Physical Computing

Train Stop Project

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I worked on this project with Tim Haynes.

The goal of this project was to build a device that lets you know when your train stop is coming up.


It all started with the thought that when you’re coming home late, and you’re tired or drunk or both, you can sometimes miss your trainstop. Or if you’re reading a good book or watching a movie or even just having a nap. So, what if you had a device that could A) alert you that your stop was coming up and B) let you know that your stop was here.

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So, time being what it is, I thought I’d post an update on the status of the train stop watch project.
Tim and I have toiled and struggled and finally we’ve gotten our code working. Our data from last time was correct. Our math, however, was not. We were taking the speed by averaging over all the samples, instead of over an interval. So now we’re getting the speed by averaging all the intervals (at 10ms) per second. So now we’re getting clear acceleration and deceleration in the data.
So the logic behind our program is as follows:

  1. We sample the speed each second.
  2. We baseline the high and low speeds at the start of the program.
  3. We determine new high and low speeds based on a simple algorithm. If there is a new high/low point that is steady (within 100 of each other), and 300 away from the current (high if low and low if high) point, for 3 seconds then a new high/low is set. Simple, right?
  4. If there is a constant deceleration for 6~ish seconds, we say “Ok, we’ve detected a stop.”

This is all fairly accurate so far and the data reflects it except for a few false negatives that we hope to smooth out by changing the constant deceleration time from 6 seconds to 10ish. We’ll have to play around w/ that.
Right now we just have to actually build a case for our project, and maybe pretty up the input/output mechanisms. Right now we just have a switch that we push to raise the stop count and some lights/a buzzer that can go off.

Train Watch

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So here we sit. Our laptop is broken. We cry. We cry. And then we remember. So trains go places. And we go with them. Our sleepiness and bookreading goes with us. The train stops interrupt. Grr. Why do you interrupt? Why?

So we no longer notice the stops. But the end approaches. The end of our journey. The end of our life on the train. The end of all things trainy. A notification is required.

Viola! Train Watch. It buzzes, it beeps, it blinks. Ok, that was a lie. It only buzzes. We have data, yes we do. Data the likes of which you have never seen. We can haz colored linez? Yes. Yes we can.

STOP. Image time.

The Key:
color == data
red — x
green — y
blue — z

purple — distance
teal — speed
black — acceleration
vertical blue – stops/starts

pcomp final ideas

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Ok, so here’s my top ideas: (wrote them late last night before i went to bed so the grammar may be a bit wierd)

  • ok, so a shadow thing that goes buh bum buh bum and changes to match your shape – built out of cloth – mini doll thing pic1
  • passerby-shadows captured-fade down as time pass-worn out by footstep vibrations- blend softly smooth into each other-twist and morph-and then cease to exist. OR dancing shadow
    pic pic2
  • minature house filled w/ booby traps pic
  • watch that notifies you when your stop is coming up on the train pic
  • device that switches your music if it senses you’re falling asleep pic
  • a device to detect if you’re doing a motion (say martial arts form) correctly pic


Posted by | General, ITP, Physical Computing | No Comments

So this past weekend, our assignment was to relax. A bit of a foreign concept, I first tried getting large amounts of sleep. That, failing to impress me, I spent the day wandering around the city, seeing the sights. I saw the chanel exhibit in the part (rather well done i think) as well as a pumpkin festival at the same time. I almost visited MAD, but got spirited away at the last moment for a romp around times square.

Oh! And i finally was able to find the time to clean my apartment after two weeks. I went to Oscar’s bday party and hung out with friends here and there. It was good times really. Good times. Now the week isn’t quite over so i’m going to go and get as much more relaxing in as possible.


Prototypin’ (midterm docs p1)

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Jayoung, Neo, Ozge and I (henceforth refered to as the Gibbering Rulers of Über People a.k.a. “the Group”), came up with an idea to create a random free-write-style word generator.

I spent a bit of last night testing stuff out with a small prototype and the most important thing I learned was this. It’s hard to flip dice. It’s easy to make a ball roll. This startling and amazing revelation will surely shock and astonish the rest of the Group as well (we’ve been stuck on this cube idea for a bit now). I shall surely let them know tomorrow.

Una palabra no dice nada…

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… and neither does a picture. Or something like that.

So my first time into processing and… i kinda like it. My only gripe is it’s name. I dare you to go to google and look do a casual search for code using the name “processing.” Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Anyhoo, here’s my etch-a-sketch.

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Idea Factory, part 2

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OK! Unloading the old noggin again.

  • Hat Angle: As a man, you should wear your hat at a rakish angle. However, finding the right angle for you can take quite alot of mirror work. And once you find it, if you take off the hat, you have to find it again the next time. So, make a device that remembers the position at which you last wore your hat, allowing you to make only minute adjustments the next time.
  • Sk8ter Love: So yea, I bought a skateboard a few months ago, but this-and-that happened and I havnt been able to ride it more than 4 times. But! From what I’ve noticed while teaching myself to ride, I have a tendency to get .. not scared, but unnerved while going down steep hills really fast (or at least really fast to me). It would be nice to have some sort of feedback device letting me know ~how fast I’m going or that I’m still on balance. Give me some artificial confidence … or let me know that if i don’t hop off soon I may die. Also.. can someone teach me the proper way to stop on a skateboard? :(
  • Auto Airbag: This would be a personal airbag, you could strap onto your body. It detects when you’re moving faster than a certain speed, say… 9.8 m/s and when a collision w/ something is immenent it deploys an airbag in that direction. So you could possibly just throw yourself at the ground… at the walls… at people all day long and never suffer any damage.
  • Exersize Buddy: Mmm, I’ve not really worked out at all since I started the moving process a few months ago. And trying to fit in gym time while living in BK and school in Manhattan hasn’t really been working out. Usually I get to ITP with only 15 minutes to spare and by the time I’m finished my work on the floor I just wanna go eat/sleep/die. But the real problem lies at home. I absolutely hate working out just by itself. If i’m at the gym then I’ll get in a solid hour because I don’t want to end up looking like a punk. But at home, it’s just me… and I lack motivation. So! Introducing the Exercize Buddy. You put a number in the system and have to touch two things togehter 100 times. It turns into a game. Touch them together by doing pushups, jumping jacks, situps. Oh yea, and it yells encouragement at you, Ahnold Shwartz style. “Ya… do eet. Pump dat iron!”, and such.


Posted by | Communications Lab, ITP, Physical Computing | No Comments

Alright, so this is a joint commlab/physcomp post. I’m supposed to document one of my projects for commlab, so it all worked out.

Here’s the video.

I started toying around with the servo, but I really wanted to play with the piezo. I wanted to create a different sound based on the user’s input. I had a force sensor, so I jury rigged some code up to do interesting stuff. At first there was a problem when I tried to upgrade the arduino program and found that it was broken. Oh well. Back down to version 0011.

So, what i was trying to do is let a user make a 3-note song. But this sound stuff is harder than it seems. I kept having trouble getting the delay right for to seperate the notes, so really what you’re hearing in the video is 3 notes being played very fast, but it sounds like one sound. Still, it’s generally what I was aiming for. I need to figure out the delays more. But not now. Later.

And here’s the code:
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