Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Week 13 Update

OKAY! So after discovering that I have no actual idea as to what I am doing (and with immense help from Thomas (thank you btw!)) I have redesigned my project to something that I can actually accomplish in the time that I do have.
I have started coding the arduino with some basic stepper motor commands ("spin", "don't spin", crazy stuff).
And I had to reorder my stepper motor, because the one I currently am using requires a 12V 8.5A power supply, and I have learned (after going and checking out a battery store not far from my school) that batteries are f*@#ing heavy, and would be a lot of fun lugging around using only your neck muscles as support.
The battery I needed was about 5 freaking pounds.
SO, (after MUCH mathing to my best abilities), i have discovered a stepper motor that requires only about 4V and <2A to power. Which ultimately means a MUCH lighter battery to lug around.

Needless to say I have learned an important lesson on how to calculate what Voltage, Amperage, and Torque I'll be needing.

So here are the redesigns for my project:
The eyeball has shrunk significantly (which is what would weigh the stepper motor down since it is the only thing actually attached to the stepper motor), which means a lower torque, and an overall lighter power supply.

Week 12 Update

So during this week I was working on my final project. I wanted to incorporate an eye-reading device with stepper motors. However, I started realizing how intense the coding for everything would be, and decided it was going to be way too much for me to complete by the deadline. So I have been redesigning my project quite a bit.

but here is some of the work I was doing for my original idea:

for the eye-writer portion i was working on disassembling a PS3 camera. I was trying to remove the infrared blocker.

And this is how I was designing the outer shell using cardboard:

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Week 11 Report

This week we started working on some prototypes in class. Kennedy Reed and I worked together using an infrared proximity sensor. We tried a few different set ups and different codes we found online, but by the time class got out we hadn't quite figured out how to get the LEDs to light up. We kept dealing with a particular error code.

I wasn't able to continue working on it unfortunately because I had work the next day. But Kennedy was able to figure out how to get it working properly. I wish I could have been more help on this particular project.

But also during the weekend prior I was able to work on a trial head sphere using 13mm thick EVA foam I bought at the Foam Forge downtown. It was much harder to cut than I thought it would be, plus I think the blade I had was super dull. But I managed to cut out 8 pieces and glue them together to form the sphere. It turned out way larger than I had imagined it would be, but in order to fit all the other pieces inside of it it has to be pretty big.
it held together pretty well using hot glue and medical paper tape (I prefer medical paper tape because it is extremely adhesive and very flexible), although for future notice, because it is porous, hotglue will ooze right through it if you're not careful (says the person her burnt the sh*t out of her leg and ruined a pair of pants when some dripped out).
Plus the sphere didn't turn out completely spherical, it had ridges where the pieces met. I wanted to try heating it up and warping the foam to be more of a curve shape, however because I used hot glue I could use the heat gun too much without all the pieces falling apart, plus it was a much thicker foam than I had originally planned on using, so it didn't bend as much I was hoping it would.

Week 10 Report

This week we worked on making light sensors using our arduinos in class.

Week 9 Report

So this week we did a little more research into our final projects, I've been looking at the electronic components and have been trying to decide what I'd like to do. Although I'm confused as to haw I want to proceed with my project. I would like to attempt the eye tracking hardware, but I feel like that might be way too much work for the amount of time that I do have.

I turned in my chapter 1 and 2 discussion notes, however we never really went over them in class.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Final Project Ideas

Tentative list of supplies needed:

  • EVA foam, 10mm, 5'x6' square
  • Worbla 
  • aluminum strips
  • bike helmet
  • 2 small stepper motors
  • 1 larger stepper motor
  • 8-10 U Groove wheels
  • Mod Podge
  • Wood Glue
  • Super glue
  • Epoxy Glue
  • Gorilla glue or Contact Cement
  • Arduino motion sensor
  • Cover for electronics
  • Paint
  • Power supply + cover

Here are the links that inspired my creation:

This one in particular is what I am interested in working with:

Here are some eye symbolism links for my research:

More research:

Week 8 Report

So this week we worked with relays in our class.
I'm stoked to finally be learning about all the different computer chip parts, I've always worked on different projects but kind of had no idea what I was actually doing, so knowing how/why each part works and what is does is super interesting. Like how relays are the piece that are used whenever its necessary to control a high power or high voltage circuit with a low power circuit.
I found a really nice video that helps explain how relays work, and the different kinds.

