All posts by Josh Guzman

Current Documentation (12/2/18)

Okay so, we’re almost there! Essentially, I have the controller working, and I have each lesson finished. All that’s left is to troubleshoot the controller to work a little more accurately, and then put the serial code into every project (Which should be relatively simple). Here is a photo of the bongo controller, the arduino cord comes out of the bongo to connect to your laptop.


As for the code in the lessons, I have the first example basically finished. It works as it should (for this lesson). The only problem encountered right now is the sound doesn’t play if you hit a couple times fast. which is the edit I need to make before applying it to the rest of my lessons. Although you can’t really use the sketch without the controller, here is the code to the first example in my set of lessons:

Here is a video of it working, the Black circle indicates when you are supposed to hit it, the blue one indicated when YOU hit the bongo, If the text is blue, you pretty much hit it at the right time:

Super excited to get the last parts working, I know it’s not really a BEAUTIFUL Aesthetic but I think that’s more so a function I will add if I were to develop the project further, such as adding a cursor along music, and maybe having the notes jump, (As well as making a more attractive looking controller).


Music Lessons? Anyone?

So I’ve actually made some pretty good progress so far I have further to go but I’m now moving at a pretty good pace, I’ve created 3 lessons without my controller applied yet, So from here I will have created a more in depth system with pictures and actual controller application. I will also create more lessons to explain more complex rhythms, and I’ll top the whole thing with a full song or two so the user can put in their entire knowledge they gained. In the next week I would like to finish my lessons and have them polished, and then the week after I will apply the controller to that.

Here is the first lesson, I have put them onto tumblr and all the examples and exercises are in P5, lesson 1-3 are basically finished for this prototype, instead of the actual controller though, simple clicks will satisfy.

Also, here is the box diagram for how this project should go

Bongo Lessons

Exaggerated Weather

For this assignment I decided to be a little humorous, using our API from class and a few if statements, I created a system that gives exaggerated comments on the weather outside.

For the  three different outputs I would suggest using the cities of Boston, London, then Orlando.

Full Screen:


I will not be using this for my final, but it was fun to work with.

Beep Boop Beep

What is an Algorithm? By definition of the Oxford Dictionary, it is “a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.”.

We make algorithms to control systems we make, in a way we can give them their own sort of “decision making” by giving them algorithms as they follow a set of rules that we give them. This is both helpful but also something to be weary about the more developed and advanced technology becomes.

Why should we be more weary? I don’t exactly believe our future is a cliche dystopia of technology that becomes sentient and takes over, but I do believe technology could end up acting in ways we don’t intend if we aren’t careful. A good example of this is seen in Joy Buolamwini’s TED Talk. She discusses a situation in which a machine will use numbers and code to identify situations (As obviously, a machine doe not have a conscious and can’t make conscious or moral judgement.). Because of this, a simple system that is supposed to read and recognize face movement notices certain people who use it, but not her. We can’t exactly call the machine or person who made the machine racist, but as I said before, this kind of user testing and inclusion needs to be considered before putting a project out in the open. In this case it was a simple face recognition system, but technology could go in multiple places. Maybe we will need to consider different languages a machine should understand, or how a blind or deaf person might interact with a machine.

I personally think it’s impossible for a machine to be universal, for anyone, anywhere, but I do believe that we should try our best to include any possible user in the demographic a machine is made for. Machines are automating many processes, and in the future it is possible that machines can carry out a lot of basic functions, so it is best we proceed with machines being prepared for any type of situation.

Drums and Progress

I wanted to make this post go towards both prompts, not because I’m lazy but I feel like I used this weeks project to help me progress on my final project.

Sound and Light:



Obviously the picture was just used for show and to add to this cute little project, but essentially, once you click on it, a song starts playing, and every time you click a little drum sound will play, essentially letting you kind of “jam out” with the music playing. Of course it is not too in depth but for my final project, I will include much more depth.


So this ties into my final project, essentially, I now know how to make my input create sound on P5, and how to make sound play on P5, so I will be using this as a base to allow my input to create this sound on P5 when the user makes an input. This is a very basic interaction, but the goal is eventually to make these inputs affect the rhythm game on the screen, and go with music that is helpful in helping people understand rhythm.


I have purchased two containers that I will be customizing to work with an Arduino, to create a controller that allows for two inputs when the user hits the top. I will be trying a variety of sensors that will allow for me to determine which creates the best effect for what I am going for. I am looking forward to making more progress!

