Portals (and friends)

Portals (and friends) – YouTube.

Great art project and what an amazing programming job! There is also an instructable, full of great inspiring ideas for this sort of interactive projects. I can’t believe how many applications and software were used, it is really mind-blowing.

A while ago, one of my professors (Berry Eggen) did a lecture on Harry Potter. It sounds strange, but think of all the magical artifacts in that story, that are not really explained except through how the users use them. You don’t need to know how they work, to be able to experience and enjoy them. In fact, Berry posed the statement that by accepting future technology like it is magic, we are better able to focus on designing what really matters: how we will interact with it.

If that sounds far out there: look at this project. Isn’t it easy to believe that it works through some kind of magical force? It is such an inspiring way to envision the future, unencumbered by practical restraints.

Technological poetry. Enjoy!



ChangeDetection – Know when any web page changes.

Looking for something else, I found this useful little website. I can’t use it for my automatic photo blog because the output is an email (and that takes too long for me), but it seems useful for monitoring websites that don’t have email subscription or RSS.

Schematic Overview of GUI

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Interactive GUI

Download the interactive graphical user interface (GUI). Interactive PDF. *New and improved!*

Although it is nice to see how the app works visually, you can also check out this overview, where the interaction is drawn out in a schematic.

Home-cooked RGB-LED Shields

Here’s something I whipped up Friday: a tasty duo of home-cooked, hand soldered RGB-LED shields. They fit onto the Freakduino boards but also Arduino and can produce light in all colors. The shields will be covered by a semitransparent material so the light output will be even.

Not the most complicated circuit 🙂 but I needed them to replace state of the art LCD screen shields, that unfortunately used pins that the board also used. Fingers crossed it will work this time.

If you want to make this yourself, here is some info on the circuit.

Freaklabs Service & Deadline Management

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Freakduino boards I had ordered for building my prototype. First I had some problems with combining the code for the LCD shields with the Zigbee radio function on the boards. It turned out they used some of the same pins, so now I’ve built my own RGB-Led shields. I’m getting quite good at soldering this way!

Only this week I found out that one of the Freakduino boards was faulty, when I tried to use both of them at the same time. But I have to say: WOW great customer service from Freaklabs! I emailed them about the issue, and they immediately concluded there must be something wrong with the board, and they are sending TWO new replacement boards! Very, very nice indeed.

Now I’m still biting my nails as the deadlines for this project are so close, but luckily I managed to push the first one back two weeks. So one week from now: exhibition; the week after: report. I just hope I will have time for one more user test before the exhibition. Wish me luck!

Slow Shutter Cam

Today I found this great app: Slow Shutter Cam for iPhone. What I like is that although the functionality is quite simple (you can adjust the shutter time), it has positive reviews and people are also using it for light painting.

Good to see that apparently there is a need for this kind of app!