Category Archives: Week 10 + 11 Assignment

10+11 week_Joyce

Project description

I am creating an interactive device to visualize people’s interaction with the online information using the plant as a metaphor. Through interacting with the installation, people can understand how our interaction can influence data and rethink or imagine our possible relationship with data.

I am doing research on Internet information because I want to explore what humans would react if data appears to be a living life form, having the lifespan and biological characteristics and habits, in order to discover a new form of interaction to connect the two and encourage people to rethink their relationship with information.


Bionic design

Because the form I will try to redefine information with is by adding the biological characteristic to it and giving it live, I started to look at bionics designs and investigate how design can derive inspiration from nature. Usually, bionics designs imitate the shape and body structure of nature. Bionic Designs that get inspiration from shape and structure creature but some also learn from heir special behavior and their ethnic relations. Studio PSK designed a series of radio devices called “Parasitic Products”[4] that can interfere with electrical equipment, imitating what the parasites to their hosts in the nature. The purpose of

“Parasitic Products” that can interfere with electrical equipment
the design is to highlight the importance of deviance as a way to instigate paradigm shifts in

design. It is a good example of letting people rethink the function of products, and is not always viewed as a heroic discourse, neglecting the aggressive, predatory, and often ruthless lifestyle typical of most organisms. From this project, I discover the possible form to express product in a bionic way and also guide me to think about a way of exploring new function: imitating a kind of biological relationship in nature. I started to imagine the possible biological relationship between data and people base on the reality, like parasitism, symbiosis, saprophyte etc.

The natural metaphor of online information

Then I started to look at social media information which has the closest connection with humans. It helps us to build our public identity and it relies on out input and attention to keep it alive and active. I was inspired from Social Network Zoology done by Chia-Hsuan Chou[5], which compares people’s behavior on social media to animal’s social behavior while doing things like hunting or courtship in order to define your social media personalities as a certain kind of animal. This work tells the story by creating vivid metaphors for human’s behavior on

“Social Network Zoology” compares people’s behavior on social media

the internet, which means to me that metaphor is actually a concise storytelling method. But in my case, the focus is not on people’s social relationship online but the interaction between people and the media. Base on this project, I decided to use visual metaphor to visualize

people’s interaction with social media information. In order to create a narrative based on people’s relationships with social media, I observe what people usually do or react to social information and how these activities impact the information itself.


I am planning to make a plant-like product that represents the social media. For example, on Facebook. The posts you made on Facebook would be printed on a leaf. The growing speed of the plants would depend on the interaction activity of people passing by. The usual action we do on social media, like sharing, liking and commenting would respectively

correspond to tearing part of the post. Without people’s attention or interaction, the social media plant would die, which shows the relationship between social media and people. The former relies on the input and attention from people, and the latter needs to build their identity with the public. Also, bringing the virtual action to actual physical ones exaggerates the bounce between the two vividly.

Week 12 Assignment

This week I focused on the best way of simulating the plant growing effect. I did a lot of experiment on motors. I first used the linear motor but it doesn’t quite do the job well. Then I decided to use some stepper motors to control some brunch of the leaves. But what I need to figure out later is how I can fit so many stepper motors in that flower pot.

WEEK11-final project prototype

1. Physical object prototype with EL wire and 12v Stepper motor:

Using radiant acrylic as the main material, and then laser cutting the shape of robotic plants. To make it move I simply used a 12V stepper motor for a quiet and smooth rotation. There was a hole on the customized base of the plant which enables the plant to sit on the motor while rotating. To make it looked nice under the darkroom environment, I use EL wires to wrap the surface of the motor. Before using EL wire to create high contrast look, the plant looks like what showed below:

-Findings: After this prototype, I started to worry about how to create an interesting movement that will intrigue audiences.  Stepper motor is quiet enough for a subtle movement, but I definitely need something more organic or mysterious.

2. Muscle wire test: 

I bought a 1feet, 1mm muscle wire from Tinkersphere, and used 5a 10v power source to heat it up by attaching to the alligator clips. The movement of wire is vicious! I tried to build a circuit using photocell and Mosfet to heat up the wire based on the light amount received by the photocell. I found the reference from a book Arduino Wearables (Technology in Action) 1st ed. Edition, there is a chapter inside talking about shape memory wires. However, the circuit doesn’t work because of the insufficient electricity from the 9V battery. After a long run research, I found out the 1mm muscle wire is too thick to heat up without a large amount of electricity. After this prototype, I started to seek ideal components for my project including 0.012 mm muscle wires, tip 120 transistor, and 12v power source. The next step will be testing out the most stable circuit to generate the movement I want.

