Bridging Worlds: Nudge

New concept assignment for Bridging Worlds involved a calendar/reminder system that functioned without the use of screens.



The system will feature a small set of colored balls (lights or lasers is currently undecided) projected on a small wall space, bouncing up and down.  The lights or lasers will be individually mounted on servo motors.  Each ball represents an event on the users Google Calendar, up to the next 8 events.  The Arduino Yun wirelessly pulls information from the Google Calendar API, through Temboo, then parses the JSON data to find the time of the events.  The difference between the current time and the event time is mapped to the rate of bounce on the balls.  Thus, an event tomorrow will a ball with a decreasing bounce height compared to an event 5 days from now.  Currently, the data collection and parsing works, and one servo is correctly mimicking the bouncing motion.  After presentation tomorrow, we will clarify our idea and approach to completion of the project in the next week.



New Orbits



We were tasked with creating a new aesthetic visualization based the data set of someone else in the class.  I chose Kate’s data on the solar system, specifically the orbital patterns of the planets.  There was a .csv for each planet with 100 data points referencing distance from the sun.  I followed my pattern from first assignment in trying to produce a clean, visually appealing graphic that could eventually be produced as a print.  The planets are displayed in order left to right, top to bottom.  Outliers in the orbits are seen as jutting vertices from the baseline orbit.  Completed in Processing, with arrangement and layout in Photoshop.  Code is below:

RWET Glimpses into a Novel

For my first assignment in Reading and Writing Electronic Text, I set out to explore making a Python script that would provide a brief glimpse into a novel.  In my early experiments with some of the sample scripts, I was able to use the ngram counter with a UNIX grep on Walden to produce “I came to the woods, I lived in the woods.”  I found that to be a nice little summation of Walden, and wanted to try exploring that further.

Ultimately, I ended up trying so many different things that I could never get a full program working correctly the way I wanted.  The program prompts you to select a .txt file of your choosing, then runs the Python script below on it.




One of the outputs I got from running this text against Walden is:

filling the surrounding woods with circling and dilating sound, stirring

the instinct of the chase? or the lost pig which is said to be in these

indispensable to every man. If your trade is with the Celestial Empire,

accumulated what is called “a handsome property”–though I never got a

many and weighty, and deserve to prevail, may also at last be brought

because of any ill effects which I had traced to them, as because they

which had no other motive or excuse but that I might pay for it and

it unconsciously, like the brutes, of our mothers. The other is the

travelling gradually down in my studies through that accidental souring

saint dwell there so long. Birds do not sing in caves, nor do doves


Another, from The Sun Also Rises:

opened the letter. It had been forwarded from Pamplona. It was dated San Sebastian, Sunday:

“Will you send her up, please?”

“Come on, Robert,” Bill said.

“All right,” Bill said. “Where shall we go?”

groggy now. There was only a bad headache. Everything looked sharp and clear, and the town smelt of the early

“I’d tell her, too,” said the count. “I’m not joking you. I never joke people. Joke people and you make enemies.

“Sure, you could marry anybody.”



I’m not terribly happy with any of these, and am going to continue working on it before class, but I wanted something up for a post.

Data & Aesthetics




First assignment for Data Art with Jer Thorpe.  Focus was set solely on exploring concepts of aesthetics in data.  Using the New York Times API, I scraped mentions of various countries from 1900-2000.  Represented from left to right in the graph are: Iraq, Nigeria, Cambodia, France, and the USA.  The data is mapped on the right side in a small, crystalline  graph, and on the left side in three expanding loops.  Lulls in mentions are contrasted by huge spikes in activity, with colors enhancing the frequency.  Designed to be produced as a large, rectangular print, which is coming soon.  Produced using the NYT API, Processing, and Photoshop for final layout.  Code can be found on my github.

Bridging Worlds, Assignment 2



Preliminary idea for art installation with Dan Melancon, conceived for our second assignment in Bridging Worlds.  The user of the space will enter the room and interact with various sensors tracking their presence.  These sensors will control servo-based mirrors, ultimately searching for alignment to connect one or multiple beams of light in the space.




VERY early prototypes


Fungus Case Study Progress

My project idea is beginning to take shape, greatly aided by the visit of Sue Van Hook from Ecovative.  I was originally planning on exploring form through their packaging replacement, which consists of mycellia grown around a substrate of agriculture byproducts.  When Sue passed around some of their structural biocomposites, meant to replace the engineered and formaldehyde-ridden wood products currently on the market, I began to change my train of thought.  Earlier, I had bounced around the idea of making a snowboard.  Unfortunately, the packaging material would not remotely stand up to the rigors and stress a snowboard must undertake.  These biocomposites are much different.

A snowboard is built in layers.  Between a top sheet and base material lies a wooden core made up of multiple layers of very thin wood, glued and sandwiched together in a large press.  I think these wood layers can be replaced by layers of the Ecovative biocomposite.  These layers could also be potentially grown together, removing the need for more toxic glue.

I have contacts in the snowboard industry whom I will be reaching out to to discuss feasibility and potential construction of a board.  I would also need time with someone from Ecovative in the biocomposite department, whom I could hopefully be introduced to through Sue.  Like everything, I think mushrooms have the potential to greatly alter the snowboard industry, from both a product and sustainability perspective.  It’s a project that is very close and very exciting to me.

Drawing with Unconventional Tools

Drawing on Everything, week 1.  I am still not officially in the class but I will be doing the work for now.  Our assignment was to create a drawing using any non-traditional tools (no pens, pencils, markers, etc).  I chose to take a primitive style, using different foods to work on a sort of cave painting.  I used a potato to make a stamp, and a mushroom and other piece of potato to use as a brush.  Mashed blueberries, blackberries and raspberries  were my ink.  My progress is below.  I’m not totally happy with how it came out, but I am very picky with my own work.  For an experiment, it went fine.  I learned about some new techniques and how I could improve in the future.