Maximus is showing the ITP Spring Show 2009. More information at the micro site


Galvanic Skin Response

Galvanic Sking Response is basically the resistance of your body. And it could be measure as easily as connecting two copper plates. One copper plate is attached to a power supply and the other one is connected to the microcontroller that measures the resistance of the body when you touch them with your finger tips.

The GSR is highly sensitive to emotions in some people. Fear, anger, startle response, orienting response and sexual feelings are all among the emotions which may produce similar GSR responses. There is also a direct response between how relaxed or tensed you are to your body resistance.

Then the project was extended to measure the GSR over a period of time. For this, I madetwo GSR sensors and hooked up each of them to myself and my wife, while watching a movie. I figured the best way to get good responses of interest or boredom would be by watching a movie.

The graph below shows the GSR input over a period of 2 hours.

It was really interesting to see how our responses were very different at times, but also very similar at other times during the movie. It would be really great to see what was exactly going on when the rises and falls happened in the graph.

I also created another application that would layer the two graphs over each other so that, I know where I was more interested and where I was not with respect to my wife.

The image below shows a few parts of that graph.

Notus – Networked mechanical lamp

Notus is my final project for Networked objects and the Materials class. Building the lamp is part of the materials class and networking it is for the networked objects class.

Lighting has been my passion for quite some time now, and I keep finding myself coming up with more and more lighting design projects. There just something about making lamps that is very exciting.

Notus was first conceived as part of the materials class, as it would involve casting, mold making and working with various materials. The form of the lamp is derived from a lotus, and it can mechanical open and close itself. It has two rows of 8 leaves each, which are hinged at the bottom to a circular gear. Now as the gear is rotated, on a threaded rod, it rises up, and hence the leaves open outwards. The inside of the lamp would have LED clusters both facing upwards and downwards to light up the lamp evenly.

I first started with a form core board model to get my concept clear, and also to make sure that the mechanism would work.

For the construction of the final lamp, I first made a 3D model in Solidworks.
The image below shows a 3D model of the lamp and gives an idea of how the lamp would look like once its completed.

Heres how the lamp would look like when it would be closed.

The 3D model was then used to make a rapid prototype of the two different leaves. These were then used to make the molds in silicone.
The image below shows the 3D printed (Rapid prototyped) leaf and the mold.

The molds were then used to create all the leaves using liquid plastic. I added an orange pigment to give it some color. The interesting thing here was that the natural texture of the rapid prototyped model gave the final leaves a translucent effect which looked nice.

The images below shows the LED cluster that forms the light source inside the lamp.

On the networking side, the lamp is connected to the internet and has an online configuration web page. Users can control how the lamp behaves from this page. The image below shows the online interface.

There are various options for controlling the lamp

Direct Control: Users can directly control how much the lamp is open or closed through a slider.

Local ambient response: The lamp reacts (opens and closes) based on the light conditions within the room

Remote ambient response: The lamp reacts to weather conditions outside

Alarm clock: Users can also choose to use the lamp as an alarm clock, so that it would light up and open at a preset time in the morning.

The images below show the final working lamp:

The winding wire here was later resolved by use of slip rings.

Spinning Notus as it opens at the ITP Spring show 2008

Notus in its fully opened state

Physical Computing Improv

Last week we had a quick physical computing assignment for networked objects class. We had to combine an action with an object to create one or more responses from a given list for all three of them. I came up with an idea of a game where, you have a bouncing ball on the screen, with other particles around. White particles giving positive points and red ones giving negative ones. There was a physical ball which the person can squeze to make the size of the ball on screen bigger. The objective of the game was to collect as many white particles as possible and avoid the red ones to make a high score in a given time. Hence the user would have to regulate the squezing of the ball.

Problems encountered:
1. I didnt add a voltage divider circuit with the FSR (Force Sensitive Resistor) which created fluctuating readings.
2. The ball was filled with a synthetic material which accounted for a lot of static electricity giving a full reading all the time.
3. FSR works best when kept on a solid flat surface……..

Bouncing ball setup

RoboLamp – Physical Computing Final Project

Robolamp was my final project for the physical computing class at ITP.

The idea behind the project was to put life into the regular day inanimate objects around us and make the interactions with them more interesting. So here the user can control or rather direct the position of the lamp by moving his/her hands around it.

The image below shows the first prototype, which had two degrees of freedom, and was manually commanded to move to specific positions.

The image below shows the final working prototype of Robolamp. The user gently moves his/her hand around the lamp to position it.

On the technical side it is equipped with four range sensors, one of each side of the head, which detect the presence of a persons hand around it and command the servo motors to move the lamp in the other direction. Its equipped with one servo motor in the bottom, for left-right movement and two in the arms for up-down movement, making it possible to place the head of the lamp almost anywhere.

The video below show the final working prototype.

Movolight – Physical Computing Midterm Project

For my physical computing midterm project I decided to play around with servo motors, as they are easy to control and fun to work with. The concept here is that of an interactive chandelier. The chandelier in this case consists of 9 cubes. The cubes can be switched on and off individually through a computer interface. Depending on the number of the cubes that are switched on, they divided the vertical height between them equally. So if only one of the cubes were to be switched on it would go the full distance. Then if another one is switched on, one would be at full displacement the second one at half distance, so on and so forth. Thus the cubes moved in vertical direction and arrange themselves every time a new cube is switched on or off creating new and interesting lighting patterns.

On the technical side, the main controller here is an atmel168 chip on the arduino development board. The controller serially talks to processing running on a PC for the user interface. On the other side the arduino controls 9 servos and 9 LEDs which make the chandelier. The LEDs can be dimmed using the PWM signal from the arduino. The servos and LEDs are connected by daisy chaining two 8 bit shift registers.

Heres the setup:


The arduino with all the messy wiring 😉


Cubes lit in different formations:




And heres the movie :