somehow add wind/sound into the project
  • make movable curtains
  • project our animations

Sadly, we were unable to add the last two changes into our project but we were able to achieve the first three, which will be discussed in the rest of the documentation.

Arduino and Moisture Sensor

Materials:

  • moisture sensor
  • cable wires
  • arduino
  • breadboard

Because in the midterm I handled most of the moisture sensor and rain aspects of the project, I mostly just used code from the midterm. However, because I no longer needed a servo, I took out the code for that. So in terms of coding, the work was very simple.

But as I was working with the moisture sensor, I was reminded of how fickle/annoying it was to work with the values. One of the main issues I ran into in the midterm was how inconsistent the moisture values were because no one could tell how much water a user would spray on the plant, or how well I was able to dry the moisture sensor. I really wanted to fix this problem in the midterm, and Maudie helped come up with the solution which I’ll discuss later in the documentation.

Processing 

For the work with Processing, my work was divided into two parts: fixing the water animation and creating an animation that related to sound and wind.

Originally, Maudie and I thought we could incorporate wind into the project by having an animation of a flower sway when the user blows into the microphone. After discussing the idea, we came across the question of “how are we going to make users intuitively know to blow into the microphone”. So, we changed out idea into blowing away a pesky bug. After researching, I found that white flies are harmful to plants because they suck on the plant and make the plant get sick. So, I decided to use a picture of white flies that would be blown away but would continuously come back.

I started working on the code for making the flies move. What I had set in mind was that the flies would come in from the edge of the screen, flying towards the center where the flower would be. Initially I was using an array to make multiple flies, but I didn’t know how I would make each individual fly be positioned and move in a specific way. During recitation, I asked Tristan for help and we had to use a lot of trigonometry to figure out the formula to get the flies to face the center.

After getting the flies to face the direction I wanted them to be, I needed help on getting each fly to move towards the center. I set up an appointment with Antonius but after explaining what I was doing, he told me that I was going about this idea in a much more complicated way. He suggested that I use objects and classes for my coding, and proceeded to do an example with me so that I could understand. After the appointment, I looked at the code that we did together and replaced the necessary changes so that it fit what I needed with sound and flies. Although the animation was different from what I had in mind, this animation was a lot more realistic to how flies behave (which is super gross). Below is a video of getting the flies to work.

 

Now that I finished the code for the flies, I sent them to Maudie because we had to place the flies on her screen since she was the sky.

The second part of what I had to do was fix the animation for the water sensor. Originally, I had an overhead view of the grass and raindrops fell down based on the moisture sensor values. Although I thought this animation was very pretty, I decided to scrap it altogether and replace it with an animation that looked like a cross-section of the flower pot in order to give it a much more realistic and immersive look. The coding for this was fairly simple since it was a lot of images. I took a picture of the pot and the table of the IMA desks so that what was on the screen reflected real life. I photoshopped some roots together and put that into Processing also. The only thing that was not an image was the soil in the pot, which got darker the wetter the roots got. I also decided to add a photo of rain that would appear on the roots when the user started watering the plant to give an immediate indication to the user that what they were doing was working.

At this point, Maudie and I had gotten the bulk of what we needed to do finished, so we got some people to test our project. One of our users was of course, Antonius, and he told us that it was really nice how users were able to control the environment. But one of his suggestions was to also get the environment to change based off the moisture sensor values on Maudie’s screen, and not just mine. So, with his advice, we got another moisture sensor for Maudie’s project and she wrote code to make it rain on the screen when users watered the plant.

Continue reading

import processing.serial.*;

Serial myPort;
int valueFromArduino;

//dirt colors
int dr = 178;
int dg= 113;
int db = 7;

PImage table;
PImage pot;
PImage roots;
PImage water;

void setup() {
  size(displayWidth, displayHeight);

  printArray(Serial.list()); 
  valueFromArduino = 1;
  myPort = new Serial(this, "COM4", 9600);

  //table
  table = loadImage("table.jpg");

  //pot
  pot = loadImage("pot.png");

  //roots
  roots = loadImage("roots.png");
}

void draw() {
  background(255);

