Category Archives: Uncategorized


07 Apr 2013

First, follow this link to Gigapan Time Machine.


I have been entranced by this interactive timelapse of the sun for years, and there is enough detail in each of the layers that I still haven’t found all of the interesting events yet.  For my capstone project, I would like to augment the interaction in some way that allows users to better view multiple frequency bands simultaneously.  Many of the events can be understood and appreciated more fully by watching them unfold across multiple frequency bands.  The current method of selecting them is somewhat clumsy, though, and only one video can be viewed at a time.

I’m still trying to come up with a good way for users to manipulate and blend the frequency visualizations in a way that decreases confusion rather than increases it.  My current plan is to implement a sort of magnifying glass that can either zoom in locally or reveal a different frequency than the background layer so that the user can examine points of origin and dissipation while the video plays.  A still from the video might look something like this:


Another option might be to allow the user to paint his or her own viewing windows in different frequency bands, as shown below.



I’m currently leaning away from this path, though, because I worry that painting static image windows isn’t a good idea for a video that is constantly in motion, especially since the sun is constantly turning to the right.

Any feedback is welcome!



03 Apr 2013

For my final project I want to create a gesture recognition driven photo booth animation tool. So here is my research for that:


The Robot Readable World by Timo Arnall

This piece is a non-expert reflection on the nature of computer’s gaze into the world. It is comprised of appropriated footage from research on computer vision.

This piece is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever seen that engages the idea of the aesthetics of technology. It expresses the insect like movement of the computational gaze, which is sometimes terribly precise and sometimes wondering and almost whimsical. It also presents a pleasing juxtaposition the mundane footage being analyzed and the powerful math being pointed at it.

My final project will use gesture and facial recognition to trigger photo taking and I hope that there will be the same hint of wandering computational gaze.

Content Retargeting Using Parameter-Parallel Facial Layers by Prof. Yaser

Professor Yaser has led an amazing series of projects that deal with reconstructing human motion from all fidelities of images. In this project Yaser uses face tracking to puppet the movements of the various avatar.


The tracking data is stored and expressed in three different layers: emotion, mouth movement, and blinking. They use a series of extreme stored images in each category to serve as references. To get the face tracking data they used motion capture to creates a mesh and then they only pay attention to the mouth and eye only when changes occurred.

Although, this project is way out of my technical scope; it’s a good reference to see what has been done before.

Venus Webcam by  Addie Wagenknecht & Pablo Garcia

This project asks internet posers to pose in positions depicted in famous paintings. These images are then sent off to china to be painted.

This project describes itself as hacking a community of people rather than a code environment. It creates an unexpected link between the internet culture and high culture. I read it as a commentary on how we assign value to images. This is especially evident in the decision to get them fabricated in paint. 


02 Apr 2013

For the capstone I finally decided to do a hardware project. I was inspired by this blog post which I had read some months back. Please watch the videos in it, they are quite entertaining:

After reading that article I sorta fell in love with Italian hand gestures. They are so expressive, and I love the fact that the gestures themselves form a language. For this project I want to create a piece that will make learning these beautiful gestures easy and interactive.

As a source I plan on using Speak Italian: The Fine Art of Gesture (

My goal is to translate gestures into animatronic hands. There are several instructables on how to make these. (

At the end of the day I want users to speak some word or words in English and have them spoken back with an Italian accent and the appropriate hand gestures.

Robotic hands are nothing new. And neither is the concept of having them gesture. (See video below) The interesting part of this project will  be the fact that I am reinterpreting Bruno Murani’s book in a very physical way.


01 Apr 2013

Capstone Brief
I want to design a 3D tangible display for map data visualization usage.

See Through 3D Desktop
by Jinha Lee MSR

Trans of Data
by MIT Sensible City Lab

Geographical Visualization: Where America Lives
by Feilding Cage,31813,1549966,00.htmlScreen Shot 2013-04-01 at 6.02.25 PM


01 Apr 2013

For my capstone, I’m pretty sure I’d like to carry forward my Interactivity project, Imisphyx IV, and turn it into something a bit more interesting. That said, this is going to be a tricky post — because honestly I probably wouldn’t be trying to build what I have in mind if I’d ever seen anything in the space that really satisfied me. In fact, my own project probably won’t either. Call me picky.

I’m running with the notion that this post will continue to expand as a poke around the space and make new discoveries. For starters, though, here are a few things related to my concept that sit peacefully in my brain.

Nonlinear tangible storytelling of a Jorge Luis Borges (also highly nonlinear) story.

Augmented Shadow from Joon Y Moon on Vimeo. (Thanks to John G. for suggesting this one!)

Arcanes from Ugo Bagnarosa on Vimeo

Neurofiction (A present from Can!)


31 Mar 2013

Robb and I were talking about generating fractalish heat sinks which seems like a neat idea in situations the heat sink is to be passive (no fans are used to create flow over the heat sink). There are a ton of gorgeous branching phenomena in nature: diffusion limited-aggregation, vasculogenesis and angiogenesis (blood vessesl growth), plant growth, hele-shaw flow, dielectric breakdown, watershed formation, coral growth, etc.

