Archive for September, 2009

Rest of You: Bike Forces

Monday, September 28th, 2009

IMG_0726(note: I’m awaiting the HR sensor, this is mostly outward forces)

I’m logging the acceleration forces at the handlebars of my bicycle while riding through New York City. The body has roughly three contact points with a bicycle, the hands at the handlebars, the “seat” at the saddle, and the feet at the pedals. The downward force of the rider’s weight and pedaling force and the upward forces of the bicycle rolling over uneven ground are distributed over these three points. I was interested to see just what kind of forces are “pushing back” that I may not be aware of, myself lost in the act of simply keeping the bicycle upright and safely navigating through traffic.

handlebar_vibrationTo contextualize the raw accelerometer data I also tracking GPS location and eventually geocoding the raw data in software. The bicycle sensors are being transmitted via Bluetooth to a mobile phone and the data is logged with a custom written (but now open-source!) python script. Below is the first draft of the visualization. (more…)


Saturday, September 26th, 2009

handlebar_vibrationThis is just a teaser for a project I’ve recently begun, but I had an “a-ha” moment when the visualization program finally came together just now and wanted to share…

This is geocoded accelerometer data from the handlebars of my bicycle on my commute from Greenpoint to ITP in the East Village. The sample at middle of the graph, and the red circle on the path coincide. I realized just now that this is a seam in the Williamsburg Bridge. Neat.

I’ll post proper documentation of the project as it becomes more robust…but I’m excited. Waiting for the heart rate monitor interface to arrive…looking to couple internal status with external events…

Site-Specific: Week 2, Comments

Monday, September 21st, 2009

This is a rough collection of comments and notes on the assignment for week 2 of Site-Specific. (more…)

Driving Forces

Friday, September 18th, 2009

[assignment in the syllabus]
A driving force is a trend or factor, operating in the world today, which will influence the way the future evolves over the next 5-15 years. We were asked to identify a driving force, and it’s associated predetermined elements and critical uncertainties.

Driving Force:
There is a desire for immediate knowledge of trends and events in the physical world.

Predetermined Element:
The physical world will be entirely digitized, and monitored in real-time with a network of sensors. A comprehensive network of various sensors, and software to aggregate and analyze the gathered data will inform wide-ranging areas. These sensors may be built into other devices, such as mobile handsets and vehicles or may be standalone. Sensors need not only be inanimate; sentient beings may gather and provide rich sets of data.

Critical Uncertainty:
Rate of technological evolution for inexpensive, low/self-powered sensors. Also, the time frame of deployment of these sensors once available. Proliferation of ubiquitous wireless network access to enable constant connectivity with the sensors. Contingent on public acceptance of near-constant reporting of data.

Goffman – Individual as Unit

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

In Erving Goffman’s “The Individual as Unit” (chapter one of his book “(Relations in Public)”) the person is examined as a discreet component in a larger sociological context. The role of individuals are described as a vehicular unit or as a participation unit.

I found it interesting to classify an individual as a vehicle, and further that he classifies vehicles (and their mobility) by the encasement of the driver:
“The more protective the shell, the more, on the whole, the unit is restricted to simple movements.” Thus pedestrians and cyclists would have freer movements than an operator of a car or bus. Despite this, he asserts that many of the same techniques to navigate traffic are shared by all “vehicles” – whether on a sidewalk or street.

As participation units much of Goffman’s assertions about social norms seem dated, although I found interesting the comment about “socially noteworthy” events such as “someone who had come to a party accompanied leaves alone or ‘with someone different’”.

Framing Questions:
Several examples given in the individual as vehicular unit describe a cone of attention, where there the subject scans ahead to identify safe passage and possible conflicts. How do Goffman’s theories about interpersonal space hold up when applying Edward T. Hall’s theories of Proxemics? (The notion of distance categories – Intimate, Personal, Social , Public)

Most of Goffman’s examples for vehicular units occurred outside, in public space such as a sidewalk. How would these dynamics play out differently indoors (where space is likely far more limited), in a private space like a home (amongst participants who are familiar with another) or in a semi-public space like an office or a university campus?

Is the division of participation units into “singles” and “withs” too simplistic? Are there more nuanced relationships given by different numbers of participants? Think of the increasing complexity in connections as group size grows. (Shirky, “Here Comes Everybody”, p.27)

If we consider bodies as vehicles moving through a space, does that alter the way we design interface? Considerations about mobility, attention and space?

How does an experience change when viewed as a “single” versus as a member of a “with”? (As a member of a large group?) In what way should an interface be designed to accommodate both?
(Look at the Hard Rock Cafe Beatles touchscreen)

Can “intention display” (also called “externalization” and “body gloss” in the article) be incorporated into a project? Can the misdirection of this type of full-body expression be used to generate surprise or confusion?

Golden Cheetah 1.2.0rc1

Monday, September 7th, 2009

gc-colorGolden Cheetah is about to release a new version. There have been extensive updates…some great, unique new features for analyzing cycling power training data. The full feature list will be announced with the official release. In brief:

  • direct SRM download
  • colorized power zones in plots
  • altitude (from supported files)
  • WKO file support (including bulk import)
  • Critical Power (CP60) computation from aggregate CP data.
  • weekly plot of time/distance and BikeScore/Intensity
  • calendar view of workouts

There has also been significant work done under the hood in preparation for a pretty big announcement coming in the next few weeks. Exciting times.

Mac release candidate is available here. Linux and windows versions will be announced on the Golden Cheetah mailing list.

For posterity, I’ve upgraded my dev system to OS 10.6, Snow Leopard, and had to rebuild Qt and QWT. Since we want Golden Cheetah to continue to support PPC/Intel and 10.4+, here is the configure command I needed to use for building Qt 4.5.2.

./configure -static -prefix /usr/local/Qt4.5.2 -make libs -opensource -qt-sql-sqlite -LD="gcc -mmacosx-version-min=10.4" -confirm-license -universal -sdk /Developer/SDKs/MacOSX10.5.sdk