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Evil Spirits

December 5, 2011

Evil spirits is a projects that augments wind chimes to connect remote spaces. Using a motion sensor and an Arduino Ethernet micro-controller, motion under the chimes is detected and transmitted (over the Internet) to people in a different location. Here, a fan generates a breeze (according to the received signals) which activates the chimes. The motion-wind-sound connection overlaps in this way the two spaces with a “full duplex” relation in which people in both locations can perceive and be perceived by others.



Source code

  • Arduino code for the project.
  • The projects uses extensively an Arduino XMPP library that I developed and that can be found here.

Alessandro,Final Project - Comments closed

My Coffee Companion


“My Coffee Companion” is a plate whose color slowly transition from red to blue, mirroring a coffee that is losing its heat. Red is commonly considered a warm color, blue a cold color, and anthropologists believe that our responses to colors follow psychological associations with archetypal human experiences, such as warm fires and cold nights [1] [3].

With a freshly brewed coffee cup, the plate irradiates a warm red light. When the coffee reaches its optimal temperature, the plate starts vibrating and blinking, to immediately reach the center of people’s attention. When the coffee becomes too cold, the plate recedes into a “calm” state [2], irradiating a blue light.


1.           Gage, J. Color and Meaning: Art, Science, and Symbolism. University of California Press, 1999.

2.           Weiser, M. and Brown, J.S. Designing Calm Technology. World Wide Web Internet And Web Information Systems 1, 1 (1995), 1-5.

3.           Wierzbicka, A. The meaning of color terms: semantic, culture and cognition. Cognitive Linguistics, 1 (1990), 99-150.

Video: coffee_plate




Final Project,Francesco - Comments closed

Spaced Out

Spaced Out

Spaced Out makes use of the Neurosky Mindwave BCI (Brain Control Interface). Once the user puts the headset on and the device begins to get readings, a solar system is created that is both driven by and responds to the user’s brainwaves.

Attention: Higher values control solar flares and brightness of the sun
Meditation: Higher values slow down time
Alpha (Open eyes, drowsiness): Controls the size of Saturn’s rings
Delta (Sleep): Controls the density of clouds on Venus
Theta (Active movements): Values over a threshold trigger comets

  • Even though they were available to us, we chose not to use Beta and Gamma wave readings since these are thought to represent attention and meditation. The mindwave gives separate attention and meditation values that we found to be easier to control for the user.
  • The nebulae are random and not controlled by any brainwave.
  • Nothing is to scale (planet sizes, orbit distances) in order to make all of the events noticeable and to keep most of the planets visible on the screen at a reasonable size


Video: Spaced Out

Hardware/Software Used

  • Neurosky Mindwave BCI
  • Unity3d

Arthur,Final Project,Steven - Comments closed

Interactive Instructionals

Interactive Intructionals: Soulja Boy Dance

“Interactive Instructionals” is a program that aids the learning process of instructional dance and movement-oriented tutorials. The program sources an instructional video and allows the viewer to advance the pace of the steps/video though miming and tracking with an onsite camera. The camera tracks the current position of the user compared to that of the figure in the video. When both match up sufficiently, the next step is prompted.

The concept (especially in regards to social reproduction) concerns the interrelationship between those that produce culture and those that mimic and propagate it into a meme. The user mimics the content but they, via conditional statements, are the ones that advance it.


Link to VIDEO

The source code to two beta versions of the processing code can be viewed at:


Daniel,Final Project - Comments closed

Light Dowser


This project, the Light Dowser, is a small device that responds to light with vibration, allowing users to seek out sources of light without the use of their own visual system. Two spinning motors with unbalanced weights provide the direction, as they spin more rapidly when a photoresistor on that side comes in contact with light. By turning to follow the faster of the two motors, the user of the Light Dowser is gradually led to the brightest source of light nearby, in emulation of the subtle moves made by ancient dowsers. In contrast to its fully natural ancient counterpart, the Light Dowser is electronic and mechanical. However, it still integrally depends on the human user to perform its function, and thus its innards are exposed, inviting users to incorporate themselves into the mechanical system.