Prior art that inspires my final project!

Finding inspiration for my project was actually quite easy, initially I was gonna take an easy approach and just make my game with buttons and make the buttons press at the right times, but after the proposal that my controller be based off of an actual existing instrument it got me thinking through all of my experience with musical instruments. For a game to teach rhythm, I decided that it should be a instrument that dictates rhythm in music (the “Rhythm section”). Instruments in this category are guitars, bass guitars, percussion, drum set, and voice. The closest to actual button presses, and the most simplistic for teaching would definitely be in percussion, so upon looking through all the instruments, I figured that both hands could be used on bongos, this could be a good way to teach rhythm!

Back on the main topic at hand, inspiration for this project was actually drawn from previous projects and inventions. The main inspiration that had gotten me in previous works have been rhythm games, and actually upon being introduced to the type of classes at IMA I was actually kind of interested to see if I can figure to make this sort of thing here. The type of controller type gameplay that are similar inspirations for my project are that of guitar hero and rock band, as controllers, they use a guitar, drumset, and microphone. Additionally I learned that there is an arcade game developed by Namco in Japan that is a very similar concept to my controller idea except it uses taiko drums, a cultural instrument in Japan and revolves around hitting the drums at the correct time. Which is similar to the bongos in a way.

Taiko drum game

In terms of gameplay, the video game Rhythm Heaven (developed by Nintendo) actually inspired me, the game is based around very simple inputs that interact with a song with various silly scenarios. It’s kind of weird to explain, so I think the best way to demonstrate its simplicity would be to provide a video or two.

As you can see, they only really give the player two inputs, and they make good use of them as they build a song around it to give the player different musical challenges. I plan to do something similar except explain to the user what they are learning, it perhaps won’t be as quirky, but I hope they are to understand a better sense of rhythm once they finish.


Orange Particles

Happy Halloween everyone!

for my project I watched a couple of videos and tried to play around with them. Eventually, I just made a particle effect to where circles just fly out of one concentrated area and fly upwards.

I wanted to be able to make it aim at the direction of the mouse, but I could not figure that out, so I just opted for the mouse to have an ellipse cursor.

I’m gonna have to work with using ellipses and their speed so learning how to make them come out at a certain speed is important knowledge to have.


By definition in the Merriam Webster dictionary, to globalize is defined by “to make worldwide in scope or application”.

Has technology been globalized? I personally believe it has been, perhaps not ALL of it but for sure a LOT of technology has gotten globalized. We all have computers, some form of internet, some sort of transportation vehicle, tools that help with every day activities, in some aspects, technology is becoming more of a universal medium, more and more people have technology accessible to them as time goes on, and our society has grown around it.

Is this a good thing? Again, I believe it is. While I can’t speak much for us whether we should be a species that depends on technology I do think it’s a very good thing for the world to be globalized within technology. It makes us much more connected, You can be friends with someone from the UK, Spain, even Japan (given there is no language barrier). We can also be informed of current world events and be educated on what is going on, without technology we’d live in a old fashioned type of isolation where we don’t really go out of our way to be informed on these sort of things. Technology also allows us to understand differences in culture better, it has totally allowed for a more educated and accepting society as one person living in one state, one town, one province their entire life can make them sort of blind to the diversity that lies within this world.

I truly believe technology is the factor that can allow us to unite as a huge society of different, intelligent thinkers. I believe that the real question we should be asking is: “What can take us further?”. Since we can communicate and learn about other cultures across the world, finding an even more in depth way to interact with the rest of the world is what I believe can take us further.

Fall and Bounce Right Back Up

For my project I actually wanted to play around with one of my previous projects.

To jog memories, this sketch basically just has a ball that changes velocity every time it hits a wall.

For this project I wanted to play with the idea of velocity and use a potentiometer to adjust the speed of the ball at any given time. However I was unable to connect my arduino as a controller which halted me in making progress in my project. I tried for hours to get this down but ultimately no matter what I did I am missing something that allows it to work.

I will keep working with Serial communication to understand this further, as I want to use it for my final project.

Brainstorming for the Final Project

Alright so here are some ideas I’ve been brainstorming this semester for the final project.

Idea 1: Singing Screen

project 1

Basically for this idea, I would use the Arduino to create an audio input, and in combination with P5, we’d create a visual robot type character, who would sing the song being played. I would use some sort of audio sensor to read the audio on a more complex level. For example, I would like the audio to somehow recognize voice, rather than instrumentation, and I would like the system to recognize louder or quieter sound, so the character would make different expressions to help portray the mood of the song. I think it would be a really cute project but I’m unsure of how I’d be able to do any of it.

