Recitation 9: Serial Communications; Yinqi Wang (Frank); Professor Eric && Young;

Serial Communications


In this week’s recitation, I built three circuits to practice serial communications between Arduino and Processing.

1. Processing to Arduino


  • I changed the multiple variables codes: Port_number 4; and variable_number 1; add “values[0]”; and use map() to change the range of the values[0];
  • I use the tone() function to change the tones on Arduino.
  • Somethings about the map() function: In the beginning, I use the map() on the Arduino code. But with Nick’s recommendation, I change the map() on the Processing. Because the computer is better than the Arduino to run the code, so when writing the code, it is reasonable to simplify the code on the Arduino.


I use the mouseX value to control the frequency of the buzzer, with the keyPressed to turn the sound on and off.



2. Arduino to Processing


  • I use the multiple variable codes too here.
  • I change the ellipse into small spots to imitate the drawing points.
  • Later I find the line is not smooth, so I delete the delay in my Arduino.
  • Another inconvenience is when there are too many lines or dots on the canvas, It is hard to find the drawing spot, so I continuously changed the color of the spot. The function I used is the one in the former homework.


I use two potentiometers to control the x position of x and y position of y. When I click the mouse, it will clean the canvas.



3. Arduino to Processing and Processing to Arduino


I mixed the step1 and step2 to simultaneously control the  Arduino and the Processing. However, the Arduino to Processing works well, but the Processing to Arduino works not well.




I mixed the 1 and 2 together and change the buzzer to the LED.





  1. When I was writing the code, it is easier to separate the functions and achieve them step by step.
  2. I learned to use the “example” code in Arduino to quickly check the elements. It is really helpful when debugging.
  3. Combine the old code with the new ones is efficient and fun.




Final Project: Part 1 (Definition of Interactivity) – Leon’s Class

Before the start of the course, our idea of what interaction means was very vague. Personally, my impression of “interaction” was mainly the image of two or more people having a conversation.  Then the first reading that we got was the first Chapter “WHAT EXACTLY IS INTERACTIVITY?” of the Book The Art of Interactive Design by Chris Crawford. This was the first access to a thorough discussion of what “interaction” was and had constantly been a source of reference for me while I was thinking about interaction throughout the course. The first definition stated in the passage is “a cyclic process in which two actors alternately listen, think, and speak.” The author further adds to this definition the idea of interaction being a degree from low interactivity to high interactivity.

However during the course, we had several opportunities to come up with our own definition of interaction and while I was making the definitions, the definition constantly shifted to different directions everytime I made them and was never concrete. Then I realised this was mainly due to the fact that I did not have a goal for what I wanted to achieve by coming up with my definition, or did not have criteria on what was a good definition. Thus, going back to what I believe the purpose of a definition should be I had reconsidered my definition. Firstly, for a definition to be functional it should serve the purpose of differentiating the noun its modifying from others. Moreover, it should minimise subjectivity as much as possible in order to make what it is describing to be as clear as possible. Through reconsidering my criteria of what a definition should achieve and the projects including the midterm project that we’ve done, the idea of interactive as a degree felt unsatisfactory. Firstly, the different levels of interaction seemed less of a spectrum but more of a staircase through my observation of different “interactive projects.” For example, a project the would constantly react to your movement, while the reaction of the user is not affected purposely by the product. This is an example of a mirror that constantly follows the position of the user.  Or a project that reacts once to one movement of the user which could be as simple as the light in a refrigerator as stated in the text. Or a project that reacts to the user, and the user reacts to the device considering what the device outputs, and repeats alternately. As can be seen, all the examples above have a clear difference rather than a degree. Moreover, the range from low to high interactivity seems too large and while discussing with my classmates, where the product stands in terms of the degree of interaction was much too subjective. As a result, the line between reacting and interacting became very vague.

The last example is what I believe is closest to what interaction should be and is something that we strongly kept in mind while deciding our mid-term project. We believed interaction should invoke processing/thinking everytime an output by the other actor is received and that would lead to a purposeful device. As a result, we made a product called “Finger Map” which depending on where you point, it would output a sound that reflects the distance the user would change direction as a result. This process would repeat as long as the user walks.

