Wednesday, 29 February 2012

More on the Arduino

So today we soldered up our potential meters and connected it to the arduino board. This allowed us to control the brightness of the LED however the most interesting element is that you can print this to the serial monitor which allows you see the resistance that you have the potential meter at. Interesting tool which allows you to monitor the input of a device. Below is a short video showing the serial monitor in action and what lines of code that you need to create a reading from your device.


In this video I outline the code that is needed to control a LED with a potential meter. I also show you what happens when you change the resistance and how the serial monitor prints this on the screen. Very handy device if you are not sure you are getting output data. The fun of using an Arduino.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Sketches From Diary

Finally we have the measurements for the bin that will be our prototype. We could not get a bin at the university to modify, however I feel that making the bin will allow us to make it more appealing and attractive to put rubbish in it. We have also been exploring different ways of creating sound to come out of the bin and different voices that would be most humorous and exciting to listen to. I will up load some examples in the coming days. Below are the height, breath and width measurements for the prototype that we got on the site location yesterday. 

Page 8 from Diary 

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Social Media Art Therapy

Presentation on Social Media and Art Therapy 

This presentation by Gretchen Miller and Cathy Malchiodi looks at the potential and benifits for art therapists interested in learning more about social media and on-line tools for professional networking, including how the Internet can promote art therapy and build community worldwide. 

Friday, 24 February 2012

Week 5 Semester 2

This video is part of a series that I am posting as a blog about my weekly experience of doing a masters in Interactive Media and Design at the University of Limerick.

Dr. Gabriela Avram's class on Knowledge and Work

In this class we discussed what was data, and how information is data in context. For example when you ask a question, the person will answer in context. As humans we learn things and then we make sense of it.  What is tassive knowledge? Riding a bike would be tassive knowledge, you can't really explain how to do it, but you have to get on a bike and learn. So through the experience we learn. It does not matter how many books you read on riding a bike, you still have to get on it to learn. 
In today's society, knowledge is open for anybody, with youtube and online tutorials. With knowledge that we have acquired, it's now possible to transfer this knowledge into the digital domain to share with others. We also talked about in class knowledge mapping and a good exercise to do is to make a knowledge map of all the information that you have acquired. We also talked about work and how work is not a place but something we do, which relates back to some of the topics we talked about in previous weeks.

Geocaching Presentation.

The presentation went so well. Me, Conor and Grace worked so hard to pull it all together, so I'm delighted that the class enjoyed the talk and activity. After class today I will upload a short clip of our presentation and some photos of how the presentation went. I'm so happy that all went smooth and I feel everybody in the class had great fun. I will upload my video to the Diary blog later and I will talk in more detail about the how the presentation went today.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Geocaching tomorrow... All very exciting.

Today our Group put the final touch to our Presentation on Geocaching. We have been using Prezi to make the presentation. The Geocaches have been hidden and are logged on the website, so this is great. It means that when we go Geocaching, we can use the app on the Iphone or Smart phone. We also got the money box with a three pin code system, and the photographs are printed and Chocolate eggs bought for the cache. All very exciting now, so I'm really looking forward to doing this presentation with the group. Perhaps tomorrow I will upload a small section of our Prezi after the presentation to give you all an idea what it was like. When we mix down the video file, I will put a link to my website where I shall embed it. 

Happy Geocaching tomorrow everybody. 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The beginning of Lent.

Today we worked on more of the Arduino and were playing a tone melody from the board. Exciting progression. I have been working with Conor in class on how we are going to write the program to build the interactive bin. However, we have to get the bin made from wood for the prototype. So until the bin is made, we will continue to work on the electronics. 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Dr. Gabriela Avram's class on Research methods

Within this class we discussed a lot of topics including the the difference between a method and methodology. The method is the technique of collecting data and the methodology is the underlying theory or analyses of how research should proceed, often influenced by discipline.
We also talked about Epistemology, the theory of how we know things yet understanding that knowledge is a branch of philosophy. We discussed the notion of how everything can be known with specific methods, empirical studies, the gathering of knowledge about them. We also discussed the idea that as we get to know the world we get to influence it.