We also built a ...thing? in class. An arduino relay AC circuit interrupter mechanism? A thing that was cool, and quite fun to build.
But a thing none-the-less, and here is a video of the one that I made!:

Also I've been making sketches of the final project I would like to attempt to pull off.
It's been kind of difficult to know what I need to order (part-wise) because I have to be able to know what size parts I need to work around (structure-wise), but I can't figure out what parts I need until I better know the scale and weight of the pieces. So it's been a bit of a loop.

But I have some EVA foam samples on the way, and I actually have a bit of this Worbla material I got a few years ago that I never used, So I'm going to mess around with those for a bit once the samples come in.

Here's a mash up of my notes.
Also, "The Residents" are really interesting, and suuuuper trippy. But I am digging that eyeball, I need to figure out what they used for material, and also what they used for their instruments.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Week 7 Report

We had our Noise Project critique this week. I think my went over pretty well, everyone seemed to like it.
We were going to work on our Arduinos again this week, but we had another hurricane day for Michael. So the week was cut short.

But I started scheming up some plans for my final project. I would like to make a giant eyeball headdress that can look both ways and blink. I would really like to make it so that I can control it using a camera that tracks my eye movements, but that seems like it may be too complicated.

Animatronic Eye Mechanism:

Animatronic eyes using Arduino:

Eye Tracking to control a Servo:

My problem will be to
1. Program the arduino to both track my pupil movement left and right
2. Program the arduino to track when I blink
3. Be able to create the mechanical movements from inside the single eye, rather than from behind the two eyes.
4. Create a dome that is both large enough, and strong enough to withstand the weight and movements of the mechanisms, as well as contain my head.

-Maybe instead of tracking my eye movements I can get the arduino to track the movement from outside the eyeball. Like someone walking past it.

-Or maybe I can focus on the eye movements left/right with arduino, and instead have the blinking programmed with a remote.

Project 1: Noise Machine

I was inspired by how creepy the noises were that this machine made, so I wanted my interface to reflect that. I chose to incorporate doll parts (what's creepier than dolls, right?) and some expandable foam, to make it look like the dolls were fighting to escape a nightmare pit of sticky tar. The touch-points are at the end of the longer doll arms, so you have to grab their hands in order to make the machine work.
Original Noise machine on breadboard.

Here I had to cut out a hold on the bottom of the base board in order to feed the wires up through and into were the doll parts would be.

Here are the materials I used to create the base.

Here's the cover once its attached to the base. It's going to hold the electronic components and protect them from the spray foam.

Here I added a cool tree branch I found at Blackwater River. And have threaded the wiring through the hole I drilled in the blue cover. I forgot about getting the speaker through the hole ( I had already soldered it all together), so I ended up having to cut the speaker wires and re-soldering them on the other side of the blue container.

All the dolls I bought at the flea market, and some moldable plastic I ended up not using.

Here's the piece after I added the expanding foam. It's the first time I've used it, and I didn't realize how much it would expand. It ended up covering the on/off switch, and I had to scoop out the foam as it was expanding, and it got pretty messy. Also FYI, it's incredibly sticky when its still in it's liquid form. It took days before it came off my fingers. 

After letting the foam expand and settle (at least a day later), I carved some of the edges and sculpted a few parts along the branch and large doll head, but I liked the bubbly-texture around the inside arms, and decided to leave that alone. I taped up the touch points so they wouldn't be coated in paint, and could still remain conductive.

