Reading Reflection – Week 10

Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and Misses)

This reading was particularly informative, offering a wide array of projects within the field of physical computing. Previously, I had never imagined that such diverse and innovative projects were feasible when I first began my journey in this field. Particularly, I was fascinated by the idea of the theremin. This was a project I had wanted to work on when I was enrolled in another class last semester. However, due to my limited knowledge at the time, I couldn’t bring my ideas to reality. Now, equipped with the skills I’ve acquired from our recent classes, I feel confident and excited about the possibility of making this project a reality. The potential to combine electronic components with musical creativity truly captures the essence of what makes physical computing so exciting.

Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen

I really liked the directness and clarity in the title of the article. It reflects a fundamental truth about design: designers are communicators, not merely speakers. They show their thoughts through their creations. As the article discusses, Interactive Art goes beyond traditional boundaries by transforming viewers into active participants. This dynamic completes the artwork, creating a shared authorship between the creator and the audience. My experience last summer in a South Korean museum demonstrated this concept. There, I saw an interactive installation where visitors could draw animals and scan them to integrate their creations into the larger display with a pre-created background. This not only made the artwork dynamic but also personal, as each visitor’s contribution became central to the artistic narrative. It was a vivid demonstration of the profound connection that interactive art can forge, drawing beauty from the synergy between the artist’s vision and the audience’s involvement.

Week 10 | Creative Reading Response

“Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits ” was a very interesting and thought provoking article . It talks about different forms of Interactive projects related to physical computing . Several interesting ideas were presented . It provoked me to think about ideas for my IM Final project. Ideas such as the hands-as-cursor and the glove are really interesting to me and I hope I can build something inspired by them for my Final Project. Ideas like these that turn the human hand into a method for controlling an object or a screen is something I would love to work on . 

“Making Interactive Art” focuses more on the role of us as designers to create an experience of discovery for the user .The idea that the main goal is not to create an entire conversation but rather to start a conversation is something I would like to keep in mind while designing something interactive . This ties well with the idea of signifiers by Don Norman in the previous readings.  The idea of art that inspires rather than conveys has always been appealing to me. This notion of taking the user through a journey rather than specifying a fixed way of interacting with the work reminds me of the phrase “The journey is more beautiful than the destination ” . I hope to keep this in mind in my upcoming projects . 

Week 10: Response on Physical Computing and Interactive Art Readings

Physical Computing Greatest Hits and Misses

I agree with the author’s description in the article that when someone is learning physical computing and is required to come up with project ideas, people sometimes just eliminate most of the ideas just because they thought that it has already been done before. While there is plenty of room for variety and enhancement, it can lead to an entirely new concept. In short, I found the author’s insight firmly aligned with the concept of ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’. And I think this is an amazing realization that one must have since innovation always comes out when individuals stole the ideas that are worth stealing and left behind others that are not attractive to them and then built something that is entirely new.

Two interesting technologies that were mentioned in this article that I like the most were the Gloves and the Hand-as-cursor. The way the drum gloves are designed on the interface of the gestural language, producing discrete musical notes though simple finger taps shows the integration of force-sensing resistors and flex sensors in the Power Glove to detect movement and gestures. This idea seems to be intriguing yet complex, as it captures the challenge of translating simple, intuitive human actions. I believe the complexity is not only in the technological implementation but also in ensuring that the user experience remains interesting and simple. This technical conversation causes me to reflect critically on the balance between technology and the simplicity required for widespread user acceptance. This thinking leads me to draw parallels with the evolution of touchscreen technology, particularly its incorporation into mobile devices. Initially, touch screens were a novel technology that some saw as gimmicky; nevertheless, their design centered on natural human actions, such as swiping and tapping, which led to widespread adoption. This “intertext” identifies a vital path for me from innovation to integration, underlining the necessity of user-centered design in technology.

