PC + ICM Week 14: Final Project

Solstäd: Winter Wonderland is an immersive roomscale Virtual Reality installation that encourages the user to embrace the playfulness of winter. Using the HTC Vive, LeapMotion, & Arduino, this piece aims to address the question – how can the VR user, in headset, and the VR audience, out of headset, share an interactive experience? In this environment, the VR user is able walk around & explore with their hands to pick up snowballs, draw, & light up a pine tree, while the VR audience is able to control other aspects in the environment such as the time of day, rotation of snowflakes, & as well as act as a voyeur in a passing train caboose.
Brief Video (better version coming soon):

Project Build, + Code (still uploading):

References Used:

Source Code:

PC + ICM Week 9: Augmented Virtuality Final Project + BOM

This weekend, I had the chance to test some of the technology behind my “Augmented Virtuality” final project idea. Here is a demo of the HTC Vive x Leapmotion x Unity x Arduino integration: 

Here is how the user(s) would ideally experience Augmented Virtuality:

Current progress can be found here on Trello; current project supply list is available here on Airtable.



PC Week 8: Final Project Concept Ideas

Design Challenge: How do we create an immersive mixed reality environment?


” To create a sense of full immersion, the 5 senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) must perceive the digital environment to be physically real. Immersive technology can perceptually fool the senses through:

  • Panoramic 3D displays (visual)
  • Surround sound acoustics (auditory)
  • Haptics and force feedback (tactile)
  • Smell replication (olfactory)
  • Taste replication (gustation)”




PC Week 6.5: Pumpkin Candy Dispenser Mockup

My project partner, Andrew Lee, & I have made our first physical iteration with the ultrasonic sensor controlled motor. The main issue is that the candy flies off when the motor spins the turntable due to momentum & wobbliness. Also, the delay is too long between when a hand interacts with the ultrasonic sensor & when the motor stops spinning.

Lasercut pumpkin enclosure:


Some possible fixes include:

  • Stabilizing the motor mount with coupler & lazy susan bearing.
  • Adding a lip to the edge of the turntable
  • Rewriting code to decrease delay time

PC Week 6: Serial Communication

Introduction to Asynchronous Serial Communications Lab: 

In this lab, we learned how to read & format different types of serial data from multiple sensors with the Arduino. Here is an example of how the analog data (On & Off) of a  pushbutton can be read differently (Binary, ASCII, decimal, Hexadecimal,  & Octal).

In the next section, I sent data from 3 sensors to my computer- a pushbutton, a potentiometer, & ultrasonic sensor. The pushbutton & potentiometer were read as analog values & the ultrasonic sensor was read as a digital value.

Mapping these values in the serial monitor was very helpful because I plan on using an ultrasonic sensor for the midterm project.

Serial Input to the P5.js IDE Lab: 

In this lab, we learned how to connect the Arduino to the P5 javascript online editor. This is very useful because using physical sensors, such as a potentiometer, we can now change objects in our web browser in real time. 

Here’s a graph visualized in P5 of the potentiometer movement in real time.

When we added a delay of 100ms to the base Arduino code, you can notice that the graph became more jagged.

And when the base Arduino code was changed from Serial.write(Binary) to Serial.println(ASCII), the graph changed completely! This is because it is writing the raw byte values & graphing it. You can see some of these values in the console log.

It’s possible to get a continuous graph from ascii encoded data, however, the javascript code must be changed. Here’s the code:

Serial Application:

Using this new knowledge of serial communication, I reworked one of my old ICM homework assignments “Hour of Flower Power,” to be controllable with an Arduino + Potentiometer. The hour & minute hands move when the potentiometer is moved in real-time. Here’s a link to my code.

PC Week 5: Sketching User Experiences + Halloween Group Project

Sketching User Experiences:

This week, our assigned reading was “Sketching User Experiences” by Buxton. In the first chapter of this, Buxton describes the design processes being generative + reductive.