Keeping the above factors in mind the criteria I have determined to define interaction is the following:

  • The actor A ‘s action is the result of rationally deciding the most suitable action as a result of actor B’s action or the result of actor B purposefully guiding actor A, depending on the action of A
  • The two actors influence each other, in other words both actors send information to the other actor and receive information from the other actor.
  • The interaction between the 2 actors must exceed above 3 pair of response.

DSFA | Assignment 3 | Me, Augmented | Presentation (Yumin Cai)

Here is the link to my presentation in class for assignment 3 and the whole work process so far:

In-class presentation for assignment 3:

The whole work so far:

The movie for the expressions:

In this assignment, we have viewed our own facial expressions and tried to apply them to our own models. It is quite interesting to explore how the muscles, eyes, eyebrows, and mouth move when we are smiling, angry or making funny faces. In addition, as we are required to play with the animation to show the moving process of the facial expressions, I also try to combine the eye and head movements with the facial expression to show some more complex motions.

For example, such as the three steps of showing ”at a loss with a little bit shocked”, which is also one of my favorites:

The original one without facial expression:

The “a little bit shocked” one:

The three steps(including the movement of eyes, head, cameras, and light):

Eyes move up to stare at the front:

Look to the left:


Then look to the right as if seeking for something:

There are also things that need to be improved:  take the lights for example, as a result of experimenting with light from different angles, my shadows take a quite important part of my work. However, the shadow turns out to be pixelated. I’ve searched for the reasons on the internet, and found this source extremely helpful for me to understand the different effects on shadows with different light settings:

To sum up, there are two possible solutions:

  1. Choose Raytraced Shadows to take place the Depth Map Shadows to improve its smoothness.
  2. Increase the resolution or filter size level.

I’m still experimenting with these solutions and will try to fix this problem in the coming final project.

All in all, thanks for professor Chen and my classmates’ help when meeting up with the problem in this assignment. Also, thanks to professor Chen’s advice for my in-class presentation, since lacking confidence has always been a big problem for me, I will try to overcome this shortcoming especially when introducing my project to the public in the future!

Final project proposal

Final project

Our project is called pong game, which is operated on Arduino and Processing. It has been a very popular game since it was invented, and we want to make it more interactive.

This project is for the entertainment for all the ages and has a good influence. For kids, they can play it for fun while increasing their coordination ability without realizing it. For young people, they can play the pong game with their friends to have a good time and build up their friendship at the same time. And even for the people who work in the office, they play it during the break to release their stress.

In our project, there are mainly two parts: Arduino and Processing. The game is shown on the Processing background and there is a circle standing for the ball and two lines standing for the paddles. Users would rotate the potentiometers to control the moves of the paddles to hit the ball. Once if someone has missed the ball, he loses the game.

We have designed the system the record of the results and the scores. For example, when the LEDs light up, it means you win the game and with the 8-digit thing, we can keep a record of scores.

What’s more, I think what differs my project from those have existed is that we can change the speed of the ball’s movement if one wants to make the game more challenging, he can actually turn up the speed to make it more exciting and competitive as well. Because we really focus on the feeling of our users and want to create an excellent Customer experience. In our opinion, interaction is the interface between human and technology and it should serve human to make life more convenient.



Working with Electrons | Timer Circuit Lab – Pellegrino (Cossovich)

Lab Report | 555 Timer


Build a circuit using the LM555 timer that makes an LED blink and create a printable PCB for it.


  • LM555 Timer
  • (x2) 1k ohm Resistor
  • 470k ohm Resistor
  • 1uF Capacitor
  • LED


  1. Review the LM555 datasheet. Find a schematic to build a circuit using the timer to make an LED blink.
  2. Assemble the circuit.
  3. Measure the frequency and voltage output of the circuit. Check whether these match the datasheet.
  4. Draw the schematic on Eagle.
  5. Export the schematic to a PCB layout on Eagle.


This chart shows how certain components will affect the space between the LED’s blinking. For this circuit, we used a 1uF capacitor and a 470k ohm resistor which aligns to a little under 10Hz frequency.

This diagram shows the schematic for the LM555 along with where the numbered pins are in relation to it.

This is the schematic that I followed to assemble a blinking LED using the LM555 timer.

We built and rebuilt the circuit a number of times. However, for the longest time, my LED would light up, but not blink.

After so many attempts, it helped to simplify the configuration by using fewer wires and more direct connections. This made the circuit easier to debug.

IMG_8191 (video: LED blinking; caption: In the end, we finally got the LED to blink. )

Here are the wavelengths and forms from the datasheet that we were expecting.

Measuring across the LED, our voltage output peak-to-peak was 2V. Frequency 500ms. (The image is upside down, unfortunately, but it relatively matches what we’d expected.)

Similarly, the graph when measured across the capacitor matched that of the datasheet.

The schematic sketched in Eagle. It took a few tries to use the correct library, but here is our finished schematic.

We didn’t quite finish aligning the parts, but here is the circuit board layout on Eagle.

As a bonus, we took apart a few PCBs to look at their interior. Here you can see the many layers that make up this board from a game controller.


This lab flowed in a really nice and helpful progression. It helped me familiarize myself with reading data sheets, building a circuit from a schematic, using the oscilloscope to check measurements against the datasheet, along with using the Eagle software. The most challenging aspects of this lab were building the circuit correctly and using the Eagle software, however, with every attempt it became that much easier to understand. Furthermore, I think it will be helpful to continue using Eagle in our future projects so as to better familiarize myself with how it works.

Re-made In China | Online Journal (Emma)

Hi, I’m Emma, and I will keep my online journal for class remade in China here. For this journal, I want to record my daily life about wastes as well as acquiring materials necessary to complete my final proposal, project and report / presentation.


We start class today. The first thing Marcele showed us is the news that “Chian no longer accepts garbages from foreign countries”. I checked this news online, if you are interested, here’s some articles I like:

BBC news:Why China does not want your waste anymore

CBC news:Pollution recycle in China

Here are some of the things I learned:

  1. China has huge potentials of recycling and reusing, the thing is about the culture that people are not familiar with recycling.
  2. Short of garbage (original source for production) and too much garbage are both happening in China.


During this week collecting garbages, I found out that I’ve used so many plastic bottles, packages throughout daily life. To my surprise, almost all of them are food packages, and I consume basicallhy the same amount every day:two bottles of drink, one takeout. Some chewing gums, some chips, that’s all.

If I’m consuming same kinds of plastic things every day, then it would be easy to think about how to control and find alternatives. I’m thinking of getting myself a reusable bottle. However it’s not a easy thing, I

11/1: Learn everything about plastic pollution

I found this video introducing plastic pollution problem on youtube:



We went to interview the gargabe collectors in JinQiao area this Sunday. At first we were thinking of the plaza near JinQiao, however we met many difficulties about interview regulations, people are not willing being interviewed. Then we decided to head back to dorms, the place we are most familiar with.

To our surprise, the dorm cleaning is divided into three parts. First is the inner cleaning company, they are responsible for keeping the dorm inner buildings clean. They don’t do recycles and classification. The second is the outer cleaning company, and they are responsible for keeping the whole outer environment (the neighbourhood) clean. They do recyles and classifications. Also, they drive garbages outside every day to garbage station in Pudong. The third one, is the estate property, which takes hold of the upper two. They form the employerment relationship together.

Here’s the link to our interview:



In last class, one of the fellows from IMA talked about a coming workshop. In this workshop she wants to take use all the cardboards waste collected in dorm from Double 11, and build them in the shape of mascot of Taobao. I found this workshop really interesting, however, we did not figure out how to create the 3D shape using wastes in class. Today I checked out some awesome artworks made of waste. I want to share them here:


This is a project I particularly like. Makaon is a Japanese artist and he uses the traditional skills of origami when creating works. However, there is no paper involved. He uses recycled drink cans instead to create sculptures of popular characters. I think we may take use of it.

