Traces of Touch

serendipity into the oblivion

Arduino+Serproxy+Flash

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Im currently teaching a course at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design in tangible computing. The course has a theme of pain and pleasure which nearly all of the students have interpreted into pain. Guess being evil is more fun.

The reason for this post is not about the workshop even though it is fun to be back in a messy and creative studio but more of sharing how to run Arduino+Serproxy+Flash(AS3Glue)  in fullscreen. As you might know when you Publish your flash project inside Adobe Flash you get the Sandbox treatment and everything is allowed. This enables your flash project to communicate with the Serproxy that makes the whole  process work. But as you also might know  is that there isnt any fullscreen mode when you run your project from inside Adobe Flash but there is this option  when you run the swf file in the flash player.

So to give your swf file proper permissions you need to add a config file. The file should be located at

  • Windows: system\Macromed\Flash\FlashPlayerTrust(t.ex. C:\WINDOWS\system32\Macromed\Flash\FlashPlayerTrust)
  • Mac: app support/Macromedia/FlashPlayerTrust(t.ex. /Library/Application Support/Macromedia/FlashPlayerTrust)

The easiest way to approach this is to copy another config file already located there for example kuler.cfg and change  the link inside.

For example  my project is located at C:\Users\sjunnesson\Documents\Flash\AOHworkshop so I will just copy this into the config file I just created replacing whatever was in there before and then save. This should give all your swf laying in that folder full permissions to do whatever they want since they are added to the trusted list and you are ready to rock away with your flash project in fullscreen with funky inputs.

*UPDATE*

After trying a bit more I figured out that another way to get around this problem is to publish your project as a Windows project or Macintosh project. This will also give you enough permissions to run the serproxy flash combo. Might go faster in many situations.

Written by sjunnesson

December 8, 2010 at 17:16

Posted in Flash

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I Love Robots

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During the last week 1scale1 have been organizing a children workshop in collaboration with Stapelbäddsparken . The theme was robots and we invited children in the age of 10-14 from local schools to participate. During three evenings the children came to learn to program their robots through a set of playful exercises such as getting the robots to dance, race through a maze or sing songs. This was done using a robot platform from Pololu which we at 1scale1 rewrote the libraries for to better fit the age group and the knowledge. The library will be published as opensource and free to use as anyone wish and I will link to it as soon as it is done. The importance of this became very apparent at the end of the workshop where many parents asked where  to buy this robots since they were planing this as Christmas gift since the kids had put it on the top of their lists. The workshop ended with a big exhibition at Gustav Adolf square in Skånetrafikens old building which they gratefully lent for the duration of the exhibition that will run between 24th-28th December. During the opening day the place was packed with 100+ visitors during the first hour and it was a great atmosphere of beeping robots and laughing kids.

The overlaying goal of this workshop was to  encourage and spark interest in kids for the fields of technology which is very important in Sweden since there is a big projected lack of engineers in this area. A thing  we were discussing  a bit during the workshop between us organizing is the problem of measuring the impact and evaluate the effect of this kind of workshops. The potential visible and  measurable effect is 10-15 years away and we dont have the resources to track it and if it fails we would have have spent 10-15 years doing things for no gain. This is a hard thing to realize and what we concluded was that the only thing we as a small company could do is to use our previous experience of teaching at the university which we together has 20+ years  and try to adopt this to the age group. We had also invited a person that did interviews with all the participants  during the workshop which we are eagerly waiting the response to know what the kids was thinking. The teaser he gave us was that it was very good insights the kids had given which will be valuable for the following work of creating Stapelbäddsparken as a center for new culture and knowledge. Guess just have to wait and see.

Below you can find a short clip from the opening.

Written by sjunnesson

November 25, 2010 at 12:10

Posted in Uncategorized

Boxes and music

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A while ago I was invited to ITU in Copenhagen to host a series of introductory lectures to arduino and physical computing. The end of this lecture series happened  to correlate with Kulturnatten and I thought that I should put together something to show at this venue. The end result after an afternoon of playing around was this soundgenerator/midi instrument which I named Breathing Sounds. Basically the idea was to take the different tinker kit sensors that we had been using during the workshop and use them to generate sound. To add some more visual appeal I decided that each sound was represented on screen by a box floating through 3d space slowly fadding out. The reason for boxes is because ITU has some very prominent architechture details in its building with big boxes protruding out from the walls.

