Production Assignments


Project #1: Redesigning Interaction

[Part I] Due week2 (February 6)

1. Spend some time in the bathrooms at 370 Jay to observe intangible interactions (automatic toilet flush system, faucet, towel dispenser…). I encourage you to analyze the interaction using Implicit Interaction Framework. If you want to read more about the framework, see Chapter 2 of The Design of Implicit Interactions.

2. Research how the sensing system works by 1) take a closer look at the system and play with it and 2) search relevant information online. For research, consider these questions: Which sensors are being use in the current systems using? How are they programmed? How are they embedded on the device? How do they decide when to activate flushing/dispensing? What are the most common errors of the system?

If you see a better place than the bathroom to do this, you’re free to focus on intangible interactions in that space. Also if you find a non-intangible interaction that you want to replace with intangible interaction, you can observe and research them instead.

[Part II] Due week3 (February 13)
Based on the observations and research from Part 1, do either of the below. 

  • Option 1. Define one problem of the current system that you want to focus on and make a working prototype of a design/system that addresses the problem with an improved interaction.
  • Option 2. Come up with and make a working prototype of a whimsical interaction for any parts of the bathroom (or the chosen space) based on your observations on interactions. Your design/system can be totally useless.

Each student will receive one sensor in class for this assignment, which means that each 2 persons team will have two sensors to work with. Use both sensors to design and implement a system. Use the sensors as an ideation materials and make a clever use of the combination of given sensors.

The output can be any form (e.g., trigger sound in p5.js over serial as we did in class, light, speaker, motor…) that represents the actual output of your design/system (e.g., flushing toilet, dispensing napkin, turning on light…).

Consider adding feedback indicator that shows the status of the system or interaction feedback (e.g., LED indicator, alarm sound, voice…).

Your design/system doesn’t need to be elaborated, but make sure it can communicate your idea, sensors are mounted and working properly so it’s user testable. Some examples are: Liquid Light, Mock up music sword by Doug, and Following Camera by Ran

  • Sensors Distributed in Class for This Week’s Assignment
    • Break Beam Sensor – every team got one. We also did a lab in class together with attachInterrupt() and serial communication.
    • Contactless Temperature Sensor: TMP006 / Tutorial on the Physical Computing website
      • Daniel & Jan
    • PIR Motion Sensor: OpenPIR
      • Themis & Name, Lu, Russell & Shannel
    • VL53L0X Time of Flight Sensor: VL53L0X
      • Hanyi & Niki
    • VL6180X Time of Flight Sensor: VL6180X
      • Rae & Yiting, Michelle & Schuyler

Make a blog post about it for both Part I and II. We will be looking at your work together in class. 

Project #2: Curious Cube

Make a cube shaped object that people can interact with through intangible interaction. Your cube has either a behavior (e.g., it senses specific gestures and reacts to them with sound, it lights up when a user blows their warm breath onto it…) or personality (e.g., shy, impatient, cheerful, rude, polite, reserved, grumpy…). Your cube’s functionality or personality will not be communicated through the physical form of the object, instead, users will find them out through the process of interacting with them. Your cube can be made of any material and can be any size. You will use a APDS9960 (Proximity, Light, RGB, and Gesture Sensor) that will be provided for this assignment or any other sensors of your choice.

Some inspirations:

Gravity#1 by Yanlin Ma. Illusional marble inside a cube, made of interaction and sound.
Shy Robot by Sarah Howorka. Not in a shape of cube, but the robot reveals its shy personality through the interaction.
Expressive Tactile Controls by Hayeon Hwang. See how different personalities are presented with different movements.
Cuboino by Felix Heibeck. Sensor embedded cubes.
Cosmetic Light by MIT Media Lab.
Slow Games by Ishac Bertran. Slowness.
Box by Bot and Dolly.

