Physical Computing and Fabrication
A collection of projects and project sketches I have done involving physical computing and physical fabrication.
This Arduino-based project was an effort to explore a different use of the microprocessor as the core of a physical installation. Taking advantage of my background in electrical work and cinematic lighting design, I combined it with creative inspiration from nature-based science fiction like James Cameron’s Avatar and the novel Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer. What I ended up with is this lighting fixture that both provides a soft, warm ambience as well as glows with a subtle, living light. I hope to continue work on this project and eventually add dynamic lighting effects based on external sources.
This short video is the first in what I hope to be a “mockumentary” series showing the exploits of an Arduino-based robot I have created. While the videos themselves are staged, the robot is genuinely programmed to be interactive, reacting to changing light conditions.
This project is my first real attempt to pair Arduino-based physical computing with my video background, and I am looking forward to hopefully dramatically expanding this kind of work in the future. It is also meant to play with ideas of reality vs. fiction through my straight-faced presentation of the video on the Instagram platform.
Below is the text from the Instagram post itself.
"Ever since I started working on this Arduino robot, unexplainable things have been happening in my room just outside of my field of view. Beginning to fear that I had given life to something truly insidious, I set up this camera to see what I could not. Last night I returned to find this footage revealing my robot is not in fact a malicious being, it's actually just an asshole."
This project was a collaboration between myself and Wenjing Liu to create our interpretation of a Halloween-themed piece. Our diorama is a multi-media interactive experience, in which a user blows into a paper lantern which in turns illuminates the other lanterns in the space as well as “blows away” the fog on the rear screen revealing a collection of randomly generated ghosts.
This project came out of a desire to build a small but practical gift for a family member. This display platform is USB powered, and in addition to the rotational movement, it also has a button on the side which when pressed illuminates the inside reveal the inner workings of the object. Part of the success of this piece were the failures I overcame in the process of building it; I went through multiple combinations of motors and other components before completing on this working version.
I also conceived and constructed this project as a gift for a family member, and the goal was to create something that would be both very natural as well as a bit elegant. Made of an actual fallen tree branch, the piece is accentuated with real brass elements and an intricate bare bulb. This project proved to be a perfect combination of my new fabrication skills along with the electrical and lighting experience I gained as a film lighting technician.