So with regards to my research and the end of year project we also talked about how it is important to formulate a research question, so that I can understand what it is that I am trying to prove. 

The research methods that I choose should help to answer my research question. The methodology will help guide the application. We also discussed that when making prototypes its is important to test this with as many different types of users. 

Surveys are another useful tool to gather data. However, it is important that you formulate you questions carefully so that you can receive good information that will aid the design solution. This brings me to another very important point that was discuses, which was about the idea of triangulating. Not just relying on your data coming from one source, but from many different sources so that you can compare findings to come to a stronger conclusion.

It is important in my Thesis to state that I am doing a 'short term case study' and all data is collected in just a few weeks. Also, it is important to mention that my findings are specific to that location so that they are not representative or generalizations, for example, 'this is our case and is what is happening here and not in other institutions' (I am doing a short term case study, all data is collected in a few weeks). Important that I can apply my findings back into theory. I should look at what was done in the past and show the evolution of how this type of work has evolved.

When doing my onsite visits, I should be looking at why do individuals communicate and engage within their environment, how do they do it and what type of design that they might possibility accept. To understand the user I must become one of the people inside. Forming focused groups is also important. This will help me identify gaps in my own knowledge. Using the idea of participatory design with the group could also help as a way to decide what would be the most beneficial solution to the problem that I am tackling. The key is, to understand why do people do as they do, so it would be sensible to ask them questions their actions. By asking questions I may highlight their understanding of why they do certain tasks e.g there response may be, "I haven't thought of that." 

Finally, it is important to me to report daily on my findings and development. Keeping a diary is a good way to do this. Within the research environment a camera observing should not be relied on because it misses out on all the finer detail and the real experience of being in that environment. To understand who engages with who, it is essential to do onsite observations, I'm not meant to be a fly on the wall, so it is better to engage and ask questions to get to the core of what the design problem is.

Finally it is essential at the start of my Thesis to mention what my background is, so that the reader will know what my biases is, so that it is clear from the out start where I am in relation to this research.

Geocaching Presentation Research

Interactive map showing the development of geocaching throughout the world.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Research on Site (fun brain storming)

Research on site outside the students union and the spar shop at the University of Limerick. We brain stormed ideas and got a better feel to how rubbish gathers in this location and planned carefully ways that we could approach this interactive design. 

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Research for the Bin Project.

So today I went scouting in search for a Motor that would allow our group to open and close our interactive bin prototype (BinBot).
If you go to any scrap yard, for sure you will have an abundance of these little motors, considering that every car will have at least two or three of these. 
I also got a 12V car battery and cables to make the connections. Also, I have a battery charger so that when we are testing over the next few weeks, we can keep the battery charged.
Last but not least, I also have a light that runs of the car battery. I was thinking that if the bin makes sound, that would be great, but that does not provide for all users, what if someone was blind? So I though of having a light that comes on when the bin lid is open, and this would allow us to make the prototype more interactive for all users.

Windscreen Motor diagram

This is what the motor looks like

Friday, 17 February 2012

Group Presentation (Relation between Art and Design)

Today's morning class was a presentation on the Relation between Art and Design. There was some interesting points made by the group made about how the cross pollination between scientists and artists/Designers (idea of convergence) allows new ideas to be introduced into the art and design world. The group also talked about Vulgarism, and the idea of convergence art. The notion of how art can be be made for the sake of it, is it exploration and the real life problems that are addressed was also discussed. Also the idea of reapportion of art materials was an interesting topic and the group activity was to design a chair but also choose material that we could recycle and reappropriate. 
Also discussed was how art can be unclear. This idea that art is unclear that when you get a cross pollination. Can art become clear as a result of a decision input (affordances).
The presentation finished with how Photoshop is used and we had a fun exercise on how to use this software in a fun creative way.   

Dr. Gabriela Avram's class talk on Space and Place.

