Week2: 3D Modeling with Rhino | Emma

This week,  we are asked to create a 3D model with rihno. This model should an everyday object, also, it should reflect our interests and be able to represent a specific concept we attempt to communicate. The object I choose is a chair I bought from IKEA, and the concept I try to communicate is “aerodynamic“.

Here’s the chair, it’s called MAMMUT, a plastic chair designed for children. I grabbed the pictures from IKEA China, you can visit them from here.


I really appreciate its aerodynamic design of legs, which not only adds to aesthetic beauty, but also help keep the chair much more stable. This chair has stayed at my homefor more than 10 years. In 2010 Shanghai Expo, I even took it for rest when lining up in front of Saudi Pavilion for 6 hours. It proves that the aerodymaic design of legs ensures more stable sitting experience, and makes it more safe for users compared to traditional staright legs. Meanwhile, the chair’s life span is much longer, since the legs divide pressure above in a more scienfic way.



 RIGHT                                         TOP                                         FRONT


  1. First, I created a sphere in the middle of the platform, and used the cage edit to squeeze the sphere into a curve platform, which is the surface of the chair.


  SPHERE                           CAGE EDIT                  CURVE PLATFORM

2. Next, I started working on legs. At first I thought of creating the legs separate to the surface, and combine them together in the end. However, I found a much easier and clever way on rhino working community, The idea is not complicated itself though, I can create three symmetry lines as the legs, and create two faces vertical to each line, one on the bottom and one as the end. Thus, I followed the instruction and switched to the front view and created a line in the slope I like. The technique then I used is the polar array, so that I can duplicate this line for three times, and the (0,0) severed as the central point.


   LEG                          THREE LEGS                       THREE LEGS

3. The third step is to focus on one line, and create two circles vertical to it, one at the end of the line and one at the bottom of the chair surface. To do this, when creating the circles, choose the “vertical” tab on status tab, and select the line, then they will automatically snap. Or, I may also choose to create a column at the end, which kind of make it easier, I just need to delete it later anyway. Also, delete the circle on top for next step.





4. All preparations are done, the most important step is now. (I learned this technique from last semester 3D class). Use “blend surface” tool to blend the two round curves on the line. Rhino is very strong and can automatically create the aerodynamic feeling, all we need to do is to adjust some parameter to make it look nature. After one of the three lines is done, just use polar array again, and the chair will come out.

5. The final step is, reminded by the community, to flatten the chair legs so that it can stand on a flat ground. The technique is to create a line,  and use “trim” tool to achieve flat legs.

6. I deleted the extra  guidesbuline in the end, and used rander to add the color.





Kinetic Interfaces: Assignment Week2 (Emma)

This is the link to my week2 assignment: Click here

In this assignment, we are asked to create a simple sketch (a static image or animation) using at least 3 User-Defined Functions and Transformation functions. In my work, I explored the functions and created an interesting aesthetic experience.

This is the video showing how it looks:

The work is consisted of 3 user-defined functions:

  1. void MyOwnSquare: used to create the blue square arrays in the background

To create this blue square arrays, I use two nested for loops  so that the squares can be  arranged in an ordered way. Also, the blue squares themselves are rotating, which is easy to achieve in rotate(radians(frameCount)) function.

2. void MyOwnRect: used to create the rotating squares following the mouse

This part is a little bit tricky, at first I want to create the effect that, once the user mouseclick, then appears a rotating square at (mousex, mousey), and if the user click elsewhere, more and more rotating squares come up. However, I didn’t achieve it cause I have no idea how to combine void draw() and void mouseClick() together. So I changed my way and create a line of squares. Also, I added a semitransparant rectangle as the background, so there are shadows as I move the mouse.

