Archive for January, 2009

Spatial Media: Camera Coding

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Assignment 2(b):

cameracoding_grab

Make an app that allows you to get a single pixel color from live video and fill a rectangle with that color.

I’ve done similar things countless times in Processing (and Director before that), so I used this as an opportunity to dive into openFrameworks. I have been building up my experience of coding with C++ through working with Golden Cheetah and I can finally (sort-of) read the syntax of the code comfortably. I’m also getting used to working in Xcode.

Anyway, here is the result of the quick sketch of the app. I still need to check over my coding conventions to make sure that I’m not doing anything really inefficient, but this works for now. I feel like I’m starting over again…which is fine.

Here is the application (os x) and source code (xcode project, for use with oF v0.05).

1-2-10: NY DMV redesign

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

nys_dmv-front-page-cropOur first assignment was to redesign the front page of the New York State Motor Vehicle Services website. I’ve recently had to navigate it to update my driver’s license, and found it very frustrating to use. The front page is overwhelming in the number of links and choices initially presented.

In the spirit of John Maeda’s Laws of Simplicity, I used this as an experiment in asking “What can you add by taking something away?” – In particular, I was attempting to add some sanity through organization. My notes detailing the reorganization are below. (more…)

Spatial Media: Kitchen Interface

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Spatial Media looks to be an interesting topic. One thing that I could really take away from Jared’s first presentation was:

“It’s about context in space. It’s about information – all information has a space. Conversely, all places have information.”

Assignment 1: The Kitchen
What is the context of a kitchen? How do people really use kitchens?

A quick (hardly inclusive) list of kitchen based activities: Cooking, eating, cleaning. Socializing. Entertaining. Storing food – pantry / refrigerator.

Drilling down into just one activity, cooking, what could be involved in that task which could have an interface designed? (more…)

Thinking Physically: Experiment 1

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Our first experiment for Thinking Physically is to “Create an interface or interaction that causes a person to ‘open up’.” This statement is intentionally vague – emotional, physical, literal?

My initial notes:
hi5_templatePeople seem to be aloof or wary of unfamiliar others. A shared experience seems to break down this distance. Observing a humorous or traumatic event. An emergency where people have to work together quickly. A spontaneous celebration. Whether it is a positive or a negative experience, a remarkable experience is what will break down barriers.

Apparel. A provocative piece of clothing will stimulate conversation. Affiliation though style, political or sports slogan can serve to both connect and to alienate others.
Gadgets – a sighting of an iPhone, and first generation iPod before it would generate interest enough to overcome avoidance of strangers. Someone wearing headphones is interpreted as a signal that they want to be left alone.
Gesture. Smiling might convey various messages given context…however they would still be different than a furrowed brow. Eyes – looking at someone vs. averting gaze. Culturally determined?

On another level, what about established relationships? I’ve been focusing on unfamiliar relationships between people – strangers, in a city perhaps. What about acquaintances, friends, co-workers, family, partners (an all the variant types here). What about opening up more in an established relationship? Would that be limited focused on emotion?

hi5_shirtAfter a quick message passing with Kate who gave me some great advice – don’t overthink it – I came up with a simple idea: “what about a ‘Hi 5′ shirt? Something really graphically simple and aesthetic. without words, a simple gesture and the image should convey the intention.”

I’ll know if it works later today…

Toy Design: SkipDraw*

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
*(the name of the toy is still under consideration)
skipdraw_center

SkipDraw
A classic toy reinvented for the active kid of today.

Wear the SkipDraw on your ankle and spin it on the floor around your feet. As it spins, the LED lighted cross will rotate independently. See it draw images of light in mid air as you skip in the center.

Features:

  • Encourages kids to play outside of their rooms.
  • Promotes physical exercise.
  • Can be played indoors or outdoors.
  • Compact storage when not in use.
  • Is still engaging in daylight or without the batteries.
  • Entertaining to watch.

(more…)

Toy Design – Assignment 1 research

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

skipdraw_compSome research for our first assignment in Toy Design. Paul had an idea for a drawing toy that that would rotate, with extensions at the end of a string or rope also rotating and actually making the marks.

Here’s a quick sketch of the possible output. There is also an animated version with speed controls.

This is all very rough, but I wanted to mock something up before investing too much work into prototyping it.

(Signal to) Noise meter + Mail

Friday, January 16th, 2009

emaildayoff_snippet(ITP 4-in-4 day 4+1, or how i learned to stop worrying and love blowing deadlines)

to complete the signal to noise meter previously posted i wrote up an apple script which calculates a ratio of messages in my mail inbox to the junk messages which have been caught. the apple script then sends that ratio via serial to the signal to noise meter. i’ve set up a rule in mail.app to trigger the script every time a message comes in. the serial output (ascii only, it seems) is thanks to SerialPort X.

it’s certainly not perfect…having a lot of read messages stagnating in the inbox brings the ratio down…but i’m posting the code below so maybe someone can figure a better way.

also, the script wasn’t triggering when called directly from mail’s rules…my workaround was to have a launcher script run ‘do shell script “osascript ” signalToNoise.scpt’. for some reason this worked when the launcher script was triggered by mail – YMMV.

oh! it just when off as i was writing this entry…the light came on, and the needle swung high….i need to clean out the junk mail!

code after the break (i always wanted to write “after the break”)

(more…)

(Signal to) Noise meter, ITP 4in4, day 4

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

For today’s project I wanted to do something with the analog decibel meter that Tymm gave me on day one. My idea is to calculate some kind of signal to noise ratio in my email inbox and to display the value on this physical meter. Since I already get a lot of noise in there, maybe the value won’t change very dynamically, but be a steady din. Perhaps I could tie into the junk mail filter to show just how much work it’s doing, like a tachometer. Who am I kidding, really, I’m likely going to jump into what all the cool kids are doing and just come up with some type of Twitter visualization… (more…)

pinwheel, pinwheel…spinning around…

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

…look at my pinwheel and see what i’ve found.

here’s the promised update to the earlier pinwheel post with a video of it in action. this is just a demo of the animation, i’d like to work more on the compositing and to add some user interaction. i’d like to perhaps have a user blow on the phone and cause the wheel to spin more quickly. for now, this is what i’ve got.

iPhone pinwheel: 4in4 day two

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

the iphone is missing one of my most beloved relics of os x…the pinwheel, aka beachball of doom/death. i wanted to experiment with using the core graphics framework to draw to the screen and create animation and this was an interesting experience.

the animation is too slow currently…i feel that i’m doing things in a really inefficient way at the moment. i had also tried using UIImageViews and animating them, but i couldn’t figure out a way to get the spinning layer to composite using the overlay blend mode…which you can easily do with core graphics contexts.

i’ll try again later, but i really need to get away from the computer and onto my bike to train (which is a matter of about five feet now that it’s dark and icy out). i’ll post a video if i can get the animation on the phone to happen more quickly.

pinwheel