Before we started working together, Justin had wanted to do a project relating to physical interface, and Alex had wanted to do a project related to music. So we combined our ideas and made a ‘mashup machine’. The goal was to let users play around with making music without needing any musical talent.
So…it’s maybe a bit late for posting about inspiration…but although I’m just now posting, I actually saw these videos a long time ago and they have inspired me throughout the semester. So, in the hope that others will be likewise inspired:
It is most definitely not some cutting edge digital art project that somebody is working on…it’s pretty much the opposite of that. It’s a series of videos aimed at naval recruits in the 50s, explaining the basics behind mechanical (i.e. not electronic) computing techniques. I personally think they’re really fascinating. That may say a lot about my personality, but anyway…
I think they’re a cool reminder of what you can do without any electronics or programming whatsoever. Of course there’s nothing wrong with electronics…but there’s something really cool about this stuff to me. Plus, we can combine electronics and mechanical computing and make really amazing stuff. As an architecture student, my dream is to figure out a way to make a building that is one giant mechanical computer…
For this project I wanted to explore and play with the idea of user interface a bit. As great as I think touchscreens are in their way…I mean you can’t really have a smartphone without one…I kind of also hate them. I don’t know, they just aren’t very satisfying to use in my opinion. Tapping a screen just doesn’t feel the same as pushing a button, turning a knob, or switching a…switch. So I wanted to create some kind of device that would be all about the way you physically interact with it.
I was raised by the NES and Atari 7800. Just kidding, I had perfectly good parents. But I did play a lot of video games back in the day, and this has instilled within me a deep-seated nostalgic fascination with pixelation*. So once I got my LoL Shield all soldered up, I thought I’d make a tiny, super pixelated, monochromatic screen and come up with a method to translate whatever picture I wanted on to it.
For this project I wanted to experiment with laser cutting gears and making them move in some kind of irregular way. The stretched out main gear produces a periodic motion. One way to expand upon this project would be to add an additional gear on the outside that only engaged with the main gear when it was ‘swinging’ and therefore only moved during part of the cycle.