Physical Computing Project 1


For this first assignment in Physical Computing, the class was tasked with creating an art piece that represents a specific emotion.

Additionally, we were challenged to use the Adafruit Circuit microcontoller to design an animated light pattern and to program at least three different modes (on, animate, off) for the controller using a button to switch the inputs. 



The main idea for my project actually came from someone else!  Everyone in the class was paired with another student and we gave each other three emotions to choose from.

I was give the option of representing:

  1. Mischievousness 
  2. Frantic Happiness
  3. Blissful Joy

And I chose "Blissful Joy" as my emotion. 


    My original concept called for an interactive art piece with a window for the light to shine through, along with two paddles that participants could use to launch and bounce small spheres within the container.  

    The BIG idea was for the light to shine through and cast interesting shadows onto the window.

    The idea progressed to be a a geodesic sphere container for the light, with the interactive element the same.

    WHY did I do this to myself?  

    I thought it would make the final piece more dynamic and visually engaging. I scoured the web to figure out how to design a geodesic sphere and created a template to use in the Cricut. Luckily I found a few good resources.


    Unfortunately, I got very disoriented when putting the sphere together, and ended up with a squished oval...thing.  There were a lot of pieces to keep track of! 


    So things were not going as planned at this point and time was of the essence.  The project was due in two days and production was going at a snails pace with all of the pieces that needed gluing and building!



    For this project I wanted a specific light pattern and was able to achieve it with Microsoft MakeCode.

    The good thing about this development platform is that it allows users to code in Javascript and also in an easier drag and drop platform.  It also gives a visual representation of the Circuit Playground Microcontroller and reduced the amount of guessing involved in visualizing the final neopixel output.


    The main idea stayed the same: I wanted to have a projection of JOY. One of the biggest lessons I learned is to be prepared to pivot and adjust to the realities of development. Things may not go the way you envision them, but if you keep moving forward with a positive and sincere mindset, you are bound to create something meaningful and from the heart.