Tag Archive for 'softness'

Border Crossing Kit

The Border Crossing Kit is a device that you can add to any space to make you feel like you’re crossing the US/Canada border. It flashes a strobe light when you cross it, much like all the cameras that take pictures of your car do as you drive up to the customs booth.

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Walk Cycles: Bed-Stuy vs SoHo

Matt Richard and I made a study to see if there was a difference in the way people moved depending on which neighbourhood we were in. We shot footage of people walking in Bed-Stuy and SoHo and reduced the image to body movements by rotoscoping over the frames.

Conductive Fluid

Matt Richard and I decided to make a fluid that would allow us to create liquid circuits.

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We tried many different combinations of the materials: water, oil, salt, powder graphite, and glue. The best combination was water, salt, and graphite, which resulted in a mixture that gave a steady reading of about 100 ohms. We used the liquid to create both a drawn circuit and an irrigation circuit.

Bike Generator

In my thesis class this week, we spoke about how many people have limited access to electricity. Indeed, a quick Google search confirmed that an estimated 25% of the world population has no access to electricity (mostly in rural areas of the developing world).

I thought it would be an interesting challenge to design a system that provides sustainable electricity cheaply, without relying on any infrastructure.

I based my system on wind-up flashlights. The mechanism is quite simple. You turn a crank that spins a DC motor at high speed, through a series of gears. By spinning the motor, you generate DC power which you can then use directly or store in a rechargeable battery for later use. I used a similar mechanism in my Zoeprojectoscope; it was quite easy to set up and worked very well.

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The idea for my Social Design project is to build a stationary bike that generates electricity. It looks just like an exercise bike, but has a much different purpose. The bike would ship disassembled, but including all parts, instructions, and tools necessary to put it together. By building the bike themselves, the users would have a better understanding of how their machine works and how to fix it if it ever breaks. Because the mechanism is so simple, it is not likely to break easily. It can also be built very cheaply: some structural material like wood or metal, a bearing for the pedals, and a DC motor. The most expensive part would be the rechargeable battery, but that is optional in the system. The battery is also the component that is most likely to need replacement first, so the circuit will be built in such a way that the battery can be bypassed (and the energy generated is used on the fly).

This is obviously not going to generate enough electricity to power a refrigerator, but it should be enough for less power-hungry items like lights, a radio, etc.

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Food Triad

This week we had to build a piece on our relationship to energy. The type of energy I focus on the most is food, mainly because I eat everyday and because I have a choice of what to eat. There are three main factors that come into play when I decide what to eat:

  1. How good does it taste?
  2. How healthy is it?
  3. How much does it cost?

There are also other factors, such as the time it takes to make/eat and whether or not it is good for the planet, but I don’t think about these as much, so it didn’t make sense to include them in my piece.

My idea was to build a food triad illustrating how my food “rates” against these three parameters. Each parameter is a slider that moves in one dimension on a scale, and by connecting each point, I end up with a triangle representative of what I am eating. The larger the triangle, the better the food is. I also wanted my piece to have a history, so that I could see my progression over time and whether or not I am making better decisions about what to eat.

I initially wanted to build a physical object I could put up on my wall. It consisted of a marking device and a scroll of paper, which I would unravel gradually as I added more entries. I unfortunately ran out of time coming up with the design so I built a prototype of what the marking device could look like.

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I still wanted to build a piece that would display a history, so I built the following sketch in Processing (use the left and right arrows to navigate).

Waste Log for the Past Week

Here is a log of all my waste for the past week. I wanted to keep it manageable, so I focused on physical things I actually throw out in the garbage (or recycling). I realize electricity is a big part of my consumables, but I left it aside as I had no way of quantifying it.

The list is a lot shorter than I had anticipated and it is mostly related to food.

