Project #2: Pressure Sensor Switch Cat Helmet

Blog Posts Fall 2019

For the second project, I used paper mache techniques and a balloon to make a makeshift cat helmet that triggers an LED light on and off when pressure is applied. I used code and tutorial that was based around the original Arduino pressure sensor tutorial, modified on Makerguides and written by Benne de Bakker.

Materials: 1:1 ratio of wood glue and water, newspaper, cardboard, black duct tape, Arduino, breadboard, green LED, 100K resistor, pressure sensor, hookup wires, electrical tape

The helmet and a very chaotic room/workspace
Set up on the breadboard

I inflated a balloon until it matched the size of my sister’s head and soaked strips of newspaper in a one to one wood glue and water mixture. I then wrapped each piece around the balloon and waited a day for the cast to dry. Afterwards, I popped the balloon and cut the mold in half so it formed the shape of a helmet. The green LED (long leg) was connected to power through the resistor shown, while the shorter leg was connected to pin 2 on the Arduino. One leg of the sensor was connected to power, while the other to A0 on the Arduino. Power was connected via hookup wire to 5V, and GND to…GND.

LED being triggered and turned off

Github code:

Link to code source:

Project #3: Anxiety Simulator (Final)

Blog Posts Fall 2019

This is a fairly artistic piece that was sort of meant to act as an anxiety simulator. The text on the Adafruit crystal LCD screen changes between two different messages when mic audio input reaches certain volume levels: “I’m sorry” and “It’s all my fault”.

The sculpture a tiny, sort of child-like version of myself and my cat made using a white air-dry clay and rests on top of a pink box.

Github code:

“The Garden of Forking Paths” and “Trouble at the Interface”

Blog Posts Fall 2019

The Garden of Forking Paths

In the Garden of Forking Paths, this “labyrinth” that is frequently being referred to is actually a book, written by the main character Tsui P’en’s ancestor. In Borges’ narrative, the idea of a “web-like” convergence and splitting of multiple timelines, not spaces, is discussed. It’s thought to be the earliest unintentional example of a novel similar to one written in a hypertext format because, much like the capability of following a series of hypertext links to progress within a narrative and arrive at different outcomes given to us within an actual hypertext novel, this web of timelines and theme of expansiveness within the same plane or space is evident throughout Borges’ narrative. Tsui P’en is told by Albert before assassinating him, for instance, that they could just as easily have been enemies within a different timeline. The readers of Borges’ novel aren’t given any choices but have to partake in the reading process in order for the narratives to progress. In the same vein, hypertext novels apparently did not allow readers to make any choices, because these choices were already made by their authors. I think that in regards to New Media as an art form, it bears a similar function or connotation because the possibilities for what one can create are endless.

Trouble at the Interface 2.0

Huhtamo refers to a sort of “identity crisis” of interactive art in which the root of interactive art stems from the development and exploration of the relationship between human interaction and technology. He defines interactive art as an art that involves and relies on actions of the viewer of the art. He argues that as time went on, interactive art showcased at ARS Electronica became less physically involved or “interactive”, and newer art forms involved the use of the internet, and through this usage, participatory contributions from viewers transformed physical actions into artificial or systematic outcomes. For example, Raphael Lozano Hemmer used robotic searchlights which were intended to be moved throughout Mexico City by his audience. Though this concept was intended to be very interactive, those present at the exhibition had no control of the art–control was restricted only to users of the internet. In this way, Huhtamo argues this new interactive art is similar to any other fine or normal art form that lacks interactivity. Huhtamo, when finishing his critique, discusses the concept of interactivity within works of media art and suggests there be more specific subcategories to describe specific kinds of interactive art.

Cyborg and extended self, interfaces and telematics, extended self responses/notes

Blog Posts Fall 2019

Cyborg and Extended Self

-Author poses idea that technology allows us to become extended and improved versions of ourselves/fulfill certain desires. We tend to take these forms of technology for granted, but they miraculously and almost instantaneously make our lives easier. (Created greater sense of agency at farther distances through use of telecommunications systems, i.e. GPS, phone/signal towers, etc.)

Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)–”¬†use micro fabrication technology to integrate sensors, actuators, mechanical elements, and electronics on a silicon substrate”.

-Example: Seven Mile Boots project, incorporating accelerometer with w/ microcontroller built inside boots that allows the person wearing it to track the distance at which they’ve travelled in every step (seven virtual miles within cyberspace per one physical step in the shoes).

Haptics–force feedback (one example used included the rumble feature built within most modern gaming controllers).

-Author questions future development and infinite nature of computer/machine and human interactions.

Interfaces and Telematics

Telematics–field of wireless/data communications/telecommunications systems

-Author uses the first example of a surgeon instructing a robotic actuator to make incisions during a surgery as telematic control from across a distance within space.

-In the second example, artists Goldberg, Paulos, Myers, and Fogarty created Tela-Actor, a human being dictated to perform certain actions by others over a digital network, bringing into question the idea that telematic control can also remove, rather than provide (as seen within the previous scenario) the power of choice or will from an individual.

-Essentially, with the use of telematic and cybernetic technology, we can create something akin to an extension or enhancement of ourselves or aspects of our daily lives, similar to the modification of human beings using mechanical or digital parts, or creating cyborgs. In the same vein, we can remove certain extensions of ourselves/privileges we were once allowed, and even alter the ways in which other species communicate with one another or “extend” themselves.

Extended Self

-Vectorial Elevation: piece by Hemmer in which programmed light beams over Mexico City could be controlled by both “local and distant viewers”

-EVE (Extended Virtual Self): Work by Shaw in which user wears a helmet that allows them to interact with the work, displaying a projection of what the user sees within the virtual reality images being generated from their POV.

-The Third Hand (Stelarc): Use of technology as a prosthetic arm, writes part of word “evolution” while Stelarc completes the rest of it with his own two hands.

-Author poses idea that we have always been zombies and cyborgs since our evolution and existence. Early man created prehistoric tools to aid in survival–he compares this reliance on tool-making/utilization to our current relationship with our own bodies and technology. Claims we’ve never truly been in control of our own bodies to begin with, since many bodily functions that allow us to maintain homeostasis are performed automatically and unconsciously (very “zombie-like”), and that we are only terrified of something “that we have always been and what we have always become”.

-As mentioned earlier, we have an inquisitive relationship with technological advancement and can use different technologies to become enhanced or extended versions of ourselves. We can improve our own physical capabilities or even give ourselves biological and physical advantages over other, “normal” or unmodified human beings, similar to cyborgs.