PC Assignment 4 – Final


I really enjoyed working with Jesse on the midterm and we decided to work together on the final project. As background, I dont have much knowledge on sound and music. Luckily, that’s what Jesse is great at. We have decided to create a loop where acoustic sound created via cello and bow will be translated  into synthetic sound. The synthetic sound  will then create interactions with other physical objects. So far we have thought about a singing bowl, a tuning fork and a xylophone. This whole exercise will give me a better sense of various wave forms and sound properties within music and hopefully generate an interesting piece while we are doing it. This also helps me in my job where researchers are uploading sound files similar to https://childes.talkbank.org/ at http://databrary.org for analyzing in their research.

The diagrams Jesse and I discussed were:

We are looking at either using p5.sound.js or tone.js javascript libraries. I am also interested in visualization.

PC Assignment 3 – Midterm


For the midterm, I had the pleasure of working with Jesse Simpson and Brandon Kader. Jesse and Brandon both have music background and wanted to do something that involved sound. I was happy to oblige. The project had several pieces to it:

a) Physical enclosure and parts

b) Physical computing pieces

c) Communication via Arudino

d) P5.js piece for visualization

I have not had this much fun in a long time. Jesse and I made our stroll to TinkerSphere. We purchased a breadboard, and some piezzos to help us with the project. Over several days, we were able to use the laser printer to print a nice box an an enclosure and etch some logos for the buttons.We forgot to print a way for the usb wire going into the arduino, so had to drillpress it.

The most trouble we had was with Piezzos wires. They are too tiny and flimsy. We learnt the hard way that they are polarized and need a higher Ohm resistor than we were giving it.

My experience in coding helped in the arudino and p5 piece which was fairly trivial.

We were really happy with the final product:

PC Assignment 2

Q: Pick a piece of interactive technology in public, used by multiple people. Write down your assumptions as to how it’s used, and describe the context in which it’s being used. Watch people use it, preferably without them knowing they’re being observed. Take notes on how they use it, what they do differently, what appear to be the difficulties, what appear to be the easiest parts. Record what takes the longest, what takes the least amount of time, and how long the whole transaction takes. Consider how the readings from Norman and Crawford reflect on what you see.

A: As I entered my neighborly CVS to pick up my medicine, I remembered a time when the only interaction you had was with the (hopefully) smiling cashier at the cash register. Gone are those days. For this assignment, I chose to talk about the Self-Checkout kiosks that I have struggled and fought with over the years.

I chose not to film the interactions (for personal safety reasons in a post 9/11 era), but the basic assumptions (without edge cases) were that it should work very similarly to how a cashier works.

  • You scan your merchandise,
  • you pay the money,
  • you bag your merchandise and
  • you pick and leave.

One thing that become clear very early after observing a few customers was:

  • The system gave visual and audial feedback
  • The visual feedback in the LCD was confusing with too many options on the screen and only in English (yes NYC is diverse).
  • The scanning was efficient, however once scanned, it expected you to bag your merchandise. It kept track of the weight and If you picked it up for any reason it started complaining.
  • If you were buying too many things, then you are basically left with too many things in the bagging area that you can’t move and you have to call for help.
  • The credit card and the receipt printer was not situated too close causing confusion

I did start to appreciate the business requirements for designing such a project and the sheer number of edge cases and how to deal with them, however, in my opinion the user experience could have been made easier with a larger screen and clear instructions with arrows etc.

PC Assignment 1

Q; How would you define physical interaction? What makes for good physical interaction? Are there works from others that you would say are good examples of digital technology that are not interactive?

A: After going through the reading, physical interactivity to me is the ability of an object the ability to respond to an external stimulus. Input -> Object -> Output. For a physical interaction to be considered good, it has to be predictable (at least to the creator). It has to be intuitive and it has to be cyclical and reproducible.

We can think of many digital technologies that are not interactive. A basic traffic light without any logic would be such a case. However, if it was sensing traffic and pedestrian flow and manage accordingly, it could become interestingly interactive.

Similarly, basic digital signage is a technology that conveyed a message, but was not necessarily interactive. New signage, can have sensors and respond to your presence, touch, voice etc, time of day, weather and can be interactive.