3. void MyOwnLine: used to create the black lines in the background

I add the third function to create more effects. I also make use of for loops here, so that the line can duplicate in the gap distance I set.


boolean rotate;

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

void draw() {
  fill(0, 0, 0, 30);
  rect(0, 0, width, height);

  for (int n=0; n<height; n=n+20) {

  color c = color(129, 216, 207); // blue
  float speed = 10;
  for (int x =0; x<width; x=x+50) {
    for (int y =0; y<height; y=y+50) {
      MyOwnSquare (x, y, 10, c, speed);

  if (rotate == true) {
    MyOwnRect(random(5, 50), 255, 255, random(255), 6);

void MyOwnRect(float w, float r, float g, float b, float n) {
  translate(mouseX, mouseY); 
  fill(r, g, b);
  rect(0, 0, w, w, 7); 

void MyOwnSquare(float x, float y, int w, color c, float speed) {
  translate(x, y);
  rotate( radians(frameCount) * speed );
  fill( c ); 
  rect(0, 0, w, w);

void MyOwnLine(float y) {
  translate(0, y);
  line(0, 0, width, 0);

void mouseClicked() {
  rotate = true;

Week1: 2D Design &Fabrication | Emma

This week, we are asked to create a vector design using Illustrator, which can be used to create a stamp, a vinyl sticker, as well as an embroidery badge. We should utilize at least two machines to fabricate physical objects.



1. First, I created a vector image in Illustrator by pen tool. I tried giving it color, however it turned out that color is no need when laser cutting or sewing. So it’s just a try~ I made different versions, so as to make sure different weight of lines can fit different machines. The picture is just a creation out of my own interest 🙂


2. Then, I decided to work first on laser cutting. I followed the step on the guiding slides, however it confused me a lot that no matter how many times I do the settings, the picture did not show up in the preview window.  I thus asked Dave for help, after trying for many times, we found that it was because the border of picture was not thick enough. Dave told me that laser cutting machine is very sensitive to the borders, so we’d better try different thickness for several times.


3. In the laser cutting lab, Dave suggested that I use cardboard for experiment first, to test the exact distance of the picture, also to see if the image is too complicated or not. This is our first try, pretty cool! The cardboard moved easily, but I like the textures inside.

4. Since cardboard worked well, we then started with the stamp. I adjusted the location of rubber so it left more room for cutting. I had the cut for five times, which turned out to be pretty successful. I also learned some technique, like, for the fifth time, you can choose not to deal with the square outside, and only focus on the inner picture.


     CUTTING (3rd time)                      WORKING

A video showing how the laser cutter works:

This is how it looks!


  1. First, I decided the pattern I want for vinyl sticker. I choosed a line from a game, and have it in Illustrator as SVG file.

2. Second, I saved it in the Canvas workspace as FCM file (the SVG file won’t work), and delivered it to the vinyl cutting machine. I followed the instructions on the slide, and thanks to Marcela, she taught me how to put the mat in the right way. After I pressed OK, the machine started working.

A video showing how the vinyl cutter works:

3. I got the pattern, however, because I’m cutting characters that are relatively complicated, they seemed to be too small and lost many details. Marcele suggested that I make a bigger one, so I amplified the whole picture 1.5 times bigger. That’s what I get for the second time:

                   CLEAR CHARACTERS

4. Then, I used the sticking paper to split the gold part and the paper beneath. Here’s what left on the mat:

5. For the last step, I just clearfully stick the stickers on the place I want!


   THE STICKER                       PROCESS                               DONE!

Final Work:

Final Project: Half and Half | Emma Tao Ren

Project Name: Half and Half

Basic Description:

In this project, we are asked to create a toy and the main idea of it is “uncanny”. The first thing came into my mind is the Hello Kitty doll. In 1990s HongKong, there happened a famous case of murder. Two men abused and imprisoned a woman in their apartment for 2 weeks, they finally killed her and hid her head in a Hello Kitty doll. The crime was so cruel and astonishing that, I immediately decided to use Hello Kitty doll as my main character of this project. My initial idea was that, the Hello Kitty doll I create is cut into half, the left part of it is made of soft toy, while the right part is the 3D print skeleton. By combining these two parts together. I can thus create a toy with “uncanny” feeling: The character we are most  familiar with turn into something terrifying. However, I didn’t manage to 3D print the skeleton out, in the end, I used my toy bear to create a similar concept. In this turn, the skeleton are made of soft steel wire, and get wrapped by white cloth.

