Week Two Documentation

Sometimes simple works best.

For my first physical computing project, I decided to make a light meter. I assumed that this would be a fairly complicated project.

I started with the basic LED setup that we made in class.


I then replaced the wire linking the LED to the ground with a photosensitive resistor provided in the Arduino starter kit.

Wax on,

Wax on,

Wax off.

Wax off.


This worked, but the light output was pretty dim. I decided to take up the current to the device by attaching four sensors in parallel. I stripped the ends of two wires, attaching four photosensitive resistors to one end of each,

Sensors on wires.jpg

and plugging the other end into the breadboard.

wires in breadboard.jpg

And that system did work to get more electricity into the LED. One of the major problems with this, though, was that if the positive end of one sensor touched the negative end of any other sensor, the whole array could be bypassed and the LED would go to full brightness no matter how much light was in the room. The result was an incredibly delicate instrument with no real practical use. To address the issue, I wrapped each of the sensors around a small wooden block and wrapped the whole thing in tape.

sensors on block.jpg

The end result was an input switch that measured light and held together fairly well.

Whole system.jpg

And that was pretty much it. The whole thing wound up being a lot simpler than I imagined it would be. It seems a bit basic, but it works. This feels like a good point to file this project under “Ain’t Broke” and call it a day.


Week One

I have to mention how much this writer’s attempts to add personal flair really got in the way of what they were trying to say. Apart from the obviously unnecessary joke about the Boolean nature of virginity, more benign phrases like “…with sufficient open-mindedness (several cubic light-years’ worth!)” and entire paragraphs dedicated to painfully juvenile shots at his readers just left me feeling really annoyed. I was writing notes in the margins, about half of which were just the word “ARG” whenever the author made some sort of stupid self-important joke.

The phrase “interactivity” in the computing world seems to be a bit like the word “immersive” in the theater world. Everybody has some sort of knowledge of what it is, but true insiders are the only ones who truly know what it is. And boy, do they like to rub it in. Take, for example, this chapter about interactivity, wherein the author spends about two pages talking about how “silly” everyone else’s notion of the word is before finally getting to the point. Arg.

The author is, of course, talking about something fairly important. We’ve all set aside two years of our lives to come here to talk about interactive media, so, annoying writing style aside, it makes sense that we should read up a little on what interactive media actually is. The definition cited is that interaction requires two actors who each listen to what the other is saying, process the new information to come up with a response, and respond in a way that reflects what they’ve processed. The degree of interactivity reflects the measure to which each of these three steps is carried out.