The Trophy of the Future, Version 2

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It wasn’t quite the speedrun I anticipated when I first started working on version 2 of the Trophy, but I’m finally ready to call my work done (for now) and ship it off. Here’s a changelog of sorts:

  • [Hardware] Mounted the Arduino to the base using standoffs
  • [Hardware] Trimmed the cables exiting the trophy body and soldered on header pins for a clean connection
  • [Hardware] Glued the base to the trophy body using Amazing Goop
  • [Software] Developed and implemented yun-easy-wifi-switch to allow for user-friendly WiFi network switching
  • [Software] Developed and implemented linino-to-serial for Linino -> Arduino communication
  • [Software] Linino notifies Arduino of boot via linino-to-serial and displays a “loading” message until then (previously displayed nothing until boot)
  • [Software] Trophy displays the full message cycle only once an hour via cron + linino-to-serial (previously was always on)
  • [Software] Updated the Python code to allow for granular control over the trophy’s message buffer
  • [Software] Handle errors thrown by the Kimono API
  • [Software] Overhauled the Arduino code to accept communication from Linino and act accordingly

Continue reading

Open Source Soundboard for Live Performance

Screen Shot 2014-06-15 at 10.40.02 PM

Last semester, I needed a bare-bones soundboard to cue up and play sound clips for AARPlane, the midterm performance of my Puppets class at ITP. Not knowing my way around pro audio software (which I’m sure makes this a simple task) and seeing that the current landscape of online soundboards consists of awfully-designed holdovers from the days of Flash, I decided to build my own. It’s far from full-featured – currently it will just play, pause and replay sound clips – but if you need to need a “world’s-dumbest”-style soundboard, I think you should give this a try.

Getting it up and running is straightforward-ish (and definitely needs to be straightforward-er):

  1. Install NodeJS
  2. Download the code from GitHub
  3. Create a sounds folder inside of public and place all of your web-encoded audio files in it (mp3s work fine)
  4. Open the project folder in Terminal and run npm install followed by node app
  5. Point your browser to 127.0.0.1:3000
  6. Click a sound to play it! Click again to pause!

All of the source code is available on GitHub, along with my list of issues (I’m accepting pull requests!).

The Adventures of Teen Bloggers

teenbloggers_01

For my thesis project at ITP, I built The Adventures of Teen Bloggers, a creative-nonfiction graphic adventure that lets you become a real teen blogger from the heyday of LiveJournal.

With the project, I want to highlight the tension between the value our online data has as historical documents and the embarrassment we feel about the things we shared in a prior phase of our lives.

Upon starting the game, players are asked to pick a LiveJournal account. Any extant LiveJournal is a playable character in the game, though I encourage players to play with their own account if they had one. Players are then placed in a high school hallway, where they must navigate the world only saying things that their selected LiveJournal user wrote on their blog.

The game is a work in progress as I continue to research online archiving. Specific next steps are outlined on Github; the source code for the project is there as well. You can play the game here.

Below is the presentation I gave on the project during ITP’s Thesis Week.

Making the World’s First Internet-Enabled Fantasy Football Trophy, Part 1: Fabrication

P1090446

The Trophy of the Future (TotF) is the world’s first internet-enabled fantasy football trophy. Being the second-ever and, at the time, reigning champion of my fantasy football league, I felt it would be appropriate to spend some time at ITP producing a trophy to share with the league, so I made it my final project for Peter Menderson’s Materials and Building Strategies class. This post will cover the fabrication of the trophy. To read about the technology behind it, check out part 2!

A few weeks in to the semester we started making molds, and after seeing how much fun that was I had the initial idea of casting a football in clear resin for the trophy. Inspired by this headphone amplifier Instructable and wanting to throw a tech twist into the project, I decided to also embed an LED matrix in the resin that, by way of an Arduino Yún, would display NFL news, scores, and my league’s champions. In this first part of documentation, I will show the steps that I took to fabricate the trophy.

Continue reading

BadFighter: The Baddest 2-Player Fighting Game Ever

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 3.33.39 PM

BadFighter is a two-player fighting game created by myself and Mike Allison for the Interactive 3D workgroup at ITP. We built it using Three.js and Physijs. The source code is available on GitHub and I encourage you to go check it out and help make our game better! If you don’t know where to start, I recommend Udacity’s Interactive 3D course, which was the basis of our workgroup.

We were inspired by “bad physics” games/mods like QWOP, Sumotori Dreams, The Life and Times of Qarpess and Carmageddon, and wanted to capture those awkward character motions while maintaining a quick and easy experience for players.

Grab a friend and play the game now!

Repairing Prop Proton Packs

P6213141_resize

Earlier this summer, I repaired four prop proton packs for the Minions of Gozer, a group that performs Ghostbusters shadowcasts around the NYC area (many thanks to my friend Rachel, a producer of the show, for trusting me with these…). The four unwieldy packs had endured many years of heavy abuse at the hands of the Minions and what started as a few extra screws here and there quickly turned in to an (almost) complete rebuild. I ended up making a new backplate and what is technically called a “cyclotron” for each pack. In the end they were much lighter and more compact, for which the cast was grateful. More pictures below!

Continue reading

Plant Pinball

IMG_9995

Plant Pinball is a virtual pinball game designed to teach users about the role roots play in the livelihood of a plant and the special qualities they have developed that enables them to survive. The project was done for the class Playful Communication of Serious Research, a museum exhibit design class, with teammates Sarah Rothberg, Alexandra Diracles and Fang-Yu Yang under the guidance of Professor Ken Birnbaum.

The aim of the game is to direct a virtual pinball towards one of five targets, representing the files of cells that comprise a plant’s root. Hitting a target causes a cell to divide in that respective file. All five targets must be hit for the plant root to grow, moving it closer to the water. Winning happens when the root grows to the bottom of the screen without drying up. Along the way, players encounter two obstacles: a fungus that eats the tip of the root off and a human who tramples the plant out of the ground. In each of these cases, players must complete a special task before normal root growth can continue. In the former case, we direct players to hit a “stem cell niche,” which plants are able to regenerate. In the latter case, the player hits targets to elongate certain cells, a process known as gravitropism.

Continue reading

Mariah Carey’s Hand

mch

Purpose

To explore how accurately the position of Mariah Carey’s hand during live performance reflects the pitch of the note she is singing.

Hypothesis

I hypothesize that Mariah’s hand is not a perfect representation of the pitch but will produce a melody that is recognizable as the original song.

Continue reading