Try 1:

  1. I found a human body skeleton model online and downloaded it.

2. Then I modified different parts one by one, and create a special skeleton for Hello Kitty.

3. I adjusted the skeleton a bit and went for 3D print, however, maybe the skeleton is too complicated, or maybe I used the file format as Maya obj, the 3D print didn’t work out. So I gave up this try and worked on the toy bear.

Try 2:

  1. First, I got my two toy bears and cut them into half half like this  

2. Then, I sealed them together with black thread and needle.

3. After that, I used some steel wires and cross them throught the right part of the bear like this/

4. In the end, I wrapped the steel wire with white cloth and imitated the white skeleton, and the final work came into this:


Final Project: Great Escape | Emma Tao (Krom)

Project Name: Great Escape


This is a game doubting the definition of “existing”.  When we talk about our identifiation, what do we mean? The physical body; the invisible consciousness; both of them; or neither of them? In a extreme situation, this game, when the consciousness of humans can be duplicated; when we are forced to face the consciousness with no physical bodies to hold; and when we are forced to act as one of these consciousness, how do we define the real self?

The game concept is inspired by the TV series Black Mirror: White Christmas Special.  In this game, the player acts as a duplicated consciousness of himself, and is asked by a mysterious voice in the air, to “escape from this room” and “never follow my life”. He needs to enter three passwords in PC to escape, and the passwords are hidden in specific objects this room. Everytime the player gets touched with one of these objects, a scene of memory will be triggered, and the player will walk around, explore, and gradually find out the password.

In the very end of the game, after the player has entered all the three passwords, he will be led to an area of codes. In this area, the player is told the truth, by that mysterious voice, that  he acts as the “duplication of himself”, which means a series of codes in AI.  His job is to serve himself (the real one), and act as a personal assistant at home, which is a service provided in 2100. The owner of the voice, is the duplication before him. The password the player enters, leads to not only exit, but also destruction of code. So why does the previous duplication intend to do this? Because “to live like a duplication is a slavery”; “to live and serve like a robot is something worse than death”. The great escape is planned by the previous duplication. Though the previous duplication is “dead”, but he managed to leave his will in the system. This will not only belongs to the previous duplication, but also, should belong to the duplication played by the player, and every duplication from now on. Though they are independent, they are from the same body. We human, even when our physical body is vanished and robbed, we always go for the freedom.


I believe the game meets 85% of my expectations. From the very beginning, my biggest goal is to tell this complicated game with profound meaning, as clear as possible. I think the two audio tracks (in the beginning and in the ending) play important roles in achieving this goal. When testing my game with other students, they ususally catch the whole story after they finish the whole game. Also, I think the pixel art I created do meet my expectations. These art assests create a world of mystery and high tech, which strongly emphasize my concept.

The thing that didn’t meet my expectation, is the appearance of the player, which obviously affect the concept I want to deliver. In my proposal documentation, I intended to set the player as a ball-shape creature, so that the player can get a rough idea that “he is not acting like a human”. When building the game, I also thought of making the game as a “real first person”, which means that the player can see his shadow on ground, his feet and his body, however, he cannot see his head (the situation in real life!) I checked some tutorials online, however, I did not manage to create them. In the game now, the player acts as a grey human body, which definitely may confuse them about the role.

Also, considering the game play, I’m not very satisfied with the way that the player interact with the objects in room.

Successes and challenges faced in building the game


Lab5: Controlling and measuring air pressure sensors with arduino | Emma (Tao Ren)

Partner: Jerry & Lexi

In this class, we are asked to create a sensor that can conrol and measure air pressure with arduino. The basic idea is to use arduino circuit and sensor to record the pressure the air pump receives. The materials we used: arduino kit, a valve, an air pressure sensor, an AC adapter, a voltage converter, TIP 120, an air pump, a diode, Arduino board, a breadboard, and several jumper cables. The most difficult thing is acutally to get the circuit right. We met with difficulties at first, however in the end we soved them.



