Final Project(s) Proposal
Collective workflow management: sharing the workload of multiple projects among a small group bound by similar interests… This approach will hopefully allow us to undertake a greater range of projects; each exposing a different set of technical and conceptual problems… As a group we hope to offer each other our individual and specialized knowledge… offering a more diverse toolset toward the completion of each project.
Two Teams — 3 Projects* (Completing at least two of them):
1 – Virtual Telekinesis Machine – Project leader: Ezer Longinus
2 – Interactive Urinalysis (ITPee) - Project leaders: Johnny Lu & Stepan Boltalin
3 – Dysfunctional Interfaces – Project leader: Alex Dodge
*Virtual Telekinesis Machine (VMT) - Overview:
We are attempting to build electrodes (based on THIS) and an EEG reader (based on the attached file) to gather information that we can synthesize. Using similar code that we wrote for the EMG sensors, most likely, we will try to try to gather a linear set of data. We would send this data to another microcontroller that would interpolate that data into simple movements (like forward and backward). If we can accomplish this, we would then attempt to make the device wireless, thus accomplishing virtual telekinesis.
*Interactive Urinalysis (ITPee) - Overview:
An interactive device that uses human urine as it’s primary input medium. Various sensors will be employed that will analyze the user’s urine in realtime. Possible sensors include PH, temperature, color (filtered emitter detector pairs), alcohol content, and others. These sensors will feed a visual and auditory interactive user experience.
The focus is to bring a level of interactivity to urinary excursions in at least one of several ways. Current urinals will be outfitted with a variety of sensors targeted towards three (3) primary goals: (1) medicine (2) art (3) competitive and non-competitive gaming
The basis for this is to fit basic and immediate urinalysis devices which will give users basic feedback. A sampling of what urinalysis yields can be found on webmd and wikipedia. Of course, many of these tests require far more extensive equipment or time than can be afforded, so a basic set of what can and can not be implemented must be decided upon. Issues of how to allow users to choose if and how to display test results must be resolved, as well as extensive field testing of how durable and messy the system is and how accurate the test results can be given the novel usage environment (a urinal).
Various sensors such as liquid level sensors and force-sensing resistors among others can be used as inputs and translated into a media controller. The art generated by this is not limited to simply visual displays on monitors, but also to kinetic sculptures, fountains, LED grids, ferrofluid sculptures, sound installations, musical pieces etc. The display audience could be for the user and/or an audience who may or may not be aware of how the art is displayed.
(3) Competitive and non-competitive gaming
Sensors such as those used in the previous section can be fitted to an interactive game where the urinal stream provided by the user serves as a controller. There can be simple games such relating to endurance or force or placing sensors in different areas of the urinal basin to serve as different inputs into the game. Another possibility is to have a moving target to follow and a sensor that tracks how closely the target is followed in order to achieve a high score or certain rewards. Furthermore, different urinals can be linked in order to produce a competitive gaming environment either in real time or through a record-keeping system.
This is an inherently sexist device. Also, the level of interactivity and feedback, though in theory the system could be redesigned for a standard toilet.
*Dysfunctional Interfaces – Overview:
Comprising both a research component in the form of a written paper and a physical exploration / illustration of its thesis.
This project hopes to explore the possibilities for devices and interfaces that intentionally incorporate instances of fault, failure, and otherwise unpredictable feedback / behavior.
Key research topics:
I. While most human-machine models of interactivity, with the exception of computer gaming, strive to accommodate unpredictability primarily on the part of the human as a paradigm for more versatile interactive systems… a question might be asked as to whether accommodating human behavior through homogenized predictive models is not only making more versatile machine interfaces, but also more homogenized human behavior,
—in essence users adapting to a machine’s model of prediction through group learned interfaces. In this sense… it could be argued that by injecting patterns of unpredictability from the machine side, however benign, into the human-machine discourse a more generative model might be possible.
II. Considering episodes of user frustration brought on by device malfunction in which users in heightened emotional states address a device as an agent capable of understanding their voiced frustrations or by going so far as to physically engage the device by hitting it. —if a device can for a brief moment take on agency beyond it’s understood capabilities, albeit in a negative form, might it also be possible to use similar functional / dysfunctional pathways to invite positive forms of agency building / anthropomorphizing / empathy into interactive systems?
III. Investigating core design principles in popular mobile devices, understanding their cultural origins through art historical reference and industrial design philosophies. Determining possible alternative frameworks that allow for imperfection or even encourage it.
Possible physical investigation:
Understanding typical hardware faults in popular interfaces / devices and how to recreate and control similar behavior on an integrated analog circuit level and/or software level.
Exploring alternative materials for device chassis / housing.