Adding the glossy black spray paint.

After spray painting a few coats I left it alone to dry for a few hours outside.

I eventually brought it in later that night, and added some finishing touches, and removed the tape covering the touch-points.

And here's the finished project in all it's creepy glory! 

Week 6 Report

Our noise project was pushed back a week, so I spent this week putting mine together.
We also worked on programming our arduinos in class (there was a mishap with a driver not being downloaded so that set us back as well)
But we were able to program them some this week, and got this blue LED to change its blinking speed.

Instructables: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:
MintyBoost! - Small Battery-powered USB Charger: 26 Steps (with Pictures)

  • Step by step instructions
  • List of tools and materials needed
  • Links to downloads and kits you can purchase
  • Numerous clear pictures 

The Bad:
  • Fuzzy pictures
  • Too few pictures
  • Schematic is there, but picture of actual circuit doesn't show how its soldered together
  • Somewhat vague instructions for building the actual circuit
  • Author threw his partner under the bus at the end of the instructible

The Ugly:
  • Pretty simple steps
  • Awful fuzzy pictures
  • Bad background for pictures used

Week 5 Report

Started looking into the Arduino sensors, found a bunch of interesting ones, its kind of hard to pick which one to go with for the final project.
Went thrifting for doll parts for my Noise project, didn't find much. So i decided to go check out the flea market down near Fairfeild, and after walking around for about 10 minutes I started finding a ton of them. I probably looked like a crazy lady buying up a bunch of mangled old dolls and throwing them into a trash bag to carry them around, but I got what I needed for pretty cheap.
I then hit up Home Depot, and took in my multimeter to help me find some conductive metal pieces to use as touch-points on my project. After checking out all the cabinet knobs (non of which really conducted well) I went and tried the nuts and bolts, and found some nice acorn nuts that worked out really well and were just the right size. I also found the perfect wooden base (already cut out in a circular shape), and a few other pieces to help me prop the base up on stands, and a casing to put all the electronic components in and protect from the foam (which I also got, called "Great Stuff: Expanding Foam" which I read online was an easy substance to shape and form to your liking). And also some glossy black spray paint. I wanted it to take on a creepy ooze-look. Like the dolls were fighting to escape a tar pit.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Sensor Research

So during my sensor research I found a motion detector sensor I thought was interesting:

And this tiny servo which I loved because of how tiny it was:

I've always thought touch sensors were interesting, like in touch lamps:

And this water sensor is cool too:

If this is what I think it is I think this would be cool to mess with, a tilt switch:

This orientation, motion, and gesture sensor is interesting as well:

Ok I feel like this is too many to pick from, they're all super cool, I can't decide!

Week 4 Report

I was out for the first part of this week, however I did end up soldering the #2 noise machine together, and I added an on/off switch (which was a great idea because otherwise it would just stay on and scream at me), however I didn't know that the steel wool used to clean the tips of the soldering irons were specific, and I used a kitchen steel wool which ended up melting the only small soldering tip I had for my soldering iron. So lessons learned, and I ended up ordering a new iron and a soldering steel-wool stand. So now I should have all the correct components. I just need to make a stand that has the clips to hold to pieces together and I should be set.

I asked for the #3 parts for the noise machine because hen putting the #2 #3 together on the breadboard I found that the #3 seemed to work better (or at least I liked it better, I stayed quiet until I touched the wires instead of just screaming at me the entire time the battery was plugged in), so I was going to solder all of the #3 parts together and see how that one turns out instead, and from there I'll decide which one to use for my actual project.

I also turned in some sketches for what I'd like my project to look like once I'm done. I definitely get a creepy vibe from the noise machine, so I'd like to incorporate a creepy design into my interface by molding together a bunch of doll parts and maybe try to incorporate LED lighting as well.

