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 our group took three projectors out to Schenley Plaza and projected kaleidoscopic images of marbles onto the tent.
Our original intent was to project onto a large snowball, but we chose to use the tent instead in the interest of modifying an already existing structure instead of creating a sculptural piece. Our main goal was to transform the space and project interesting geometric visuals and we found that the tent was a good, smooth surface without any patterns on its surface to disrupt the projection.
Our piece was well received by passers-by. It was very cold that night so not many people were walking around, but a group of Korean college students came by and asked us about it. They watched for a few minutes before going on their way. A few other people also walked past and gave us shy but curious looks.
When we were satisfied with our work with the tent we turned our projectors to the giant snowball we had started making two weeks prior. This was simply out of curiosity for how it would look and we were satisfied with the results. We agree that it would have had far more impact if we had been able to make it bigger.
We were surprised when at this point a man walking by walked up to us and asked if he could take a picture. We invited him over and took his picture next to the snowball. His English was a bit difficult to understand but he seemed pleased and went on his way. It is possible that the snowball being smaller and closer to the ground than the tent made it more accessible to him as the audience, and so he initiated an interaction.
We were very glad that we had decided to use three projectors, because if we did not have that many it would have been impossible to see the images with all the ambient light in the area. Prior to this attempt we had run into problems with our inverter and one of our tripods,but thankfully we were able to resolve those issues and get good results.
Here is the video we projected: