Aaron Montoya-Moraga, Philip J Donaldson

We have created a way to allow users to manipulate music with simple gestures //


Music has been a large motivating factor for both Aaron’s and my work thus far at ITP. For this project we sought to explore how people might interact with sound in a gestural environment, and hopefully made music a little more fun and approachable for those who haven’t played musical instruments. Our project gives users two new instruments to experiment with, the Kinect and Leap Motion sensors. By simply gesturing over the instruments, users will begin to uncover all the music they can make with just a twist, flick or roll of the wrist.

The project at it’s core works by sending raw distance data from the sensors into our programming environment. From there we parse the data and send it to Max for synthesis. The Kinect and Leap Motion are powerful pieces of hardware which make them ideal choices for supporting sound manipulation. Each device can read so much about your body or hands it was great getting to experiment with gesture to create instruments which would make sense to the user. This work has opened the door for experimentation with interfaces not traditionally created for musical expression. We are looking forward to continuing this work to create unique instruments which sound great and are fun to play. Enjoy!


Introduction to Computational Media

Extraterrestrial AI

Jamie Ruddy

Did you ever talk to an alien? Now is your chance to chat with an extraterrestrial and ask him anything you like.


PETI, the Institute for the Pursuit of Extraterrestrial Intelligence, finally succeeds. By beaming out a signal through an array of radio telescopes, Dr. Andrej Raspinofski receives word back. But instead of hearing from a planet 22-light-years away, he is contacted by an alien who is broken down near Saturn. The extraterrestrial is willing to talk while he fixes his spaceship.

My Extraterrestrial AI is an exploration into interactive storytelling. I wanted to build a fictional character the user can fully interact with instead of a traditional narrative that is read or viewed. Over time I hope to build this character into a more fully developed “alien” and give the story a character arc. For now, please enjoy a fun chat with him.


Introduction to Computational Media, Introduction to Physical Computing

Untitled (for you)

Gustavo Eduardo de Campos Abbott

What you see is what you get.


The comparability between silenced thoughts and invisible infrared (IR) light intrigues me. Both exist and persist, yet go unseen/heard at all times. We are aware of both phenomena, and that with a bit of effort we can find a means to reveal either, yet choosing to do so lies entirely upon our individual dispositions. I am reminded of the opening sentence to the short story “The Depressed Person” by David Foster Wallace:

“The depressed person was in terrible and unceasing emotional pain, and the impossibility of sharing or articulating this pain was itself a component of the pain and a contributing actor in its essential horror.”

One could ask: if someone is yelling and wailing in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does this person have nothing to say? We all have our own internal demons and/or thoughts and opinions we may take to the grave, however we choose to conceal said internalities for a myriad of reasons. This may be likened to German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann’s Spiral of Silence Theory, which “stipulates that individuals have a fear of isolation, which results from the idea that a social group or the society in general might isolate, neglect, or exclude members due to the members’ opinions. This fear of isolation consequently leads to remaining silent instead of voicing opinions. (Wikipedia)”

The method of using emblematically analogous infrared light as a means to divulge silences attempts to draw attention to the fact that just because something is not seen (or heard) does not mean that it is lacks depth or does not exist in the first place.


Introduction to Physical Computing, Introduction to Computational Media


Nikita R Huggins

A visual representation of the Trinidad and Tobago dialect


My goal is to teach people the language of Trinidad and Tobago. When I moved to the US I stopped speaking in my native dialect. I thought that the speech would be perceived as incoherent, backward and I unintelligent to people, so opted to speak these words only to Trinidadian natives. To dispel this discomfort and regain part of my identity I want to teach others some words I used constantly growing up in an effort to showcase who I am by:
1. teaching a part of the history of my country via its linguistics
2. conveying that an accent or a language is not a hindrance to communication
3. showing that anyone sounds beautiful speaking – so we should not limit ourselves in fear or to appease anyone


Intro to Fabrication, Introduction to Computational Media, Introduction to Physical Computing

Fake Painter

Xingjian An

Fake Painter is a drawing machine to help normal people to be able to draw abstract sketch as an artist.


Fake Painter is a drawing machine to help normal people to be able to draw abstract sketch as an artist. The machine use laser diode to draw picture ,which is captured by the Kinect, and ask users to draw on paper by following the track of laser.


Intro to Fabrication, Introduction to Computational Media, Introduction to Physical Computing


Leon Eckert

Our typing pattern can be captured and used against us. KEYPRINTS explains how this works visually and proposes a way to protect our privacy.


The subject of this project are keystroke patterns and their use as unique identifiers to individuals online.Our personal data is in high demand and collected by both government and companies. Free services making our lives easier or simply more fun are the main incentive we receive in exchange, yet for the most part we are unaware of that trade.
Of increasingly high interest in that context, is behavioural and biometric data an example of which is our keystroke pattern. The keyboard is arguably the most central interface of computers and we all use it in slightly different ways. The rhythm in which we type, the frequency we use individual keys and other details can be measured, recorded and stored in data sets which can identify us in a similar way our fingerprint does in the physical world.
The project *Keyprints* intents to explain this concept through visualisation on the one hand as well as proposes a way of protecting ourselves from data collectors on the other. For that, a physical intervention intercepts the signal between keystroke and computer and adds a randomised or intentionally defined delay.


The Stratosphere of Surveillance, Introduction to Computational Media

Happy Spotify Mirror

Yan Zhao

Happy Spotify Mirror is a smart mirror that can be triggered by smile to play spotify music and light up. The idea of this project is to break the traditional way of how to play online music and explore a different way of interaction between people and computer.


