Archive for October, 2008

i knew that it’s been watching me.

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

years ago we used to joke that the small microphone at the top of some apple monitors (beige powerPC era) was a stress sensor and would allow the computer to detect when you were getting frustrated or were under a deadline and would then misbehave to spite you.

when the macbooks added the isight camera built-in to the display bezel it was like deja vu, “all over again”.

i’ve always been somewhat wary of the camera, specifically that it may be on despite not indicating as such. last night, as i walked past the computer, my fears were show in the below video:

Get the Flash Player to see this content.

The tracking is done in Processing, (more…)

catching up to do.

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

the lead up to midterms at ITP have nearly caused me to shut down a bit…but now that my physical computing project has been presented i can begin to see through to the other side and make preparations for the rest of the semester. it’s going by so quickly…

there’s much documentation to catch up on, i just need a moment to get on with it.

lili cheng, an ITP alumna who runs the creative systems group at microsoft research, came to speak for our applications class last evening. one thing she said really resonated with me….creativity seems to be diminished when we are overworked and in survival mode. the anecdote she told to bring up the point was just after she returned to the research group after being pulled away to work in a harried atmosphere on the Vista launch. When she got back to the group she said that she struggled for several weeks to come up with new creative projects to work on.

i don’t have the luxury of down time, but i’m hoping that i can push past through this period and get into a better, creative, head space.

(big surprise) i like the Wii.

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

Inspired by Johnny Lee’s wiimote hacking, but disappointed that the code sample was written in C# I decided to use the available libraries for connecting to the wiimote and write a head tracking sketch in Java (Processing libs in Eclipse).

Most of the struggle is that I’m not really proficient in pure Java (more…)

RjDj – Pure (Data) Love…

Monday, October 13th, 2008

I’ve been enamored with the RjDj iPhone application after Corey mentioned it on the list. At first I was turned off by the developers talk about it being a “digital drug” but got hooked when the documentation indicated that it was Pd (pure data) ported to the iPhone.

At the risk of providing a terrible description, Pd is a (free) visual programming language, (more…)


Friday, October 10th, 2008

Commuting. I really want to permanently install a cheap digital camera on my handlebars with a remote swtich somewhere so I could take really quick pics while I ride…I see a lot of weird stuff every day…


Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Trying to migrate my knowledge of Processing into Java and the Eclipse development environment. This is Ben Fry’s zipcode lookup applet as described in “Visualizing Data”. There are some oddities in my implementation of it, perhaps due to my inexperience with vanilla Java and a shoddy porting of his code.

Oh well, I’ll tinker with it later.

Applet and code

Proximity and Attitude!

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Adam, Karla and I are working together on our physical computing midterm. We’re looking to generate sound from the wearer’s environment and create some type of “musical” device that they can play. Some of the stimuli that we’ve figured could be measured are proximity of external objects to the wearer, their movement / motion (speed, direction, orientation, heading), ambient light, temperature, etc. Additionally we’re thinking of explicit interactions for the wearer including gesture, moving hands / fingers, walking, etc.

I’m primarily interested in sensing the environment. (more…)


Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

So, flight404’s (robert hodgin) work as been very inspiring and influential to my own. There are many people whom I feel are pushing the envelope of meaningful and beautiful visualization and he is one of them.

The Ripples project is one the the first that really convinced me to dive into using Processing. This depicts sound as a series of ripples emanating from the center of the display. Several example videos on the flight404 site show it being used as a VJ visualization. There have been many following projects, but this one really got me thinking about generative animation and the power of Classes. It’s relatively simple, too…so reading the code helps to inform new ideas.

Visualizing Smell

Monday, October 6th, 2008

The research presented by Leslie Vosshall et al regarding larval olfactory response (ie. smell) provides several challenges in visualizing an invisible sense. There does seem to be evidence that the larvae are drawn to the higher areas of concentration, but how to illustrate that pull?

The illustrations in the research’s published work depict greater concentrations of odor mapped to (more…)

Visualizing infographic

Sunday, October 5th, 2008

Here’s a really interesting infographic. I can’t recall the source, but if someone points me to it I’ll credit them appropriately. I really appreciate how probability is immediately comparable via the relative sizes of the ellipses.

Update: Apparently it was published in the National Geographic in August 2006 based on data from the National Safety Council ( Thanks for the comment!