  //table
  image(table, 0, height/2, displayWidth, height/2);

  pushStyle(); //used to make the style only apply to what is inbetween pushStyle and popStyle
  imageMode(CENTER);
  //pot
  image(pot, width/2, height/2, width/2+ width/7, height/2+ height/5);

  //dirt in pot
  fill(dr, dg, db); 
  rectMode(CENTER);
  rect(width/2, height/2 - 70, 950, 750);

  //roots
  image(roots, width/2 + 200, height/2 - 220, 1500, 1000);

  while (myPort.available() > 0) {
    valueFromArduino = myPort.read();
    println(valueFromArduino);
  }

  //if and else if statements to get dirt color changing depending on arduino values
  if (valueFromArduino >= 120) {
    if (dr > 115 && dr <= 178) {
      dr-=5;
      dg-=5;
      db-=5;

      //watering plant image
      water = loadImage("rain.png");
      image(water, width/2 + 750, height/2 - 600, 500, 500);
    }
  } else { //default state of dirt 
    if (dr < 178) {
      dr+=5;
      dg+=5;
      db+=5;
    }
  }
  popStyle();
}

Toy Final Project

5/12/18

For the final toy project, we had to make an “uncanny” toy using methods we learned throughout the semester

Concept Idea

When I began thinking of what toy to make, I was inspired by Sigmund Freud’s The Uncanny. In the reading, Freud explains what makes certain experiences, objects, etc. uncanny to people. One of his examples was about hyper-realistic porcelain dolls. His explanation for why people find these dolls so uncanny is that the realistic look of the dolls remind people of their humanity and mortality. Yet there’s conflict between this reminders and us knowing that the doll is not real. Thus, this conflict creates an unsettling, uncanny feeling.

So, from this inspiration I decided to make a zombie doll with a mirror face so that when users look at the dolls face carefully, they see their face and essentially “become” a zombie. After thinking about who my target audience is for the toy and what type of toy this would be, I figured it would be for people 8+, boys and girls, and would be a sensory and slightly fantasy type of toy. In the beginning of the semester when we were discussing what we think toys and play are, many people agreed that toys simply brought joy and were meant to entertain us, even if we didn’t always physically “play” with the toy. So, I figured this toy would be solely for the purpose to look at, hold, touch a bit, and admire. I decided the toy would be for older kids because I figured the mirror would be dangerous/fragile for younger kids.

With these ideas in mind, I started drawing out the toy. I wanted to make the toy appeal to both boys and girls, so I tried to make the zombie look as gender neutral as possible, which is shown in the picture below. I also thought it would be cool to contort the toy to add another level of creepiness. Initially I wanted to make a 3D printed tripod skeleton for the inside of the toy, but that is a change that will be discussed later. Lastly, I figured that adding button eyes would be really uncanny/creepy because when I watched the movie Coraline, I found the button eyes very unsettling.

Development

My first step in doing the project was making a turnaround. I would say that it was in this stage of the project where I made the most changes because I had to really think about how I was going to make the toy while I was making the turnaround in Illustrator. Some changes I made in this stage was to add a brain on the back of the head, and also have some of the stuffing coming out of the leg to make it look like its insides are coming out.

Materials:

  • colored felts
  • wire
  • hot glue
  • mirror from a compact
  • buttons
  • stuffing
  • sewing materials
  • 3D printing

After making the turnaround, I began making the physical toy. I first prototyped by making paper cut out versions of the toy (which I forgot to take photos of). After making the prototype, I started cutting out the stencils to cut the felts. When I finished this part of the process, I began to cut out the felt pieces, and started sewing them together, which you can see the process below.

My next step in making the toy was to 3D print the bone that would stick out of the arm. I talked to Marcela about what would be the best way to make the bone stick in the toy, and she said that adding a small ball at the end of the bone would prevent the bone from sliding out if sewn into the toy. With her advice, I made the design in TinkerCad. Thanks to the comments from lovely friends and fellows, I am aware of what the bone looks like BUT it.is.an,arm.bone (LOL). But with Luis’s help, I was able to print the bone and it cam out wonderfully!


After printing out the bone, I added it to the toy and finished sewing it together. I left the head open so that I could stuff it and insert the wire skeleton I made. As mentioned before, I originally wanted to 3D print the skeleton but Marcela suggested that using wires was much easier so I followed her advice. Regarding the face, originally I was going to laser cut a reflective material, which Marcela would order. However, the material came too late for me to use so I ended up using a mirror from a compact I bought at daiso. Unfortunately as I was getting the mirror out, it cracked a little. But after seeing how the face would look like with the cracked mirror, I thought the crack gave the toy more character so I kept it. With the face and body, I did some final sewing and gluing and finished the toy.

Now that I finished the toy, I move onto the advertisements and packaging. For the packaging, I was inspired by the scenes from movies where zombies just shoot their arms out from the ground in cemeteries. So, I thought it would be nice to have a box with a lid that you could lift with a little tab sticking out. I decided to make the outside of the box look like the ground, while the inside looked like a coffin. The information about the toys are also meant to look like the gravestones.

I realized while making the packaging that I needed to make a name for the toy. I decided to name it Boz because zombie has the letters “I” and “me” and you need yourself to complete the zombie toy. So, that left b,o, and z and I thought Boz sounded better than Zob. So Boz was born! As for the advertisement, I went online to look at modern toy advertisements and many of them were minimal and were made in such a way that the toys purpose was implied. Since the main point of Boz is for it to reflect the users face, I thought it would be nice to have a parallel image of Boz an a person using Boz with their face in the mirror. I decided to add a little phrase “reveal your inner monster” to make the toy more appealing. I chose dark colors to add to the creepy work, and thus the advertisement below.

 

Final Result, Struggles, Thoughts, and Comments

With my toy, advertisements, packaging, and turnaround done, I was completely finished with my project and presented it in class. I received very helpful feedback from the audience that I would definitely include if I were to work on the project more. For example, Jiwon suggested that I made a hole for the arm to stick out of the box in the packaging. Also, Nicholas made some nice suggestions of making guts come out of the brain also, which I thought was a cool idea.

Some struggles I faced was mostly with sewing. I had a lot of trouble sewing the toy together because I am nottt good with sewing machines. When I tried sewing the toy together, the needle broke and then later the sewing machine kept getting jammed. The other problems I faced were very minor, such as using Illustrator, but I soon got comfortable with it and it go easier to make my advertisement and packaging.

Overall, I was pretty happy with my toy and I feel like I was able to achieve what I originally set out to do. Many people commented on my toy that it was creepy, and it was very nice witnessing people’s facial expressions turn to shock and surprise when they saw their face on the toy. At the end, I brought my toy to the IMA show and placed Boz proudly in his little section 🙂

It has been a really fun project to do and I really want to give a shout out to Marcela! Thank you sooo much for all her help and patience/willingness to answer my millions of questions throughout the semester, and for all the advice and lessons you gave me so that I could make the best projects possible <3

 

Week 12: Assignment 10

5/2/18

Our assignment for last week took a very long time to finish. It was a continuation of our last assignment, which was to 3D print a character we 3D modeled. Now, we had to make molds using the same 3D printed item. For my assignment, I made a mold for my poop emoji. Below are photos of me making the box container for the poop emoji so that I could fill it with the molding material. After waiting over night the mold set.

   

Sadly though, as I was trying to take out my poop emoji, I ended up ripping my mold in half because of how difficult it was to take out the mold. But after talking to Marcela, she suggested I use tape and rubber bands to hold the mold together to prevent any spillage when filling the mold. After following her advice and making the mixture to fill the mold, I decided to add blue coloring because I really love the color blue. After waiting for the mixture to set, I was a little unhappy with how it turned out because my replica of my poop emoji had a lot of bubbles. If I were to continue making replicas, I would probably try to make one with less bubbles and make more colorful poop emojis.

Week 13: Recitation 10

4/28/18

Partner: Maudie Carey

Materials:

  • jumper cables
  • vibration sensor
  • 1K resistor
  • arduino
  • breadboard

For this week’s recitation we had to make a Processing sketch that controls some type of media with a physical controller made with Arduino. Maudie and I wanted to be able to control the volume of a song based on how loudly you sang, which was detected by the vibration sensor. As for the Processing sketch, we wanted to be able to change the size of an ellipse.

