Author Archives: henrw850

[Week 1] Project Critique

A project I really enjoyed is the line of Sound Reactive dresses by Rainbow (Amy) Winters.  She made two pieces, one that responds with nature like animations and another that animates more fractal shapes that she refers to as the “Picasso explosion.”

These dresses animate differently based off incoming sound, and I find the whole idea of reactive clothing like this fascinating.  I am definitely not a huge fashion nerd, and my general getup is jeans and a t-shirt, but I am a science nerd, so the underlying tech of these pieces really fascinates me.  I am also a sucker for anything geometry related so the Picasso dress really grabbed my attention.  The dresses are made up of neoprene tubes, electroluminescent panels, as well as mirrors to blast out the colors and animations to the outside world.

[Week 5] Reflection

How I identify Myself:

The three classifications I feel most attuned to are coder, learner, hacker.  I definitely used to identify with gamer, but as I’ve gotten older I find myself playing less and less games.  In my younger days though boy was I a voracious consumer of video games, much to my parents chagrin.

I identify as a hacker in that I am great at pulling together things I’ve found that fit a project I am working on and slicing them up and retooling the bits to fit my need.  I definitely don’t see myself as a hacker in the traditional sense of trying to break into computer systems, but rather the hacking I refer to is modifying and changing some basic bit of code of base project, and building off that to save myself the time of starting at ground zero.  I feel this has suited my nicely as it’s allowed me to get more done for my coding projects since I can skip a few preliminary steps!  This has been particularly helpful when coding animations as 99% of the time something similar has been done, so it saves quite a bit of time looking at the structure of those projects and then carving it up to suit my needs.

I classify myself as a learner because I am a voracious learner.  Learning a new skill has always been something that engrosses me.  I absolutely love diving into a new area, especially one that involves making something.  This has served me greatly as I have taken journey that is learning how to code.  With coding there is such a mammoth amount of different things to learn in the subject that I am never bored!  The one downside to my appetite for learning new things is that I don’t always stay on one subject to truly master it, rather I have moved onto the newer and more exciting topic to learn.

Lastly I classify myself as a coder.  It has been a rather long winded journey to get to the point where I consider myself a coder.  My first coding class was in undergrad, and it was about as stale of a class as one could imagine.  This severely turned me off from programming as my teacher made it more dull than doing microsoft excel all day.  Flash forward several years when I was working with microsoft excel all day, hating life, I remember starkly thinking “man I wish I learned how to code.” My boss at the time turned me onto codeacademy, and away I went with igniting my passion for code.  This really came to a head when I met my fiance Alex Samuel, who was plugging away in her first year at DT fresh out of the fashion world.  She was doing really cool projects with both physical computing and software coding, while I was counting the hours in a day at my boring job.  She hammered the fact that she had no coding background before entering the program, into my head and it really gave me the confidence to apply to DT.  Flash forward a year an a half later and I am coding away, enjoying every moment of it.  When I first entered DT I was big into pcomp, but as the year went on I got more and more into coding, especially openFrameworks.  Now most of my projects are strictly code based, and I really enjoy the act of digitally creating art with the simple logic structures that make up software coding languages.

Favorite Tool:

My favorite physical tool is (this may sound weird) a pair of scissors.  With scissors I can shape a whole wide range of objects to suit my needs, from pcomp wires, thin tubing (with strong scissors!), to construction paper and cardboard.  I love the ability to shape things to my exact needs on demand, and scissors are usually the best tool for this.  When I got my newest phone I found that it required a smaller version of a sim card.  Instead of going to the store right away I looked up a DIY way to trim down your old sim card and away I went.  With meticulous and small increment cutting, I slimmed down my old sim card to fit my new phone.  It turned out that the chip itself was not compatible with my new phone so it was all for not, but the act of modifying the old chip to perfectly fit my new phone was an enjoyable one so the time was not wasted.  I thoroughly enjoy being able to mold things on my own and to my needs without having to purchase a specific object, and scissors are an incredibly useful tool for doing this.