So in today's class we had a a great presentation on Space and Place. From the presentation we learned about how people build their habits in a place that they work in. So this idea of place which you share with people within a broader community.
We give a space some significance, meaning and place of interaction between other people. Also this idea that we are becoming more and more mobile, so this idea that we take our work to home. This idea of that we make a place, we go to coffee shops and sit on a lap top (Internet Cafe).
So what does mobility today require? It requires young people to use existing innovative technology to communicate with their friends. So what are new devices allowing us to do? They allow us to know the possibility of were good restaurants are, or even where our friends might be located in town when we go socializing.
So what are the consequences of this new technology that can give others our location?
This idea of dataVeillance. People can be traced by their digital footprint. An interesting point was talked about how the digital influences the physical.
We also touched on MeshUp, and the idea of combining a database with a map and how this can add to our digital footprint in regards of our current location.
The last thing we talked about was geosocial networks. What does this mean? Geo meaning world, so in theory, world social networks. People tweeting about things in their own place, creating a map of what is happening, a good example of this would be when and Earthquake happens, and people on location tweet about it This allows information to flow almost in realtime in relation to the event happening. This is a major move away from the depending on the national or global media.

Week 4 Semester 2

This video is part of a series that I am posting as a blog about my weekly experience of doing a masters in Interactive Media and Design at the University of Limerick.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Arduino experiment 2

This was my second attempt of playing around with an Arduino. This time I connected a piezo crystal to the output connections. I used this to play a melody which I programed the board to play and I used an empty coffee cup as an amplifer. Fun, Fun, Fun...


My next experiment, I would like to have three piezos connected and program the board so that each piezo would play part of a melody, so that all three would play in harmony. Again I would use empty cups as amplifiers. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

First Arduino experiment


This was my first experiment using the Arduino. I programed the board to play 5 LED'S and I changed the timing of the pule to the LED's so that I could create a pattern when they flashed. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Dr Gabriela Avram's class

Today we discussed how to go about our research for the Thesis project. We talked about Chapter 1 of the thesis and how this is to be an outline of the project. The reason for choosing the topic, my own experience within the area of research. Why I understand there is a need to research in this area. So I came to this idea/decision, what other concepts am I aware of, what failed to provoke me to do this research, what inspired me and the evolution of my ideas. 

Chapter two looks at the research in my area, things that relate to my project. To make the research personal to my work, I need to pass it through my filter to make it personal. When writing the literature review/chapter 2, I need to show the reader that I understand the writer and why their research is important to my development. Can I criticize their work, see what needs developed (critical analysis). Who else has done research in my field of work. I will look at their techniques and their methodologies. I will argue if they are appropoiate or not, or if they could be related to my project. E.g. I would like to use the same method as ...... This guy has used this and it was very effective because.... and I would like to use the same approach...etc. Mind maps might also be useful, document all the links. Who is the user group? 

Is my topic worth while, does it duplicate other works, is this new research in this field. Can I add to the field of research, state my area and build on it. e.g. The interactive table, were did it come from etc. Making sense of what I have read in articles and relate this back to my work and how it could benefit from such methodologies and design approach. e.g. This idea can be  traced back to .... but also discussed in this paper is that .... 
If your paraphrasing you still need to quote the source. Another important point, a Bibliography is not needed, but a list of reference is needed. Using Mendeley to help research is a god tool, also Citulike or Delicious; also good for publishing is Scribd. A good referencing system to use is Harvard and a good resource for articles is ACMdigital library. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Arduino Fun Time

Today in Mikaels class we started to learn about the Arduino board. Lots of fun and I'm looking forward to implementing this technology into my Interactive Bin Project. So the fun begins. Today's class was mostly electronics, fundamental basics, however over the next few weeks we plan to build a theremin using a light dependent diode in conjunction with the Ardunio board. So what does the board look like....

