Week 2: Arduino Basics (Rudi) – Kennedy Cambra-Cho

General Components:

Arduino – is a programmable microcontroller board that

Breadboard – allows circuits to be easily assembled for prototyping by forgoing soldering

Jumper cables – connects elements of a circuit to be connected over a larger area of space making it more comprehensible and easier to patch

Circuit #1: Fade


Resistor – metal wire that restricts the flow of the current

LED (Light Emitting Diode) – emits light at different intensities according to the program

From this first circuit I noticed the importance to attention to detail when working between the breadboard and the arduino uno. Simply placing jumper cables in the wrong port on the arduino can sometimes cause unnecessary extra work.


Circuit #2: toneMelody


Speaker/buzzer – emits a buzzer sound at different pitches according to the program

I enjoyed building this circuit but I found figuring out the program was much more entertaining. Once we got the hang of how the numbers affected the pitch of the buzzer you can make almost any tune.


Circuit #3: Your Choice


Resistor – metal wire that restricts the flow of the current

Button – input device used to send the pattern back to the program

LED (Light Emitting Diode) – emits light at different intensities according to the program

Speaker/buzzer – emits a buzzer sound when the program begins and also when the wrong input is entered

  This circuit made me wish we had a larger breadboard. Everything seemed crammed even when we tried to plan ahead and keep the jump cables out of the way of buttons. With the various components involved it was much harder to assemble and to fix when problems would arise. Simply pulling out chords and replacing them became an troublesome task. Overall this circuit was interesting and did work in the end but I think a second attempt may prove more successful.



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.

Two devices that I interact with everyday are the turnstiles in the metro station and my cellphone. The latter attempts to act as a “highly interactive” device while the former would be considered very low level on the interactivity scale. Using cell phone features such as Siri which try to respond semi-independently to user’s prompts show what “interactivity” is trying to achieve. However, along the way we have devices such as the turnstiles; they simply respond to user’s interaction based on a rigid set of rules. Despite their simplicity I do think their response is valid. By allowing you through they send the silent signal that your metrocard has a positive balance. I think that the word “interactive” means the pass of information between two players. This is shown by both devices while at different levels of interactivity.

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?

Buttons were used as electronic inputs for the Zelda Simon Says circuit. They allowed the user to enter the pattern visualized by the LED which acted as electronic outputs. These two components acted similar to the keyboard and screen on a computer. Users pressed buttons to enter information for the program to read and respond accordingly with the visual output of the LED.  

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 I would build a model of another solar system and I would hang it from the ceiling in my room. I’d choose to do this because I like the idea of reworking classic childhood projects. It would give me a chance to work with something familiar and new at the same time.

Which reflections about the nature of interaction can you make about the Figure I.1 in the Physical Computing reading?


Through this image we can infer that “interacting” with something requires one or more of the five senses. The technology around us only recognize the active participants in our “communication” thus, body parts such as eyes, ears, and fingers act as primary outputs and inputs. From this image I feel that our interaction with technology has been very limited. In order, to expand the levels of engagement with technology I feel that it is worthwhile studying how those with physical disabilities interact with tech. By studying how people compensate for missing sensory inputs or outputs I think that we can find more innovative engagement practices.

Week 1: Electronics and Soldering – Rudi

General Components: *used in every circuit

Breadboard – acts as a work space to connect components 

LM7805 Voltage Regulator – keeps the voltage at an appropriate level so as to stabilize the circuit

100 nF (0.1uF) Capacitor – device that stores some energy passing through the circuit so as not to short out the circuit

Push-Button Switch – acts like a doorbell button; pushing it causes a response

12 volt power supply – provides the energy meant to power the circuit

Jumper Cables (Hook-up Wires) – act as connectors between all the components; makes things easier to see by being able to spread them out with jumper cables along the breadboard


Circuit #1: Door Bell


Buzzer (or speaker) – produces sound

Circuit #1 was the easiest to assemble; however, we soon discovered putting a circuit together may be the easiest part in general. Trying to figure out why what seemed to be a completely sound circuit isn’t working is much more difficult. On our third try we got it to work.

One problem we found to be is that we were not paying close enough attention to the positive and negative sides of our components thus, making the circuit not work. Things like the capacitor and the voltage regulator needed to be properly placed and checked because they are core elements to every circuit we built.


Circuit #2: Lamp


220 ohm Resistor – is a wire-like device that limits the current flow; creates a bottleneck effect

LED – bulb that lights up

I felt circuit #2 was harder to assemble but the automatic response of an LED is much more welcome than the buzzer from circuit #1. Here we had some trouble orienting our jumper cables across the breadboard. I initially made the circuit compact and close together but by spreading it out and using more space, I found it was much easier to inspect each connection. By reorienting the circuit and finding our problem was the incorrectly placed ground jumper cable, we were able to get circuit #2 working.