Video link

Light Dowser video


Arduino code

Light Dowser code

Brian,Final Project - Comments closed


December 4, 2011


Eupnea is a wearable, Arduino-based respiration monitor that collects the user’s breath data and transmits it via BlueTooth to their Android device for display and storage. The word, “eupnea” is of Greek derivation and means good or healthy breathing. In addition to allowing the user to visualize their breathing on the screen, the Android device also geolocates the samples. Although this prototype does not yet store the data on the phone, the next iteration will allow the user to save and extract their geolocated breath data so that they can create maps of their breathing activity.





Processing code – eupnea_v1_5.zip

Arduino code – eupnea_v1.zip


December 4, 2011

  • Posted final update.

November 29-30, 2011

  • I soldered all of my components together.
  • Sewed the assembly to the scarf.
  • (Almost) finished the software for both the Arduino and Android devices. I was able to use the Geolocation example from the Ketai library to get the latitude and longitude. I am running into an errors that seem to be related to my attempts to modify the filesystem.

November 28, 2011

  • FINALLY got the serial communication to work. The trick was to set the baud rate on the Arduino to 115200. Which I would have realized earlier, if I had read the manual for the RN-42 module a little more clearly.
  • Acquired scarf materials over the weekend.

November 23, 2011

  • Continued troubleshooting serial communications. Still no progress.

November 21, 2011

  • Confirmed that the example code does send information from Android to Arduino over Bluetooth, but not the other way around.

November 17, 2011

  • I was finally able to figure out how to get the Arduino to communicate the microphone values in a useful way; just sending them one at a time over serial was not working well, so I am instead sending the values in batches.
  • Still can’t get the Arduino to talk to Processing over Bluetooth; Jesus suggested there is a conflict with having the Uno powered via USB while trying to send values over the serial connection, which seems reasonable.

November 16, 2011

  • Tried in vain to figure out how to get useful values from the microphone; simply hooking it up to analog input seems to do something, but it looks like I’ll have play with the sample rate before it is actually functional. I think a YouTube video titled Arduino Project – VU Meter and its code may be helpful in testing the connection.
  • Ordered additional components (LilyPad, battery, additional connectors) for  final assembly.

November 14, 2011

  • Worked on testing the Arduino to Android connection with the Android + Processing + Bluetooth tutorial by Oscar
  • Was able to get the code running on my Android device (my trusty G1) and it was able to see the Bluetooth modem hooked up to an Arduino, but the serial communication in the sketch did not seem to work. It might be easier to handle if I could read Español.

November 9, 2011

November 7, 2011

  • Obtained Bluetooth modem and microphone with breakout board

To Do

  • Arduino code
    • Connect to phone via Bluetooth
    • Read input from microphone
    • Send data to phone via Bluetooth
  • Android code
    • Connect to Arduino via Bluetooth
    • Get data from Arduino
    • Get location data
    • Store data locally
    • Display data
      • general statistics?
      • data table?
      • graphs?
      • maps?
      • visualization?
  • Obtain garment (currently planning on a scarf)
  • Test assembly
  • Final assembly

Current Materials

Final Project,Joshua - Comments closed

Search and Rescue


Search and Rescue is an alert system. It consists of a model helicopter resting on a base. When it receives a signal from the computer it is attached to, it notifies observers that there has been a new news article published relating to some sort of search and rescue by hovering off of the base for a few seconds before landing again. Observers may note the sobering thought that this means some one’s life may be at risk at that very moment. They may also go to news.google.com to search the terms “search and rescue” to view these latest new items.

Video Links

View the video on youtube.
Download the 640×480 version.
Download the 1280×720 version.


The underside of the helipad contains the electrical components. It has a power cord and a usb cable running out of it.

Helicopter in alert state, flying above the helipad

Helicopter in rest state, meaning there have been no search and rescue updates.

The Arduino and Processing code can be found here.

Bradley,Final Project,Paul - Comments closed

Diller Scofidio + Renfro

November 23, 2011

Diller_Scofidio_Renfro Presentation By Paul Grenning

Paul,Research Report - Comments closed

Research Report – Ashok Sukumaran

November 9, 2011

PDF of presentation slides

Arthur,Research Report - Comments closed

Happy belated Halloween (a week late!)

November 7, 2011

Fun video involving LED strips (inspired by Viktor’s project)

Alessandro,Announcements - Comments closed