MAX msp and the pressure mat switch – the easy part #maxmsp #pressuremat

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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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USB lighting for Digital space

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I will be mounting two larger pieces of AR Art on the wall for the initial focus for the participant, but many more will be available in the form of postcards and business cards and a demo booklet that I am inviting people to buy for a very modest sum of £2.50, to take my art away with them and play at home!

To display the two larger Artworks though I need to source lighting for that side of my installation as it is split into two sides, the ‘reality augmented’ where my sculpture and projection mapping will take place and the ‘augmented reality’  corner where my binoculars will sit on a plinth with my printed documents and the two artworks will be sited.

I have gone down the route of LED lighting using USB power as I need the lights to be low heat output as they will be on for 7-8 hours and constantly powered rather than relying on batteries.

USB Plug In 5LED Light

I found a positionable neck 5 led light stick, but needed to extend the tiny usb lead as it’s primary use is with a computer or laptop. With USB leads you do have to make sure that they are under 5 metres long, or you get reduced power output and need a repeater cable, fortunately I only needed 2 metres so was pretty sure it would be okay.

I also wanted to source a dual usb plug to reduce sockets needed and it seemed sensible as usb lights are only low volatge and masterplug do a reliable version of their plugs with the added bonus of a through socket, so I could actually power all of my plinths power needs ( 2 USB sockets and an ordinary plug socket) through this one plug – I may still need that option!

masterplugusb

I wanted to test that this light source was bright enough and with everything plugged in there was no reduction in power actually in situ, so took all the cables into my space earlier…

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So, in this picture we have the two led stick lights plugged into their own two 3 metre usb male to female extensions, plugged into the dual usb power socket of the masterplug, in the exact situation in my installation space.

I then stuck a test image onto the wall with blu-tac and attached one of the lights to the wall, to test if the light was strong enough for my phone to trigger the Aurasma content in this low light situation.

and it was…

The low light in this corner also did not spill over into the other area of my installation where my projection will be.

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3D Binocular Augmented Reality Viewer… done #augmentedreality #AR #aurasma

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Remember these?

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The central divider which turned them into a 3D viewer was a sticking point for them to view Augmented Reality, so I had to try and find a way to remove it without breaking the rest of the plastic surround.

I was very disappointed to realise that the plastic that they had used was in fact very strong, so a craft knife wasn’t even going to make a dent in the rigid structure.

I went down into the 3D workshop to see what tools they might have that could be of use… I thought that a curved hacksaw blade might do the trick, but it just wouldn’t work as you would have no room with which to draw the blade back and forth  any useful distance…

I then asked if they had any heavyduty ‘snips’ I remember using tin snips in previous making ventures and them cutting tin well… Luckily Jim did have a pair of snips, although he didn’t think they would get through the thick plastic.

He gave it a go and they went through the plastic easier than he thought they would! Brilliant.. I sat down to do it and found it really wasn’t as easy as Jim made it look, my feeble little hands struggled making the snips cut any sort of distance, so I resorted to taking tiny little nibbles out of the middle divider.

This was still really hard and also meant of course it took 3 times as long, about a hour and a half to get down the full length of the binoculars – and the blisters on my fingers will attest to this!

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Eventually, I reached a point where you couldn’t see anything left of the divider when looking through the eyepieces, so then turned to a large handled rasp to file away all of the little ragged edges.
wpid-dsc_0039.jpgPop in your ipod and hey presto AR Binoculars!

These will be used in my installation to demo my Augmented Reality booklet content and postcards.

I will be preloading the ipod with my own Aurasma channel – tracey tutt – so that all of my printed materials come to life when viewed through the AR Binoculars.

The idea behind making them binoculars comes from a desire to introduce devices to view content in a soft way, ie rather than have an obvious iphone or android smart phone sat in front of you, which could confuse frighten or just irritate the viewer I wanted it to be simple, pick it up in a tactile form – binoculars – and simply do the natural thing with the object, look through the eyepieces.

 

 

Aurasma Information icon for my show #aurasma

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AR_iconFor my show I will have active Aurasma triggers within the space, so I needed to come up with a beautiful graphic to inform the viewer that here is not only a graphic, or photo, but an experience.

Using my line drawings and full colour Great Bustard illustrations and placing them so they appear to come out of the mobile devices screen in colour, gives the visual clue as to what you can hope to see.