All posts by Alice Cai

Minim & Leap

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This is super late (sorry Dan!) but here’s a stupid pet trick. Although this doesn’t involve the Arduino, it does involve the LeapMotion. I had originally wanted to include the Leap in my final project, but didn’t have the time to actually play around with it and figure out the environment.

This is a mashup/side project with my other minim post — I think that the Leap would be fun to use with music-based applications. It only draws when your fingers can be detected – if they’re not over the Leap, then it stops drawing. It draws either an ellipse (if your touch mode is ‘touching’) or a rectangle (if your touch mode is ‘hovering’). Modes are also printed in console so you know what’s happening. (It’s much harder to get ellipses drawn…maybe I just have very shaky hands.)

My iMovie isn’t working at the moment, so this video doesn’t have audio…but the song that is playing is “Salty Sweet” by Ms Mr.

Until I get that fixed, here’s a temporary, but very short Instagram video of it (with sound).


Pusheen – Too Busy Eating Edition

Pusheen - 3

Pusheen has to save the princess!

But oh no, why is all this food here? As one of our favorite internet cats, pusheen’s pretty notorious for eating everything…and avoiding adventures.

This is a tribute to not only Pusheen but also: a much-loved unicorn game, the classic Mario “The princess is in another castle!” level endings, and of course, food.

Things to update:

– Copy on the level/title screens so it’s clear what the objective of the game is. Add a video before the game, maybe?

– Level 4 is supposed to be a boss battle, with the flame in the middle and the skulls floating around. Since “eating” the skulls shouldn’t really be an option, I would add a collision function, so that every time Pusheen collides with the skulls, you have to start over from level 1.

– A timer class exists, but isn’t used: add that in levels 1-3 where the player has to eat everything in under x amount of time.

– Like Nicole and Dan mentioned, there is a great chance to incorporate inheritance for the food items.


Although the game isn’t quite finished, and I solved the problem with the levels not appearing whilst in class, I’m happy the game (which would be the first I’ve made) works. I’m very glad I got to use and understand arraylists for the food objects eaten in the levels, and states for the actual levels. Many, many thanks to Pauline for helping me understand arraylists and for screaming with me when we got the boxes to disappear for the first time. (And also to everyone who pours their heart and code into processing tutorials.)

Download the game & all of the related files.

Code below:


BOX CLASS: (What I called the food items)




These Mediated Environments

When we imagine environments, what comes to mind are environments in which we live, work, and play. Think of one now. The scene you painted in your head may be filled with images of people, places, and things…but have you thought about these things, and how a proliferation of them are digital? So much of life is mediated by the screen that we scarcely live outside of it. TV shows (even if we no longer watch them on a TV), social media, songs — culture has become digital culture. We live inside of our media.

Anthropologist Edmund Carpenter, in his essay “Obsolescence,” writes that “Electronic media have turned the entire globe into a midden. Artists are now busy transforming all of our yesterdays into now. The whole world has become a happening.”

Recently, there has been an increased importance on social visibility: we take pictures at events to share them with people so that they know we were there, doing that thing, at that time. There is this notion of being present (at functions, at least seemingly to other people) while being being absent (consuming everyone else’s media instead of actually engaging in the function you are at).

The whole world has become a happening…but it has the potential to be a happening with each other. More than anything else, this class has taught me that media itself is an environment and that media is malleable. It is an environment we can change.

Barry Schwartz, during the 2014 Ted Talks, said that “We design human nature by defining the institutions within which people live and work.” As students in Intro to Computational Media (or Digital Encoding, et al.), we have the potential to define these environments and institutions, and shape our lives and culture. There is this pessimistic vision of the future where all communication happens virtually, and people are espoused to their devices rather than to each other. A more optimistic vision would be one where interactive media acts as a bridge between the environment and the public to creates new forms of communication and increase interactions between people. Rather than merely consuming, they will be engaging, participating, playing.

We Feel…Fine?

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How are you feeling?

Fine is a four-lettered placeholder.

This grabs feelings from the We Feel Fine API. We Feel Fine’s system searches blog entries for occurrences of the phrases “I feel” and “I am feeling.” The latest feeling (sentence) displays in the console and in the sketch – it refreshes every 20 seconds. Usually, it takes up to 40 seconds for a new feeling to surface.

Things to fix:

– Somehow ignore the <feelings></feelings> part of the String, so that only the sentence shows up

– Fit the whole sentence inside of a text box (attempted, but did not work).

Things to add:

– Color change every time the feeling ascribed to the sentence changes. Something that correlates with Goethe’s ideas about psychology in relation to color & emotion.



minim(al) visualization

minim(al) visual

So I was playing around with the minim library, recording voices and wondering If that’s how I really sound. My original plan was to save a recording, and play it back using the FSR, but I could only get it to work sometimes with the FilePlayer.

Instead, here’s a pretty/cool visualization of any song that plays. Personally, the visualization reminds me of Mega Man/Transformers.

To add your own song, just put the song file into the same Processing folder, and replace “Friend.mp3” with the name of the song file. To play the song, the force applied to the FSR has to be higher than 150.


Pacman Pt.2 – omnomnom

pacpt2 pacpt2-1

Got pacman to work, kind of – the dots have yet to disappear, although I have tried to use an if statement for it. The trails they’re leaving behind due to the stroke(255) was cool, so I left it there. Pacman trails!

I know that the code can be simplified further if I used for loops for the pellet locations.

Code below.


Help Pacman!


Look at how lonely and hungry he is. Won’t you help? My plan was to make Pacman (which I did!) and have it gobble up bouncing balls (which I didn’t do).

Things I have trouble with: multiple classes/variables(?) in Processing

If any of you can help, add some wizardry/magic to it, that’d be very cool. Code below!





The World Will End in Processing

Random Ellipses

Wait, this doesn’t look very sinister, you say.


Or is it?

Some predict that the end of the world involves an interaction between Earth and the black hole at the center of the galaxy, the next meteor crashing down, or a collision with a planet called Nibiru. Meanwhile, I predict that the world will end in an explosion of bokeh and unhappy computer fans

Although really, this is just a few randomly generated ellipses, so there shouldn’t be anything to worry about. Right?



To Read

There are always more books to be read. But how would you know when you should clear some off your reading list, without a bright blue light to tell you?

This switch is pressure-sensitive. Wires are attached to a square piece of aluminum foil with an “O” shaped foam cutout, and this is in turn folded into the last page of two books. When the books lay on top of each other, they are not heavy enough to compress the foam and activate the switch. As you add more books on top of the original two, the added weight activates the switch.

See it in action here on Instagram.