Our team’s idea for a final project is to create a 3D way to visualize data about human population growth on the planet earth over time. Our globe could serve an educational purpose as a more interactive, easily visualized way to understand how human life has spread across the globe. We will buy a small 5-6” globe and fasten it through an axis to a slightly larger clear plastic globe that will fit around it. We will use neopixel strips of LEDs to illuminate areas of each continent to represent population mass. We will use a gesture sensor for users to make the earth spin by waving their hand right or left in front of the globe, and the globe will spin on its axis using motor. We will also use a potentiometer which the user can interact with to manually view/adjust the year that they’re seeing represented through the LEDs lit up on the continents.
The zodiac wheel is an interactive object that projects your horoscope in the middle of the circle when you touch your zodiac sign.
My team was inspired first by a unique medium: Bare Conductive Electric Paint. We loved the versatility of this paint and the endless possibilities of what we could create. We researched examples of using the conductive paint in different circuits with sensors and interactive elements. We were particularly inspired by a project that used the paint to create an interactive poster. Our early direction was to create a type of calendar where the user could touch a day of the week and somehow view events for that date. We decided to simplify this idea, but keep a similar interaction. Instead of something as personal and detailed as a calendar, we created a piece that could be hung in a more public space that would be applicable to a wider audience: a display of the twelve zodiac signs that could display the user’s horoscope.
To begin constructing our product, we started by testing the paint on thick watercolor paper to gauge the amount of paint we would need to work with to create a properly functioning circuit. We built a simple capacitive proximity sensor with the conductive ink, a resistor and the Arduino.
Next, we experimented with processing code to display different text on screen when different sensors are pressed. The different colors displayed would become different horoscope texts displayed when different sensors (made using capacitive paint) are pressed.
We decided to use wood as the best material to construct this piece if its final setting might be mounted on a wall in a public space. We painted twelve circles in a clock-like format around the perimeter of the wood circle using the conductive paint. Each of the 12 circles would represent a different zodiac sign. To create sturdy and reliable wiring, we inserted nails in the middle of each circle, painted over the nail with the conductive ink to make a black circle, and then soldered a wire to the nail sticking out of the back of the wheel to wire to the Arduino and breadboard. Next, we connected the circuit (right) and tested the communication with processing. We then mounted the Arduino and breadboard on to the back of the piece and drilled two holes to insert hooks for mounting or hanging the piece on a wall.
To pull everything together, we used a projector to project the zodiac signs onto the middle of each of the circles. We played with the idea of painting the symbols on top of the conductive ink in a different color acrylic paint, but decided that projecting the signs might make for a more versatile future for this piece. What if the zodiac wheel could become a regular clock? What else could the 12 circles be adapted into? After testing with the projector, we also thought that the projected symbols were really beautiful and charming — maybe more so than painted zodiac symbols might have been. They also glowed a bit brighter than light acrylic paint might have dried on top of the black conductive ink.
In considering improvements for our piece, we aim to pull horoscope readings from a source that’s updated daily using an API with processing so that a user could walk by the Zodiac Wheel and interact with it daily for a different horoscope reading. We would also ideally hide all wires completely and possibly finish the wood a bit differently, or even paint the wood.
This project experiments with sending input from the Arduino to Processing, while incorporating a few different elements.
Our circuit includes a blue LED, an infrared proximity sensor which detects the reflection of an infrared light within about a 10-80cm range, and a global on/off switch which controls the entire circuit. The wiring is housed in a white acrylic box which we laser cut so that the switch, LED, and sensor are accessible from the outside.
When you interact with the sensor by moving closer to it, the LED gets brighter. This input information is sent from the Arduino to Processing, which uses the information to draw a cyan box with different text that appears when the user interacts with the sensor at separate defined distances. The point size of the text is mapped to the sensor distance value, so the text grows as the user comes closer. A new word appears incrementally at each closer distance.
Our concept is based on the idea of an enticing storefront display. The user might walk by and become interested. As the user moves closer, the increasingly brighter light and changing text intrigue them even further, and convince them to come into the store.
Goal: create a game using some combination of switches/sensors and using (if) statements to produce a certain output only if certain things are done in a certain order.
My team created a game where there are 5 LEDs in a row. The middle LED is red. The LEDs blink on one at a time in a row. If the player presses the push button when the light gets to the middle red light, a melody will play and the game will speed up and continue.
This piece called Spin Stack is an interactive music installation that allows users to build their own beats and tracks, with a visual component. The user physically stacks multiple spinning sculptural pieces on top of each other that serve as surfaces for projected colorful wave images. The spinning sculptures interact with sensors that measure distance and sound. The shape of the actual piece affects the pattern and sound.
The Spin Stack also has a custom keyboard component where the user can add beats and percussion.
To enhance my homemade switch, I used a light-controlled variable resistor (photoresistor) in my circuit so that when the lights in the room are turned on, the LEDs around the mirror light up. When the lights are off, the LEDs turn off.
This would be practical if the lights were perhaps white and very bright, for example, as one might want to have this mirror illuminated on a vanity or bathroom counter.
Here’s a schematic of my original circuit and my enhanced circuit. (No real reason for losing 1 LED besides the fact that I burned out all of my red LEDs and just used 2 yellows for simplicity.) In wiring the actual mirror, I simply replaced the resistor with a photoresistor.
When the lights are on around this circuit, the resistance of the photoresistor is lower, so the LEDs will light up. When the lights are off, they’ll go out.
Next, I used the Arduino as an in-between from the new analog input, and the LED output. I had to change this circuit in order for the Arduino to work. The variable resistor (photoresistor) has to be converted to varying voltage so that the Arduino can read it. I added a resistor to affect the voltage. The video shows me affecting the sensor with my hand by covering the sensor instead of turning on and off the lights.
Assignment: Create a sculptural or architectural or toy-like or just weird object with some LEDs and a homemade switch. Try to use an unexpected material, and/or an unexpected behavior.
I built a homemade switch using a countertop mirror, 3 red LEDs and a 9V battery. When you adjust the mirror (tilt backward), the lights on top of the mirror turn on.