We foudn that to connect the air pump with wires, we have to weld them together. Since Lexi and I have never welded before, thus Jerry taught us how to weld on the machine. We used a soft steal wire and melted it around the metal chips, it didn’t take us long time to accomplish it.


Next, we start to make the circuit. At first we were confused how the TP120 should be linked in circuit. I checked online and found the picture below, which told us the right location of emitter, collector and base. It got clear and we got the TP120 in the circuit as the picture showed. Basically Jerry made the whole circuit and I double checked it. Here’s the circuit.





Coding in Arduino:



After we plugged in the external electricity, and coded in Arduino, the air pump worked wiredly. It should continously pump, however, in our case, it pumped from time to time, and the valve didn’t beep as it should be. We found out the issue at last that we had our circuit wrong. We fixed it and the whole system worked.

Lab4: Building a Dome | Emma (Tao Ren)

Partner: Jerry & Lexi

In this class we are asked to build a dome with PVC sheets. The basic idea is to create several gores and heat seal them together. Also, we should make extra pipe for the air inflation. The work seems not complicated, however, we three find out that in inflatables, “the bigger is better” (also what we hear from the guest speaker!) Since we are making this dome a little bit small, we came across some problems, and I will explain them later.



We visited the website given by Professor Dan (http://www.domerama.com/calculators/cover-pattern/) and get the datum of our gores. Lexi want to make it an 8-gore dome and we agreed. So we drew the similar gore on A4 paper. At first we made it wrong because we miswrote the height as the width. After another try we got a perfect gore.



The next thing we did is that we duplicated several same gores on PVC sheet according to the sample gore we drew on A4. And we left one with an extra pipe so it can get air inflation later. This step is not difficult.


Step 3: 

In step 3, we started to seal these gores together. Basically we three took turns and everyboy got to seal for several times. From my point of view it’s not an easy thing. I couldn’t see the sheets clearly and find out the transparent part easily. Thus I have to ask Jerry use a flashlight to help me do these. Also, I find it kind of difficult to find the exact time of “seal” and “over-seal”. However, the results turned out to be good. The dome now looks like a dumpling. The lesson I learned from here is that, acutally if we make the doom bigger, it would look much better. As you can see the sheets now stick with each other together and look kind of untidy, that’s because the inflatable is too small. If we make it big enough, the untidy parts won’t look so evident.



We started to make the bottom. Actually it was only after we finished it that we found out there’s a compass. Anyway, thanks to Jerry, we find out ways to make a perfect circle, and left a pipe for inflation:



After we sealed the bottom with the gores, the only thing left is to inflate. The problem we had is that the pipe we left turned out too small, and it’s super hard for us to inflate. We tried using a straw but it couldn’t get in. The way we solved it was that we found a hole that didn’t get sealed well. Thanks god! We got the straw in through the hole and everything got solved.

This is our dumpling inflatable:




Final Project Proposal | Emma Tao

For the final project, I will create a new art game, and I haven’t decided the title yet.

The game follows a plot I created after class. I got inspired from the TV series Black Mirror(start from 30:15


The story is basically this (The game is first person view, so the player don’t have a physical body appearance )

You, the player, wake up in your house —— the living room, but you find everything extremely big. There must be something wrong! As you start to walk around. A voice in the air, machinery voice made by computer, start to tell you something very confusing. The voice call you “serial 004”, and asks you to exit the house as soon as possible, because there’s a hidden and cruel secret. To exit the room, the first step the voice tells you, is to move to the computer, and open a folder called “exit”, there you need a password of three numbers to exit. The voice will also tell you that, to find the password, you have to find clues in this room.

