Steampunk Coffee Machine

Abigail Faelnar

The Steampunk Coffee Machine is a reimagined coffeemaker that creates an enjoyable brewing experience by guiding its user in making the perfect cup.


The Steampunk Coffee Machine is an interactive device made by Abigail Faelnar, Erkin Salmorbekov, and Sammy Sords as the final project for Intro to Physical Computing.

Steampunk is the retrofuturistic reimagination of modern technology, inspired by the steam-powered machinery of the Victorian age. In this spirit of mixing old with new, this coffee machine brings together analog inputs with digital displays, and creates a semi-automated process for the typically manual method of pourover coffee brewing. It also gives a steampunk feel by design – with dark wood and brass/gold finishes, a doorstop repurposed as a lever, visible pipes, and vintage lightbulbs connected to a pull chain.

The machine provides guidance to an individual user on which and how much coffee to use. By answering a few questions about your current state and coffee preferences (1. How are you doing today?, 2. How strong would you like your coffee?, 3. Which roast profile do you prefer?), the machine will tell you which coffee beans to select (out of three available options for light, medium, and dark) and how many grams of coffee you need to measure for a perfect cup (in a 10 oz. mug) according to ideal coffee to water ratios.

After the machine displays your coffee type and number of grams, you scoop out the grounds until the weight on the scale matches the recommended amount. From there, you pour water into the bucket, place your coffee grounds in the filter, pull a lever down, and the coffee machine begins to heat the water and drip it through a faucet right above the filter, preparing a cup of coffee for your enjoyment.


Introduction to Physical Computing

Path of Light

Jiaxin Xu, Rae Ruilin Huang

A dual-player maze game that allow the players communicating between physical and virtual world via light to escape from a dark maze.


Path of Light is a VR game experimenting with the relationship between reality and virtuality. The first player in the physical world will be interacting with an architectural model of the maze using a light torch. Lighting up light sensors along the correct path from the physical maze will show up a glowing light ball on the same location to the virtual maze. The VR player will use the light ball as guidance to escape from the maze. However, all the walls in the virtual maze are invisible but will show up as a blink when the VR player bumps onto a segment of the wall. As the wall blinks once in the virtual maze, an LED light will shine once on the exact same wall from the physical maze. The physical player is able to tell where the VR player is based on which wall is lit up.


Introduction to Physical Computing


Mark Matamoros

JCB is a multi-ribbon, wavetable synthesizer controller that bares the resemblance of a cello and a lap steel guitar’s child.


JCB is an eight-sided musical, wavetable synthesizer controller that primarily functions through the utilization of ribbon sensors. Furthermore, the controller is to be played in a sitting manner.

Regarding the utilization of ribbons, the right side of the controller is comprised of three long ribbons for sound oscillator activation and pitch shifting. Furthermore, these three strips are individually stacked on top of long pressure sensors for amplitude control.

On the left side of the controller, six smaller ribbons (without pressure sensors) are placed in a symmetrical manner, reflective of the right side of the instrument. These six ribbons are utilized for dynamic and time-based processing, where the manner of manipulation is handled in a global fashion.

On the front side of the controller, three switches are attached to the front panel, where they act as a means of “latching” their coordinating “sound-generating” ribbon. Additionally, three attached potentiometers “tune” their respective “sound-generating” ribbon. It must also be noted that a single potentiometer is utilized for wavetable positioning within the synthesis component.

And regarding the synthesizer, Max MSP receives the sensor data through the utilization of an Arduino Mega. Furthermore, Max MSP handles the sound generation and manipulation.


Intro to Fabrication, Introduction to Physical Computing

Believable news

Ruixuan Li, Zhoujian Sheng

Sharing makes the world better, but can you tell the real from the fake?



Fake news are more terrible than we thought!
Research shows that fake news spreading 10% faster than real news. Fake news also could kill people, at least 20 people were killed in India in 2018 due to the fast spreading fake news in WhatsApp.

So, What makes fake news believable?
pictures, images and videos, because people think those resources are reliable evidences of the event.

Concept: 'Believable News' a virtual newspaper which could improve people’s vigilance to fake news. The content of the newspaper are three different news which happened in different places of the world. However, those three news are demonstrated with the same picture. And the picture is totally make sense with every news.