Favorite Craft:

I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to needle felt from Sarah.  It seemed like such a silly endeavor at first, and one that I thought couldn’t possible make little objects like in the picture, but I was quite amazed when after many minutes poking away at this ball of cotton fuzz, substantial objects soon formed.  After this I began to find myself with wads of this felt in my bag as I constantly made little goofy items with it.  It definitely was a painful learning process as many a time the needle would enter my finger instead of the felt and boy are those little suckers sharp as all hell.  After quite a bit of trial and error my stabbing became more precise and the amount of blood drawn began to diminish.  If I could do something differently when learning this craft, it would definitely be to have taken it slower.  Rushing these little felt objects is a quick way to finger pain as the material is so loose at first you have to really squeeze it together with your fingers.  This causes the area to stab to be rather small between your fingers so if you are careless you’ll often find yourself needling your fingers.  Now in practice I don’t know how careful I would be if I got to do it over as I am a rather impatient person and one who likes to bull rush his way through new fields, so most likely I would have ended up with the same amount of scabs on my fingers even if I had the forewarning of the pain to come

[Midterm] Children’s Lightbox


A Society of Light:

400 years into the future, man has survived many hardships.  The greatest of which being climate change.  After the great disaster of 2100, when the seas turned toxic, and the temperature turned extreme, humanity was reeling.  Crops would barely grow, and countless died as society all but collapsed.  The last holdouts knew that man had to change his approach as the caretaker of the planet, and had to learn from their mistakes.  Casting off the yoke of personal greed and progress at all cost, humanity began to rebuild.  Central to this was solar power.  Never again were we to rely on toxic chemicals and compounds to power our societies, as the road that lead to was one we did not wish to revisit. But the leaders at this time knew how fickle and short-sighted we as humans could be so they devised a plan to keep solar power central to humanities core values.  Thus began the pseudo cult of light.

Light was soon held almost akin to god.  Light was the bringer of life, as without light, plants could not grow.  Without plants we could not feed ourselves nor our animals.  Light is the banisher of darkness, and with solar power man banished the toxic hell that had become the world at that time.  As the decades turned to centuries, this love of light became more and more the central focus of human’s belief systems.  Due to this, sunrise became a spiritual moment for most people.  As the morning light banished the darkness, people could start their days and lead their lives.  Humankind was for the first time, peaceful and happy.  The cult of light had done much for the well being of humanity.

My project is a simple child’s possession that is common at the time.  This little box is a small reminder that when there is light, all the evil and troubles recede while the good can flourish.  When there is no light, the “evil” wolf is prowling about eyes a glow.  However once the sun rises and bathes the box in light, the evil recedes and the peaceful deer can peek his head out without fear.  It is important to ingrain the children with this love of light as any idea of returning to dirty sources of power then becomes almost akin to blasphemy.  This way as the memory of the tumultuous times of environmental strife fades further and further into distant history, man won’t be tempted to risk the health of the world for a quick an easy profit


This project was made with construction paper, notecards, servos, led’s, a photocell and arduino!

I started out by designing the shapes I wished to use on notecards to provide some stability for the construction paper.  I then glued the notecard shapes to the construction paper and cut away the excess paper


I then wrapped the box I was using to serve as the base with green construction paper and cut out the slots where wires and hardware would poke through.


Next I poked holes in my animal shapes to serve as the eyes.  I then pushed led’s through these holes and then connected wires to the back of these led’s to run down to my power source.

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Now it was onto my wiring.  I pushed a photocell down in the front of the box to capture the light amount and feed the data to my arduino.  I then hooked my wolf character up to a servo using paperclips.  Lastly I wired all of this to my arduino and through many annoying attempts, was able to shimmy all of this into the box without any of the connections breaking.

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With everything in place I then turned it on!  I used a 9 volt batter to power the project that way I was not reliant on an ugly cord sticking out the back (although in the future the people would use a solar powered rechargeable battery!).  The box moves the wolf out of his hiding place and turns his eyes on when there is minimal light hitting the photosensor.  However when there is ample light hitting the photosensor the wolf retreats down behind the bush and the deer’s eyes begin to light up.

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