So how am I going to implement this into my work. Well I have yet to figure out the final detail of the electronic side of things however an new thing popped up in class was the Piezo crystal. This is a fantastic material. Sensitive to light, temperature and pressure. Whaoo... what a material and produces a voltage. In relation to the pressure pads that I was thinking about, the piezo crystal could possible be used as an alternative. 

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Friday, 10 February 2012

Week 3 Semester 2

This video is part of a series that I am posting as a blog about my weekly experience of doing a masters in Interactive Media and Design at the University of Limerick.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


After college I met a friend for hot chocolate in Scholars bar beside the Spar shop at the University. Yes, this is indeed the area were I will be designing for. When we left Scholars, what do you think I seen at the picnic tables.... Mountains of RUBBISH (I wish I took a photo to prove this to you all). It really is disgusting and frustrating, yet this fuels my design motivation because I want to solve this problem. Furthermore, I know for fact (because I was told by the caretaker) that this area is swept down and cleaned last thing before they finish work. So it's clearly the students problem for their dirty habits. This really frustrated me tonight, and it's not like there is no bins. In a 10 meter radius I think there is 5 or more bins, so there is no excuse for this RUBBISH behavior. I can't wait to finish my designing stage and get the prototype on site to test it, to really see can an interactive approach to using bins really make a difference! Time will tell...

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Red tape (getting permission)

I went to the University Students Union and was trying to get permission to do the interactive bin project in the court yard. It seems that Edel in the office has given us permission to do our project and test it out for a few hours on the picnic tables outside the Spar shop which is on campus. I have also found a location that will allow us to monitor the site being studied from  a window that over looks the court yard. This is great because it is on a second floor and allows us to clearly see the flow of traffic around these tables and also see who is doing the littering. Furthermore when we test the prototype, this location will allow us to monitor the interactive bin in action from at a safe distance without getting involved with peoples interaction with the bin. After they have disposed of their rubbish we can interview them to see how effective our prototype was.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Sketches and drawings for Bin Project

Drawings and Sketches form my Sketch book for the Interactive Bin Project.

Bouncy Bin (top image) and TurBin (Turbine Bin bottom image)

This first idea I explained a few days a go on this blog. Its about how to create an interactive bin that rotates in the wind, and as it rotates it would light up a series of LED's to highlight the bins presence to encourage the disposal of rubbish. 

Bouncy Bin 

This final idea is what we decided to research and focus on for the Interactive bin Project. We wanted to address the litter problem that generates from the picnic tables outside the Scholars bar and Spar shop at the University of Limerick. So we decided to create pressure pad seats that will trigger when someone gets off their seat. When this happens a voice will remind them to put their litter in the nearest bin. We have also been looking at the prospect of designing a bin that is attached to the table so that when the pressure switch is released (when someone get off the seat) then the bin lid goes up and again a voice reminds them to dispose of their litter and we could also attach lights to increase the bins visibility. 

The interactive bin/picnic table 

Monday, 6 February 2012

How to make a pressure pad

Today we further developed our concept of the bin/rubbish project. I have been looking at how the pressure pad idea can be made. It seems that our idea can be made and will take some electronics to get it developed. However below is a link that shows you how a pressure pad can be created. Good tutorial to get my ideas flowing. 

Saturday, 4 February 2012


At the moment I am thinking about possible technology that I could use for my project that I'm working on. (Final project). This is very early however it is just to give me an idea. If you remember from my first blog post I posted a video were reacTIVision is implemented to solve a design problem. I have been researching this and it seems that the software is open source. Have a read at reacTIVision website. I think this could be used in conjunction with my ideas to present not just the art work but the process involved making art within a therapeutic setting. 

Friday, 3 February 2012

Week 2 Semester 2

This video is part of a series that I am posting as a blog about my weekly experience of doing a masters in Interactive Media and Design at the University of Limerick.