PDS Play with recursion – Tiling

I implemented recursion function in p5js to visualize Wanderer tiling. It’s interesting to see how simple rules can lead to aperiodic patterns on the canvas.

I played with it by just adding randomness on the exiting condition, the pattern looks dramatically different:

Recursion is confusing and full of potential 😉

Lab Report: Creating a Timer Circuit (working with electrons) Kewei Xu

Lab Report: Creating a Timer Circuit


In this lab, we aimed to get a working understanding of digital circuits. We will use tools, techniques and instruments that help us to know whether a circuit is working and how to adjust it. The particular circuit we will be looking at in this lab is 555 time circuit, which is a regular circuit that the frequency can be adjusted by turning the circuit around it.


  1. 555 timer
  2. Resistors in different values
  3. Rheostat
  4. Capacitors in different values
  5. Speaker (or LED)
  6. Regulated power supply


  1. Schematic

    We started with wide search of what we could do with 555 timer circuit. Finally instead of using the schematic professor gave us in the lecture (with LED), Kevin and I decided to use speakers to do something different. We decided to use the schematic below as shown.
    Metronome Circuit

  2. Assemble a circuit

    We successfully assemble the circuit as shown in the picture above. However, due to the absent of some specific values of components, we used other components that have close values. We expected that there would be some differences, but should be big.
    The following is the video recording the performances of our circuit. As observed, the frequency of the speaker can be changed using the rheostat.

  3. Measure & check the datasheet

    After the circuit was successfully assembled and tested, Kevin and I did few measurement to see how much power we actually put on the speaker. Since we changed the schematic a little bit, we found that the speaker was not fully operating under its best state.

  4. Simulate the circuit in the computer

    I used the to make a 555 timer circuit. In this simulation, I did a alternation of LEDs. Two LEDs are connected reversly, so one LED will turn on while the other one is off.

  5. Draw the circuit in Eagle

    After the circuit is successfully simulated in, I continued to finish the circuit drawing in Eagle. In Eagle, I used the sparkfun package to find all the components I want such as 555 timer, Vcc, resistors, capacitors, speaker and so on. The finalized circuit on Eagle was shown in the picture below:

  6. Draw a Printed Circuit Board

    Used one botton in Eagle it can convert the circuit to PCB easily. Only thing that requires more to do is rearranging the line. The picture below is the PCB board we had.


It’s very easy for people to interprate the PCB as one of the hardest work on engineering career, even including myself. In my past 3 years of study in Electrical engineering, I never used or built one PCB on my own. However, the experiment we had today let me rethink about this problem. By using some softwares such as Eagle, we were able to do the circuit arrangement very easily. PCB is much smaller and much cleaner than the breadboard we used to have.


VJ reflection from Alvin

VJing is a very wonderful art form. Vjing is a milestone in the history of realtime media, which generates or manipulates images in realtime on music through technology intermediaries and viewers simultaneously. Vjing has made unprecedented innovations. It has added audience elements in the original unchanging music and video, connecting the audience with music and allowing the audience to participate in controlling music.

I can hardly feel the charm of a musical or drama I have seen on the spot. However, in the music festival prepared by the high school, we have been trying to control the pitch of music and the image through the volume and surrounding environment, audience performance, and achieved great success.

Remade in China – Video Response (Emerald)

Bag it is really a meaningful video about the over-usage of plastic bags/packages. After watching it, every time I go to a shop I will think of this video and all those images of plastic bags hurting the animals. However it is hard to avoid plastic in my daily life, but I can try to reduce the use of plastic bags. For instance if I buy something in Family Mart, the shopper will ask if I need a plastic bag and I will say no.

I was also surprised by the working conditions of melting and recycling plastic in Asian countries, and impressed by the word “But the human rights and labor issues related with that, and the toxicity issues of some of the open plastic melting that they do, to me that do not fit into a recycling model. It’s more important to reduce what we consume, and to reuse things that have already been made.” So in daily life we may use usable bottles, consume less plastic bottled drinks, use our own shopping bags. We may also reuse some plastic containers to store food or other things.