Despite the advances these themes represent, they raise concerns about the extent to which such interfaces can replace more traditional input modalities such as keyboards and mice, which continue to provide unrivaled precision for particular activities. This makes me wonder about the future development of glove and hand-tracking technology. Could they employ haptic feedback to provide a tangible response to digital interactions, thereby increasing user engagement and control?

Making interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then shut up and Listen

This article introduced me to a new idea that I had never considered before. Because things were never taught that way before. In any classes that I have attended up to this point that involved interactive artwork creation or even ideation, I have always felt the need to describe what my artwork is supposed to do while you are experiencing it. While I had the opportunity, I came across what I call Freestyle art projects, in which the students creating the project choose the elements, randomize them, and then hold those elements responsible for the user’s experience. This is similar to what the author is attempting to say: let the audience grasp it on their own. But I was never convinced by this approach before; I believe that if you are unable to demonstrate and let the person on the other end comprehend what you truly created, you have not done your job effectively. But I believe the author’s perspective on this has persuaded me to think otherwise when he says — ‘if you’re thinking of an interactive artwork, don’t think of it like a finished painting or sculpture. Think of it more as a performance. Your audience completes the work through what they do when they see what you’ve made.’

Week 10: Creative Reading Response

“Physical Computing Greatist Hits and (misses)” is a compilation of recurrent physical computing themes that are popular and integrated into many projects. Reading this article at this stage in the class was important for me as I contemplated the range of things one could do with a simple Arduino kit. I do indeed find myself quite compelled to ditch ideas that used common physical interaction principles because they were simply too common. Instead of thinking of the novel ways one could use an input to a sensor, I frequently found myself looking for the least used sensor to incorporate in my future projects. I realize now, after reading the article, that it is more important what one does with input from a human interaction, rather than focusing on the complexity of the circuitry or the parts used. It also allowed me to see the various ways in which one could combine different themes together to create original work (e.g. video mirrors and mechanical movements in Soyoung Park’s Waves of Leaves).

“Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen” establishes a necessary shift of perspective for those who are designing human-computer interactive pieces. As someone who grew up dabbling in artistic projects, from composing poetry in my journal to oil landscape paintings and abstract multi-media pieces to adorn the walls of my room, I reflect on the prescriptive nature of those early artworks. It centered me, the artist, in the meaning-making process of the art. My central focus in making them was that those who came into contact with them were able to easily discern what I wanted them to discern. Designing interactive art, however, involves the ability to make space for the audience to insert themselves into the piece. The trick lies in designing a piece that is effectively able to accommodate all the different reactions it garners. This involves being able to predict people’s possible responses, perhaps aided by some process of user testing, and planning accordingly. Providing users with precisely the minimum amount of guiding context that affords them a sense of agency that operates within the predefined parameters the piece was designed to accommodate is truly an art that is worth mastering.

 

Week 10: Water the Plant!

Concept: 

As soon as I saw the instructions for this assignment, I knew that I would like to use the potentiometer creatively. The potentiometer reminded me of the water faucet in my grandmother’s backyard which controls the amount of water being released. Then, randomly, I got reminded that my grandmother loves plants. So, I wanted to do something related to plants for the concept. Then, I decided to do something that is related to  “watering the plant”.  There is always an adequate amount of water to give the plant. If we give too much water, the plant will die. If we give too little water, the plant will also die. So, I decided to make my project for this assignment with the concept of an “indicator” that shows the plant’s feeling towards the amount of water given (too little, just right, too much) through LED lights based on the water given to it (value of potentiometer). 

Arduino Diagram (Schematic):

As you can see from the schematic diagram above, there are three LED lights associated with the potentiometer and 1 LED light associated with the button switch. The green LED light (led1), which is associated with the button switch is attached to pin 13. Then the red (led4), yellow(led2), and blue(led 3) LED lights, which are associated with the potentiometer, are connected to pins 9,10, and 11 respectively. The red jumper wires are used to indicate 5V connections and the black jumper wires are used to indicate the GND connections. Power from the 5V pin is distributed to both the digital sensor (the switch) and the analog sensor (the potentiometer). Data from the switch is sent to the A1 pin, while data from the potentiometer is sent to the A0 pin. Then, all circuits complete their path back to the GND pin.

