Group Members: Ellen Yang, Jeffery Kung, Paschal Giki
Instructor: Antonious Wiriadjaja
Class: Talking Fabrics
Project: Final Project
Description:
Our project was a take on couple’s outfits. Rather than showing that the two people were in a relationship, these clothes provide an example of an unhealthy relationship with an unequal power dynamic.

Process:
We spent a long time developing our idea. It was difficult for us to reach a consensus for a idea. After a few different proposals, the group decided to make couple’s gloves that would warm up when both parties were wearing the gloves. The gloves would also be able to send pre-determined emails to the party requesting favors from the other. The way the original proposal was phrased in a way that made me think of an unhealthy, borderline abusive relationship. I didn’t want to make something teetering on the edge of abusive, so I thought it would be better to make something that intentionally created an unhealthy dynamic in a relationship. The actions of one user would be intentionally make the other user’s more difficult or distressing.

Initially, we were going to incorporate emails and heating elements into the interactions, however, due to difficulties Jeffery and I had with the flag foot ball belt battery, we were uncomfortable that would require more power or dealing with a modified heating pad is such a small space. We tried prototyping the project by just trying to get two arduino yuns to communicate with one another while still connected to the computer. We had difficulty getting the arduino yuns to communicate using wireless communication, so once again, we scaled down our idea.

Emails were out, so we decided we would use the xbee controller to allow two arduino unos to communicate via radio waves. We were able to get these two to communicate; we had decided to use a buzzer to signal our other user. Below is our code and a video of our test:

/*
AnalogReadSerial

Reads an analog input on pin 0, prints the result to the Serial Monitor.
Graphical representation is available using Serial Plotter (Tools > Serial Plotter menu).
Attach the center pin of a potentiometer to pin A0, and the outside pins to +5V and ground.

This example code is in the public domain.

http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/AnalogReadSerial
*/
const int sensorPin = 8; // the number of sensor. it is digital
const int output = 13;

int sensorValueSend=0;
int sensorValueReceive=0;
// the setup routine runs once when you press reset:

void setup() {
// initialize serial c ommunication at 9600 bits per second:
Serial.begin(9600);
pinMode(sensorPin, INPUT);
pinMode(output, OUTPUT);
}

// the loop routine runs over and over again forever:
void loop() {

sensorValueSend = digitalRead(sensorPin); // read the input from the sensor
sensorValueReceive=Serial.read(); //read input from the Arduino

// send the read value to the other Arduino:
Serial.write(sensorValueSend);

if (sensorValueSend==LOW ){
if (sensorValueReceive==LOW){
digitalWrite(output, LOW);
}
if (sensorValueReceive==HIGH){
while (sensorValueSend==LOW){
digitalWrite(output, HIGH);
sensorValueSend=digitalRead(sensorPin); //read input from the sensor again
}

}
}

else if (sensorValueSend==HIGH ){
if (sensorValueReceive==LOW){

digitalWrite(output, LOW);
}
if(sensorValueReceive==HIGH){
digitalWrite(output, LOW);
}
}

//now compare the send and received values
delay(10); // delay in between reads for stability
}

 

Partner A would have an button they could press that would send a wireless signal to Partner B’s arduino causing a buzzer to go off. This buzzer could only be quieted if Partner B made physical contact with Partner A. We had abandoned the idea of gloves, our aruionos would be too bulky and it would be inconvenient to wear and affix to the gloves. After deciding on sweatshirts over scarves, we ended up with t-shirts. This would compromise the comfort of the user, as we wanted to place the arduinos in pockets of a sweatshirt, so we decided that we would have to just try our best to hide the arduinos within the shirt.

With the t-shirts ready, we decided we would use conductive fabric as a switch to turn the buzzer off. We ended up with Supreme shirts, and decided to incorporate their iconic logo into the design. Partner A would have one whole piece of conductive fabric, which would be able to complete the circuit on Partner B’s shirt. Partner B would have two pieces of conductive fabric in the same place as on Partner A’s shirt (right over the logo). There would be a gap between these two pieces of conductive fabric, making an intentionally disconnected circuit. When the two hugged, Partner A’s shirt would be able to complete the circuit on Partner B’s shirt, shutting off the buzzer. These pieces of conductive fabric would function as our sensors.

