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"senses" Tag

Responsive Color System

Sunday, April 1, 2018

After researching information about different color systems, I realized that all the systems try to approach questions of color always in relation to something. Color in terms how we describe it in language, color as light, color as pigment, color as sound. As for the color in relation to human body there is a Chakras system. But it is all fixed, and doesn’t explain movements of the body. I see human body as a constantly changing system, it is changes every second, and I wanted to develop during this project I wanted to create color system which describes movements of the human body into the color, in the real time. I wanted it to be really interactive and visual.

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So I split whole process into two steps. First step was to find a sensor which will “read” movements of the body. There were several ideas possible, but after some try outs with heart rate monitors, ultrasonic motion sensors, I ended up using HC-SR501 Passive Infrared Motion Sensor (PIR) sensor. The module features adjustable sensitivity that allows for a motion detection range from 3 meters to 7 meters.  The device will detect motion inside a 110 degree cone with a range of 3 to 7 meters. I was using raspberry pi computer to program reactions of the sensor.

Second step was to find the way to represent the data from the motion sensor. I wanted to work with light. There were some ideas to use projectors. But in the end I was using Philips Hue lamps because they have open API and it is easy to program them.

There were some challenges with Philips hue lamps. They do not work by independently. If you want to communicate with lamps there is a physical device which called a bridge. . The Philips Hue bridge is the heart of the system. When you are programming, your are not communicating with lamps directly, you send commands to the bridge, and the bridge sends messages to lamps so they know, which hue and saturation apply to the lamp. Problem is that this bridge should be connected to wifi network. In school wifi network is secured, so you can not that easily add new device to it. This lamps are meant for use at home, and not really designed for the usage in the public locations.  So basically the solution to this problem was to create my own network. Raspberry pi computer became dhcp server and was assigning IP address to the bridge. It is very important to know IP adress, because than you know where to send your commands in program. So the whole system do not depend on the network connection and know can work on any location.

About the transformation of the movement to color. I built the whole system and tried it on the spot in the school. Originally it was working from the simple lamp. I installed the lamp in school and was observing people behavior how they react on the lamp. First setup was like this whenever someone pass by or approach the lamp it will switch on and start changing colors. This was clear, I noticed that once people realize how it works, they lose their interest in it. Like puzzle is solved. And usually it take 30 seconds for them to realize and they move forward. And also there were not so many people who will notice it in the first place. So I added blinking to get an attention of the passing by people. And once they approach lamp it will start changing colors, but with 5 seconds delay. After this changes there were more people discovering the work. And they spend way more time with it. Puzzled, and trying understand what action trigger lamp.

Next step was to put everything together in one container. So the whole system can work as portable device and can be shown in different locations.

As for the next steps I think it would be interesting to add more sensors. After some tests in library, I realized that people want to touch the object. It would be nice to add one more reaction to touch. And make more tests in different spots: Library, cafe, train station.


From colour to sound

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The CMN colour system was created in 1986 in Italy. It shows how colours change. How they can get brighter and eventually become white (bianco) or darker, thus resulting in black (nero). They can also become transparent (trasparente) or reflective (speculare). The CMN-86 colour system is about how colours appear, change and disappear. Going from dark to bright and from reflective to transparent, a specific colour can become very different, this system takes that fact into consideration, as the only one!

This system takes the shape of a tetrahedron, originally met in Plato’s geometrical ideas of colours. It can be combined with other systems in order to not only express the origins of the colours but also reflect the intentions of the observer. C is for “colori” an etymologically interesting word that means “something disguised and revealed”. In other words, something is taken away from white light (original essence) so that the object is revealed.

Synesthesia is a condition in which one sense (for example, hearing) is simultaneously perceived as if by one or more additional senses such as sight. Another form of synesthesia joins objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or people’s names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor. The word synesthesia comes from two Greek words, syn (together) and aisthesis (perception). After some research I found out that synesthesia is divided in different types according to what senses are involved. The specific one concerning sound and color  is called Chromesthesia. I wanted to use that as a base for my work and try to find a way to combine this scientific fact with the colour system I’m working on.

Instead of imagining a color moving and evolving into the tetrahedron, let’s imagine a sound.

Color = sound
Bianco = high pitch
Nero = low pitch
Transparente = puissance
Speculare = delay

I first decided to work with sounds of everyday-life like opening the fridge, cooking, turning the light on. I wanted so see what could happen to this typical sounds within this new system.
These sounds were finally too complex and couldn’t really make the system clear and understandable, I preferred to use a really simple and pure sound and make it move in the system to reveal its logic. I made a book so, while you are listening, you can see where the sound is located on the tetrahedron and, therefore, grasp the system.


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My project consists of the translation of a visual system regarding colour to a visual system regarding sound. The original CMN system shows how colour appears, changes and disappears,  from black to white, across reflection and transparency. This system is a way to apprehend a colour and its nature within a defined scientific tetrahedron-shaped space. Applying it to sound give us a way to approach sounds in a different angle, sounds can become autonomous elements of our environment.
Then, we could imagine to use this system on other matters like smell, touch, feelings, … and give a tangible and reachable reality to the unspeakable.

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