Arduino Code:  

// variables
//declaring and initializing brightness to 0 
int brightness=0;

//the pin the LEDs are attached to:
//related to the switch
int led1=13; //green light
//related to the potentiometer
int led2=11; //yellow light
int led3=10; //blue light
int led4=9; //red light


void setup() {
//declaring input and output
  pinMode(A1,INPUT);
  pinMode(led1, OUTPUT);
  pinMode (led2,OUTPUT); 
  pinMode(led3, OUTPUT); 
  pinMode(led4, OUTPUT);

}

void loop() {
  int sensorValue= analogRead(A0);
  int buttonState= digitalRead(A1);
  // turning on and off led1 using the switch:

  //led 1 is turned on when the button is pressed;
  if (buttonState== HIGH){
    digitalWrite(led1, HIGH);
  } else{
    digitalWrite(led1, LOW); 
    //making sure other LED lights are switched off
    analogWrite(led2, 0);
    analogWrite(led3, 0);
    analogWrite(led4, 0);
  }
//related to the potentiometer
  if ((sensorValue < 341)&&(buttonState==HIGH)){
   //mapping the brightness for the fade effect (bright>> dim)
    brightness= map (sensorValue,341,0, 0, 255);
    //turning on the led2 when the potentiometer's value is lower than 341
    analogWrite(led2, brightness); 
    //ensuring other lights are not turned on 
    analogWrite(led3,0);
    analogWrite(led4,0);
  }
  else if ((sensorValue <682)&&(buttonState==HIGH)){
    //mapping the brightness for the fade effect (dim>> bright)
    brightness= map (sensorValue,341,682, 0, 255);
    //turning on the led3 when the potentiometer's value is in between 341 and 682
    analogWrite(led3, brightness);
    //ensuring other lights are not turned on 
    analogWrite(led2,0);
    analogWrite(led4,0);
  }
  else if ((682 <sensorValue)&&(buttonState==HIGH)){
    //mapping the brightness for the fade effect (dim>> bright)
    brightness= map (sensorValue,682,1023, 0, 255);
     //turning on the led4 when the potentiometer's value is greater than 681
    analogWrite(led4, brightness);
    //ensuring other lights are not turned on 
    analogWrite(led2,0);
    analogWrite(led3,0);
  }

}

As shown above, I initially declared and initialized the brightness to 0, and set up variables for the LED lights attached to their respective pins. I then designated these as outputs and input in the setup() function. In the loop() function, I declared sensorValue and buttonState to adjust the LED lights based on input from the potentiometer and the switch. Utilizing if-else statements, I controlled the LED lights based on this input. For example, led1 turns on only if the button is pressed, indicating that the user wants to start ‘releasing’ water. For the other LEDs, I divided the potentiometer’s range of 1023 into three, setting specific ranges for each light: if the value is less than 341, the yellow LED (LED 2) lights up; if the value is between 341 and 682, the blue LED (LED 3) activates; and if it’s above 682, the red LED (LED 4) turns on.

A notable aspect of this if-else statement is the use of the map() function to create a fade effect from dim to bright or vice versa. As the potentiometer’s value increases within LED 2’s range, the light dims, indicating that the ‘water level’ is moving away from ‘too little.’ In contrast, LEDs 3 and 4 brighten as their ranges are reached, signaling an increase in water level. 

Another key point is that every lighting condition includes buttonState==HIGH. I included this to ensure that the LEDs only activate when the button is pressed, signifying that water is being dispensed.

Built circuit based on the schematic diagram

circuit built

final product with illustrations

Demonstration of the Final Outcome: 

It was a little hard for me to control the potentiometer as I had taken this video by myself. However, you could see the lights getting dimmer or brighter as I control the potentiometer!

