Projects

This page lists some of the projects I've started/finished/thought about. Projects range from creating real world items, to running websites.

Fabric Music Remixer

When asked to talk at the Ri recently I decided I wanted to focus on weird and wonderful interfaces. Last year I had the pleasure of working with Emilie Giles and she introduced me to the wonder of eTextiles. Often eTextiles focuses on outputs (like making things look gorgeous with LEDs) but Emilie's work focusses on the input side of things. Using conductive yarn, you can turn a piece of weaving into a capacitive sensor using the Arduino Cap Sense Library.

That's all well and good, but what do you use that input for? I wante to create something that made sense as a physical interaction. Squeezing something and causing a noticeable change in the real world. I decided to have a play around with music and quickly realised just how satisfying it is to control music by touching, squeezing and scrunching.

The Ridiculous Zip Machine

I had an idea that I could maybe make a variable resistor using a zip and some conductive thread. The theory was that if I rand conductive thread along either side of the zip, the fastener itself could would act as a bridge between them. When the zip was done up fully, the electricity would have farther to travel, and so resistance would be higher. When it was undone, the elecricity would have a much shorter journey thus making resistance lower. I sewed the zip. And it worked. Just like I thought it would. I was suspicious. Any way, to prove it works I hooked it up to a servo and made this silly machine that can tell you how open a zip is.

RFID MusicBox

When starting this project I wanted two things: 1. To learn how to use a Rapsberry Pi and 2. To make a finished item that I could use myself. This led to the RFID MusicBox. The MusicBox is a tangible interface for my music collection. The aim of the MusicBox is to allow me to listen to music easily when coming back home, without having to set up my computer and navigate to the songs I want. I've created a single use device that just plays music, each token is a playlist, or an album. This is the first version of it, I need to make the device better looking and think more about how I want the tokens to work.

Sifteo Cube Number Entry

Whilst at a CHI+MED hackday, I explored using Sifteo Cubes as a means of number entry. This involved learning how to program in the Sifteo IDE, which uses C. It was fun to get something completed in a day, and to work on something new.

In the video you can see that there are two ways of entering numbers: as digits or whole numbers. For example, if the number 59 was displayed. Adding one to the 9 cube could either turn that to a zero (treating it like a digit on its own) or could turn to a zero and change the 5 to a 6 (treating it like a whole number).

Arduino controlled tiny city

One of my fist finished Arduino projects that actually looked finished was this tiny city. An arduino sat in the base of the city (or tissue box) whilst black card buildings stood on top. The buildings had tissue paper windows and each had a light inside. The swing dance club in the city was capable of playing music. I made this feature by taking apart a pen that would record voice then replay, this was a fun challenge to work with the capacitors in the device and make it remember the tune I had played it previously.

A Light Dependent Resistor sat in the roof of the tallest building (cleverly disguised by a white helicopter landing pad H) and sensed the light levels. Once the room it was in went dark, the city came to life, with many of the tiny buildings turning on their flickering lights, this was when the swing club came to life too!

This actually represents half of the project. The aim initially was that two cities would exist, each would light up depending on the darkness of the environment the other was in. This was intended to be used by two people far away to let each know when the other was going to bed. A passive way to share routines.

See the video below for a demo.

Testing your Eye Hand Span

This website was designed as part of my PhD thesis work to test participants' Eye Hand Span (see this paper) whilst typing words and numbers. If you'd like to have a go, the website is here. Don't read on if you want to find out your Eye Hand Span honestly. Do read on if you want to do it whilst knowing what I attempted to find out.

The website takes you through an online experiment. At the end, it analyses your results and has a guess at what your Eye Hand Span is. It also provides the user with graphs of their data (using Google Graphs) and allows them to download their data file.

Binary Beading

I worked with Science London to come up with an activity that could be run at a music festival and would help children get a better understanding of something science-y. I thought it would be great to teach children how binary works and so designed an activity that involved making beads out of magazines, and then stringing them onto a bracelet. The two colours of beads would be 1s and 0s and the order would represent the ASCII notation for your initial. More can be learnt about the activity on my blog.