The switch to turn the buzzing on was on the left arm of Partner A’s shirt. The switch was made of two pieces of conductive fabric with a bit of space in between them. When pinched together, they would complete a circuit that would send a signal to Partner B’s arudio to turn the buzzer on.

Illustrations for the circuit are below:

We used a combination of hand sewing and the sewing machine to attach everything to the shirt. The sensor pieces of conductive fabric were attached to the t-shirts using the sewing machine, while all the other components were attached by hand, as many of them required conductive fabric. We created little pouches for the aruinos and batteries that we then attached to the back of the t-shirts.

Below is a video of the t-shirts working in person:

Reflection:

I had really wanted to focus on making this project something that looked like it wasn’t a rough prototype, instead, I felt like my design ideas were not considered and plain ignored. If we were to do another version of this project, I would really like to make it as small as possible, maybe using the Lilly pad Arduino or a smaller one. While most of us were all present to work on the project on the same time, I don’t think it required four people to work on it. Perhaps if we had divided the work more clearly, there would have been more active participation. That’s the main take-away I got from this project.

In addition, for me, I think this project suffered from  a problem I face in general when creating things. I think I try so hard to be aware of the message that the thing I’m working on is sending that I want to make sure it sends a message that says something ‘important.’ I thought our project was really interesting because I thought it visualized a toxic relationship in a very clear way, while when people you’re actually in the middle of a bad relationship, it’s difficult to tell.

This project could have gone in a much more light-hearted way that was more of a spin on a couples outfit that didn’t send a negative message, but also wasn’t trying to make commentary on a heavy or political topic. Now that the project is done and life has calmed down, a bunch of other ideas that are expansions on the couple’s outfit that rather than illustrate a very serious and potentially dangerous situation, poke fun at the obnoxiousness of couples outfits and PDA. I think I need to focus a lot more on the development of the project and try to make something more ‘fun’ in the future.

Week 2: CSS Exercise (Chen)

Project Link:

This was very intimidating for me, so it took a while to start on this. After asking for help, I got my biggest problem solved, which was the trying to figure out how to get everything to be in the right place. After then, it wasn’t too difficult to play around with the proportions and colors.

Week 4: DOM and BOM Mini Project (Chen)

Project Link:

I remember having issues with pop-ups in class as well as when working on this part of the assignment. However, when I returned to it and looked at some references, it ended up working and I’m not sure why! One of the hardest things for me for this assignment was to make the elements change in some way that seemed to flow naturally with the website, for example, the pop-up and the changing of some sort of HTML element.  I ended up just implementing these interactions at different points, one as a link another for the title for the article. One of the things that I thought was slightly more natural were the pictures of kittens changing when the mouse overs over them.

Final Project

Instructor: Roopa Vasudevan
Class: Generative Language
Project: Final Project
Description:
I created a song lyric generator that generates songs based on essays about home. I have a collection of songs about home because I noticed that many  songs across time period and genres, from the spiritual, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” to Blink 182’s, “All the Small Things”  tend to mention the concept of home. The way these songs describe home has been very interesting to me because I wonder what home means in all these songs and where there’s cross over between meanings. I wanted to create a project that worked in this medium and explored the definition of home in song lyrics.

Process:

I collected a series of song lyrics that contain the word home.  At first I had considered using these song lyrics in letters to home or journal entries, however, all my journals from the past few years were three hours travel away and I wasn’t sure how the process of converting handwriting to text would play out. I originally wanted to do something more closely aligned to the meanings of the songs, so I created a list of keywords associated with the songs, such as belonging/un-belonging, loneliness, love, people, and being lost or wandering.

After talking with Luis about my project, he suggested I use Thought Catalogue posts about home as my corpus. I really appreciated this input because I wanted to stay more closely aligned to the songs about home. One thing I noticed was that the thought catalogue posts tended to more clearly define home, so I wondered if that affect the meanings of the songs and make them more literal when they mention home. In the end I would use the NRC sentiment analysis library to analyze each sentence in each the Thought Catalogue Post to determine the sentiment of the sentence. The words in this sentence would then be tagged with their part of speech using the NLTK Part of Speech tag function. I made a few lists of of parts of speech and sentiment, for example “angerNouns.” All nouns in a sentence where the sentiment is determined to be “anger” would then be added to this list.

The sentences would be analyzed for sentiment using a modified version of the sentiment analysis exercise we did in class. Using the NRC dictionary, each word in a sentence will add a point to the overall sentiments found in a sentence. One sentence may be “3 positive, 1 anticipation, 1 joy” based on the words in the sentence.  The sentiment with the most points will then be chosen as the overall emotion for that sentence, and the words will be part of speech tagged then added to their corresponding list. This part of the program sorts and collects all the information from the corpus text and prepares it for the next part of the program.

A similar version of the sentiment analysis would be run on each line of the song, analyzing it first for sentiment. Once the sentiment in the song has been determined, each word in that sentence will be tagged by part of speech. Finally, the words in the sentence would also be tagged by part of speech then nouns, verbs, and adjectives will be replaced from the corresponding lists created from the Thought Catalogue posts.

Final Result:

It was recommended that I  start getting the basic functionality of the program running: the sentiment analysis and word replacement figured out. This is what focused on and was only used one song as a grammar where lyrics could be replaced. I was surprised by the result because as I had mentioned earlier, I wasn’t sure how the Thought Catalogue posts, with their more clunky way of defining home (for example, “This is What ‘home’ Actually Means Because it’s Not Just Where You Sleep and Shit”) would integrate into the song lyrics. Using the original songs as a template for the actual songs helped keep the definitions of the songs vague and offered a different perspective on home.

As I was reaching this point, the point where I had initially thought that I would be able to finish the project, I realized there was a lot more that I hadn’t considered. For example, how would I deal with constructing a chorus, ensuring that there was one main theme threaded throughout the each generated song, and what about rhyme. The project at once seemed to expand and grow into something much more expansive that I had originally anticipated.

 

Reflection:

I was disappointed that I didn’t finish the project as I had set out to finish. When working on this project and dealing with sentiments about home, I kept coming back to the idea of a cross stitching a favorite generated song lyric onto a throw pillow. That was my personal goal for the project, to get the program up and running enough that it would be possible to have some sort of final output that especially resonated with me for whatever reason. It was frustrating that despite all the time and effort I put into the project, I wasn’t able to complete it to the extent that I wanted it to be completed. I would say that the result that I got it to was to a point of a first prototype.

I wonder if part of struggle with this project came from being too tied to the song lyrics. I’ve been wanting to do something with this idea for a while, even once writing a paper about this topic, and that may have gotten in the way of other more tangentially related ideas. Maybe I could have made a travel log where the author was very homesick and used lines from there. I feel like I may have limited myself when conceptualizing the project.

As a final project, the last thing that I created after a semester of learning, I’m satisfied with how it turned out. This was definitely the most code intensive class I’ve ever taken and I think that I ended up learning a lot, both about programming, but also language and wiring. Before this class I wouldn’t have even known where to begin, for this project I struggled a bit with scale and conceptualizing the project, but in terms of my actual abilities I improved a lot and overall I’m very proud of my personal progress.

 

Final Project (Chen)

Project Title: Threats of Air Pollution
Group Members: Annie Seaman, Pearl Basinski
Materials: html, javascript, css, Adobe Illustrator
Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1D7FpDeFrvFElKLtkzJBRSPzG-CY0BkCD
Project Description: Interactive website exploring air pollution
Process: Annie and I were both very interested in air pollution and wanted to make an interactive educational website, so we decided to create a site about air pollution. We thought of a few ideas that related to air pollution and how we felt about it. Annie was very interested in the visualization of air quality data on maps, as that’s how people tend to consciously interact with air pollution, as well as the politics that surround air quality monitoring bodies. I care about the effects of air pollution on a person’s health and life expectancy, as well as potential short term and long term solutions to mitigate the threats of air pollution.  We came up with a few ideas for pages for the site and drew a quick wireframe for the site. Then we about collecting our elements.

I collected the information about air pollution from a number of different sources, mainly the Guardian, Bliss air, and various government and non-government organizations. They can be found below:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Almost every other element was adapted from flaticon.com. I edited and arranged them in Adobe Illustrator. For some, I had to open and crop in Photoshop. Annie found the video, which I slowed down and added a clip in reverse order, so that when it looped it would look more seamless. We decided that  our color scheme would be based on the pollution level indicators, as well as a few different shades of grey (the pollution.) The map was created from google maps and the aqicn.net site, which monitors air pollution. I edited it in Photoshop.