Challenges and Reflection: 

Overall, as always, I enjoyed doing this assignment. I am a person who is new to Arduino and circuits. So, it was quite challenging for me to fully understand the concept of circuits and the logic behind them. However, I think this project helped me a lot in understanding and getting familiar with Arduino and circuits. During our last class, the professor recommended drawing the schematic diagram first before building the circuit with our hands. So, I tried to do so. And I found this helpful in figuring out how to build the circuit that I want to incorporate into this project. I think I would draw schematic diagrams first every time before starting to build the circuits with my hand. I am genuinely satisfied with my project. I found my project quite cute and interesting. However, I think it could be improved by adding some features such as randomizing the “just right” value of the plant so that the user could play a simple guessing game with this. 

Reading Reflections- Week 10 (2 Readings)

Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and misses)

As I read about the common themes in physical computing, I was amazed by the variety of projects possible in this field. Each idea seemed to offer its own unique possibilities for creativity and learning.

One theme that particularly caught my attention was the concept of theremin-like instruments. As a musician myself, the idea of creating music through physical gestures rather than traditional methods intrigued me, especially considering the simplicity of the setup. However, I couldn’t help but wonder about the potential for incorporating more complex gestures or interactions to enhance the musical experience further. Another interesting theme was using video mirrors to reflect movements. While this sounded cool, I wondered if there were ways to make these projects more engaging beyond just reflecting movements. I was also intrigued by the idea of mechanical pixels, where small parts move to create artwork. It sounded challenging but exciting. I wondered how artists could use this technique to tell stories or convey emotions.

Overall, I was struck by the balance between simple and complex projects in physical computing. Some ideas were easy to understand, while others seemed more intricate. I’m excited to explore these concepts further and see what new ideas I can come up with!

Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen

Reading this article about making interactive art really changed how I see my role as an artist. Instead of just expressing myself, I now understand that my art can be a conversation with the people who experience it. I learned that I should set the stage for interaction without telling people what to think or do. It’s like creating a performance where the audience completes the work through their actions.

I realized that I tend to explain my art too much, which can limit how people engage with it. Now, I want to give the audience space to form their own interpretations. I’m curious about how I can use performance and interactivity to make my art more engaging. I think it’s important to listen to the audience’s reactions and learn from them to improve my future projects.

This article inspired me to take a more collaborative approach to my art. I want to create pieces that encourage people to participate and explore, while still conveying my message. I’m excited to experiment with new ideas and see how they resonate with viewers.

Week 9 – 2 readings

Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and misses)

It became clear to me after reading “Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and misses)” that old concepts in physical computing may be updated to create something fresh and innovative. The piece goes through a number of projects, such as interactive pads and musical instruments, to demonstrate how amazing inventions can result from reimagining old concepts in fresh ways. It’s a fun reminder that often the most innovative ideas are simply the greatest old ones with a little tweaking.

I was particularly drawn to three items, which caused me to reconsider my previous thoughts. I was first shown that you are not limited to traditional methods of creating music by experimenting with making music with movements, such as with theremin-like devices. This helped me to see how our creative expression can be altered by actual computers. Second, the combination of digital technology with real-world artifacts to create images made “Mechanical Pixels” quite fascinating. This innovative approach to digital pictures gives it a more vibrant, more engaging feeling. Last but not least, the section on “Multitouch Interfaces” got me to reflect on how we utilize technology. It brought to light that, despite its coolness, touchscreens fail to provide us with tactile feedback—a crucial feature. This got me thinking about how gadgets could be more user-friendly.

I have to reconsider my definition of innovation in physical computing after reading this paper. It demonstrated to me the value of updating classic concepts and the necessity of maintaining an open mind regarding our interactions with technology.

 

“Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen”

The book “Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen” changed my understanding of interactive art, highlighting the crucial function viewers play in deciphering and finally finishing the piece. The idea that interactive art should be a dialogue between the creator and the viewer, where the latter’s interaction brings the piece to fruition, is something this article helped me completely understand. This method suggested a more freeing perspective where art is accessible to individual interpretation and discovery, which contradicted my preconceived assumptions about the artist’s responsibility in influencing the audience’s interpretation.