We looked at the diagram of a piezo element from the Arduino website and followed what we thought was the right circuitry which is in the picture below.

After assembling the circuit we tried looking at the values the sensor was getting in the serial monitor but we kept seeing 1023 no matter how much/little we shook the sensor. So, we asked Nicholas for help. When we showed him the diagram we were following, he said it was a bad/confusing diagram and explained how we should assemble the circuit, which we corrected. Below is the correct circuit. After fixing this issue and running our code again, we were getting more normal values. Nicholas tested to see if our circuit worked by singing like a didgeridoo and I’m very disappointed I have no footage of that but it was wonderful.

After determining our values, we went to Processing and started writing out code so that when the values went over a specific threshold, the song’s volume would increase, and would decrease else wise. After finishing the code and running it, the song ended up sounding really weird and choppy so we decided to look at the values Processing was receiving. When we looked at the values, we realized that the room was a bit noisy and that the piezo sensor was very sensitive to vibrations so the values were probably changing too quickly for the song’s volume to be controlled smoothly. Because we realized how tricky it was to use a vibration sensor to control the song, we spent the rest of the recitation focusing on how to make a song not playing from the computer create circles in Processing. Maudie added code so that based on the sensor value, the ellipse would change shape and color.

I realize now while I’m doing documentation that our finished product wasn’t exactly what we were assigned to do because our small creation is just having a physical controller create a sketch. Initially we were able to use the sensor values to control our songs volume, however the results were very sloppy since the values changed so quickly. Because Maudie and I were so eager to just make something work nicely and smoothly, we forgot to record the song changes happening and focused on just working with the vibration sensor and Processing. If we were to work more on this assignment, we would most likely change sensor to one that’s less temperamental.

Although our initial Processing code and song did not work the way we imagined, it still amazed me that we were able to manipulate something so digitally concrete through a physical input. I feel like in a certain sense, songs are very untouchable. Not only are there so many copyright rules, but also if one does want to change a song, they have to use a lot of effort to digitally manipula it. But after learning how to use physical computation to make these changes, it makes working with this form of media seem so much more tangible. I think this goes for all interactive art, but there will always be something so much more satisfying about exerting/utilizing physical touch, changes, or whatever to get a response out of a piece or experience.

I don’t know exactly what I would use it for yet or how I would use it, but I think temperature would be really fun to work with in creating interactive art and manipulating media. This doesn’t have anything to do with media or anything remotely digital, but I remember finding color changing rings so magical because even though I knew it was changing because of my body temperature, it seems like the ring was changing magically on its own because temperature isn’t something we consciously control, it’s just something we naturally have and regulate.

 

import processing.sound.*;
import processing.serial.*;

Serial myPort;
int piezo;

void setup() {
  size(500, 500);


  printArray(Serial.list());
  piezo = 1;
  myPort = new Serial(this, "COM7", 9600);

}


void draw() {
  while (myPort.available() >0) {
    piezo = myPort.read();
  }
  background(255);

  if (piezo > 20) {
    fill(piezo, 0, 255);
    ellipse(width/2, height/2, piezo, piezo*2);
  
  }
}

Week 12: Recitation 10

4/21/18

For this week’s recitation, I attended the object oriented programming workshop. I decided to attend this workshop because not only am I pretty week with object oriented programming, but it would also be very useful for my partner and I’s final project. For my part of the project, I have to code a lot of raindrops and/or grass blades that have certain functions, so understanding object oriented programming would make my coding/life a lot easier.

Luis began the workshop by explaining what object oriented programming, classes, objects, and more are. After explaining what everything was, he left the remaining 30/45 minutes for us to try and make our own processing using what we just learned. It took a while for me to think of something I wanted to code, and I also had some trouble understanding how to take what Luis explained and apply it to what I wanted to do. Once I began looking at the examples he provided and mulling over the concept more, I began to understand a bit and started coding. I didn’t finish what I wanted to do, which was to make a circle change size and colors based on mouse position, but I posted what I had written. I definitely plan on asking for help in the coming weeks so that I can better understand object oriented programming.

