Neural Networks - April 09, 2018

Because Neural Networks are such a massive topic, crossing so many disciplines (Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics and Data Science), I wanted to focus this week on building a foundational understanding of their structure and operation. To that end, I recreated the “Toy Neural Network” described in this series of videos on the Coding Train youtube channel. Rather than using a higher-level framework like ml5.js, tensorflow.js or ml4a, these videos build from scratch an entire working neural network in javascript.

Built to Last - April 09, 2018

This week, we began reading Jim Collins’ Built to Last, a business management classic that attempts to identify why certain ‘visionary’ companies have become both synonymous with technological progress and essential to our daily lives. In it, he unpacks the various myths around success in business (genius idea and genius leader being the most common) and presents an alternative model for success focussed less on individual ideas or genius and more on organizational structure and institutional longevity.

IMSI & IMEI - April 07, 2018

As part of our dive into cell network infrastructure, we were asked to find our IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) and IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) numbers from our own cell phones. On my Android phone, the IMEI was listed in the settings. The IMSI was not listed in settings, but was printed on the SIM itself.

Analog Interaction - April 03, 2018

For this week’s analog interaction exercise, Simon and I decided to replicate a common and emotionally turbulent interaction from schoolyard play: that of waiting to be picked (or not) for teams. We noticed that, at least anecdotally, childhood memories of anticipation, relief and humiliation associated with this interaction remain strong for many people. Choosing teams, creating partnerships and forming relationships remains an important and emotional interaction into adulthood. Indeed, though the process is (hopefully) handled with more civility and tact in a graduate school or professional environment, the interaction remains difficult.

Genetic Algorithms - March 30, 2018

This week I recreated Roger Johansson’s Evolving Mona Lisa, which attempts to ‘evolve’ an image (the Mona Lisa) from a number of randomly-placed and randomly-colored triangles. In particular, this project does the following: * Setup a random DNA string (application start) 1. Copy the current DNA sequence and mutate it slightly 2. Use the new DNA to render polygons onto a canvas 3. Compare the canvas to the source image 4.

Material Connextion - March 22, 2018

The most interesting materials I found at MaterialConnexion was this soft gel aptly named “Softgel” made by TechnoGel Italia (there is a PA based distributor or subsidiary company which can be contacted through their website). This product was displayed as a colored block of around 8” x 8” x 2” with bumps on one side. It was extremely soft (low shore hardness) and pliable to the touch, feeling as though there were a liquid gel bound inside a relatively harder exterior shell.

Shifting Memory - March 08, 2018

For this midterm project, I wanted to capture how memory can shift over time. As specific details fade, essential emotional and sensory elements are heightened and reinforced through our repeated experience of that memory. In short, we are not objective observers to our own life, but distort the past through the lenses of our present understanding and all of our past understandings. Can we remember something without distorting it?

Big Box - March 04, 2018

As of March 3rd, 2018, there does not exist a digital ‘browsing’ experience as generative (or as random) as the physical one. The experience of finding those things we do not know we are looking for is difficult to replicate in the digital world. In the digital world, connections between books, products, etc. are all due to logical connection algorithms – algorithms that presume to know why we would be looking for something in the first place.

Herding Agents - February 26, 2018

Key: Sheep are represented by smaller triangles. Herding Dog is represented by the larger triangle. Border fences are represented by white lines. The sheep avoid crossing this border. The dog does not. The red circle represents the center of mass of the flock of sheep. It is calculated by averaging each sheep’s position. The blue circle represents the dog’s target for the sheep. When the center of mass of the flock reaches this target, the dog is given a new target.

Mold Making - February 26, 2018

This week, I made a two-part mold for an inflatable silicone actuator. My hope for this design was that the three corners of the triangular actuator would bend inwards to act as a simple gripper. To that end, I designed the mold with the following features: fabric was embedded into the inside half of the gripper to restrict stretching on that side. When inflated, I hoped this differential stretching between the two halves of the gripper would encourage it to bend inward,