The painting made me think about the fine line that artists have to walk when it comes to giving their work just the right amount of context. This thought piqued my interest in the ways in which artists might create experiences that are both approachable and captivating without being unduly prescriptive in how they direct audience participation. The essay made a significant point regarding the need for artists to carefully analyze their approach to audience engagement, even though it didn’t go into great detail about how to achieve this balance.

After thinking back on my own experiences as a participant and creator of interactive art, I realized that the article’s observations aligned with the more fruitful elements of previous endeavors. In many cases, giving the audience the latitude to explore and participate with the work at their own pace resulted in more significant and profound audience participation. This insight encourages a move toward more open-ended interaction that welcomes individual investigation and interpretation. It also challenges me to reevaluate how I communicate my work. All things considered, this discovery validates the article’s thesis.

The author’s perspective is objective and encourages a wide range of interpretations, even though it presents a definite opinion on the significance of audience participation in interactive art. The essay gives artists the freedom to explore different approaches to inviting audience interaction and response, without taking a prescriptive stand on what interactive art has to be.

“Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen” questioned my preconceptions about the directive role of the artist and provided me with a fresh perspective on interactive art, which will help me in my future endeavors. It brought to light the dynamic and cooperative relationship that exists between the artist, the piece of art, and the audience. This has inspired artists to create art that genuinely involves viewers as active participants in the creative process.

 

 

Week 9 – BrightSafe: The Dual-Mode Lighting Guardian

BrightSafe: The Dual-Mode Lighting Guardian

Concept:

My idea, which focuses on house safety and comfort. My code cleverly models a dual lighting system that mimics real-life conditions. The green LED functions as a depiction of “normal life” lighting, changing its brightness dependent on ambient light and producing illumination that closely resembles natural light conditions throughout the day. As the sun goes down the house will receive less light. Conversely, the red LED functions as an emergency light and is managed by a straightforward switch. It is not dependent on the level of ambient light. This arrangement guarantees that residents will have a dependable source of manually activated light providing a safety and convenient light in unforeseen circumstances.

 

Code:

const int ledPinRed = 9;      // Digital LED pin
const int ledPinGreen = 10;   // Analog LED pin 
const int buttonPin = 2;      // Pushbutton pin
const int ldrPin = A0;        // Photoresistor pin

void setup() {
  pinMode(ledPinRed, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(ledPinGreen, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(buttonPin, INPUT_PULLUP); // Enable internal pull-up
  Serial.begin(9600); 
}

void loop() {
  int ldrValue = analogRead(ldrPin); // Read the light level
  int brightness = map(ldrValue, 0, 1023, 0, 255); // Map to PWM range
  analogWrite(ledPinGreen, brightness); // Set brightness of green LED

  // Check if button is pressed (LOW when pressed due to pull-up resistor)
  if (digitalRead(buttonPin) == LOW) {
    digitalWrite(ledPinRed, HIGH); // Turn on red LED
  } else {
    digitalWrite(ledPinRed, LOW); // Turn off red LED
  }


}

Project: 

https://youtube.com/shorts/w3vne8FGQ2k?feature=share

Difficulties: 

I had a hard time connecting the wires to the Arduino as the holes were very small. Also having to write down the code was the most challenging as I’m still not comfortable with this language

Improvements:

My idea is to improve the system by using a separate battery to power the red light. With this improvement, safety lighting is guaranteed to continue even in the event of a power outage, replacing traditional power sources.