 

class Circle {
  float rad; //radius of ellipse
  float w; //width of ellipse
  float h; //height of ellipse

  float r; //red
  float g; //green
  float b; //blue

  Circle (float r, float r, float w, float h) {
    rad= random(100, 400);
    w= random(100, 400);
    h= random(100, 400);

    r = random(0,250);
    g = random(0,250);
    b = random(0,250);
  }

  
 void move() {
  
 }

  void update() {
    
  }
}

//separate tab of coding
Circle newCircle;


void setup() {
  size(500, 500);
  newCircle = new Circle();
}

void draw() {
  fill(r, g, b);
}

Week 11: Toy Final Project Proposal

4/18/18

For the final project, our task is to create an “uncanny” toy.

My gut reaction to hearing the word uncanny is to think “weird”, “unnerving”, and “a little scary”. To help me think of an idea, I thought back a lot to my PoH class last semester, Brutes, Monsters, and Ghosts, which focused on answering/interpreting what uncanny is to us. Our main reading was Freud’s “The Uncanny”, which offers explanations for what exactly uncanny is, and why we feel the uncanny when we experience certain situations. A very brief summary of Freud’s explanation for why we feel this emotion si because uncanny objects/situations serve as subconscious reminders. He talks a lot about how there is a lot of repetition and duplication involved in uncanny things, and that this repetition serves as reminders of peoples mortality and overall humanness. One particular example that he talked about that struck me was his discussion about porcelain dolls. He brought up this example saying that the reason people find these types of dolls uncanny is that they look remarkably realistic that they remind people of other humans, however there is still something distinctly inhuman about them that disturbs us.

With these themes of duplication, mortality, and creepy porcelain dolls in mind, I came up with the idea to make a cute/creepy zombie doll with a mirror as a face. The creepy/cute soft zombie doll serves to confuse people that the character is supposed to be scary, yet it’s visually very appealing and cuddly. The reason I decided to add the mirror was because taking what Freud said about dolls reminding people of themselves, I wanted that when people play with my zombie toy and take the time to really examine the dolls face, they see that their face aligns with the dolls face, therefore making the user become the zombie doll. I’ve attached a quick sketch of what I was planning in the image below.

The inspirations for my design come from the images below. I really wanted to make the dolls eyes buttons because they’re very unnerving. I also wanted to make the inside of the doll have a bendable skeleton so that the user can contort the doll into bizarre and unnatural shapes, so that when the user “becomes” the doll, they become a dead, disfigured zombie which is scary despite the cute looks.

      

The type of user I have in mind is for both boys and girls, ages 10 and up. I didn’t think my toy would be appropriate for younger people because the face having a mirror would be a bit of a hazard. I also really wanted to make my zombie look as gender neutral as possible so that it would appeal to both females and males. As for the purpose of my toy, people can play with it by moving its body parts and whatnot, but I think the toy serves for more as a toy to look at. We discussed very early on in the semester, what we consider toys and what play is to us, and many people said that although they don’t play around with some toys very much, they’re still toys because of the joy it brings them. So, I’m hoping for my toy to bring joy through it’s cute and uncanny yet meaningful appearance.

The way I plan on making my toy is to use a lot of sewing, stuffing, and 3D printing. I plan on using 3D printing to make the joints for the skeleton of the doll, and then sewing felts together to make the outer appearance of the doll. I would like to use very pale, faded felts to give the toy a softer look, and deceive the user into thinking the toy isn’t very exciting and lure them in to examining the toy. But when the user sees their face on the toy, they become shocked and feel “uncanny”.

I would like to stuff the toy so make it more cuddle-able and so the user doesn’t feel the joints/skeleton too much so that the cuteness can really contrast with the true meaning of the toy later on.

I’m still thinking about how I’m going to create the advertisements and packaging for the toy, but all I know for sure right now is that I want it to heavily relate to the meaning of the toy having a mirror face. One thing I thought of is naming the toy Boz, because you need “me” and “I” to make the word zombie, and you need yourself to create a zombie of yourself.

 

Week 11: Recitation 9

4/17/18

Partner: Maudie Carey

Our assignment for recitation this week was to either laser-cut or 3D print an object we designed.