Interaction: 1. Three news paper are hanging on the wall and maximum three people could participate into the experience at the same time. > 2. The newspaper is blurred, user could only see the image but can't see the content clearly, three different glasses are provided > 3. user wear different glasses and different news will be showed > 4. user choose one news which they believe is real to share to other the readers 5. user will know the news they just shared is fake or real.


Faking the News, Introduction to Physical Computing, Introduction to Physical Computing

Read the Room

Anna Gudnason, Rashida Kamal, S.J. Zhang

Read the Room allows a group of people to watch political debates and post their reactions to a sentiment meter for each candidate.


Read the Room allows guests at private debate-watching parties show their feelings about the debates candidates by upvoting and downvoting as they watch. Guests can vote whenever they feel moved to do so, meaning that the displayed sentiment is a sort of live “pulse” showing how the room is receiving the most recent words and actions of each candidate.


Understanding Networks

ZAZA's Sky Forest

Hanwen Zhang, Tingyu Zhang

Who's up for a dream adventure?


Our project is inspired by “DREAM”. It is difficult to be described and captured. However, It is wonderful and attract people to touch. Therefore, we hope to build a bridge to connect the dream and the real world.
Our character is named ZAZA and the “sky forest”, which is a floating forest is the dream world of ZAZA. We hope to evoke the audiences’ memories of dreams by interacting with the dream of ZAZA. Since the changes of physical world could influence the dream, we hope to develop more about this property. We built the ZAZA’s Bedroom, the audience could interact with the components in the room, such as rotating the bed, pushing the chair, changing the lightings. At the same time, it will cause sounds, light, temperature, finally the magic will happen in this forest.


Introduction to Physical Computing, Introduction to Physical Computing


Sylvan Zheng, Youngmin Choi

A sound installation that explores the relationship between two people by connecting the physical act of pulling to music.


This project is a sound installation that explores the relationship between two people by connecting the physical act of pulling to music.

As the two participants negotiate their mutual physical equilibrium music responds to the surges in tension, releases, and twists highlighting the nature of their relationship. While the installation affords this personal experience to the participants it also serves as a performance for a larger audience to engage with.

Two wooden handles hang suspended at chest height, connected to each other with a simple band.

We invite participants to explore the subtle musical shifts in tone and harmonic texture throughout the varying positions and tensions afforded by the installation.


Introduction to Physical Computing, The Code of Music

The Joys of Being a Screen Saver

Cezar Mocan, Dan Qi Qian

Stuck in a closed digital world, stuck on a loop walking between the same four spaces, your screen saver wants to meet you. She calls you on the phone. Do you pick up?


The Joys of Being a Screen Saver is a four channel interactive video installation which elicits nostalgia for obsolete technology. Starting from the absurd premise that a rotary phone can make the connection between the physical space and a person stuck inside your computer, the installation extends and abstracts the phone's function of connecting remote places, by bringing together elements of hardware and software from the past.

The character stuck inside of the four screens is your screen saver software. She reaches out to you via phone, with the explicit intention of establishing contact. However, upon connecting, her behavior becomes increasingly playful and elusive, referencing the types of motion present in old Windows screen savers. You gain control over the character's whereabouts, by calling and having her pick up the phone at different locations—each location on a different screen. She gains control over your whereabouts by having you turn around towards each of the screens—the four displays surround you. You alter her environment by calling her, and if you don’t, she alters your environment by calling you. This strange dialogue offers no resolution, just a back and forth which might make both you and your screen saver dizzy.


Introduction to Physical Computing

interactive scroll

Gil Sperling

an interactive installation that allows the user to physically interact with a projected version of an ancient scroll


The user interfacing object is a blank scroll that can be rolled using rods at the sides. The scroll is placed on a clear acrylic surface, such as acrylic. Text is projected from under the scroll, in Hebrew – from ancient bible manuscripts. As the user rolls the rods, the scroll advances, and the projected text moves with it. This works in reverse as well, using the other rod. There is a magnifier next to the table. When it is placed on the paper, a translation of the text into English appears in the frame. Additional layers of content include a progress bar indicating the current position in the scroll and some background information on the texts and their sources.


Introduction to Physical Computing