Week 10 Reading Response by Sihyun Kim

Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen

I agree with the author that artists should not ‘pre-script’ what will happen and offer interpretations in the notes beside their interactive artwork. I believe that the beauty of interactive artwork lies in the freedom for the audience to contemplate, suggest the artists’ intentions beyond the project, and formulate their own interpretations of the artwork. Honestly, I think that the interactive artwork is not truly ‘interactive’ anymore if the audience must follow and do whatever is pre-scripted by the artist, as it is no longer a ‘conversation’ with the project. As how the author of today’s reading and Crawford in our previous reading (‘The Art of Interactive Design’) mention, interactivity is like a two-way conversation in which two actors alternately listen, think, and speak. I believe that if the audience has to follow what the artists have pre-scripted, then the ‘think’ process of interactivity is gone, and it would no longer be interactive. As the author of today’s reading suggests, it is fine to lead the audience to do certain things using the interactive artwork by making some aspects not approachable and giving hints through the artwork itself; however, we should not remove the freedom of the audience to take the form of actions they want to interact through the interactive artwork. Also, upon reading the article, I thought that well-made interactive artwork is like a well-made movie. A well-made movie makes the audience eager to share their feelings after watching it and the intentions of the director they perceived. This sharing of different perspectives on one movie is what lots of movie lovers love to do after watching the movie. I believe that well-made interactive artwork also enables such joy of sharing. And this is the beauty of interactive artwork as well.

Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and misses)

Among the reviews of the project themes that the author frequently sees, I found ‘Things You Yell At’ very familiar. The project with this theme involves reacting to a yell. This reminded me of ‘Space Navigator,’ my midterm project for Introduction to Interactive Media. My midterm project involved a voice mode, which enabled the player to control his or her rocket using his or her voice volume. I agree with the author that the interaction in this kind of project is very simple but very satisfying. My project just involved moving the rocket up and down with the voice volume, which is quite straightforward, but that was the main point of my game. Many who played my midterm project found the voice mode fun and satisfying as it allowed them to ‘yell’. I think that the act of yelling as a method of interaction gives people pleasure because it is intuitive, physically engaging, and offers an immediate effect on the game. Also, from my midterm project and part of today’s reading talking about this project theme, I realized that complexity in the project or game does not always equate to deeper or more satisfying player engagement. Sometimes, it’s the straightforwardness, such as yelling to control a game, that enables an enjoyable and satisfying experience for the audience.

Week 10: Reading Response

Physical Computing’s Greatest Hits (and misses)

Among the physical computing projects, Fields of Grass piqued my interest the most. Thinking about it, I believe that the sensors could be arranged in various ways so that the output changes based on not only the position of the hand, but also the pressure applied. Imagine creating a virtual landscape where the terrain shifts depending on how firmly you press your hand! Delicate touches could reveal hidden paths or trigger calming sounds, while heavier presses might activate bolder visuals or more dramatic effects. This additional layer of interaction would add a whole new dimension to the experience. Beyond pressure, the sensor arrangement could be tweaked to respond to other hand interactions. For instance waving your hand across the field to control the movement of virtual birds, or gently cupping your hand to scoop up shimmering virtual butterflies. Moreover, Fields of Grass could be adapted to respond to footsteps, creating a truly immersive experience where walking through the installation ripples the virtual landscape. In a museum setting, the project could be transformed into an educational tool. Visitors could “grow” different virtual plants by placing their hands in designated areas and manipulating pressure or movement to influence factors like sunlight or water. The applications could even reach the field of physical therapy, with the virtual world responding to specific hand motions or muscle control, providing a visually engaging way to track progress.

Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen

Integrating this reading’s notion into the Fields of Grass projects, the users will be free to interact with the grass, but the output will be in the prescribed yet non-deterministic way. If we assume each user’s interaction to be a performance, we can also assume collaborative performances between 2 users generating new form of performance between multiple users and the project. Their combined hand movements and pressure could trigger entirely new visual and audio responses, fostering a collaborative performance unlike anything seen before. The project becomes a bridge, translating individual actions into a shared, ever-evolving experience. This opens doors for fascinating possibilities. Friends could create synchronized “dances” with the field, therapists could use it for collaborative movement exercises, or even strangers could stumble upon unexpected moments of artistic synergy.