Boiling Particles

November 3rd, 2008 | BY JASON SAFIR

There are many meaningful ways to project interactive particles than on a flat surface screen. Many web art sites depict intricate and well-designed algorithms, but I feel there are more appropriate contexts to present these animations. A futuristic antique could add a whole new dimension to algorithm animations.

Boiling Particles is a virtual cooking pot. The knobs positioned on the stove top adjust the patterns and behaviors of the digital particles that are virtually boiling inside the pot. When the temperature of the water is adjusted with the knobs, the intensity and color scheme of the particles in the animation slowly respond and changes with a randomized effect. The inclusion of accentuated boiling sounds may also be implemented into this new media device.

– projector positioned underneath pot
– laptop for serial communication with Arduino and Flash
– Particles application developed in AS3
– Wooden stove top with knobs connected to Arduino micro-controller
– Stove pot with hole underneath
– A sheet of transparency paper to cover the pot’s empty base
The production process has three stages:
1) Programming the particles algorithm
2) Building wooden stove-top prototype with three knobs/potentiometers
3) Hardware and projector setup

Boiling water is fun … but I am an amateur when it comes to cooking. A virtual cooking device is what I need to learn how to better manage myself in the kitchen. If I screw up, there are no consequences and no food wasted. By projecting boiling water through a digital projection, the process of cooking can be more magical, colorful and visually intriguing. My idea is a scary one too. The way our digital age is progressing, we are losing our conception of reality. Computers are increasingly framing our notion of realism. There is an infinite amount of ways to improve all aspects of our lives with technologies – many of which reduce our ability to understand the reality we live in today. This scary transition, that the digital age is encouraging, is what I seek to express in my futurist antique.