I decided I’d work on the last two pages of the site. I wanted the user to be able to hover over the icons or areas of the page to uncover information about the topic. I found a template that had this sort of arrangement and would also respond to pages size changes using flexboxes. I positioned each item and text in corresponding boxes so that the particular

Dave helped me figure out how to properly position all the text and images with margin: 0 auto. The only thing left to do would be to make the text appear after a mouse over.

I asked Dave for advice on how to consider making the fifth page. Initially, I had wanted to make a very complicated page where each item on the page is an individual css element that could then be placed and manipulated in different ways. I wanted to make the pages like this because I had wanted these elements to have different properties under certain conditions. This page ideally would have been a lot of fun to interact with. This page was supposed to be an interactive way to demonstrate how people can work to mitigate the damage of air pollution based on how strongly they believe it to be a concern in their lives. There would be three options, all based on what were in my understanding, the main colors associated with air pollution levels: green, yellow, and read.

If the user pressed green, the items associated with making the air immediately better to the individual user would become opaque. These items were an air filter, air mask, and energy efficient appliances. Yellow would include some minor life style changes such as biking, recycling, using re-usable goods, and having an air monitor in your house. Red was the most dramatic choice, activism and education in ones own community, starting a garden, becoming vegetarian, etc.

I wanted to make each individual item a separate element on the page because I thought it would make the various interactions easier. I wanted the green items to become visible when the green button was pressed and when the user hovered over them, for some information to appear. I thought this would be most achievable with class and id tags, however, I wasn’t sure how the page would load at various sizes. When I consulted Dave, he suggested I make three different images with each of the items at different opacities, which would switch out according to each button being pressed. After, I could use invisible divs that would show information when the mouse hovered over them. This was a convincing case to me because I had another project to work on and needed to down scale the project. The picture below shows the divs as well as the mouse over the garden.

After getting everything in order, I sent my pages over to Annie to have a look at and put in with the rest of the pages.

Reflection:
One thing I had wanted to focus on was making a website that looked nice. I was hoping to spend the last day going over layout and color scheme to make everything look really nice. I had also wanted to help Annie make the air pollution particle page more interactive with some animations. After taking Creative Computing and watching more Coding Train videos my skill level would imply, bouncing an increasing number of balls around a window was one of the things I where I was confident in my abilities. Unfortunately I struggled a lot more with my parts of the project than I anticipated, as well as my project with another class. I really should have asked for help and worked on something else, as it was ultimately a waste of time, but I know now that I should recognize when something isn’t going to go anywhere without a fresh perspective.

As for the lay out, I think that if we would have needed to tweak somethings a little bit. All the greys were too similar in shade to provide the right amount of contrast for many of the elements on the page it seemed.  On top of that, we had discussed having a menu be a part of each of the pages, but not in great detail, so it didn’t make it to the actual site. I think it would have helped if we had referenced a sketch of the different pages a more when creating the website.

Lastly, of my concerns for this final project was the interactivity of the website. I wanted to avoid making a game because I had hoped we could make something other than a game from the things we learned in the class. Whenever I don’t know what to do, my default is to make something educational. However, for a project of this nature, it may have been a stronger project if we had made some mini-games related to teaching people about pollution.

I think the last page could have remained as it was, the pollution particle page could have had the bouncing particles as I had mentioned in a previous paragraph, and we could have included another game that we had initially cut from the website, rather than having the tiled information page. This game would have been a commentary about developed countries ‘solving’ their air pollution problems by outsourcing the to developing nations. I’m only thinking of these games now, writing the reflection, so I’m not sure if I would have thought of them when initially developing the idea. It seemed like we were scrambling to get an idea then implement it, rather than really thinking and developing it. So next time, time allowing, I’d like to spend more time developing an idea then making sure we both understand it, before finally separating and implementing the idea.