  • Feb 18 2010
    • paper plate (2)
    • paper bag
    • beer can (3)
  • Feb 19 2010
    • coffee grounds
    • milk carton
    • juice carton
    • eggshell(2)
    • glass jar
    • plastic bag (3)
    • tea bag
    • apple core
    • paper (5)
    • toilet paper
  • Feb 20 2010
    • coffee grounds
    • banana peel
    • eggshell (2)
    • paper plate
    • wax paper sheet
    • napkin (2)
    • plastic bag (2)
    • plastic bottle
    • aluminium foil sheet
    • styrofoam packaging
    • plastic wrap sheet
    • toilet paper
  • Feb 21 2010
    • coffee grounds
    • paper bag (6)
    • plastic wrap sheet
    • glass bottle
    • paper sheet (2)
    • toilet paper
    • onion skin
  • Feb 22 2010
    • coffee grounds
    • grapefruit skin
    • cheese rind
    • plastic wrap sheet
    • apple core
    • plastic bag (2)
    • paper towel (3)
    • toilet paper
  • Feb 23 2010
    • coffee grounds
    • grapefruit skin
    • paper towel
    • paper tissue (2)
    • toilet paper
    • apple core
    • paper plate
    • aluminium foil container
    • napkin (3)
    • wax paper sheet
    • tea bag
    • toilet paper
    • paper sheet (3)
  • Feb 24 2010
    • coffee grounds
    • paper tissue (3)
    • grapefruit skin
    • banana peel
    • cardboard box
    • cheese rind
    • plastic bag (4)
    • fish skin
    • tea bag
    • toilet paper
    • garlic skin
    • onion skin
  • Feb 25 2010
    • coffee grounds
    • paper towel
    • grapefruit skin

A Game

Our assignment for the Softness of Things was to create a system. My team (Lara Grant, Jelani John, Milena Selkirk, and myself) decided to make a game with specific inputs, goals, and rules, but with broad tasks and outputs.

The Input

  • Teams of four
  • A sheet of paper with words on it

The Rules

  • Each person in the team chooses a role
  • Everyone can only perform tasks associated with their role
  • Every teammate must participate to create the output

The Output

  • Three goals, each revealed after the roles have been established
  • You can change roles after each goal
  • You have three minutes to complete each goal

The Roles

  • Colorer: Color, black out
  • Word changer: Change any word on the sheet of paper
  • Cutter: Cut, shred, destroy
  • Attacher: Use paper clips, glue, stapler
  • Folder: Fold paper
  • Printer: Print paper with any content on it
  • Manager: Direct teammates who must follow your instructions
  • Gopher/Take a break: Fetch whatever teammates request or decide to take a break during the task

The Goals

  1. Make a duck
  2. Write a poem/story about your duck
  3. Exhibit your duck and poem/story

We are inviting the mind as a process itself.
Specific goals have a blur once put through the relative, interpretive mind of the human.
How many ways can you think of representing our goals with the items that are given to you?

A closed system verging on emergent.
It has a start and a finish, yet the flexibility to give different results. Such as the possible combinations of roles that can exist in each group. The team can have different capabilities which will result in different interpretations of the tasks.

The Results

P1040996 Lara, Jelani, Milena, Elie (Test Case)

Alex, Despina, Matt

P1050096 Sarah, Jill, Dimitris

Daniel, Marco, Elizabeth, Mike

Connections: Chatroulette Cock Map

I really enjoy going on Chatroulette and think it is a great idea. Unfortunately, anybody who has been on will tell you that the main problem is the huge number of people masturbating on camera. People do this because they think they are anonymous online and they cannot be tracked down. Those same people would never dare pull their pants down in public. If I made a connection between the virtual cocks and their actual geographical location, it would probably discourage these people from showing their genitals on Chatroulette.

In order to do this, I built the Chatroulette Cock Sniffer. It is a desktop application that you run while you are on Chatroulette. Whenever you see a cock, just hit the “Cock Watch” button and it will track down the IP of whoever you’re video chatting with at the time, get their geographical location, and save it in a database. The locations of all cocks found can then be seen on the Chatroulette Cock Map companion website. The sniffer app also copies the location to your clipboard, which you can paste in your chat window to notify whoever you are chatting with that you’ve tracked them, re-enforcing the connection.

Connector Photo Montage

Connector Photo Montage are a bunch of interesting connectors I found while walking around in the city.

Animation Module

This week’s assignment was to make a module so I made an animation sequence that begins and ends with the same frame: a simple circle.

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If the sequence is repeated, it creates a seamless loop. Another module can also be created and it will follow this one seamlessly as long as it begins and ends with the circle frame.