Idea 2: Breathing Exercise

project 2

I’ve played with this idea earlier in the semester and it was suggested that it would be cool to flesh out this idea further. To recap, people who play music with their breath or “wind” do many breathing exercises to “warm up” their lungs, which allows them to reach a better air capacity when playing their instrument. Essentially, for this project I would create some sort of tube sensor with the Arduino, being able to sense the wind being blown, and I’d use P5 for the user to set how long they’d like to blow their air for, so once that time is reached, it will congratulate the user for reaching their goal, and if not reached, it’ll give them a “fail”. This idea I think has potential but I’m more so unsure on how to create such a complex sensor, same with my first idea.

Idea 3: Rhythm Game

project 3

I think this idea would be a lot of detailed work personally, but it is also the simplest to work with, as there is no need for any complicated Arduino work. Essentially I’d create a controller with a breadboard, with 2+ buttons, and with P5, I’d create a game that is formatted pretty similarly to “Guitar Hero” where a song will play and there will be required rhythmic button presses that match the song. I think this idea would be a lot of fun as I absolutely LOVE rhythm games, but it would be a lot of work to code and animate, it is work I am willing to put in though.



We love red fruit

For this week’s assignment, I wanted to have a drop menu allow you to choose between a: Cherry, Pear, and Grape. When you choose between the fruit it would change the text to a matching color and give the circles that follow your mouse the same color.

I encountered a problem that halted my progress however.

I tried to do an “if statement” so that what you chose would change to the appropriate color, but for some reason I could not get this to work, it would only change the color to one selected of the three colors (red),so I changed the fruit to be all red fruit. Nonetheless the project was very simple but I will keep working to see if I can learn to program this better so perhaps I can include the different colors.

Follow the Path

If I think something, I’ll usually pursue what I’m thinking. I’ll look into the topic, talk about it, do what I’m thinking about, etc…

In that sense, I believe I am a linear thinker. If I think about something I’ll find a way of pursuing it further, I’m honestly not even sure if I can describe any other way of thinking.

I feel that computers themselves, while not being living beings, are also linear thinking. You give an input, they give an output, there is no in-between. I also believe that this is just beneficial in general, it allows us to think and use computers as a thinking tool. An example of this could be the use of URLs. URLs also benefit a linear way of thinking, by a simple click, they can provide you an article, a download, a video to something related to what the URL implied to you. In a way, through URLs we basically have most information given to us with ease, we can go into a search engine (Google is the best) and look up a topic we’re looking into, after we input that, we can get thousands of URLs related to that singular topic, providing us information, downloads, videos, text posts on what we wanted to know. I feel like this is one of the most useful tools we have on the internet, and that I personally don’t see anything additional that it would need, I believe that if it were NOT linear that it would be more of an obstacle than anything. It would make it harder for us to immediately access the info we crave, and perhaps we would lose interest before we can even obtain that information.

I’m interested to see if any of my classmates feel differently, but personally as a “Linear Thinker”, URLs are such a great tool that help us out.


Communication is what we as the human race use to transfer thoughts and ideas to each other.

Throughout history communication has stayed relatively similar, we have some sort of language, we may use hand signals or some sort of gesture to physically communicate. Or we may write out our thoughts in language or in picture form.

I think what can make communication most powerful is by emphasizing expression. Expression could be defined as “the process of making known one’s thoughts or feelings”. People express their feelings when they speak somewhat subtly. Everyone has a different personality and behavior that will convey different feelings to whoever it is they communicate with. If someone is particularly angry,they may speak with a harsher tone, use bad language, move their arms around, or yell, or someone who is happy may smile while speaking, laughing, or seem just overall happy in mood while speaking. Personally I believe this sort of expression is most important in communication because it allows us to understand the speaker on a more personal and understanding level.

Communication has had hurdles in recent years. Current times make it much easier to convey thoughts without speaking physically. I can speak for myself when I say this but it definitely has created a society where now many of us don’t communicate personally and we can’t communicate on the deeper level that I mentioned before. Now we can hide behind a computer and speak, and actually, we don’t even need to speak, we can do what I’m doing right now, typing out my ideas. It is certainly more comfortable and easy to talk about certain things but I think it could be improved in a way where we could still be strong social beings.