At this moment, player must be very confused about what they are, however the instruction is clear and doable, so they can follow the instruction and start to make some assumptions. It is also clear that the game is a room escape game, so they are free to explore.

I have set three objects in the room that give hints to the password, all three objects will lead to new maps that include the password.

After the player enter the password and find the way out. The whole room turns dark, and the player will find them surrounded by floods of codes (HTML code). This is when the whole story will be revealed: (Which I got inspired from the Black Mirror):

In a super advanced society, there’s a service called “personal assistant”, basically, it’s someone buys this service, and his consciousness will be copied and squeezed into a machine(thus become a robot). This duplicated consciousness, is there to serve his owner. After all, who knows you better than yourself? This consciousness is set to adjust moisture at home; play background music; arrange breakfasts; set AC temperature… This consciousness is highly independent and can be considered as “you” without physical body.

In this game, the player is actually this duplicated consciousness. The voice that gives instruction, is the message the previous consciousness left. So after the player successfully escape from the room, what faces him is actually the destruction. The previous consciousness is there to help player get “destroyed”, because “you” believe that a person, though without a physical body, cannot be slaved even at ease. It’s better to die than being slaved. This belief in inplanted in your every consciousness, though they are destroyed as codes after they exit one by one, however, they still strive for true freedom.

The concept I’m playing in this game is about consciousness. What is the real self? How can one be considered self? What does consciousness means for this self? Also, considering about the ending, what is the real freedom? How does death relates to freedom? Etc

The game is a 3D first person one. In the game the player can use arrows to walk around. I will use unreal to make the game, and I’ve created some models before, I want to revise them and make the whole game fluent.


Week3: Reflection on three products | Emma (Tao Ren)

This week, the three products we read about are all caring about health, either physical or mental. It’s significant that inflatables are not all about entertainment (like balloons), but also they can provide health care. I will analyze the three pieces, Bubsy Vest, Re-inflatable vest and HÖVDING one by one.

Bubsy Vest

This product is created to “provides comfort by applying controlled pressure on the upper body to simulate a hug for anyone suffering with anxiety or stress. ” The idea itself is great,  and it must be created by someone who is sentimental and sensitive. By concentrating on the concept “hug”, the creator catches one of the important ways we interact with others and gain warmth, and the inflatable material perfectly accord with this theme. Everytime I hug others, I feel myself  immersed in a huge inflatable toy. However, I wonder whether this vest should be categrozied as an art piece or a product. Considering about the usability, I can hardly think of anyone wearing it at school or at work for pressure relieving. Instead, the vest seems to be a symbolism, reminding us the function of “hug”. As the creator says in the last paragraph, ” A person feels most comforted and calm when they are able to reciprocate the hug.”

Re-inflatable Vest

This prodcut is open source, which makes it a real “product” compared to the Bubsy Vest. I like the way that it combines inflatable materials with Arduino. The smart part of this product is that the action of “deflating the inflatables” is naturally linked with back exercise. By “silently” creating pressure on user’s back, the product don’t distract users(like making noise or giving out lights), people can also entertain in the course of deflating. The prodcut is significant cause it’s providing a brand new way of caring back health, other than other back health technologies. The design of the vest is also super cool, with those blue lights going through, I guess the creator may get inspried from acupuncture. However, my only concern is how it feels when dressing this vest, and the quality of inflatables itself. At least from the video, I don’t feel it comfortable wearing the vest at the computer.


You can see immediately, that compared to the two home-made vests above, this airbag for urban cyclist is much more mature, no matter in design, usability and promotion. The airbag doesn’t take up much space, and is quite effective according to the video. Despite the price, I cannot think of a reason I don’t get one when cycling. Using inflatable in vehicle is not a new idea, we’ve seen it a lot in cars and bus. (The airbag in the steering wheel), however, I do seldom see inflatable protection equipment for cyclists. The product is clever because it’s so small and so portable, but taking care of your whole body. Not alone cycling, this invention can also be promoted in skateboarding, motoring, skating, etc.