It seemed like a lot of the texts I read  were not much more than someone writing a novel with the same phrase over and over again. While this sort of novel has its own place in the writing tradition, it didn’t really inspire me personally or give me insight as to how I could generate a novel. Other things I saw helped a bit, using cut ups and Buzzfeed’s markovify on buzzfeed articles, or the Augmented Heart of Darkness, which the definition of a word is printed under the line that the word appears in. I thought that idea was very clever and wondered if I could make something similar, however I wasn’t sure how different I could make it. Finally I stumbled upon a book where the author had put a lot of effort into the structure of the story. They programed individual paragraphs for each part of the narrative, for example an opening paragraph. After seeing a bit of how the author had decided to build the story, I skimmed parts of it and was blown away at how readable it was, as well as how cohesive the story seemed to be. It was much longer than I expected. Reading this novel really changed how I thought I would approach this project. Unfortunately, I cannot for the life of me find it again. I would have liked to read it in more detail.

Program Earth

Many of the more successful companies are tech companies that can contribute most of their profits to collecting user data. Examples of these companies include Alibaba and Google. By tracking user data, they can predict user behaviour and draw connections between their actions that may not be obvious through casual observation. These companies want to collect as much data as possible so that they can gain a deeper understanding of their users. User behaviour is not limited to the users own actions, they are influenced by external forces, sometimes out of their control. By tracking external, or as one could say, environmental forces, companies can relate the cause to a reaction. People base their decisions on the weather, so by tracking the weather, and comparing it against user data, a company can obtain a more comprehensive understanding of a user’s actions. In addition, scientists have drawn correlations between pollution and mental health. Like tracking the weather, companies could also draw correlations between differing pollution levels and user behaviour.

Another commonly proposed way companies can track user behaviour that extends beyond their phones or web page is to track foot traffic to determine an optimal location for a storefront. However, because this sort of tracking and the action can extend beyond the scope of a phone or an app eventually, companies will have to work with city governments to track people in public or build and buy a storefront. Collecting and using environmental data and paring it with citizen’s data in this way lends itself to the being used to create smart cities.

Smart cities use sensors to collect data about the environment and the entities inhabiting the space. After analyzing data, the cities or city planners can react to changes in the environment to improve the way the city works. This efficiency, in theory, can lead to a better life for all. The video What are Smart Cities” explains the benefits and even necessity for developing cities as “smart cities” and the links one could make to corporations being responsible for implementing many of these changes. Essentially, the current lifestyle people live has issues with waste: wasting energy, food, time, ect. This waste can also have a monetary value. If corporations can find a way to reduce the waste, they can profit off of the money saved. Because smart cities rely on many devices communicating with each other and analyzing large amounts of data, technology companies such as the aforementioned Alibaba and Gooogle are more equipt to develop concepts, devices, and implement smart city technology. They already based on the internet and deal primarily with facilitating connections and analyzing user data. 

While these groups are more equipt to be creating smart cities, the line between governing body and corporation becomes blurred. This relates to the last book we read The Stack because it talks about an interface for an interacting with and reacting to the environment. These corporations facilitate connections to make life more efficient. They build the infrastructure for the smart cities and can eventually exert control over these places and people. This sort of control over people could be seen as another problem for society because if the governing body is a corporation with a goal of earning profit, rather than a governing counsel, put in place to benefit it’s citizens, people could lose their voice in society.

 

Touch Project

Created by Jeffrey Kung and Pearl Basinski

Project: Touch Project

Materials: T-shirt, belt, lilypad arduino, wire, velcro, conductive thread, buzzer, 10K resistorInstructor: Antonius Wadijara — Talking Fabrics
Goal: Create a t-shirt for flag football that alerts the wearer when the flag is pulled

Inspiration:

Jeffrey plays flag football. Flag football is a non-contact version of football. Pulling the ‘flag,’ a strip of vinyl attached to a cloth belt, functions as a tackle in flag football. Because pulling the flag functions as a tackle in the game, players who have had their flag pulled are essentially immobilized, they cannot continue running with the ball. However, many flag football players continue running after their flag has been pulled. The flag is not a part of their body, so they are not conscious of it being pulled off. We set about trying to solve this problem.

We had worked on this project before, but in making the project, we ran into some issues in the construction where the only way to move forward would be to start over. So we decided to start over, this time with a new design.

Process:

We built off of our earlier version of the project to try to make a cleaner and more effective version of the project. This time, we decided to put the whole circuit on the belt, rather than the t-shirt. We cut a strip of fabric from a bed sheet and sewed it together to make a belt. The buzzer was loud enough to be heard, even from a waist level. After re-evaluating our circuit, we realised we had been using the wrong resistor for the first prototype, so this time, we used one that switched out. In order to ensure there weren’t any accidental connections made when sewing with the conductive thread, we tried to use wires as much as we could. If a few wires would go to the same end point, they could become branches on another wire that would be going in the same direction. This cleaned up our circuit a bit.

