This week’s (or month’s) research – 11/07/18

Not done one of these for a while, but thought it would be useful to round-up some of the research I have been carrying out over the past few weeks.

Firstly, am looking at the work of Forensic Architecture, exploring their use of design as a process of archeology.

Exploring the language of objects and existing archetypes, reading Don Norman’s Emotional Design. I am investigating techniques to undermine or subvert the communication of messages by objects.

On the tech front, I am now looking into using the XBee RSSI (Received signal strength indicator) to produce the interactions between the four Space Rocks, using the distance and relative strength of the signal to change the light (colour / intensity) and sound parameters as the objects’ proximity to each other changes. See also Reading XBee RSSI with Arduino. I also need to dig out my copy of Making Things Talk.

Also looking into the concepts of:

  • Pattern recognitionHumans Are the World’s Best Pattern-Recognition Machines, But for How Long?
  • The overview effect –  refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, “hanging in the void”, shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this “pale blue dot” becomes both obvious and imperative.
  • Bicameralism – the condition of being divided into “two-chambers” is a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human mind once operated in a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be “speaking”, and a second part which listens and obeys — a bicameral mind.

Attended an interesting talk at Futurefest, Speaking with Aliens. Triggered some very interesting ideas around communicating with extra-terrestrial life away from Earth with Clara Sousa-Silva (a Quantum Astrochemist at MIT tasked with finding alien life on a molecular level) and Jill A. Stuart (Space Law expert and director at METI international, working on different scenarios for encounters with intelligent life). I was most interested in Clara Sousa-Silva’s mentions of trying to communicate with light, as this can be seen everywhere, and white light can be split into infinite colours via a prism (for example). She also mentioned maths as a communication tool, but this seems too tied to human communication to fit the concept of a universal language. She also mentioned studying inter-species communication on Earth to inform communications with aliens.  The panel also discussed the idea of the Dark Forest, suggesting that perhaps we should not try to communicate with aliens at all.

This has also led me to researching Danielle Wood, Director of Space Enabled and the idea of space that has not been colonised by entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and business interests. This also reminded me of this article in the Guardian discussing attempts to map underground spaces,  which are generally less regulated than the space above ground.

Audio research

I am currently conducting  research into the audio content for my final project. If you wish to participate, listen to 10 different audio tracks on this Soundcloud playlist – https://soundcloud.com/richard-1/sets/audio-research/s-3Fb37 and note your thoughts on each track on this Google form – https://goo.gl/forms/pcI9MhAZkeMpfpKx2.

Research Workshop – Critical Thinking

A couple of sketches for the final ‘We Are Here’ presentation, with contributions from the Critical Thinking workshop group. The concept of presenting the objects in a dark space would help enhance the audio content.

Also useful for the final show piece is this Scientific American article about the brain compensating for the loss of one sense by enhancing others.

Super Powers for the Blind and Deaf.
The brain rewires itself to boost the remaining senses. If one sense is lost, the areas of the brain normally devoted to handling that sensory information do not go unused — they get rewired and put to work processing other senses. Brain imaging studies show the visual cortex in the blind is taken over by other senses, such as hearing or touch

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/superpowers-for-the-blind-and-deaf/

Arduino – Mozzi Piezo input tests

“A piezo creates a varying voltage when you squeeze it. [We’ll] use it as a sensor by measuring the voltage the piezo produces across a 1 megaOhm resistor…Notice it has a very fast response, especially a sharp attack and decay when it’s knocked.”

This first test was changing the frequency as the piezo was scraped and touched.

And the audio version:

 

Piezo sample trigger (& speed)

 

Piezo sample scrub

And finally an example of an external speaker circuit. Will need to work on the output level for this.

Arduino audio – further Mozzi tests

A video showing an Arduino Nano running the Mozzi library, which allows sounds generated from sensors. This uses the LDR + resistor as input to Analog Pins A1 +  A2, and using the code from Arduino➞File➞Examples➞Mozzi➞03.Sensors➞Knob_LightLevel_x2_FMsynth

And here’s the attendant audio.

Arduino audio tests

Arduino audio tests using the Mozzi library, a Nano board, a light dependent resistor and a potentiometer (volume control).

http://sensorium.github.io/Mozzi/learn/introductory-tutorial/