At the beginning of my final project I looked into a wide variety of ways of firing off animation dependent on the user interacting with the space, you could choose from Leap Motion, Xbox Kinect and various light and/or motion (PIR) sensors, but I plumped for a very simple (I thought) method, the humble pressure mat.

pressure-mat

I chose the pressure mat because I want a simple interaction, a foot press makes the animation play. The viewer looking closely at my sculpture, stepping closer to read the information label, creates a visual and audio reaction from the very space that they are in.

I was concerned that an electronic sensor, could get confused and react with the presence in the space, therefore never shutting off the switch… The mat makes a closed loop when stepped on and no matter how many people stand on it at once, it will only fire when newly stepped on, keeping it simple… on or off.

It had been suggested that  I use MAX MSP as my user interface in between the mat, the computer and the projector and could control video and audio in a wide variety of ways.

To get output from the pressure mat into the computer so that MAX can process it needed a single audio jack.

35mm-metal-stereo-plug

http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/35mm-metal-stereo-plug-fj99h

I also needed to order a longer length of wire as the pressure mat came with only 20cms of wire attached.

So with all of the hardware in place I rigged the pressure mat into the jack.

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the jack in pieces

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the two ends wired into the jack terminals, although the jack has three terminal points you only need the side two not the top ‘earth’ point.

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and nearly back together with a small plastic insert to prevent accidental connection.

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all wired up.wpid-dsc_0081.jpg

This however was to be the easy part, programming in MAX turned out to be the hardest part…

to be continued…

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