The CraftCube initiative presents new and exciting ways of displaying, interpreting and accessing contemporary craft with a focus on new technology. The aim of the research-based CraftCube series is to champion and expose to a broader audience practice-based research that explores the boundaries of contemporary craft and its relationship with digital technology. The freestanding CraftCube is a complete, experiential display environment containing objects and dynamic interpretation. It is compact, lightweight and suitable for display in museums and galleries, libraries, higher education galleries, corporate environments or at events, conferences and festivals.
This cube houses a collection of pieces that reveal a trajectory of digital jewellery research into memory and memory loss designed by Jayne Wallace. The selected works are reflective pieces based on source material gathered from care staff at Alzheimer’s Society day care centres and people living with memory loss as well as in-depth co-creative research with an individual living with dementia.
Viewers enter the CraftCube to interact with the pieces and uncover the personal stories around them. The cube is being designed directly with Jayne , creating a personal and visually engaging environment for her work. Key to the design is viewer interaction with the works and interpretation.

Interactive art therapy

A multi-touch coffee table based on FTIR technology. Software on the table replicates real world properties of finger painting, allowing therapists to set up un-supervised sessions for people with dementia. The coffee table is similar to the Sage project, but includes a compliant surface and infrared camera in the unit. Software written in C#. Further information can be viewed at Tom Batindale's blog page. 

Patrick Olivier's blog space was the main resource page that led me to todays findings. It can be found here, Patrick Olivier    

Art Therapy Easels

Hand crafted of solid oak and walnut these multi-touch artists easels are fully adjustable and include a high resolution, super sensitive multi-touch screen based on FTIR. Built for various projects involving gaze detection and un-supervised therapy. Three of these systems are currently on trial with real clients in Toronto, Canada. You can read further at Art Therapy Easels


I was on the website of Cultural Lab Newcastle researching for articles that are associated with my end of year project when I came across the BinCam project. It is a project that aimed to increase individuals' awareness of their food, waste and recycling behavior. 

How the bin works is that photos are tagged using a crowd sourcing service and uploaded to the BinCam application on a social network site. This is to encourage playful engagement and to make a reflection upon a user's personal bin data. Another interactive element is that people can review and share communications about the bin-related behavior of themselves and others. 
The Link to the website can be found at Digital Interaction at Cultural Lab

BinCam is a collaborative research project between the Digital Interaction group in Culture Lab at Newcastle UniversityLiSC at the University of Lincoln and the University of Duisburg Essen.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

A fruitful Thursday

Today me and Conor came up with an interesting proposal to deal with the rubbish problem out side the spar shop in the university court yard. I have sketched some new proposal ideas that are very different to my original ideas as a result of the responses from the care taker. Tomorrow I will post my new video explaining all the ideas in full detail and hopefully I will get my sketches uploaded. 

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A busy Wednesday

Today we had another interesting development using Flash. I came across a very good tutorial that shows you how to build a website using action script. It is presented by Paul Trani on the Adobe TV website. I used his tutorials before to help me build my first website using html and I find his method and approach to teaching very easy to follow. Thanks Paul for the great help and all the tips that I have learnt form your tutorials. I haven't actually finished his tutorials using action script however its coming together bit by bit. Have a look at the link above, it really is worth the while to take the time to go through some of the things he suggests. 
Also today we were discussing in more depth the world of digital media and ethics. I have got my hands on Charles Ess's book, "Digital Media Ethics". I have only started reading this book and each week we will be discussing each chapter in class as the term progresses. I have dipped into a few pages and it seems to be a very informative read.
Last thing to mention for the night, I have been doing some further thinking on what path my final project is going to take. I'm confident of the general area of research as I mentioned last week, however I have been thinking which group of people would be best to engage with to do my study. I have a meeting on Friday to discuss this with one of my Tutors and hopefully between now and the weekend I would like to be on a clearer path so that at the beginning of week three (next week) I can commence my observations and gather as much data as possible to help inform my design decision. 
Between now and the weekend, when I do get a free minute, I will post all the drawings and sketches that I have been working on this week. Some really interesting developments on the Litter bin project. So many ideas, yet no money or resources to build, so it comes down to what's available financially and within the time frame because you could look at this project in terms of a final year project. All very exciting : )