After couching everything on, we still continued to have issues making our circuit work. At one point, we lost control of the buzzer and it would continuously sound as long as it was connected to power. The noise was very agitating and made us frantic to do whatever we could to try to get it to work properly. This caused a lot of short circuiting, and possibly even a small fire. This was even more distressing. A fellow who seemed both annoyed by the sound and concerned by our smoking project came over to help us. He noticed that we had two exposed wires coming out of the battery. It is part of the battery’s design to have two exposed wires next to each other, one to power and one to ground. He warned us of the danger of this battery exploding, especially if we were short circuiting the battery basically at the power source with these two exposed wires.

We replaced one of the exposed wires with a longer, plastic coated one and re-connected the circuit. There were still some issues getting the buzzer to sound when the flag was taken off, this time, it would not sound. Checking over the circuit, we couldn’t find any issues, except perhaps with the actual switch. Maybe on the underside of the velcro, the two squares of conductive fabric were touching in some way. When we tried to separate the two squares away from each other, the whole device worked as we had intended it to, which was a huge relief.

Improvements:

The short circuiting experience really affected us and it’s not something that we would want to experience again, or subject anyone to enduring. After we succeeded in getting the belt to work as intended to, Jeffery said he wouldn’t feel comfortable actually using the belt because he worried it would explode while playing. We didn’t feel comfortable leaving the belt connected to a powersource overnight for the same reason. The first thing that I would like to do to improve this project is figure out a better or safer way to power the device.

After then, my second improvement would be to add at least one more flag to the belt that would have the same functionality when more flags were attached to the belt and if one or more had been removed.

Lastly, I would like to try to make the circuitry take up less space on the belt.

Touch Project

Created by Jeffrey Kung and Pearl Basinski
Project: Touch Project
Materials: T-shirt, belt, lilypad arduino, wire, velcro, conductive thread, buzzer, 10K resistor
Instructor: Antonius Wadijara — Talking Fabrics
Goal: Create a t-shirt for flag football that alerts the wearer when the flag is pulled

Inspiration:

Jeffrey plays flag football. Flag football is a non-contact version of football. Pulling the ‘flag,’ a strip of vinyl attached to a cloth belt, functions as a tackle in flag football. Because pulling the flag functions as a tackle in the game, players who have had their flag pulled are essentially immobilized, they cannot continue running with the ball. Howeve

r, many flag football players continue running after their flag has been pulled. The flag is not a part of their body, so they are not conscious of it being pulled off. We set about trying to solve this problem.

We had worked on this project before, but in making the project, we ran into some issues in the construction where the only way to move forward would be to start over. So we decided to start over, this time with a new design.

Process:

We built off of our earlier version of the project to try to make a cleaner and more effective version of the project. This time, we decided to put the whole circuit on the belt, rather than the t-shirt. We cut a strip of fabric from a bed sheet and sewed it together to make a belt. The buzzer was loud enough to be heard, even from a waist level. After re-evaluating our circuit, we realised we had been using the wrong resistor for the first prototype, so this time, we used one that switched out. In order to ensure there weren’t any accidental connections made when sewing with the conductive thread, we tried to use wires as much as we could. If a few wires would go to the same endpoint, they could become branches on another wire that would be going in the same direction. This cleaned up our circuit a bit.

After couching everything on, we still continued to have issues making our circuit work. At one point, we lost control of the buzzer and it would continuously sound as long as it was connected to power. The noise was very agitating and made us frantic to do whatever we could to try to get it to work properly. This caused a lot of short-circuiting, and possibly even a small fire. This was even more distressing. A fellow who seemed both annoyed by the sound and concerned by our smoking project came over to help us. He noticed that we had two exposed wires coming out of the battery. It is part of the battery’s design to have two exposed wires next to each other, one to power and one to ground. He warned us of the danger of this battery exploding, especially if we were short-circuiting the battery basically at the power source with these two exposed wires.

We replaced one of the exposed wires with a longer, plastic coated one and re-connected the circuit. There were still some issues getting the buzzer to sound when the flag was taken off, this time, it would not sound. Checking the circuit, we couldn’t find any issues, except perhaps with the actual switch. Maybe on the underside of the velcro, the two squares of conductive fabric were touching in some way. When we tried to separate the two squares away from each other, the whole device worked as we had intended it to, which was a huge relief.

