Project 3: Fireflies

by ryun @ 11:26 am 5 March 2010

In this project I focused on the Interaction between the screen(display) and the everyday life object. In the Ubiquitous computing, one important aspect of it is all the system becomes invisible(go behind the wall) and people do not even notice their gesture and action is tracking by the computer. I wanted to make a simple interaction following this idea. So the viewer use the everyday life objects and the system subtly recognize the human behavior and do something(i.e. shows display accordingly). I had many objects in my mind as candidates for this project such as a laser pointer,a flashlight, a soap bubble stick, a mini fan, a paint brush and so on… I decided to use a flashlight because this is the simplest one to make this happen. (due to the time limitation)

I spent a while to figure out how to make this happen. I was thinking about using openframeworks but never had experience of C++ so decided to use processing again. Luckily, one Japanese developer built the library for communication between the Wiimote and the Infrared light via bluetooth. It was not easy to understand and use it at first but after I spent a while it turned out that it is pretty good library for this project.

I believe this has a huge potential. For this project I wanted to show one of the possibilities of it and it was the art installation for children. For example, there could be a projected screen to the ceiling of the childrens museum and children can use the flashlight, make their own fish or bird (as an avatar) and play with it. Here in this project I built circles as fireflies chasing the light as an example.

In class, I received good, constructive criticism about the display which is not the very perfect use of the the technology. I should have spent more time working on it. Maybe color sucking drawing tool or multi-user interaction should have made this more interesting. I would like to use this technology that I learned and expand more for my final project.

Source Code (Processing)

1 Comment

  1. Hi Ray – here are the group comments from the crit.

    This is a nice effect, but like Golan said, you may want to think about the ‘context’ for the artwork. Where is it shown, and how? Since you named it Firefly you could even have flying bugs, since they have a jittery flying insect movement.

    I think it would almost be nicer if instead of a ‘firefly’ effect it was just the yellow light.

    Very cool use of tools (the flashlight with the wii remote, I could’ve never come up with that!). It’s obvious you learned a lot through this project and it is very succcessful. The points of colors are very, very beautiful. I’m wondering if you could vary the size of the points a little bit more. I agree with everyone else’s comments that it needs one more dimension to make it more interesting. Maybe include audio input interaction? But, as it is, it is a very enchanting and whimsical piece. 🙂 –Amanda

    It would be nice if the little bubbles glowed more so they could look more like stars or fireflies or an actual light.

    It’s very pretty, but at the same time it seems a little… empty? shallow? It doesn’t really make me feel or think anything other than “oooh, pretty colors”. I think it needs more depth either in content or interaction or something else. I wonder if there is something interesting you could do with fluid simulation and instead of being fireflies in the air, they’re fish in the water that are attracted to a light above the surface? I don’t know, just a thought.

    In your blog post, please write about the proposed context for the installation. The work could fit its metaphor better … are these really ‘fireflies’, or should they be something else? Does it really make sense to interact with a flock of “things” this way? Could the piece generate (or respond to) sound? Also: you could do a more nuanced job connecting the graphics to the user activity, e.g. calming down the bugs when the light is calm. By the way, the “static” effect (resembling film scratches) is nice.

    i love the idea you have for the implementation, with kids pointing at the ceiling. would be really magical!

    Comment by golan — 6 March 2010 @ 7:07 pm

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