All posts tagged PhD

Net Gadgeteer Workshop at Pervasive 2012

I attended the NET Gadgeteer Hack-Fest at  Pervasive 2012 held in Newcastle last week which was a really great workshop. It demonstrated the ease of quick prototyping with Gadgeteer modules connected with small ribbon cables… no soldering involved!!! The brief was to produce an artefact which could be quickly prototyped with the NET Gadgeteer modules and installed at the conference venue on the same day. I  developed an interactive installation piece with fellow PhD candidate Martijn ten Bhömer , we had a great time throwing together an artefact in the space of a few hours with the building materials provided by the Culture Lab in Newcastle and modules provided by Microsoft. We used an accelerometer, several multi-coloured LED’s and a webcam connected to the main board.  We programmed (my programming is a bit scary so….Martijn did most of the code) so that when conference delegates played with the coloured hanging mobiles, the camera took snapshot images of the participants. Images of the playing action of the hands, integrated with changing coloured lights were displayed onto a big screen.  The intention was that the images would be an abstract collage of colours and movement of the participants hands, however in situe the images displayed were more hazy and abstract than originally intended. Here is our contribution to hacking the Pervasive 2012 Conference titled “Motion Lights”.

Although I found NET Gadgeteer great and quick to prototype, the negative side is that I use a Mac and I am comfortable with Arduino. I am not sure if using Visual Studio will work efficiently as it can only function if you use a platform enabling Microsoft to run inside the Mac ie:  by creating a Microsoft virtual machine.  I will look into this if I decide to seriously use it.  I think I still need a little more persuading, especially as the audio functions on the only sound  module are really limited at this moment in time. Having said that, Microsoft and the developers are open to suggestions for developing new and better modules.

UWL Conference 2012

I have just come back from London after doing a presentation about my research at the UWL 2012 Annual Conference.   It was well received and a couple of really interesting questions which I will give some thought to.  One question from Lesley Stevenson at the University was should I incorporate other senses into my work ie: food as part of my installations?  Eating relates directly to issues concerning body image, so this is a very interesting point… I will see how my work evolves and whether it is a viable option. Another interesting point made from a fellow PhD candidate, was why am I using female mannequins with a perfect body size? Well this again is an interesting point as I consciously did not make a choice, it was an automatic subconscious selection to integrate standard sized mannequins.  Having thought about this, I feel that at this moment in time  representing the theory in relation to the practical elements of the study, the ideal size mannequin is more appropriate to represent what is expected and sold to us.  However, later on in my PhD I may introduce plus size models or mannequins, but this will come after reflecting on the next three pieces I am building.



Conductive steel fibre… very interesting.

It is very difficult to find suppliers of conductive fabrics and threads in the UK, and I usually have to order from the states which is costly due to the postage rates. I have ordered some conductive stainless steel fibre from SparkFun which I am going to experiment with, and have found a great example of the potential application by Thomas Gerhardt who has created a Felt Resister by mixing the steel fibre with other fibres to create a felt.  Mixing the steel fibre with other fibres will obviously affect the conductivity so much experimentation will be required once it arrives…I am very excited about the possibilities of this fibre:0

Commencing new project called “The Speaking Frock”

I am currently working on testing some conductive fabrics to establish the best conductivity for my new project which is called “The Speaking Frock”  I will leave you to guess on that for the moment hopefully enticing you back for a further update.  There is some inspiration found here by the microsoft researchers exhibited at last years ISWC 2011 You are what you tweet – The Printing Dress