Week 3 Report

During this week we soldered these interesting blinky gadgets. I finished mine pretty quick, and I was told I would win something because I was one of the first five to finish. Still not entirely sure what I won, but it was hinted that I got to punch someone in the face??? But no worries, I'll gladly accept a monetary prize in replacement instead.

Turned in my "upgrade" poster, which everyone seemed to like, I know I would enjoy having an elf-ear aesthetic, glad to know I'm among fellow nerds.

And we discussed the Dunne and Raby article.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Project 1 -Sketches

Because the noise machine makes such creepy noises (and because Halloween is around the corner) I wanted to incorporate a weird and creepy design for the interface of my noise project. And whats creepier than dismembered doll parts mashed together? I would also like to add in some LED lights, but I haven't figured out how just yet.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Week 2 Report

So I've been sick this week and there was a hurricane and there was Labor Day... so it's been a slow week for classes to say the least.
But overall this week I finished up my Upgrade project, watched a cool video with an even cooler old Hippie man, Reed Ghazala, make some weird gadgets.
Watched some instructional videos to increase my soldering skills by +2 points.
And read multiple articles on electric body manipulation as performance art, the art of noises, and the function of the electrical object.

Hello World

Hey world,
It's a-me a-Margo
So I've basically been waiting to take this class for years now, I've been in the art building for forever, and I've always heard this class, with all the crazy noises and screeching and such, going on from a distance and I'm excited to finally be able to take it.
So I'm stoked and I can't wait to make some crazy machines that hopefully won't overtake humanity one day, or maybe they will, who knows.

Bookmark: Electronics Club

Week 1 Report

During our first week we learned how to make breadboards and throwies. The throwies were defenitly my favorite part. I ended up bringing mine to work and everyone loved them.
Something I learned, I guess batteries don't get messed up when attached to a magnet. I always grew up being told not to place magnets near electronics because it could damage them, so I always assumed that mixing batteries and magnets was probably a bad thing?
I also learned that within a closed circuit, i always thought electrons only went one way, but apparently there are particles (also electrons?) that actually flow the opposite direction, which can be a reason why something isn't working properly or malfunction.
I also worked on my Upgrade project, I designed an earpiece that would greatly amplify every noise, but would also sort out and tune into specific sounds.

Dunne and Raby Herzian Tales 01

From what I am understanding in this article, is that the writer believes most electronic and technological art has failed to not serve a purpose. Most art in this nature must posses a purpose for being created, it must be productive to humans in some sense. That we as humans have a complex nature with these objects, they surround our everyday lives, and how we desire the changes they create.
It’s interesting to consider most of our electronic gadgets as being comprised of two things: the electronic object, and the electronic technology. One being the “brain” or programming and circuits and chips that are what make the device function, and the other being the device that houses” the first part. Like in our phones, in an iPhone or Android you have the internal hardware that makes all the programming run, but then they have also carefully designed the outer shell to be both aesthetically pleasing and function smoothly and allow for easy control of the internal processing. Phones used to have small screens and large buttons, which make using them slow and cumbersome; now they’ve evolved to touch screens and allow for a more fluid functionality.
Neil Denari’s argument for combining and connecting our architecture to the world of electromagnetism and spatial inhabitation is a very interesting thing to consider. While we have begun to do just that in a few places, it would be interesting to see how much it will have advanced in the future. Instead of introducing smart objects into the home, actually building the home to function as a smart object. The results could be both astonishing and frightening. I know I’ve seen enough sci-fi movies where smart houses mess you up that I would be a little concerned. But I think for the most part it would be an amazing difference in quality of life.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Art of Noises