In this process of constant change, he highly recommends that designers should be able to iterate quickly. What better way to iterate quickly than through the process of sketching? Based on this idea, my partner & I decided to sketch our project design:

Halloween Project (Andrew Wong + Asha Veeraswamy):

For this project, we decided to make a “Trick or Treat” Candy Dispenser.

The centerpiece is a plate with two different sets of candy, one good & one bad. This plate is attached to a motor +  ultrasonic sensor. The ultrasonic sensor rotates the candy randomly between the good & bad side.


We also made some basic iterations with the ultrasonic sensor where the ultrasonic sensor controlled a buzzer + LED:

PC Week 4: Design Meets Disability + Servo Motor Control Lab

Design Meets Disability:

In this article, “Design Meets Disability,” they bring up several examples of how good design (and bad design) permeates the niche market of disability devices. The most prominent example of this was with eyeglasses & the transition made from being a medical device to being fashionable. I was very surprised to find out that 20% of all glasses are sold with non-prescription lenses! I agree with the author’s perspective that designing for disability should be fashion-able….it enables the user, but also allows for self expression though fashion choice.

1940’s flesh toned pink functional eyewear

2015 Prada Baroque Swirl Fashionable Eyewear










Servo Motor Control Lab:

In this lab, I learned how to control a servo motor using a photoresistor. However, I had some difficulties using the “Serial Monitor” to detect the photoresistor input values between (0, 1023).




PC Week 3: Interactive Technology + Digital Input Output Lab + Analog Output Lan

Interactive technology Observation:

In Norman’s first piece, “Design of Everyday Things,” he focuses on usability; in his second piece, “Emotion & Design: Attractive Things Work Better” he focuses on the importance of aesthetic.

One piece of interactive technology that attempts to implement both usability & aesthetic in NYC are the free Link NYC Wi-Fi kiosks. Implemented in 2015, their website states: “each Link provides superfast, free public Wi-Fi, phone calls, device charging and a tablet for access to city services, maps and directions.”

Aesthetically, it seems to draw inspiration from science fiction cityscapes with its large screen & geometrically tapered edges. (Ghost in the shell, 2017)

As for functionality – it works.When I observed the Link NYC Kiosk on 23th street & 8th avenue, the most popular form of people interacting with the kiosk was using the free wifi with one’s own mobile device. These transactions took about 2-5 minutes. However, I also saw a number of people plugging their phones into the kiosks via USB to charge their phones. These transactions took approximately 8 – 15 minutes. In a period of 30 minutes, no one used the built-in phone feature; this was interesting because the kiosks were partially designed as a replacement for the old phone booth.
In his pieces, Norman also discussed in detail several phone systems & the difficulty in designing a useful yet appealing system.  One difficulty that I noticed with the Link NYC Kiosks was with its large side screen. This screen is designed to host a map of NYC & display advertisements, however, I noticed several passersbys trying to touch the screen.
At this particular kiosk location, people used the kiosk briefly & left. However, at other Link NYC Kiosks, I’ve seen people utilize it for hours as a hangout spot with chairs & snacks. Also, a past issue with the kiosks was an unintended form of human interaction – watching pornography.
Another area for concern is information theft through the USB charging ports. A possible solution to this is to use a USB condom; it allows power through but prevents data transfer. Coincidentally, in 2016, Quartz magazine reported that sales of USB condoms increased.
Overall, I think that these Link NYC kiosks are a well-intentioned update to the NYC communication system. As a form of interactive technology designed for public use by multiple people, it is both practical & eye-pleasing. However, in future designs, I think that having more user experience testing might have helped with predicting some of these issues that have come up.

Digital Input & Output Lab:

In this lab, we learned how to convert digital input to digital output using a button & 2 LEDs.
Analog Output Lab: 
In this lab, we learned how to control analog output of the brightness of a LED by using a potentiometer.

PC Week 2: Switches Lab

The aim of this week was to come up with a simple application for switches and LED circuits. This is what I made:

It is a simple series circuit composed of a 9V battery, 3-pin SPDT switch, 330 Ohm resistor, & blue LED. In this lab, I learned that the terminal endings of the switch have specific functions.