Maudie and I decided it would be cool to 3D print because we’ve always wanted to try 3D printing. For our design, we talked to each other throwing ideas at each other and we agreed that we both wanted to make something that was aesthetic, and didn’t have to have a specific purpose. I thought it would be really cool attempt to make a cube that was hollow and filled with circles in the center, almost like a display/window at an aquarium where you could see bubbles inside it and Maudie agree that it would be a cool design.

The first step of our design was to create small circular indentations on the areas that were already circles on the cube to give our object more depth and make the center of the cube look more isolated. We spent a long time in the rest of the recitation trying to create the hollow circles in the dice shape we found, but noticed that when we applied the holes into the cube center, we weren’t able to achieve the see-through effect we were going for because the center of the cube remained solid despite how many holes were in the center.

I wasn’t able to finish my version of the design during recitation and continued to work on it after the class ended, but couldn’t figure out the achieve the look I was hoping for. So, I decided to change the idea and use a diamond template to make holes in the center of the cube. I thought diamonds would be interesting because the pointiness of the shape contrasts with the rounded features of the cube/dice.

This process was much simpler and also looked much nicer. I simple laid the diamond templates across each other so make an + sign, make a hole in a rectangle, and then made the changed rectangle a hole for the dice. Then the design was done.

 

    

Now that the 3D model was done, Maudie and I made an appointment to 3D print. Nicholas helped us with the printing. In the end, we ended up having to print 3 times to finally get our object. The first time we printed, things were going great but around 15% in, the machine decided to get stuck so we had to stop our printing and try again.

The second time we tried printing, things were going well. I’d say at around 60% of it being done, Nicholas had to pause the machine to adjust the plastic filament since it was getting taught. However, after resuming the machine, the machine started printing in a skewed manner, missing our object so we had to restart our printing again.

     

Because it was late in the day when we were printing, we had to leave the machine on overnight and hope for the best. When we arrived at school and checked our print, we were happy to see that the 3D printer successfully printed our object. The only hiccup was that for some reason at one point the machine wasn’t able to print the back of the cube well which you can see in the picture below, but aside from that the print turned out really well.

    

Questions:

  1. Why did you choose your method of digital fabrication to construct your reimagined piece?

Maudie and I chose to use this method of digital fabrication because initially, we were more interested in 3D printing. But as we began to make decisions about our design, it made more sense for us to use additive manufacturing because it would have been too complex to use laser cutting for our design.

2.  Compare the crafting method you have been using so far for the Stupid Pet Tricks and Midterms with the ones used during this recitation. How do you think that these digital fabrication methods can help you for your Final Project?

I think these methods could definitely save us time from having to make each individual part for our final project. Also, these methods could allow us to make parts/objects that are much more complex than what we could make ourselves by hand. Finally, I think Nicholas made a really good point while helping us during our printing that 3D printing is really great for prototyping. So, these fabrication methods could definitely be useful for prototyping.

3. How does the reading “The Digital Fabrication Revolution” set the context to the work you did?

The two points in the reading that really resonated with me was the “think globally, fabricate locally” section, and the “planning innovation” sections. I think these two sections that I mentioned are very applicable to what we did in class, and just the general attitude of what we do in IMA. The “think globally, fabricate locally” section really sets the context for how I approached the work. Being able to fabricate locally really gives me and other students the ability to experiment and try our ideas without having to worry about the availability of resources or our own creative limitations. This freedom allows us to create projects, objects, and more that can possibly inspire others to make objects or be utilized by others. As for the second section, what’s been really helpful about digital fabrication is exactly what the author writes in the reading. These methods of fabrication can really educate people in another way so that people don’t constantly need to rely on other people or sources. Instead, they have the ability to play around and learn themselves through trial and error.

4. If you were to imagine an assignment using digital fabrication at IMA in the year 2149, what would be different and what would be similar?

I think the core values and ideas would be similar, such as what the sections that I mentioned above discuss and in the rest of the reading. But the methods in achieving these goals would be drastically different. I think the technology then would be a lot more advanced/simpler to use so our assignment in 2149 would be much more complex, yet doable.