In the future, I would love to see a device or system of sorts that allows us to be more intimate and close with the people we socialize with. A way that we can speak our feelings and have someone fully understand the other. I’m not quite sure how that could come into fruition, but I’d love to know how we could develop this idea further.

Rube Goldberg Challenge

Hello all! Xuemei and I have been planning out our project and as we are waiting for the group before us, and we don’t have any full work out yet I wanted to explain what we have in mind.

The group before us is making a contraption that rolls down a ball, we will make the ball drag down a wire into water and cause an LED to light up, then our next group will need to make our LED set off a light sensor. More details will be specified when it is more developed.


It’s easy for us to overlook how much our body is used to understand the world. All five of our senses and all of our body parts in some way contribute to how we feel or understand our world.  With our sense of sight, the colors of Times Square at night or the blue sky on a nice day makes us feel a certain way, they can  make us happy, excited, gloomy, annoyed, and so forth. The smell of marijuana in Washington Square Park or the lovely smell you smell when you walk into a Starbucks can affect how we feel as well. The texture of your clothing on your body, or the feel of the keyboard on your computer can make you feel comfortable. Music that you listen to or the loudness of a firetruck passing by can affect how our emotions are as well. Eating a good meal after a long day can make you feel fantastic as well.

I’ve listed many examples of how our senses can affect our emotion, but how do our emotions effect how we think? Well I think they can effect us in a large variety of ways. I think if we are in a good mood, we are motivated to work at our best capacity, we might be able to look at things in a different view. If we are in a bad or frustrated mood we could be too fed up on how distraught  are and it could prevent us from thinking freely, or someone with a different point of view could take it as an opportunity to think of ways to make things better.

I think computers and technology could reach our senses and emotions in multiple ways. We could satisfy many good aspects on the internet alone. We can find new music that really appeals to us. We can see art pieces and photography that gets us in a good mood or causes us to think. We can talk and communicate to others. I believe the internet is perfect for provoking us to think and motivate us to create.

Calm Down!

Calm Down Video


So for this week’s project, I decided to make a light that “freaks out” after a little while, and when this happens you need to press it to make it calm down for a bit. I coded it so it would slow down the light blinking dramatically after being pressed, but after a little bit, it goes back to flickering, or “freaking out”. For fun, I used two LEDs, although requiring an additional resistor.

Calm Down SketchCDPcodde

Morality? What Does that Mean?

Morality could be defined as the principles that revolve around wrong and right or good and bad behavior. Each of us have our own morals and while they may be similar in very general aspects they tend to differ in more specific aspects. For example, one person might feel right to give money to a homeless person they find, while another may not because they don’t know what they would use the money for. Another good example could be if your best friend tells you a secret that you feel is important that another person would know. One person might feel it more important that someone knows, while the other might value their friend’s trust more and keep it between each other, as asked. If a situation comes your way in which you’re conflicted on how to act, your morals are usually what it comes down to to make that decision. So to the next question rises, should machines make moral decisions?

Machines are very blunt, they get an input, and create an output. There are no “maybes”, considerations, or second thoughts. A machine doesn’t know the life and preferences of those who are involved in this decision. While it might seem a machine chose the most efficient way of handling something. While some may disagree, I believe moral decisions should NOT be placed on that of machines.

I believe everyone is different. For every person that may agree with a decision or event, there is a person to disagree. To place such an influential process on a machine that doesn’t understand the backgrounds of those involved I believe a machine can never provide an outcome better than people, who can discuss, compromise, and decide together on a decision that works best. Machines should be used to assist the things we do, and to me, making decisions seems like a function that can only make problems.



Breathing Exercises

Breathing Exercise

Video Above^

For this week’s assignment, I expanded on my idea from last week with the blow-powered light. As a trumpet player a good exercise involves breathing in as much air as possible and blowing out a constant air flow as long as possible. It helps the lungs warm up if you’re going to play something hard.

Here is a picture of the planning, and code. For this I made sure for that when the coin is blown on, it starts a countdown for 5 seconds (it can be adjusted for however long the user would want), when reaching the goal, the light will blink twice indicating you reached your goal, AKA blowing constant air for 5, 10, etc… seconds straight.

I had to use a new metal, and use adhesive to connect the coin to an extent that would need to be blown on to connect. In a more practical case, a mechanism would need to be made so someone can simply blow onto it and the light would go off. But for the time being this is it’s concept.

