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December 2006 Archives

December 1, 2006

GumSpots - Live from Copenhagen

Today, tomorrow, and Sunday we are presenting GSPS from the ITP Fall 2005 show at Nordic Exceptional Trendshop at ITU in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This is my first trip to Europe and after taking a few hours yesterday to explore a bit on foot, I'm struck with the beauty and friendliness of Copenhagen — a truly wonderful city. The same goes for everyone involved from the university and especially the people of Innovation Lab who have been most welcoming and helpful.

December 3, 2006

Illustrations for the New York Times published today

View the interactive version.

The illustrations I did for the New York Times in collaboration with Lisa Strausfeld of Pentagram were published in today's edition of the New York Times magazine. The illustrations, created in Processing, are the result of a physics-based model of keywords connected by springs. The strength of the virtual spring connecting a pair of keywords together is dependent upon their rate of cooccurrence on the Internet, a measure of their degree of relationship to each other. In addition to the three tiles shown above which are featured in the online version of the article, the cover of the magazine and the following pages of the print article all feature different views of the model.

Similar views, populated with data collected from internal networks, could be used by intelligence agencies in their efforts to determine terms that are interconnected and being discussed by diverse and disconnected agents.

The article also begins with an interview with ITP's Matthew Burton.

December 9, 2006

City Streets, Northern Lights Installed at NYU's Kimmel Center

On Thursday, we installed our light sculpture City Streets, Northern Lights on the second floor of NYU's Helen and Martin Kimmel Center for University Life. Many thanks to Pamela Bolen, the Executive Director of the Kimmel Center for all of her help in organizing the placement and also to the fine staff at Kimmel for their help in its execution.

The location on the second floor provides at once an intimate environment for enjoying the piece from the student study lounges and good sightlines for viewing from the entrance lobby as well as from outside the building from Washington Square Park as well as Laguardia Pl.

City Streets, Northern Lights is on loan to the Kimmel Center for an undetermined period of time.

December 10, 2006

The Orb Proceeds

Here are some photos from the last few days of development on the 3D display:

Bending of the laser cut plexiglas strips into the rings that hold the LEDs around the custom form, also laser cut from MDF

Mounting the plexiglas ring on the frame

One of the first tests with the plexiglas ring installed. Runs perfectly and looks incredible even with no LEDs

The pair of power filtration boards are installed, along with a pair of incomplete logic boards for physical testing

Fine pitch TSSOP deadbug work. Unfortunately, soldering the leadless CASON package took some practice, and in the meantime everyone ran out of stock. So the choice came to either shrink the memory capacity (and the corresponding animation length) or to handwire a TSSOP in its place. Clearly the latter was the choice. Yes, there is a TSSOP-28 Atmel DataFlash hiding under the left side of that pile of wire.

December 11, 2006

The Orb (working title) Glows

Steady progress on the Orb (still looking for an official title — Orbital is the current favorite). Here's progress from installation of all four logic boards along with the pair of power filtration boards, through 25% illuminated. This is all just with simple test patterns, no real programming yet.

Stay tuned...

December 12, 2006

100% (static)

The LED wiring is complete — no spinning until they are tied down tomorrow morning.

Spinning (with the governor on)

The wiring is mostly in control, and with a speed control on the drive motor keeping the revs reduced, everything appears relatively stable. A little more checking, cleaning, and tweaking and hopefully we'll be at full speed soon. Then it's on to position sensing and beyond the test patterns.

December 13, 2006

The Brain

Position sensors are active and the PICs are timing — we have control. The fully interrupt-driven PIC C18 code is not yet displaying bitmaps, but simple algorithmically generated patterns are displaying easily at no less than 260 pixels per revolution (in the bottom pair of images with the blue and green grid, each vertical line corresponds to 10 angular steps). The position sensors for each side are slightly misaligned, which is causing a convergence problem in the interlacing, but that will be a quick fix by simply moving the hall effect sensor on one side or the other. On a brighter note, the simple firmware is doing a relatively good job of adjusting for a wide range of operating speeds. The display looks best at the full rated motor speed of around 1600 RPM, but the wiring needs more securing before it can run continuously at that speed.

Up next is creating code to save and read bitmaps (and animation) to and from the flash memory for full control. In the meantime, here are some photos of tonight's work:

December 17, 2006

Sneak Preview

With 7 hours and change to spare, the Orb is ready for showtime...

December 26, 2006

The Orb Makes the Virtual Rounds

Since the warm reception at the ITP Winter Show The Orb has been getting a good amount of attention around the blogosphere. Here are some of the mentions of which I'm aware (in rough order of appearance):

MAKE Magazine
Hack A Day
Ize.hu (can anyone translate?)
An Unreasonable Man

It's also been YouTubed (thanks to MaximusNYC):


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