Week 11: Assignment 9

4/13/18

In class, we had to pick a random toy, guess what type of mechanism is in the toy, and then take it apart and analyze what’s inside.

The toy that my partner and I chose was a moving Woody.

 

I’ve never really studied mechanisms before so I really had no clue how the toy would work. But my guesses before opening up the toy, was that that when you wind the dial on the back of Woody, there is some type of spring inside that you’re winding up and once you release the spring, it somehow makes Woody move like that. I had no idea how Woody moved in that specific motion though, so we continued by taking apart the toy.

After taking off the first few screws and taking off Woody’s head, I saw that inside, the dial has a circle with a gap in it. On top of the dial was a piece that not only connected to the dial, but also Woody’s limbs. Essentially what happens in the toy is that when the dial is spinning, it causes the piece on top to move in a specific way that makes the connected limbs wave back and forth.

 

After seeing how the mechanism worked, my partner and I were able to fully understand how the toy works. When we were done, we put the toy back together and were done.

Week 11: Final Project Essay

My concept of interaction has drastically changed after taking this course. Initially, my opinion of what interaction was, was very shallow. I simply defined it as a person engaging with or using some type of object and didn’t think much of interaction beyond that. For example, I thought interaction was just me pressing a button because I was telling an object to do something. However now, I consider interaction much more complex. I think that interaction involves a two-way form of communicating, where a user uses an object and controls the object, but the object is also simultaneously manipulating the user’s behavior. So now, instead of just clicking a button to make an object do something, that object behaves in such a way that signals me to perhaps click other buttons, move around, etc. I thought objects and devices were only meant to serve us and we had full control of how they’re used.

A significantly stronger example of what I mean would be the photo of what people assume computers think we look like. The photo shows that computers probably think we only have one finger, one eye, and two ears. The image really puts the limitations computers and technology has in understanding how humans act into perspective, and this image has deeply influenced the way I now approach projects and understanding how technology works around me.

A more real life example of what I mean by my definition of interaction would be my experience with an eye test minion project I saw during midterm user testing. After studying about interaction for a much longer time, I thought that this project demonstrated very strong methods of facilitating interaction, but also had some points where it could improve. Instructions for to do were very clear, which eliminated being confused and made me able to focus on what was in front of me so I was immersed. As I continued using the game, letters would get smaller in response to my button-clicks, which was feedback for me to continue. But one issue I had when user-testing was that I couldn’t tell whether my answers were correct or not because there was no signal that my answers were right or wrong. This problem made me realize that for there to be a seamless, immersive interactive experience, people have to receive a lot of feedback to remain engaged in whatever it is they’re doing.

For the final project, I will be working with Maudie Carey and we will be building upon our midterm project. Our project was inspired primarily by our own plant care-taking experiences. One of the difficulties that we found with taking care of a plant was that you had no way of communicating with it. You could never tell if you were watering your plant too little, too much, if it was getting enough sunlight, etc. and after talking to friends and family, they agree with this issue. So, in terms of relating it to my definition of interaction, we wanted to create a plant that gave you feedback about its needs, specifically how much light and water it needs so that people could genuinely interact with their plants instead of just taking care of it and hoping for the best.

We plant to modify our project in several ways. First, we would like to edit our Processing animations so that they were more realistic to nature, and reflective of the purpose of them being present. Second, after hearing feedback from user testing about our setup, we would like to use projectors to place our animations in places that are more visible to the users. Third, we would like to incorporate nature sounds into our project to give more feedback signals and generate an environment that reminds the user of nature. Lastly, we would like to laser-cut grass blades and place them in our display. We’re thinking about putting yellow and green LEDs in the cut out blades so that the LEDs can fade according to how much water the plants are receiving.

Week 10: Duchamp Project

4/10/18

The premise of our project was to create a toy for Duchamp, while making an advertisement poster and profile for the toy. For this project, I created a toy made out of a straw, which I will explain in more detail later on in the documentation.

Research:

To get a better understanding of Duchamp, I reread the two readings Marcela assigned us earlier in the semester (readymades and Marcus Moore). From these readings, it was clear that Duchamp liked to focus on using items that are “already made”, and that he focused heavily on memory in his work. For example as Marcus Moore says,

“Duchamp makes misinterpretation and misreading part of his meaning … he adopts history modification as a strategy. Reformation becomes a method of production.”