Circuit #3: Dimmable Lamp


10K ohm Variable Resistor (Potentiometer) – device with a dial that can increase and decrease the flow of electricity going through the circuit; creates a similar effect as the 220 ohm resistor but can be changed by turning a knob.

LED – bulb that lights up

Circuit #3 took the longest to patch but we eventually got the bulb to dim and brighten. We found that it was simply another power and ground wiring error we had made in our assembly. While building the circuits, I found it much more helpful to write out the circuit first, even if it is already shown in the assignment, because it made me think about where everything would be placed before hand. When we did not do this, we would constantly be glancing at the diagram while trying to place our components. This seems a little inefficient because it caused us to have to fix a lot of wiring problems along the way.  


While trying to find the errors in our circuit, Sean mentioned a common problem solving technique or “rule” that I think is was very helpful. He said to only change one thing at a time when debugging or patching up a project. This way if the status changes you know exactly where your issue is. When trying to find where our circuit was failing, this helped us immensely. We were able to isolate problems and find the solution much faster. One down side was that it did take a while to test each component for each circuit. This technique may be best utilized when testing long term projects or prototyping a new idea.

Response Questions:

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

This weeks reading introduced an idea I have never bothered to think of before. I never questioned the concept of “interactivity” or it’s over abundance in the commercial sphere. After completing the reading it does seem quite silly to have things labeled as “new and interactive” when humans will instinctively engage with these products. It is not like we were not interacting with these things before but the sales gimmick of “interactivity” seems to hook consumers on the idea that this new iteration of the product connects with another element or layer of the human experience. I do like the idea of “levels of interactivity” because it leaves room for both the mundane and revolutionary. So, I think that our circuits today did include some interactivity; although, it would rate quite low on the scale of interactivity I do think they did incorporate some elements of the concept. An example, could be how the circuit responds with the LED or buzzer. Another way could be how the voltage regulator heats up as a response to dissipating some energy through heat. 

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 .

An extreme form of interactive art could be the use of machine learning to create an artificially intelligent piece. For example Robbie Barrat’s use of A.I. to generate paintings can be seen as a form of interactive performance art. A user’s experience of generating art using this method could be seen as art itself.


Week 11: Response to Rachel Greene (Leon & Nimrah) – Kennedy

Reading Rachel Greene’s article, I hoped to gain a more clear understanding of what exactly “net.art” is; however, upon completing the article, I feel that I have an more vague understanding of “net.art” than before (Greene). Greene defines “net.art” as “communications and graphics, email, text and images, referring to and merging into one another” (Green). This definition deviates from everything I understand to be art. While art can hold social significance through its “‘optical’ aesthetic”, the idea or message it attempts to convey is its primary purpose. I suppose that the general notion of “net.art” seems to be a visual or auditory piece utilizing the internet with a purpose.

“Net.art” seems to actively subvert the traditional art scene while also playing into similar aesthetic tropes. As artists strive to present an innovative and original piece, they often create work that mirrors the tones set by abstract art. Shapes, construct, and design act as embodiments of ideas and feelings. The messages encased touch on everything from serious social issues to the skillfully executed, simplistic ideas of Rafael Rozendaal.

I feel that the ideas of internet art explored in Rachel Greene’s article can coincide with Paul Graham’s “Hackers and Painters” interpretation of software code. Greene’s inclusion of the collective I/O/D’s web browser touches upon Graham’s central idea of code being viewed as aesthetically pleasing. Best stated by Simon Pope, “We tried to expand on the idea of ‘software as culture’”(Greene). When good code is produced, programmers recognize the various layers to its “beauty” (Graham). The execution of clear logic, clean syntax, and finally desired output are the general benchmarks for “beautiful code” (Graham). Net art pieces that bring code to the forefront exhibit a new, modern art form. Pieces such as I/O/D’s web browser attempts to accomplish the same idea with an ambitious take on an established tool of the internet community and execute it in an original way.

Week 10: Response to Paul Graham and Paul Rand (Leon & Nimrah) – Kennedy

Paul Graham’s “Hackers and Painters” and Paul Rand’s “Computers, Pencils and Brushes” both frame “design” as the paramount concern for creators. Rand uses the word “design” nineteen times within his article and Graham tallies up a total twenty-five. This emphasis on the word “design” outlines both author’s desire to convince their audiences of the importance of design over static creation.

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Week 8: Response to Walter Benjamin (Leon & Nimrah) – Kennedy

Walter Benjamin’s article, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, details the impact mechanized reproduction has on the evolution of art. He brings up many valid arguments supporting his concerns regarding the “mechanical reproduction” of art; however, I don’t particularly agree with the idea that all his arguments translate well in the modern world.

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