Improvements:

The short-circuiting experience really affected us and it’s not something that we would want to experience again, or subject anyone to enduring. After we succeeded in getting the belt to work as intended to, Jeffery said he wouldn’t feel comfortable actually using the belt because he worried it would explode while playing. We didn’t feel comfortable leaving the belt connected to a power source overnight for the same reason. The first thing that I would like to do to improve this project is figuring out a better or safer way to power the device.

After then, my second improvement would be to add at least one more flag to the belt that would have the same functionality when more flags were attached to the belt and if one or more had been removed.

Lastly, I would like to try to make the circuitry take up less space on the belt.

The Stack

In class we discussed the tension between platforms and the state as platforms grow to have more control over people’s daily lives. Platforms as Bratton describes them are a third way to organize society along with markets and states. An example a platform, functioning almost on the level of a stack would be one of the two giant applications in China, WeChat and Alipay.

Alipay’s most obvious function is as an app which allows users to exchange money. Most establishments, from your streetside tailor to foreign franchise like Starbucks accept Alipay. It’s more than minor transactions, people pay rent, their phone bills, utilities, phone bills, calling cabs, group discounts, and more on Alipay. Alipay is owned by Alibaba Group, an e-commerce group which also owns other brands such as Taobao/T-mall and Aliexpress for international customers. Alibaba Group’s reach extends beyond e-commerce to the operations that support the sale and transportation of goods. For example, Alibaba owns or partners with delivery companies. On both Taobao and Alipay, one can check the status of your orders, which city the package is located in, ect. They also own a grocery store with a similar function, and has opened a grocery store, Hema grocery store, where one purchases grocery stores only through Alipay or wechat. Due to its focus on creating networks to facilitate monetary transactions, Alibaba has become the biggest e-commerce group in the world. Alibaba has shaped consumer habits to an extent that festivals they have created, dedicated to buying items, such as Singles Day (11/11) are eagerly anticipated and observed in China as well as other parts of Asia.

Platforms like Alibaba hold much power and influence over Chinese society. However, they are in part state owned, thus the goals of the shareholders will align with that of the state, and the platforms will be bound by the rules of the nation. They also rely on State controlled infractures such as electricity, internet, and roads to function. The nation state as we experience it finds its roots it the Treaty of Westphalia. The treaty of Westphalia is cited as the beginning of creating the world order as we know it now, the beginning of the nation state. The nation state unites people with the same historical background and ties it to a piece of land. It gives the people in the nation state a shared identity, allowing them to want collaborate to protect their land and people. The state creates infrastructure and public goods for the sake of it’s people, so that society can function. Countries are compared on a number of metrics, GDP, population, carbon footprints, ect.

Some companies, at this point have metrics that rival that of countries. These companies are contribute to another country’s overall statistics, but that these companies can compare on any level to entire countries is astounding. Nations rose to power because of their state owned companies, for example the Dutch East India Company.  Alibaba is in part state owned and has contributed greatly towards China’s growth into a global powerhouse. At the same time, Alibaba has vowed to donate 10 billion RMB towards China’s goal of reducing poverty. Alibaba function on a level in which it can compete with countries add legitimacy to its places as an entity that could  potentially govern society.

At this moment, platforms like Alipay collaborate and work within state legislation. Similar platforms like Google have also made choices that could simulate those of the state. In creating Google Fiber, it creates and installs its own broadband internet. They reduce their reliance on state mandated infrastructure. Google has also recently reached it’s 100% renewable energy goal. By using or buying energy from renewable sources, Google further separates itself from state infrastructure and control. Tesla, another US based company offered to re-build Puerto Rico’s powergrid after Hurricane Maria left the island powerless. If this plan is execute, Tesla may have more power Puerto Rico than the US.

Our current world order is in a period of transition where these companies or platforms develop “technology that comes to absorb functions of the state and work of governance” (7).These companies/platforms are developing the technologies that answer the needs of the current era. Google provides internet related services, Tesla generates and develops energy and transportation, Alibaba provides fundamental infrastructure for commerce and data technology. These companies creating the infrastructure for the next way of structuring society.