[Idea Show & Tell] Due Week5 (February 27)

[Project Presentation] Due Week7 (March 12)

Project #3: Final Project 

Since the rest of the class will be done online and none of us will have access to the floor, the focus of the final project will be planning rather than implementation. You will write a thorough and legit proposal for your project, which actually is a very important skill for professional artist, designers, activists, and start-ups. A virtual budget (I wish I could actually support all of your projects) will be assigned to each project and you will make a breakdown of the budget for your project.

Choose one of the options for your final project. You can either work alone or in pairs.

See Prototyping Tools, Fabrication Resources, and Project Planning section on the Resources page.

Option 1. Art Commission: Weather

We interact with weather all the time. The weather shapes our feelings, decisions, and behaviors in intangible ways–whether we notice or not. Also, our collective behaviors influence the weather in a long term. Climate change is the most obvious example. Some recent articles also show the invisible interactions between environment and human; according to the article, as human activities slow down and factories stops operating, the sky became clearer than before (e.g, Air pollution and CO2 fall rapidly as virus spreads, dolphines in Venice although it turned out to be fake, China’s air has been clearer). 

Write a proposal for a virtual art commission that seeks interactive installation to be shown in multiple places in NYC, which will allow the NYC community to interact with the weather data and feel the connection between the mother nature and our human society.  The committee wants to see projects that involve multi-sensory experience and intangible interaction in a broader term.

If you have a specific type of weather data or site you’re considering, you’re welcome to find weather data or API on your own and use it for your project. One option I offer is to use weather data collected in East Village from ITPower’s weather station. The data is streamed through the web and saved to a database so you can access the data from your device (e.g., Arduino, laptop…) using API. You are free to use either real-time data (every 10 minutes) or data from a certain period of your choice. 

Your proposal will include the items below. See the template and a sample here.

  • Project title
  • A summary of your project (1-2 sentence)
  • Ideal installation venue (anywhere within New York)
  • Background and concept
  • Project description
  • Audience interaction
  • Sketch / drawing / installation plan (image)
  • System diagram (image) – this video should be helpful.
  • Prototype to show the proof of concept (video)
  • Budget (BOM, artist fee, transportation, etc. maximum $1,000) – this article should be helpful. 


Option 2. Design Challenge: Behavior Change for Well-Being during COVID-19

We now have new norms and rules to follow as the novel virus is spreading so quickly. We’re now supposed to wash our hands as frequently as possible, not to touch our faces, not to touch anything in public places (subways, grocery stores, door knobs…), stay home except necessary occasions, occasionally check temperature, and keep distance from other people. What else? 

Everyone is expected to adapt to these new norms quickly to help “flattening the curve” and going through this pandemic together. However, it is not easy for everyone to adapt to these changes. Moreover, many of these are such strange things in our normal life without this pandemic situation.

This virtual design challenges call for interactive objects/devices/systems that explore creative ways to help people to adapt to the new situation and change their behaviors with a minimum amount of physical and emotional efforts. The challenge prefers projects that address design solutions for more vulnerable populations, such as children, the elderly, homeless, and people with disabilities. For example, How would you remind children to thoroughly wash their hands and not touch their face? How would you help visually impaired people read signs and elevator buttons without touching the braille on them? How can intangible interaction help people to connect better through remote communications channels, such as Zoom and phone calls?

Your proposal will include the items below. See the template and a sample here.

  • Project title
  • A summary of your project (1-2 sentence)
  • Background and concept
  • Project description
  • User interaction
  • Social impact
  • Sketch / drawing (image) 
  • System diagram of technical parts (image) – this video should be helpful.
  • Prototype to show the proof of concept (video)
  • Budget (BOM, outsourcing, etc. maximum $1,000) – this article should be helpful

Inspirations (more to come):

+ You are also feel free to propose your own option if you want. Please consult with me beforehand through email or remote office hours.

[Idea Presentation] Due week10 (April 9)

[First Draft of the Proposal] Due week13 (April 30)

[Final Proposal Presentation] Due week14 (May 7)