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For this project, I hacked a Radioshack sound recording module and connected it to a speaker on each side of the headphone, and an accelerometer. I recorded a message that said: “Don’t stop running”, so it would play every time the accelerometer sensed deceleration. This is meant to boost energy of runners, while they are running. A runner can record a message, so whenever he or she gets tired while running, the message automatically plays, encouraging them to go on. When acceleration is picked up by the accelerometer, the sound stops playing.

Here’s the link to the video:

Inspirational videos

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…

Final – lighting and conductivity

For this final project, I looked at different ways to conduct electricity which might mean the form of a lighting object could change. A major challenge in creating lighting is hiding wiring and traditionally the form has also centered around the source of light. As LEDs are changing that I wanted to think about how the form might be able to change.

I went to Material Connexion where I saw many kinds of conductive fabrics and metallic composite materials. I had thought about the possibility of weaving LEDs into a mesh but given then need for a positive and negative lead this seemed to be not as possible.

I also did research online into different types of conductivity and other materials that might be suitable, and one of the things I found that I thought feasible was a salt solution.

If I was going to have exposed wiring a consideration was also safety, but I didn’t find any conclusive answer in my research about what might be a safe level of current or voltage exposure.

All of these considerations led me to a couple of things in my designs, such as setting up the LEDs in parallel to allow low voltage and multiple LEDs, as well as to deploy a positive and negative “lead”.

In one design I set up two boxes with a concentrated salt water solution (4 tsps in 150ml), one being the positive side and one the negative. I found at lower concentrations the resistance was much more variable and at this concentration it started to become very consistent at around 1 ohm. The salt water was supposed to act as both conductive material and diffuser for the light.

The LEDs I used were 3.3V/25mA forward current. However with 5 of them, one 3V battery didn’t supply sufficient power. 2 3V batteries created a nice amount of light and it didn’t seem to require further resistance, even though I thought the salt water may not create enough.

It did actually create a nice light, but I had a lot of issues making the containers watertight so they couldn’t be stood up as originally envisaged.

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The second design I created was based on a more standard conductive material but I used it in a different form. I knitted and crocheted 28 gauge silver plated wire and inserted it into an acrylic box which served as a frame and light diffuser. In one case I used one 3.5V very high brightness LED and 2 3V batteries, so I also wove a resistor into the knitted conductive mesh.

In the other case I used 3 3.3V medium high brightness LEDs with one 3V battery.

Ordinarily this kind of case would be difficult to use without having an extra hidden compartment for the wiring and sources of electricity.

For both of these I created a lid that snapped on and off with a magnet, or could be rotated, and in doing so, was the switch for the light.

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For my midterm I decided to make a music box. In order to do this, I had to purchase a wave shield that would let me play an mp3. I wanted an actual music box, so I also added a motor to make a figurine in the center of the box spin, a few LED’s to make it look nice, and I decorated the box. Lastly, I added a light sensor to make it so that they music box would turn on when opened, and turn off once you closed the lid. This was my process in pictures.

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Final Project: Soft Composite Materials for Changing Shape Interfaces and Flexible Circuits.

Final Hypothesis:

For our final we hypothesized that we could create soft composite materials for changing shape and flexible circuits. Specifically, we explored the materials paper and silicon and successfully confirmed our hypothesis.

Here is a video of the materials we created:

Here are the instructables on how to create each of the materials:

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A research paper is to follow.

Midterm: Come to me, not.


This is my piece called “Come to me, not”. Inspired by the plant Mimosa Pudica, it’s a wearable shield which puts up its defense when aperson comes too close! I’m interested in improving communication by testing out what it feels like to have the functions of other things and people. I used two servo motors to control the wings, and coded them with the code below. I wanted the effect to be a combination of futuristic and natural, and so I used silver wire to make the wings, but I moulded them into a natural shape. I used a infrared sensor to sense how close intruders were.


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