Final Project PComp

After several weeks of learning and experimenting with physical computing, the time has come to put all our knowledge towards our final project. There are many ideas and paths that I would love to follow but will limit myself to just a few.

Dream making machine:
– The purpose of this machine is to be able to make you experiment with art, music, and literature and combine all of the three in order to get some kind of result.

Robot interaction:
– A robot that will be able to follow instructions via a specially modified controller. Its main attributes aside from moving in all directions will be to interact and perform some simple tasks when asked to.



Following our last class, we had the opportunity to present our ideas in front of our classmates and get some feedback on how to proceed with our project and what problems might occur.

I will be continuing my final project with the ‘Dream Machine’ idea. Below are some sketches that depict a first look as to how my machine will look like and interact. Also there is sketch that will be used for play testing based on a cardboard.



Continuing into the more technical part of the project as well as the outline of what the machine will offer, a system diagram, a timeline and bills of materials diagram has been made.


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In order to figure out which sensors to use for combining music and sketching, some early testing needed to be done as seen below:

Photoresistor Light Sensor

Short Flex Sensor

Furthermore, some more progress on the P5.Js sketch which will be incorporated into the whole interactive experience:


Getting close to the delivery of the final project, it is vital to make sure which functions are going to stand out and what role each function will serve as. It was decided after some testing that using a keypad is a more convenient approach and has more potential than just using buttons or other sensors. With the help of the mouse and possibly a potentiometer the dream machine will be complete at this stage.

Mastermind Game

For our Physical Computing midterm we chose (paired up with Swapna) to work on the “mastermind” game and instead of using your mouse to interact, use actual physical buttons. These buttons (5) will recreate four colors: white, red, green, blue and one enter button. The rules are exactly the same as of the original mastermind game but instead of using all eight colors we limited ourselves to four. We will create a small box and inside of it fit the buttons and the Arduino micro-controller.

Getting familiarized with our initial thoughts on the mastermind game made us feel very positive about the upcoming challenge. We thought that the Mastermind project wouldn’t prove too difficult after all. Wrong! From the slightest mistake in wiring till coding the game in p5.js proved to be a big challenge. Some initial sketches and wiring attempts are shown below:

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Once we figure out the way on making sure that the wiring was correct for the initial button, we started to add the succeeding two.

Again, it proved to be a bit harder than we thought. Some problems with the breadboard and wiring backtracked us a bit but after successful logical thinking we were able to overcome the problem. Once we were done with the first part of the physical side of the game we moved on to programming the game. The process was a very difficult one and a lot of hours were spent in order to figure out the correct logic for the game. Gladly with patience and some help from other ITPers we were able to successfully program the game.

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What was left now was to make the physical side of the game interact with our computer and the game logic. We started testing out the game with one button in order to make sure that the coding and logic is right and then move onwards. For that process we encountered some problems as shown below:

The problem for the multiple squares shown was that we haven’t used the call and response (handshaking) flow control. Once we were able to solve the problem we experimented with the three buttons. Again some problems arise, which later we realized originated from the wiring and the not so reliable buttons.

For the final part we wanted to give our game a better design and try to keep all our components hidden. We initially took a cardboard and tested some laser cutting to set the speed right. Once we were able to determine that we engraved the word mastermind on our new cardboard.


We made some holes for the buttons and LED to squeeze in and a side hole for the usb. Last step was to expand our wiring so it can reach the bottom and top of the cardboard and thus we did some soldering.

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Finally we were able to deliver our midterm project and the final results look like this:


What we learned through the whole process was that even the easiest of wiring or coding can prove a hassle. And for that you need to make baby steps every time to make sure everything works and functions properly. Technology can never be 100% reliable and thus you will always need to adjust for that percentage missing.

Interaction through VR

As I was walking on the street I noticed a lot of people have gathered outside one of Microsoft’s shops. They all looked surprised and curious as to what experience could Microsoft’s VR headset offer.  Basically once you wear the headset you immediately feel that you don’t belong to this world. You get teleported into a world of endless possibilities as far as the experience goes. The headset makes you feel in a totally 3D environment depicting objects and surroundings so real and close that you can actually forget that you wear a headset or live in this world. Its totally immersive. All you need for it to work is a VR headset, a computer that interacts with the headset and some kind of controllers to manipulate movements. There is head tracking involved meaning that in whichever way you look, the screen mounted to your face follows you. There is also motion tracking, which tracks your movements based on your hands and body.

Having the ability to experience first hand VR, you get an idea of how the future can look like. There are a lot of ways you can use VR to either leisurely entertain you or to help you explore and create art and 3D models right in front of you, so close you touch and manipulate.

What i realized when looking at various people trying the VR experience was the way the moved around. They all seemed a bit scared in the beginning, thinking they might bump into a wall, but after a few steps and rounds they were able to feel more comfortable. The system actually warns you when you are near a wall or object. Another aspect that was taking people a bit more time to familiarize with was the hand movement that controlled all actions. Reality is that there is no actual time or limit for ones experience. Its all about you feeling ok with the interaction you get and your willingness to explore and experience.


PComp Week 1

Taking into consideration the first two chapters from the book “The Art of Interactive Design” written by Chris Crawford and the blog post from Bret Victor titled “A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design” we were asked for our first Physical Computing  to answer the following questions:

How would you define Physical Interaction? When the term Physical Interaction is being used, a process of thoughts comes into my mind. I would say that for something to physically interact it must first have a basis of communication. A receiving end is needed to formulate an initiation process. Being able to listen, think, process and then speak about the information that was given will eventually engage in an interaction between two particles.

What makes for good Physical Interaction? A very essential part in having a good physical interaction is the quality of response you are going to get back from the receiving end. Being able to receive back appropriate and accurate information as well as critical understanding will eventually help excel the process of interaction.

Are there works from others that you would say are good examples of digital technology that are not interactive? It might sound a bit stretched but I believe that TV is a digital technology that doesn’t interact with its viewer (Although it sounds like it does). The viewer is just predominately watching something that might interest him or not by not directly interacting with the viewing itself.