You can find the source code at openprocessing in a slightly modified versions since it dosnt support the serial connection needed to connect up with arduino.

Written by sjunnesson

October 28, 2010 at 17:09

Posted in Processing

Final outcome

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So now is the final project over and presented. I had a really good time demoing and showing it for people at the CIID end of year exhibition named Revolve. Also the feedback from the examiners (yes I passed) was really nice and informative. I will do a longer writeup of the the final outcome and some of my thoughts about the future with this project but for now I will only link to some pictures from the exhibition and also how the final outcome looks like.

Written by sjunnesson

September 7, 2010 at 22:07

Posted in Milestone

Box generator

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For my final outcome Im going to be in the need of a whole bunch of small boxes in different sizes. Normally I would attack this with Sketchup and draw each of them out but since I might need 10+ boxes that would take to much time. So I sat down and wrote together an application that I have been thinking of doing for 1,5 years. A box generator that creates all the tabs with the correct material thickness and so on. If you want to try it out it can be found at here. Be aware though that it hasn’t been tested in real life yet with a laser but as it is now it seems to fit when putting the pieces together in Illustrator…

* Update* I have now cut 10+ boxes and it works nicely with different kinds of material and sizes. I need to add a press fit option but that will be a later addon. Now I will just stick to superglue and woodglue.

Written by sjunnesson

August 21, 2010 at 14:56

Posted in prototyping

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Text for the exhibiton

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We were asked by dear Alie to write a short description of our project for the printed material at the exhibition. I felt it was actually a really good exercise since it forced me to write down my thoughts in 350 words which helped me focus better. The pictures that goes with it I’m not 100% happy with but they are as good as it goes when I dont have the final prototype shells done but just having it laying in lumps of electronics at my desk.

Name of project: Traces of Touch

Tagline: A modular library of interactions for fast tangible exploration.

We are increasingly starting to see new ways of interacting with physical devices in our everyday life. Different kinds of sensors sensing its enviroment such as light, sliding movement, tilt and much more is becoming ubiquitous. This enables not only new and interesting possibilites for designers but also new exciting experiences for users. The problem is that because of the abundance of options of different input models to choose from, it is getting harder to make an informed choice of what to use. What kind of different emotions, feelings, mental mappings and metaphors does controlling a lamp with a slider versus a wheel support? Or maybe flipping it upside down to turn it off is the best option? How “clicky” should the button be to fit starting a song on a music device? All of these are commonly asked questions that take time and money to explore with existing physical prototyping platforms.

Traces of Touch addresses this by offering a modular system of inputs and outputs that enables fast iteration of different combinations and mappings, and explores how it changes the experience with the product in question. By connecting the input, the output directly identifies what kind of interactions is possible and configures itself accordingly. The protocol for creating new inputs and outputs is also openly available for manufactures to create their own modules fitting into the system enabling a growing echosystem of compatible devices.

This creates the opportunity for the designer to have a library of interactions to explore and test in different configurations along the same lines as the material libraries often used by

industrial designers. A library that can be used either in brainstorming sessions to trigger and prototype new ideas or with clients to be able to speak the same language and narrow down the desired interaction faster.

Traces of Touch builds on existing projects that explore the importance of the design of switches, buttons, and handles, and takes these ideas further, creating a modular system to investigate today’s commonly available interactions in a simple and intuitive way.

Written by sjunnesson

August 20, 2010 at 02:58

Posted in Milestone

Phone detector

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I have just finished building together a “phone” detector. You all know the annoying sound that sometimes happens when you are about to get a call and the speakers make funky sounds. Taking advantage of this fact that  electret microphones easily pickups the radio waves of phones when calling I built together a small circuit to amplify the sound and make it readable to Arduino. Since I generally have a hard time to find a good working circuit I have supplied the list of the components below together with eagle files. It is heavily based on the Futurekit 648 Audio amplifier which you can find here. As you can see in the video below it starts reacting before the phone shows that a call is incoming because of the increase in radio activity.

Eagle files

Components needed:

C1       10uF
C2       10uF
C3       0.01uF
C4       33uF
C5       10uF
GND      M01PTH_LONGPAD
VCC      M01PTH_LONGPAD
MIC      M02PTH_LONGPAD
R1       15k
R2       27k
R3       18k
R4       2k
R5       1k5
T1       2SC945
U$1      MIC9.7MM

Written by sjunnesson

August 18, 2010 at 19:33

Posted in prototyping

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