Happy Spotify Mirror is an experiment of exploring new interaction methods between people and computer.It will be displayed as a one-way through mirror with a monitor hidden at the back. At the first glance, it looks the same as a normal mirror. The special about it is it is an interactive mirror with music, graphic effect and lighting. It can play spotify music but is differ from the traditional way of playing online music; instead of screen interface, spotify app, or physical button, there is only a mirror for interaction. The only way to trigger it is to stand inside of specific distance and then smile to the mirror and hold the smile for seconds, then the music will be triggered, at the same time on the mirror will appear interesting graphics synching with the music. Lighting effect synching with the music will also happen around the mirror. If you want to change the music, go back to straight face and then smile again, you will change it to play another music. . If you keep the same smile after the music is triggered, you will see different colorful graphic effects. If you have different levels of smile, different music played by different instruments will be triggered. For example, if you are little happy, it is piano, if you are happier, it is ukulele. If you are very happy, it will be violin. Also when you change the distance from the mirror, you will change the volume of the music. For example, if you move towards the mirror, the volume will be louder, vice versa. In conclusion, the Happy Spotify Mirror is experimenting on making the interaction between people and computer much more interesting, natural and minimizing the perceptible invasiveness of computer.


Introduction to Computational Media, Introduction to Physical Computing

Circle Jerk

Kevin G Stirnweis

A touch screen arcade party game where you play with your friends to protect and grow your circle.


Circle Jerk is a fast-paced, touch-based arcade game where players work together to protect and grow their circle. Each touch creates a colored character that follows the players' movements. Players move their characters to protect their central circle from incoming purple monsters. Each time a player engulfs a monster the circle grows larger, but if a monster breaks into the circle it can deplete quickly! Work together to grow the circle as quickly as possible.


Introduction to Computational Media


Wangshu Sun, Yue Zhang, FY Zhu

BoomChaCha! is a physical musical role-playing game where three players will fight together against monsters.


About BoomChaCha!

This is a physical musical role-playing game(RPG) where three players will fight together against monsters, with magical weapons in their hands.

Basically there is a warrior attacking the monster, a defender defending all of the three, and a mage healing all of the three. The three characters share the same life so they will get hurt or get healed for the same amount of health.

Unlike most of the RPG games, BoomChaCha! is musical. This means it is always better to follow the rhythm while playing. There's always a “Boom Cha Cha, boom cha cha” six-beat pattern repeating itself in the 6/8 background music, which creates a feeling of dancing party rather than a dangerous fight. During the first three “Boom Cha Cha”, you can do attacking, defending or healing by hitting the first “Boom” with the physical sword, shield or wand, and the effects will be executed in the next three “boom cha cha”. That is to say, if the warrior hits the first “Boom” beat, an attack will be executed in the next “boom cha cha”; if the defender/mage hits the first “Boom” beat, the next “boom” it will start defending/healing all the characters.

Since our aim is to invite people to play together, acting cooperatively should get better results than doing alone, so we designed an “assistance” logic with the “Cha Cha” beats. That is to day, if the warrior hits the “Boom” followed by the other two hitting the next two “Cha”, “Cha” beats, you will get a huge attack-power bonus and can kill the monster fast without getting too much damage. The same applies to the mage and the defender.The more assists, the better effects the players will get. Better results are also granted by the better timings of you three hitting the first three “Boom Cha Cha” in the six-beat patterns in the music.

At the beginning you will be in a practice mode to learn how to play. When you think your are ready, you can enter the fighting mode and the monster will start attacking you. Try to kill him fast and prepare a defend before his attack, and during the gap after you kill a monster, it’s a good time for you to get healed.

In all, if you want to survive and thrive, follow the beats and dancing together!


Introduction to Computational Media, Introduction to Physical Computing, Introduction to Physical Computing

Rube Telephone

Chino Kim, Aaron Montoya-Moraga

A Rube Goldberg telephone that tangibly processes and translates conversation between two people, creating a fun audiovisual experience using various old and new communications technologies and producing unexpected outcomes.


Using Morse code, language translation and optical character recognition, our contraption processes and manipulates conversation between two hacked rotary phones. Each step in the chain reaction is a tangible experience and occasionally distorts the message as it passes it along.

A one-way transmission may look like this:

Someone speaks into phone 1 > their sentence gets tapped out on a Morse key by a solenoid > the resulting Morse code gets translated back to English and then to Spanish > the Spanish string is spoken by the machine and then gets translated back to English > the resulting sentence gets printed out by a thermal printer, a camera takes a photo of the printed text and the text gets pulled out of the image using OCR. Both the camera view and the OCR output would be shown on a display > the resulting sentence is then spoken through the earpiece of phone 2.

To do:

– Reverse the signal flow when going from phone 2 to phone 1.

– Use audio thresholds to control the direction of transmission and properly route audio signals.

– Play hold music in phone earpieces while message is being processed.

– Improve OCR (crop photo, error handling).

– Implement autocorrect so that words mangled by Morse or OCR get converted to actual words before they’re passed off to the next step (Google search suggestions API).

– Code ringer behavior – if one phone is picked up, the other rings (we are already able to make the phones ring, we just need to program the Arduino to control them).

– Build/buy stands and mounts for each “station” (two phones, Morse, translation, OCR).

– Write an Arduino program that will control a light bulb progress bar (we already have the relays and wiring in place for this).

– Write a Morse code program that will convert the signals tapped out on the Morse key back to English (this isn’t a priority since we can fake it and use the English string from the previous step).


Introduction to Computational Media, Introduction to Physical Computing