Lab 3 – Electronics

September 25th, 2008 | BY JASON SAFIR

I feel this week’s lab has made me become very comfortable in understanding how electronics in a circuit work. While it was the most simple out of  all the labs we have had thus far, I gave me the opportunity to become more familiar with the common terms used in the physical computing world. It felt inappropriate to light up an LED with a switch without an Arduino micro-controller up until now!

In this experiment, it became obvious that all the LED’s were sharing the same 5V that was being given to the breadboard. As you added one, the intensity of the light became dimmer.

I really like using the multimeter in this type of work; it is a great troubleshooting device. Problems are a normal thing that everyone frequently experiences when working in physical computing. I think in many instances you are more likely to solve a problem quicker when considering to use them in difficult times.

A great exercise to measure how current can be controlled by using a variable resistor such as a pot! I had a lot difficulty setting this simple circuit up for some reason, nothing at all seemed wrong with my setup! Later I notoiced that my DC adapter somehow got unplugged … checking if the adapter is plugged in will now go on my list of troubleshooting steps!

Sensing Rose

September 17th, 2008 | BY JASON SAFIR

For this week’s lab, I was thinking of a meaningful way to use a sensor with a symbolic object. Because all plants and flowers need light to stay healthy and grow, I thought it would be interesting to create a rose that senses that amount of light it requires to stay strong and healthy. I chose a rose because people are generally very responsive to this object.

The first step was to create a simple variable switch that controls the intensity of light of a single LED

Before I installed the LED’s onto the rose, I wanted to make sure that both my program and hardware setup worked properly. To achieve this, I simply set conditions for each LED. In this prototype, the amount of light detected by the photocell sensor determines whether an LED should stay on or off. I arranged this so the first LED from the left requires the lowest value of light intensity, while the last one on the right requires the highest amount of intensity for it to turn on.

Now the fun stuff! The first step was to insert the photocell sensor into the center of the rose. The slitting of the rose required patience so that I would not damage the flower’s overall aesthetic.

To insert the LED’s into the stem of the rose, I cut holes at every 1.5 inches.  I placed the LED that required the most amount of light intensity at the very top, with the LED that required the minimal amount of light intensity on the last hole. In this image, the rose is receiving a little more than half of the amount of light it needs in order to stay healthy.

Now we know the rose is receiving the recommended amount of light intensity in order to stay healthy!

As an experiment, let’s see how my date responds to me when I give her this sensing rose!

Light Sculpture

September 15th, 2008 | BY JASON SAFIR

For this week’s assignment my challenge was to use candles to convey a message. I first thought it would be interesting to compose the candles in letters that would reflect a word involving light, in this case “Lit”.

For my light sculpture, I chose to center an object around candles. I arranged the candles into a male symbol and placed a black formal shoe at the center. The shoe is iconic for materiality. Also, the shoe is glossy and is thus reflective from the light. The color black was the perfect choice.

Similar to the figure above, in this example I arranged a candles into a women’s symbol and depicted a high heel as the main subject. I feel this juxtaposition between the two example convey a strong message about the objectives of capitalism cultural hegemony. The use of candles and light projects made this interesting concept possible.

Response to the Futurist’s Manifesto: “Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting”

September 15th, 2008 | BY JASON SAFIR

The objectives of new media differ considerably than to the ideas expressed in the Futurist’s manifesto “Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting”. While both of their perspectives share a desire to modernize art by adapting it to the changing world, the Futurist’s greatly opposed two things that new media now embraces: the use of technology in art and the notion of mechanical reproduction. Coming from a new media background, the Futurist’s outlined declarations stated in their manifesto feels harsh and stubborn; however, I feel a great deal of respect for what they stood for at the same time.

A painting is more than just its subject. The Futurists believed that every detail in a painting has an effect on the context of the overall picture. The Futurist’s ultimate argument was that pictures are absolute: they have the spiritual power to give off a dynamic sensation onto its viewer if they are interpreted in intellectually. Coming back to today, this argument is very relevant in how we interpret multimedia experiences. Many details and aspects are usually ignored by the viewer, yet they play a great significance in the output of their experiences. The Futurist’s declared that innate complementariness is an absolute necessity in painting. Our psyche has a habit of blocking things out, yet elements that are ignored sub-consciously affect how we see things. If we make a conscious effort to become familiar with the inter-disciplinary elements involved in all art forms, our eyes will become trained to see more. I believe that an application of the Futurist’s approach of dynamism would help us become more engaged to art pieces, enhancing our overall experiences to them in a new light.

Any artist working in new media has to oppose many of the ideas aggressively expressed by the Futurists. However, it is important to recognize that their ideas have had an immense impact in the way we understand and produce art today, in other words, postmodernism.

Response to Zdenek Pesanek Reading

September 13th, 2008 | BY JASON SAFIR

Kinetic light sculpture is an under-appreciated art form that serves a valuable purpose in the technological ubiquitous world we live in today. When it turns dark, and when most metropolises practically become light sculptures themselves, tall buildings become illuminated with an immense amount of lights that can be identified from miles away. There is a clear appreciation and admiration for city lights, so why not for kinetic light sculptures?

Zdenek Pesanek, a kinetic light artist born in Czech Slovakia, saw the distinct beauty and illuminating qualities that light sculpture can breed into new and relevant ideas. He saw light to be as expressive as paint, using colored bulbs as an architectural spatial form. In his ‘Kinetic Light Piano’, developed in the early twentieth century, multi-colored lamps were activated by keyboard keys. The underlying idea here was to express the twelve tones of the music scale in color. Falling into similar paths to those of Vannevar Bush and Roland Barthes, Pesanek’s kinetic creations and ideas were faced with more criticism than admiration, but today, are widely respected. I believe the reason for this is a fear of change. This fear is characterized by other traditional art forms being replaced and lost by the technological revolution. Another reason is reflective to that of a modernist perspective that dictates a one-dimensional point of view that does not favor adaptability to changing ideas. Many kinetic light artists today have a difficult time projecting their work in public areas because they are deemed as distracting. That statement seems hypocritical when luminous commercial ads, which beg for your attention when you pass them by, have no problems making their way into city streets. The present art culture is breathing in a postmodern era that is still at a far distance from reaching its ultimate objectives. Instead, video sculpture is perceived as something that falls into anarchy.

Intro to Physical Computing – Lab 1

September 9th, 2008 | BY JASON SAFIR

This is my first blog post at ITP! For the first assignment in my physical computing class, students were asked to build a simple switch application that toggles the output between two LED’s.

The materials used for this lab include electrical wires, breadboard, an Arduino board, two LEDs, resistors, a switch, usb cord, and my laptop.

The first step was to provide power to the board and then hook up wires into their appropriate pins on the Arduino board.

I soldered the wires onto the switch and then inserted them next to the wire that is connected to the input pin.

Uploading the syntax worked on the first attempt!

Now it was time to get creative by creating my own switch. I looked around in my apartment and came across my Calcium and Magnesium vitamins case and noticed that the cap was off! I thought it would be a fun idea to create a switch that would check to see if the vitamins cap was tightly sealed. This would determine whether or not the vitamins are being preserved.

The first step was to see if tin foil would work for this switch …

It worked! Following this successful test, I glued a small strip of tin foil at the end of the last curve inside the cap. This way the switch would only turn on if the cap is tightly sealed. I glued another piece of tin foil on the last ridge of the bottle. For this to work, both strips of tin foil were attached to the input wires on the board.

The vitamins are not being preserved because the red light is on and the cap is off!

Preserved!