The Watchful Forest at Awakening.
The past two weeks have been crazy as we ramped up for the show at Club 560 but it was all worth it! Our forest of CCTV cameras performed really well and sparked a lot of interesting conversation about surveillance and privacy. Apparently there are groups in the UK stealing or destroying the most expensive CCTV cameras in protest.
We showed seven cameras mounted on five “trees” made of iron pipe. Each camera was fitted with two servo motors and most had laser pointers. Ethernet cables carried power and signal to each camera and it was all driven by an Arduino and a laptop hidden under an upturned Rubbermaid tote and a black drop cloth.
Because of time constraints we had to leave out a few ideas like using the Kinect to track the motion of visitors so the cameras can turn to look at them. It gave the piece another dimension, though, because it gives you the feeling of being watched when, actually, no one cares. Kind of like some peoples’ Twitter accounts. (-:
Lots of ideas for the next incarnation but glad to be able to catch my breath for now.
Here’s the code, tagged for the show:
Watching the Watchers.
Refining the computer vision for The Watchful Forest. Had to keep a running history of a few frames of depth information to clean out some of the noise in addition to a running background. It’s a bit heavy on the CPU using images loaded from the hard disk (faster prototyping). We’ll see if it’s any better or maybe worse getting frames directly from the Kinect.
Source code on GitHub:
The Watchful Trees.
Derek and I created the trees of the Watchful Forest using black iron pipe that should rust a bit and give a nice steampunk aesthetic. Really exciting to see all the pieces come together!
Time Distortion Machine 2.
In this interactive installation, Jeff Johnston’s generative graphic video loops provide the content for the Time Distortion Machine. He created several layered effects that increased in intensity as you move forward in time. The combination of the interactive distortions and Jeff’s layered artwork created some interesting and unexpected effects for our exhibit at Lab Art Show.
Check out more of Jeff’s visual work:
More info on the Time Distortion Machine:
Hack day at the day job.
Two months ago I started my first proper 9-to-5 desk job in six years and yesterday I got to participate in my first hack day with the entire R&D team. After getting everybody up to speed with the Arduino we started into building a status monitor for the lounge keg fridge.
I’d picked up a 100-lb. force-sensitive resistor for the project and another group got to work using a flow sensor. For connectivity, we used the WiFly shield which was really straight-forward once I found the right library.
When plugged in, our little device would join the company’s wifi network and start sending readings to our Heroku app. From there you can pull down the raw data or look at beer consumption in a line chart.
The Watchful Forest Motion Test.
Derek and I got the cameras to look around randomly but the movement was really jarring. This video was taken at Vancouver Hackspace after we got some quartic smoothing happening. Thanks for those handy easing equations, Robert Penner!
The cameras still shake a little bit at the end of the motion and it doesn’t look very sinister so we need to fine-tune that. This is partly happening because of the smaller servos we’re using right now. Still lots to do!
Source code is on GitHub:
Myo Glow Suit Arm Bands.
I evolved a bunch of paper prototypes modelled by my left arm before cutting and sewing the neoprene arm band.
Sourced the neoprene from cheap, old wetsuits at the Vancouver Diving Locker and velcro from Dressew. It’s been years since sewing boyscout badges so securing the velcro is a bit time-consuming. Will need lessons in using a sewing machine when I go for the full suit.