WEEK10-final project description and precedents

Final project description: 

  • I want to construct artificial, small-scale futuristic ecosystem under the scenario when synthetic biotic organisms are largely penetrated in human beings’ daily life.
  • This ecosystem will trigger interactions between human and simulated biotic organisms to raise a discussion of individual bio existence and the ecosystem at a large scale.
  • The interaction between audiences and this project should be indirect, which can echo the key concept for this project- A system that humans are party to, but not sovereign over.

Interaction/systems diagram:

Timeline with milestones: 

week 1 (4/3-4/8)- basic functionality

  • Communication between Arduino and  unity
  • Projection mapping visual test
  • Decision making: materials, project scales
  • Modeling the possible form of plants

week 2 (4/9-4/15)- Prototype

  • robotic plants prototype
  • project set up prototype
  • User test

week 3(4/16-4/22)- Iterations

  • modify the detail based on feedback
  • building circuits

week 4(4/23-4/30)-  Finalize

  • check the detailed implementation of project based on the exhibition place, equipment
  • troubleshooting physical computing part
  • polish the final project form


EPIPHYTE CHAMBER by Philip Beesley

UNMAKEABLELOVE by Sarah Kenderdine & Jeffrey Shaw

petting zoo by minimaforms

sensory desserts by Erika Marthin 

 Synthetic Polleniser  by Michael Candy


Week 10 + 11 Final Project Idealization & Prototype

Project statement:

I want to explore the possibility of the alternative use of logistic methodology to create playful and informative experience for e-commerce customers. To tell them the logistic story with human efforts hidden behind each object they have

Interaction/systems diagram:


Timeline with milestones:

Mar 14 – Apr 1:

  • Decide type of data to collect
  • Decide medium of display
  • Technology Prototype/Test (data collection)
  • System design
  • Graphics design

Apr 5 – Apr 10:

1st protoype

Apr 10 – Apr 15:

2nd Prototype

Apr 16 – Apr 20:

3rd Prototype (optional) + design methodology and execution settled

Apr 25 – May 3:


May 5: Major Major Exhibition

Materials list:

  1. LED UV light strip x 1
  2. warm white LED strips x 3
  3. Ultrasonic sensors x 1
  4. DC motors x 3, Stepper motors x 3
  5. Motor divers x 3
  6. Potentiometer x 3
  7. Trellis Keypad
  8. LEDs x n
  9. Buttons x 1
  10. 12V Adapter x 3
  11. 12V power supply
  12. Arduino UNO R3 x 3
  13. 9V Battery x 3
  14. Breadboard x 4
  15. Soldering kits
  16. Gluegun
  17. White and Black 24 x 18 in Acrylic sheets
  18. Acrylic tubes
  19. Plywoods

Precedents or references

  1. Nike CLC Installation: creates a series of low energy digital sculptures and light installation showcasing its operational efficiency, infrastructure system and live-feed data of the green energy consumption. 
  2. Ryan Gander’s Fieldwork: In this piece, a series of objects and assemblages that are by turns funny, macabre or banal revolving on a vast concealed conveyor belt. As they pass through an aperture in the gallery wall, the viewer is invited to speculate on the stories they tell, as well as their relationship to one another. 
  3. Multiverse, a long, conveyor-belt hall of the National Gallery of Art in D.C, gave me another example of how to create immersive visual experience along conveyor belt infrastructure.This piece used LED matrix on walls and ceiling to create an astonishing visual journey while people was riding on the moving walkway.

1st Prototype Iteration:

To test out work mechanism of conveyor belt, I laser cut plywood and paper, and build the very first simple prototype, which uses manual force as drivers to rotate the wheels that lead the belt to move.

Laser cut file

The success of this prototype allows me to move forward to test out technology feasibility of this mechanism, for example how much power of a motor or how many motors I need for moving how much weight of an object.

Week 10 Assignment -Final


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Week 11 – Xiaoyu & Weilin

We have tested several materials and components.


Input: Velostat (Pressure sensor) + conductive tape

Output: audios represented different moods

Chairs also have work hours. They are happy to assist you during work hours but they can also get crappy sometimes. They also preserve the right to refuse anyone when they are on a break.