(A picture of the entire set-up)

Until next time


Story vs Interactivity

Computational Media as opposed to Traditional Media has always had differences. To me, its main difference is that what Computational Media is entirely dependent on the user, the user can use the internet to search up what news or information they are interested in, or create or do whatever they want, when they want. Traditional Media provides to the consumer information or services that has already been made,whether it be newspaper, television programs, or books, they are not specifically catered towards the user. Traditional media provides a story that is already created, Computational Media provides a more interactive side to that story that in a way, allows the consumer to create their own story, based around their thoughts and processes. Through both sources these can connect though, for example, through Computed Media, the result a user can find can be more of traditional media that just so happens to fit that person’s interests. Developers and creators have been working towards allowing story and interactivity to connect. One of my favorite examples of this in recent times are within video games. Developers have created interactive storytelling video games that mold to the decisions and processes the user takes, based on that, outcomes and scenarios will differ and create an entirely different experience than that of someone else.

Universal Machines can be seen as a device that can do literally whatever the user wants it to do. I don’t believe we have reached any device that can do whatever we would like. But I believe the closest we have to that right now would be a smartphone. They are very accessible, easy to carry around, affordable, and can carry out multiple processes such as contacting people, creating and storing documents, pictures and videos, and entertainment. This by no means fits “Whatever the user wants” however. I don’t believe we can find one singular “universal device” as everyone’s wants and needs differ, but I believe we can get close.

Blow that candle out! (Or uh… on)

Blow that light on!

Click on the title above to see what this post is about!

Okay, so our goal was to create a switch that would turn an LED light on without using your hands. As a trumpet player myself, naturally my first instinct was to try and find a way to blow the light on. First I created a regular switch through wires with a Adruino Uno, a breadboard, a break, and some alligator clips. Onto the alligator clips I attached a large conductive metal (a regular knife), and a small conductive metal (a dime) that could be easily blown over.

Additionally, I used a small Post-It note to create surface area to blow over the dime more easily and create weight that would make the light go on every time I blow.

In order to blow the air in a concentrated direction, I used a stem from a harmon mute as a tube (a harmon mute is a tool used for a trumpet, so any tube/straw would work) to blow on the Post-it note.

This test was successful as can be seen on the video. The LED went off every time I blew onto the post-it note.

Until next time!

-Josh Guzman


What I Look Like to a Computer

I believe only look like what we present onto a computer. We use computers every day whether it be on our laptop or our smartphones. We use the internet to make posts to show all our friends, family, and peers what we’re up to, whether it be big events in our lives or something we find cool that we want to show to everyone. We also use programs in our computers. We write, draw, document, create and do countless activities on our computers that can be representative of what we look like. In my own case, my computer stores countless pictures of me with my friends, family, and peers throughout the years to encapsulate memories that I would like to keep a hold of. Additionally, I have many drawings, that of which I save on the computer and on the internet. I love to draw and document my art as I find it both relaxing and entertaining.  Looking through my computer would show me as an artist and musician who heavily values friends and family. As Mrs. Burns says in her interview, we all have diverse disciplines and backgrounds that we come from that defines what we use our computers for or what our computer would see us as.

Our computer cannot always know who we are entirely however. Although many of us do many of the activities that have been mentioned before, our computers do not know us on a deeper level. Our computers will not know our personalities, our other interests we might not document such as playing an instrument, or being an athlete as this isn’t something that is always done with computers.  I for one, use my computer for art and documenting pictures, music, and videos. A computer doesn’t know if you’re about to find information on the internet that might be seen as offensive to one’s self. A computer also doesn’t know whether someone trying to reach in contact with you is a good or bad person. A computer doesn’t know how much work you spent writing that essay last night only to find out you didn’t save it. If all of us as  a community were to learn to make full use of our computers, we’d be able to apply it in new ways to reflect more of what defines us.

I can’t entirely say I’d know how to make computers a perfect, inclusive, totally intuitive device, but in a perfect world, a computer that understands what you think or feel regarding multiple topics or situations could help a user to use the internet both safely and comfortably. A perfect computer would maybe be able to store documents automatically based on how important they are to the user. I believe the idea of a perfect device would vary upon the user and their needs, this makes the possibilities for devices seemingly endless. Additionally, possibilities will keep expanding as every person’s desires are always changing. Because of all our diverse thoughts, the future for technology is very exciting. Through working in collaboration with people of different backgrounds, we can work to create devices that can expand upon what we already have.