Serial Communication: This week, I used a potentiometer as a game controller for a “Helicopter Game” I made for ICM. The potentiometer was connected to an analog input pin of my Arduino Uno, which was connected Serially (through the p5.serialcontrol application) to my p5 sketch. There is currently a slight delay, so I would like to switch from the ASCII to RAW protocol and try some of the techniques from this video to speed it up.
UPDATE (Oct 25, 2017): This post is about the project concept and interaction design elements of our midterm. For more about the construction and coding process, see Yifan’s post here. With a midterm project idea as simple as ours – “oh! it is kind of like Skee Ball” – we were able to delve quite deep into the details of the interaction design and execution for our game. Because the goal was simple (to have fun), and our success in that goal immediately obvious when watching someone play, our process was not bogged down in navel-gazing or ruminations on the nature of play.
I started with a relatively simple idea for the design of the upcoming ITP Winter Show’s postcard: several students working together at a white board covered with their designs for said postcard. Despite that the photo’s composition came out relatively well, it proved to be lacking in a couple of key ways: the images on the whiteboard were unrecognizable, and there were several distracting elements in the frame. Because of this, I decided to pull the students from the image and alter the background.
It was during an incredibly off-topic venture onto the internet of 2002 during a middle school math class that I first remember seeing the “helicopter game” – a game in which players control a helicopter’s lift as the game side-scrolls through a cave of sorts, replete with stalactites and stalagmites (which the player must avoid at all costs). A cursory google search did not reveal the original, but I have attempted to recreate the original in P5.
Over the course of this week’s labs, I made a simple mechanical linkage out of foam-core, hot glue, and a bit of metal rod which uses a servo to control the angle of a camera in the up-down direction. What I discovered was that mechanical linkages are almost completely foreign to me. Despite that our lives are filled with them, and I can name dozens of applications for mechanical linkages in my daily life, I have very little frame of reference by which to pre-visualize their operational characteristics.
I began this weeks assignment where I begin most visual projects, at the Library of Congress online photos and prints collection. I often look to this resource when I want to emulate some aspect of a graphic style (Works Progress Association posters, turn-of-the-century carnival or theater posters, etc.), but find it generally inspiring for its collection of documentary photos of life in 20th Century America. Among these photos are well known and powerful photos (Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother), as well as many thousands of lesser known (and frankly less interesting) photos commissioned by various government agencies for various documentary reasons.
This week was a challenge to place all of our p5.js sketch’s functionality within functions defined outside of the main draw loop. My sketch (a variation on the bouncing balloon we made in previous weeks) placed all functionality within ball objects created every time the mouse is clicked. In addition to the standard functionality (bouncing, moving, drawing), I attempted to add several other features (some successfully, many not). Please note that the balls are called ‘magnets’ because I originally wanted them to attract and repel based on their N&S poles, but this proved a bit too complicated for this week’s project.
Point of sale interactions – and the systems which facilitate them – are among the most impactful and unfortunately boring interactions we have with technology on a day-to-day basis. They are impactful because we use them for nearly every financial transaction at a store or restaurant and their usability (or lack thereof) affects our impressions of the vendor vis-a-vis trust, competence and ‘coolness.’ They are boring because their ideal state is one of being unnoticed.
For this week’s visual language assignment, we’re attempting to take a notably poor example of typographic design – an airline ticket – and redesign it with clarity in mind. This required an approach which understands and respects a hierarchy of information importance, especially as it can be manifest with typographic tools: varying font weights and grouping like things together. We began with the following: My first step was to suss out which information was most important to the passenger, and which to an airline representative or TSA agent.
Alternating Current Visualizer A few weeks ago, I was speaking with a co-worker and trying to understand a few aspects of the power distribution system in place in our theater. I understood that most power transmission lines carry three phases of alternating current, and that typical household power contains only a single phase of 120V at 60 Hertz, but I didn’t understand how we managed to make usable 240V out of two phases of 120V.