After re-evaluating problems with my previous final project iteration I chose to change directions completely and start fresh with a whole new project.
Feeling the stress of finals, I decided to intervene in a way that would let others and myself relax and gather positive thoughts. To do this I assumed the role of a mystic shaman and gave blessings to others for good luck during finals week. I drew inspiration from meditation, hypnotism, CMU lore, and pop culture in formulating my words and traveled to various places around campus to give these blessings.
I wanted to travel to the places where people were working because most people are reluctant to move from their place of study during finals. I carefully considered the role of props and decided on a minimalist approach given the fact that I was to be mobile and needed to set up/tear down quickly. The LED crystals we held in our hands were ideal for this because they were easy to use and stimulated a psychic energy connection between us.
I was pleased with the reception I got from those who received blessings and with how smoothly the performances went.
Red or Blue? Was a mobile Carnival-style game I deployed during the weekend of Carnegie Mellon University’s 2014 Spring Carnival to examine how CMU students approach risk taking and decision making in a lighthearted setting.
Users made decisions to play for high stakes or low stakes, represented by the red and blue buttons. Probabilities for success for each button were represented by playing cards. Those who played for high stakes and pushed the red button had a 10% chance of winning a big prize, a personal anecdote from a current CMU professor on a risk they took in college. If they lost, they would be hit with a rubber band fired from a toy gun. Those who played for low stakes and pushed the blue button had a 50% chance of winning a small prize, a quote from a famous person on risk taking and decision making. If they lost nothing would happen. To play, users had to answer a question about their risk taking habits. Questions ranged from how they approached their easy classes to if they had ever been afraid of being arrested.
All electronic processes including button press detection, probability calculations, and rubber band firing were controlled by an Arduino Uno. The toy gun was actuated by a solenoid which needed extensive fine tuning in order to fire properly on command. The red and blue LEDs were included inside the buttons and came with built-in resistors. The white LEDs on the bottom were white LED strips which lit up the “You Win” and “Sorry Try Again” signs and also came with their own built-in resistors.
When I brought out this project during Carnival I was surprised by how many people were interested in playing. I did not expect many people to come up to me, but I really pleased by the amount of interactions that I got. I was surprised when despite my expectations people tended to pick the red and blue buttons in around equal amounts. They also asked frequently if this was a psychology study and seemed surprised when I told them it was an art project. However, not everything went as planned. While this project was geared primarily towards CMU students, a few alumni and children played too. Their answers/data have been kept separate from the data of the CMU students. There were some technical issues too. The tension on the solenoid needed constant adjustment in order for the gun firing to work and people had a hard time seeing the You Win and Try Again lights in the bright sunlight.
Data Visualization on openprocessing.org.
Part 2 of Robot Mouse Project. I wanted to continue with my theme of bringing everyday electronics to life and give them a story to tell. These mice fight over a piece of cheese until something unexpected happens.
For this project I took apart an old computer mouse and turned it into a remote control computer mouse. While it no longer serves its original purpose, it has been transformed from a functional but broken device into a useless but working device. This piece is also a visual pun, because it rolls around on the ground like a living mouse.
This mouse is a piece of rogue technology which has come to life, but instead of trying to take over the world it simply is content to roll around on the floor.
Festo is an automation company with roots in the automotive industry, and they have several really cool side projects as part of their Bionic Learning Network Program. One of these projects is their mechanical jellyfish, the AquaJelly, which imitates a jellyfish’s motion in water.
This particular piece is inspiring because its artist essentially designed and built this velociraptor in his garage by himself, whereas many of the pieces reviewed on this blog have been big, high tech group projects. These are only the motion tests for how it moves and walks when being preformed, later Silva went on to create an artificial skin for the beast, but there is certainly beauty in the honesty and simplicity of the skeleton alone.
The Paro robots are commercially produced robots that look like cute baby seals designed to comfort patients in hospitals and nursing homes. They are equipped with light, touch, temperature, and sound sensors and even have the ability to learn when they are given a name.
Here a fleet of quadrocopters with LED lights attached to them take to the skies flying in formation. These flying pixels of light form patterns and animations in the night sky, creating 3-D models in seemingly empty space.
Push is a very entertaining, approachable robot who rolls around the Disney World parks talking to guests. He is voiced and controlled remotely in real time, and his mechanical/electrical workings have been very well disguised.