Archive for the ‘Thinking Physically’ Category

Thinking Physically: BlindSight presentation

Monday, May 4th, 2009

This is the final project presentation of BlindSight for the ITP Thinking Physically class in Spring 2009. BlindSight is is a collaboration between Robert Carlsen and Andrew Styer.

BlindSight aims to explore synesthesia by associating certain body positions with visual hallucinations induced by photic stimulation. In other words, flashing lights at various frequencies seems to cause visual patterns to appear for the viewer. Simple wearable sensors adjust the frequency of the flashes and thus provide various patterns. (more…)

vision is highly overrated…

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

glasses_robertThis project aims to explore synesthesia by associating certain body positions with visual hallucinations induced by photic stimulation. In other words, flashing lights at various frequencies seems to cause visual patterns to appear for the viewer. Simple wearable sensors will adjust the frequency of the flashes and thus provide various patterns. Although the patterns may differ for each viewer, they seem to be the same for the viewer at a given frequency. (more…)

Thinking Physically: ThinkBig

Friday, March 13th, 2009


Corey Menscher and I worked together on ThinkBig for the Whole Body Interface exercise in Thinking Physically. Corey had the basic idea of making soft switches which would be foot activated. Initially he was going to make three which you’d have to skip between. (more…)

Thinking Physically: FaceSpace

Friday, March 13th, 2009

facespace-andypovAndrew Styer and I worked together to develop FaceSpace – a device which indicates the amount of space in front of the wearer in terms of Proxemic distance. It’s designed to be somewhat impractical, nearly completely obscuring your view and forcing reliance on the dial’s reading while walking around a space. (more…)

Thinking Physically: brauswitch demonstration

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

kara_brauswitchFollowing up on the initial post about the brauswitch – the eyebrow activated headband switch. Here is some video with a simple application demonstrating it’s use. There are separate switches for both the left and right sides. The simple Arduino code listed below will indicate if the left, right or both sides have been activated. A Processing sketch reads the serial output of the device and plays a variety of sound samples.

There is something really nice about the amplification of a small facial movement and the larger audio/visual response of the sketch. It’s also nice to interact in a handsfree way. Oh! Fun. Code after the video. (more…)

Thinking Physically: Go away. (gesture)

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Designing a gesture. “The Expressive Body” by David Alberts describes movements and gestures at length. In it he writes:

In terms of human interaction, physical behavior has five primary functions: (1) to express emotion; (2) to regulate interpersonal interactions; (3) to present one’s personality to others; (4) to convey interpersonal attitudes and relationships; (5) to replace or accompany speech.

dsc03389I was interested in drawing from a fairly common position I’ve found myself in lately: being deep in concentration reading or brainstorming. Analyzing the common body positions I’ve observed myself and others in when in a similar state, here is my proposed gesture for “I’m busy/tired/frustrated/overwhelmed – go away / leave me alone right now.”

Three fingers touch the face. Index finger above the outside corner of the eyebrow. Middle finger on the forehead above the inside corner of the eyebrow. Thumb just below the cheekbone. Head can be, but not necessarily be downturned as if reading a book or screen.

I started with a gesture for having a headache – squeezing the temples or rubbing the forehead with the tips of the fingers of both hands. Then rubbing the forehead with fingers and thumb on opposite sides of the face. This gesture is modified from those.

Folks seemed to be unsure of the gesture at first, but were receptive to try it out. The finger positions varied slightly, but still are recognizable. The expression of the eyes also seems to play into the gesture greatly.

dsc03386 dsc03390

Thinking Physically: Dance Fever

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Under the close guidance of Anne Gridley from the Nature Theater of Oklahoma, our group (Mustafa, Andrew, DV and myself) were tasked with creating a dance of six moves whose choreography was determined by chance of a six-sided die. Each step is a single count.

Each of the six moves we created were inspired by the wearable digital switches presented earlier in class. They are labeled in a some what literal way, generally after the motion or body part the switch employed. (more…)

Thinking Physically: Brauswitch

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

[Follow-up with a short video demonstration of it available here.]


The Brauswtich is a digital switch to be worn on the forehead, just above the eyebrows. Raising one or both eyebrows will close the switch. There is a small gap between the upper and lower portions of the headband. It is made with a heavy burlap; the upper portion is stiffer than the lower portion which generally moves less as the eyebrows are raised and enables the switching motion.

It was designed without a specific output in mind; the task was to work within the confines of the assigned body part – in this case the head and torso. In class we attached each of our switches to an Arduino +WaveSheild and used them to trigger sound effects. (more…)

Thinking Physically: Affordance Treasure Hunt

Monday, February 9th, 2009

we embarked upon an affordance treasure hunt as an exercise for our thinking physically class. given a set of criteria we had to identify objects which satisfied the criteria for the indicated user set. i’m still anchoring my understanding of affordances, assisted by reading j.j. gibson’s introduction to the topic and donald norman’s discussion about “perceived affordances” in his book “the design of everyday things”. affordances are intersections between the physical properties of an object and the capabilities of the animal attempting to interact with it. (more…)

Thinking Physically: {h}ears

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

big-ears-frontmegaphones for ears. inspired by prince, tigre and penguin.

i’ve always been a cat person. when i lived with my first cat i’d watch his ears swivel as he would listen to the sounds around us. sometimes i’d make quiet noises when he was looking away to see if he’d turn his ears toward me.

it is easy, of course, to accomplish a shadow of his ability by cupping my hands behind my ears…but i wanted to try something much more foolish. (more…)