I find it interesting to think that noise was really created when machines were created, as put in the letter to Balilla Pratella. How nature is normally silent except for storms and the occasional noisy occurrence. It wasn’t until man made sounds by stretched string or holes in reeds. It would make sense that something like sound would then be considered divine, and thus also considered religious. And explains why music took so long to evolve. So, sound was discovered first, and once machines became more numerous “noise” began taking over, causing a singular “sound” to be uninteresting. So now we need more and more complex sounds to create music that we today find interesting. Which makes sense to me. While I do enjoy simpler music like classical, I also really enjoy more cacophonous music like dubstep or techno. Which I imagine to an eighteenth-century man probably sounds like the devil banging away on an old metal washboard. Or something.
Whoever wrote this letter really like to describe crazy sounds.
I can also agree with him that, while noise may be overbearing at times, at other times it is something that can breathe life back into us. I know when I am feeling low on energy one of the first things I’ll do to wake myself up is blast some intense electronic music, something with a deep beat that gets my heart racing and my blood pumping. I wonder if music like Mozart’s or other classical composers had the same effect on people way back when.
  I believe the author of this letter, Luigi Russolo, was probably ahead of his time when it comes to music. Although if he were alive today he would probably be completely shocked with how far modern music has come. He lists an assortment of noises that should be used within music making, but his list is relatively small compared to what is being used today. I imagine he might enjoy modern music if he were given the chance to hear it.

Elsenaar & Scha- Electric Body Manipulation as Performance Art

I didn't realize that electricity was discovered as long ago as the ancient Greeks, when they realized that amber attracted small particles. I honestly never gave much thought to how electricity was actually discovered. Stephen Gray's discoveries are also very interesting, how he used a glass tube and velvet to transfer electrical attraction to soap bubbles, which then attracted small silver particles. I would like to see his 1730's experiment with the young boy in action, because through the description given I have no idea what that performance would actually look like. So glad they have a picture though. Georg Marthias Bose's experiment would have been fascinating to see as well, when he electrified a person until they glowed. I wonder if it felt weird. Gray's Electric Kiss performance would have been pretty funny to watch as well.
The Leyden Jar sounds pretty crazy as well, I'm glad I wasn't around then to test it out, I can handle a few shocks, but being knocked unconscious sounds like way more fun. And it could electrify up to 180 people at a time, BEST PARTY TRICK EVER.
And what was up with Joseph-Aignan Sigaud de la Fond's (gotta love the name) experiment? He chained 20 people, 3 being castrati (a term I had to look up, it means a male singer who was castrated before puberty in order to maintain a high pitched voice...yikes btw...) together to see if sexy-time fluids were necessary for electrical conductivity. What. on. earth. was going through this guy's head.
What was he expecting would happen? Anything goes for science I guess.
ALSO didn't realize that Edison was so messed up. Conducting a "noteworthy series of animal electrocutions" at his research laboratory. I can't even imagine being there for the elephant electrocution. That must have been intense.

Project 0: Upgrade

I've always had issues with my hearing, I have always had trouble being able to decipher different sounds and noises. Everything overlaps and melts together to create a loud cacophony, and is especially hard when I am trying to listen to someone speaking.
For my Upgrade I would install a device that would aid in my hearing, but a bit more intense than an actual hearing aide. This device would require three piercings in the ear, as well as a small wire that would tap into the brain's auditory cortex, located in the temporal lobes on either side of the head (or just tap into one side depending on if the user wants two implants, one for each ear).
The device would extend past the helix of the ear to form a small discreet dish that would amplify auditory intake and allow the user to pick up even the smallest sounds. There is also a panel located on the side that would allow for adjustments and to power on and off, as well as a secondary small microphone that allows for additional auditory pickup.
The device not only amplifies auditory pickup, but will also be able to adjust to intake the information and be able to decipher between specific noises. So it can pick out voices, music, ringtones, vibrations, and even sounds from very far distances, depending on what the setting you choose.


We made tiny devices that stick to metal and light up, called Throwies. Made by taping a 3V battery to an LED bulb, and then taping small earth magnets to each side. Had a lot of fun with this project!

Breadboard Project

We used 9V batteries to light up LED bulbs through a breadboard, resistor, and some wiring, by creating a closed circuit allowing the electricity to flow completely around from the power source, through the LED and back again.