Some of these systems actually solve engineering problems similar to that of transferring heat effectively. Coral colonies, for example, must balance various factors like fluid flow, particle capture and light exposure. Blood vessels networks allow oxygen to diffuse to every cell in a tissue while also not requiring too much resistance to blood flow.  These competing factors are solved by systems that grow rather algorithmically: there is no intelligent controller directing the growth process. Instead many simple agents following simple algorithms which interact to create complex adaptive forms.

There are many researchers in the field of computational biology and physics who are simulating these behaviors in order to understand the systems better.  In doing so they are actually solving engineering problems and creating rather aesthetic visualizations/models.  I think some of these projects could be imitated to make some neat art/engineering stuff. Like fractal heat sinks.

Angiogenesis: An Adaptive Dynamic Biological Patterning Problem 

check out the video here

This paper describes how a simulation of angiogenesis (the formation of blood vessel networks from already existing blood vessles) was built to mimic the growth and adaptation of real systems.  Basically a diffusing chemical dubbed vascular endothelial growth factor, VEGF, is released by tissue that is starved of oxygen (called hypoxic tissue).  When the concentration of VEGF around an existing vessels exceeds a critical value a new vessels sprouts and wiggles about randomly searching for a vessel with a little feeler.  When it finds one it fuses and blood begins to flow.  Vessels change there diameter according to internal pressure, viscous stresses and chemical signals released by other vessels. Vessels are also allowed to migrate in space due to forces exerted by other vessels.  The entire simulation is pretty impressive and combines many different details of blood vessel growth and operation.  The overall idea, however, is pretty simple: vessels grow randomly in areas of low oxygen and update there positions and sizes based on physical forces.  The result is surprisingly blood-vessel like.  It would be awesome, but a little daunting, to try to simplify this simulation and run it in three dimensions.  The basic idea could be modified for the case of heat transfer.  Perhaps the blood could be hot, and the goal would be to supply heat to all parts of a given area or volume. Really cold regions would release a diffusing growth factor. Of course the way heat transfer occurs is not the same as oxygen gas.

Nervous System Hyphae Lamps

So maybe combine nervous-system’s approach with the angiogenesis simulation? This is probably way to complex for a month’s worth of work…

Frac Therm

These guys realized that making a hierarchical fractal-like structure for a network of tubes causes a more even pressure distribution in the longer tubes and requires less pressure despite its increased surface area.  This is ideal for solar panels for heating fluid.  In a way, there approach is exactly what I was imagining a combination of the above two simulations.  Maybe this could be used in situations where the aesthetic properties of fractal-like networks could be appreciated by humans.  Maybe refrigerators could have visible heat sinks, or radiators would escape the confines of perforated sheet-metal enclosures.  Anyway I think this approach could be applied to heat-sinks and 3D printed/cast.  Perhaps the best direction for this project would be a 3D diffusion-limited algorithm with a post-processing algorithm to thicken branches for structural reasons.  Heat sinks, however do not just want lots of surface area.  They also need to ‘breath;’ air needs to be able to flow around them. Maybe imitating corals would be good? Or perhaps lungs (except the flow is inverted; outside the structure instead of within).


06 Mar 2013

Fuck You Asshole

Okay, Terminator is not really a piece of art utilizing computer vision, but I still think it’s relevant because film was/is one of the primary vectors through which people think about machines that see/comprehend/respond to their environments. The seminal machine here is probably HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey, but Terminators 1 & 2, Robocop and others are heavy hitters in the collective consciousness vis-a-vis computer vision.  Basically, everything I know about computers and the millenium I learned from Hollywood.

Computer Vision for Personal Defense


Okay, again not art really, but nevertheless relevant to the discussion. The above video provides a demo about an automated water gun built with OpenCV and Python. What are the implications of technologies wrt the wholesale slaughter of humans by machines. First they came for the squirrels and I didn’t speak…

Minecraft Hack w/ Kinect 

Because awesome, that’s why.


06 Mar 2013

Idea 1
So for my project I want to create a game about smooshing and competition. What I am contemplating is a tanglible controller that consists of 2 buttons that you will hit when prompted. It is such a simple ‘button’ based game and I think the buttons will flank your computer (so you can hit with both hands and have to look back and forth). The game would be played in groups of people and the most fun part of the game is that there is a display (probs LCD or something) and will project your score based on speed and accuracy.

I love to encourage social interaction via games because I think we lost something with local gaming along the way.

Idea 2 (maybe 1?)
My original idea was an interactive board game. I had no real concept for the game other than the fact that I wanted to make a board game more “digital and interactive”. I have been making board games for about 5 years now and I really love the idea of building and making a place for people to interact. This game was going to be more Betrayal at House on the Hill or Level 7 in style where every person controls a certain character and you interact with an environment that is the game board.


06 Mar 2013

First thought: 3D Pepper Ghost

However, I this when the audience change his or her perspective it doesn’t work very well now..

Second thought: one 2D Pepper Ghost Map
Data visualization on multiple lays tangible maps


06 Mar 2013


My idea is to project a game onto a wall (probably my version of PacMan). On the wall will be elements a user can rearrange to create different maze configurations. A camera (maybe a Kinect) would be used to sense the objects in space and generate a 2d collision map. Mat switches on the ground will be used to control the projected character and move it through the physical maze.