Friendship & French Fries

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[Final] Project Proposal 2.0: The Box

[Final] Project Proposal 2.0: The Box

New week, new idea.

After the play-testing happened last week during class, Dana and I decided to scrap the whole underwater experience altogether and work on something that 1) we felt good and excited about, and 2) was actually doable.

We stayed behind after class and did some brainstorming together. We were still drawn to the idea of scale and transporting people to an experience, so we decided to revisit the use of mirrors (triggered by a conversation with Lisa during play-testing) and see what we could do. From our brainstorming we came up with “The Box.” A mysterious entity from the outside that invites the user to peep into an opening. The pressure from the face resting on the opening acts as a switch to trigger the system. The Box is lined with mirrors and constructed to act as an infinity room. When the system is on, lights come on, music plays along with a chorus of cheers, and teddy bears on a motorized automata bob up and down. (thanks Dana for the description blurb!) There will also be a camera set up with a slight delay to capture the user’s reaction at the moment this whole system goes into motion. Will they be surprised, delighted, confused, terrified?

Inspiration - and ideally what our box will look like
Inspiration – and ideally what our box will look like

We are dividing the project into two, based on priorities. First, we will focus on making the lights, sound and camera work the way we wanted to. After that, and only if we have time, we will work on mounting the bears on an automata set to get triggered when the switch is pressed.

example of Automata
example of Automata
example of Automata
example of Automata

So, once the initial idea and decision was made, we got to work on the actual planning and prototyping. We built our BOM and a preliminary timeline.

BOM - still working out the prices
BOM – still working out the prices

Then, at Benedetta’s suggestion, bought some reflective material to test and got down to building a prototype of the box. We started with cardboard and quickly realized it didn’t hold the shape enough to act as a mirror. So, we broke that apart and redid the box using foam available at the shop–much better!

Sketches on how the box would work
Sketches on how the box would work




Francesca as a professional prototype model
Francesca as a professional prototype model


testing out the box

From there, we started working on the code. We used some of our previous synthesis code and some of the serial examples provided. Surprisingly (to me at least) we got the sound and camera to work! We even figured out how to delay the camera to account for the “adjustment time” of when the user puts his/her face on the switch and the lights and sound come on. We did all of this on P5, with only a button tied to the Arduino code for testing, but we need to figure out what will the Arduino actually manipulate and what part of the code (if any) will be tied to P5.

Pcomp Final test 1 from Paula Ceballos on Vimeo.

For now, we’re in a good place. We need to figure out the size of the box (either how it is now, or bigger maybe) and how to distribute the sound/video/lights capabilities between the Arduino and P5. We also have a meeting with Shiffman to try and figure out how to send the images to a server/cloud/site so that we can have an archive of everyone that passes through The Box.
We are SUPER happy with this project and very excited to work on it, so I’m happy we were able to figure it out on time. Onwards and upwards! It’s gonna be awesome.


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