Friday, October 23, 2009

Week 4 and the Light Box

Well, it's done. Pretty much, we created a light box that is motion activated when someone walks by. Our group envisioned this project as an installation piece where there would be large scale deployment of these cubes in a large public area (like U of M's Diag). As people move between the cubes in their daily lives the light would follow them through the cubes. Yep, we made an art piece that makes the sun an ancillary part, it's got solar panels on top to charge it during the day.

This was a trying project, and I'm honestly very glad we are done with it. Our team didn't always work well together and I even made the front page of the Smart Surfaces website ranting about it last post. Opps/Nice.

We had Julian Bleecker from the Near Future Laboratory come this week and talk to us about Undisciplinaryism. He commented on each of our projects, but unfortunately seemed to have little to say about our groups projects.

Building the box.

Setting up the wires.

The windows are acyclic that slide down into slots in the box and are then lit by a row of colored LED's from the bottom. Patterns were laser scored into the panes to provide opportunities to light to catch.

The blue LED's worked very well, and it made the bubbles pane of acrylic look great.

We're onto our final groups and final projects now. I like my group, everyone seems good so far! We presented ideas for our projects today in class and it seemed from all the presentations that the professors (John Marshall, Max Shtein, Karl Daubman) were not extremely excited or happy with our ideas. I'm tempted to ask what they were really hoping for or thinking we might come up. They honestly seemed disappointed. We'll see.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Installation Project

So, we're almost done with project 4. We've had two weeks on this project and it's is incredibly open ended, well kinda. The project is,

This exercise prompts you to propose, develop, deconstruct and implement an idea based on the principles of an interactive, heliotropic smartsurface. The smartsurface concept should constitute a set of functionalities that otherwise exist in 3-dimensional space, collapsed into an ostensibly 2-dimensional space, thereby gaining additional functionality and/or appeal.

The example in class of a ostensibly 2-d surface that is really 3-d was the iPhone. Lots of different layers go into the screen of that device, but they are squished together to create what it for most intents, 2-d.

Well, our group, and and other groups I believe, have taken this project and pretty much run with it. Our group is making an installation piece. Basically, there are a field of human size cubes in an open area. The cubes are lined with acrylic and LED's that are turned on by a heat sensitive motion sensor. As you move by the LEDs light up and fade as you move away. As you move through the field the trail of light follows you. The interaction with the lights changes as other people move through the field with you.

So basically, we stuffed the iPhone and made an art piece. Sweet!

I'm sorry, I don't have a single picture to share currently, my little point and shoot camera has basically gone from being on the fritz to officially freaking out and not working. Since I don't carry my big DSLR around with me, I don't have any pictures...yet.

So stay tuned! Pictures to follow!

In all honesty, it's been a very frustrating and trying one and a half weeks with the current group and I'll be happy to be done with this project, we don't seem to work extremely well together and we have some stubborn group members and we have been butting heads. It's been interesting.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bendable LEDs Looking For an Application? Now This Sounds Like A Problem For Smart Surfaces!

"LED manufacturer Bivar's new, flexible Light Pipe System, a bendable LED tube ideal "for outdoor and rugged applications, which require greater brightness and light transfer capacity, sturdy design and more flexibility."

Hmm. I like this. I wonder if my group can get our hands on some for our project...