Because I was still a little lost on what to do for the toy, I did a bit more research on the actual work he’s made and his general background. This website showed some examples of his artwork, which I examined to see if I could gain anything about Duchamps personality from them. As for this website, I read some of the analyses of Duchamp’s artwork from other people

Concept:

So, what I concluded from the research and his art is that Duchamp really liked to play on the purpose/meaning of the objects he used in its purest form. After seeing his most famous work, Fountain, I decided I was going to make a toy that played on the readymade objects function. I began to look around me and think about what I could possibly use, and I thought it would be interesting to use a straw. Straws are typically used to suck up liquids, so I thought I could make a toy that kinda pokes fun of that purpose, and make it blow things instead.

After deciding to use a straw, I began to go further with my idea, wondering what purpose does it have to blow things away? I was a little inspired by blow darts and figured that I could make the straw knock down things. My next question was how/what do I use to make it knock down things? With the profile aspect of the project in mind, I realized I could make the straw have a backstory where it really despised having to constantly suck up liquids from bottles, and it teamed up with bottle caps to knock down the bottles. So, I decided to make my toy have a little “crew” that helped it achieve its dream of defying straw rules. Now that I had a solid concept in mind, I began to draw out and plan what I wanted to make. I know the pictures below are really messy, but if you look carefully, you can see how I sketched out the design of the straw, the facial features, and even how I wanted my poster to look like. (please ignore the schematic because I ran out of clean pieces of paper and used a scrap one, plus its environmentally friendly :]).

    

Because Duchamp used readymades, I wanted to make sure I didn’t change my objects as much as possible. The only real changes I made to my toy was to add facial expression because that makes it more fun and toy-like, and to add the arms because I figured it would give the user a handle to hold when playing with it.

Poster:

I looked online to see what other toy posters looked like in hopes of finding some inspiration, and came across this one. I really liked the simplicity of the poster because it gets its message across very clearly that its a cool robot toy, and I wanted the same amount of clarity for my poster.

I opted to draw my poster because I find it quicker, and easier to do. When making my poster, I wanted to make sure that I made ti clear what the focus of the poster was, and that whoever saw it knew at a glance what this toy does. So, I made a halo around the toy and made him big to put him in focus, and I made the words that best explained what the toy was bolded and bigger. I named the toy Bul because I wanted to make a name that was related to the toys function, and “bul-dah” in Korean is to blow, so I thought Bul was a nice, short name. I think it was also nice because “bul” itself means fire in Korean, and my toy’s character is very angry, so it works!

Toy:

Materials:

  • 3 water bottles
  • 2 plastic bubble tea straws
  • black sharpie and colored markers
  • white paper
  • hot glue

Making the toys were pretty quick because I wanted to modify the toys as little as possible to keep the objects in its truest form. Originally, I was only going to draw faces on the bottles and nothing else, but because of the logos on the front, I had to cut out a white piece of paper and draw the faces on there so that people could actually see their faces more clearly.

     

     

Profile:

I was inspired by the Japanese mascot book that Marcela showed us in class. I thought the book was really hilarious because the descriptions were so random, detailed, and/or relevant to the mascots so I wanted to do the same. I made my toy very angry so I decided to make its profile related to being an angry straw. As for the background story, I wanted to make it dramatic and funny to mimic those comic books/movie plots. So, Bul’s background in brief is that he was an average straw, but after meeting a flute and finding out it didn’t need to suck in air, but blow out air, his life was changed!

After I finished everything, I got my roommate to record me playing with the toy, so here it is!

Thoughts:

I thought this project was really tough at first because it took me a long time to finally come up with something to make, but after I had an idea, everything fell into place. I also really appreciated how this project really forced me to think outside the box because of how broad the possibilities were, but at the same time, made me have to keep the user in mind.

For my project, if I were to change/continue working on it, I would come up with nice packaging, and translate my posters into Illustrator to make it neater. Additionally, if I were to not focus on the readymade aspect as much, I would put the faces on the bottom of the bottles on paper too, so that it’s clearer for the user to see.