potentiometers + gifs =

Making things about the things I make. All day. Every day.

I’m just now discovering how amazing Processing’s random() function is. Previously, I plotted all the background stars by hand (~20 min). I recreated the background stars with two for() loops (~2 min).

LQQK at this code!

for(int a=0; a<=60; a++){

strokeWeight(2);

point(random(width), random(height));

}

for(int b=0; b<=40; b++){

strokeWeight(3);

point(random(width), random(height));

}

Now every time the program runs, there will be new stars, and I can easily add hundreds more.

Illuminating Ursa Major & Ursa Minor

I made my sketch interactive by allowing the user to illuminate the stars using their mouse. When the mouse gets close to the stars, they light up.

I also added some hidden animations. That make shooting stars across the screen when your mouse is in certain areas.

In the future I would like the stars to fade back to their original state, or connect the dots.

Ursa Minor & Ursa Major

Still learning to draw with Processing. I reworked my previous sketch to include both Ursa Minor & Ursa Major. Previously I tried to play with the rotate function, but it turned into a mess of code. I think this came out much cleaner, and I know a little bit more about what I’m doing.

Looking forward to animating this very soon. Shooting stars?

Switches

Here I added a button that controls the LED. I powered the circuit with my computer using a USB connection to an Arduino. The red and black leads send electricity from the Arduino to the breadboard. The current travels through the voltage regulator and the resistor to the LED, but only if the button is pressed.

Setting Up A Breadboard

This week I revisited the basics of Electronics. I learned about making circuits, and was able to illuminate an LED using a breadboard, 9V wall wart, a 220 Ohm resistor, and a 5V regulator (which took hours to track down). Thea Rae shared her electrical knowledge with me, and helped clear up a lot of the questions I had.

I’m really interested in drawing schematics now. I have been trying to draw them on my own based on what I build. It’s much harder than I expected, and now my sketch book has several pages of failed schematics. Art school did not prepare me for this.

What is interaction?

My definition of interaction requires an action and a response. There’s an understanding that if I affect or act on an object, something will happen. Good interaction means that I know what to do, and that I have an idea of what to expect. Interaction designers must create both sides, by understanding or fostering a goal so a user would know how to act, and providing a response. I say that I have an idea of what to expect, because if something completely different happens, the experience will feel broken. Surprises can also lead to good interactions, but this means my expectations were surpassed, not neglected.

As a UX designer I tend to think of interaction in relationship to completing a task. What are the steps I need to take? How will I know what to do next, and how will I know when I’m done? The UX designer must understand the user’s mental model. Mental models are like pre-programmed interactions based on past experiences. For example, I have a mental model of ordering food at a restaurant. If I am ordering take-out, I will look for the counter to order. I will expect to find a menu with food and prices. If I sit down to eat, I will expect someone to come take my order, bring me food, and eventually I will pay. There are other types of restaurants that follow different models, but there have to be clues to guide me. The more I go to a restaurant, the more automatic the behavior would become. If something different happened, it would be jarring. Again, the experience would feel broken.

Bret Victor points out in A Brief Rant On The Future Of Interaction Design that our interactions with technology are largely limited to “Pictures Under Glass”. That presents certain design challenges because the tactile feedback from physical objects is missing. UX has been borrowing from the physical world from a long time, making buttons look like something you could press, calling on metaphors such as shopping carts in e-commerce. Though the internet is inherently a form of publication, and is often no more interactive than a book or a brochure. Victor doesn’t implore us to make those 2D experiences better, but to pull away from the screen, and reclaim the physicality technology is currently missing. That is innovating for the future.

First sketch in Processing. Ursa Minor constellation

Andrea Wan

(via 2headedsnake)

Brendan Monroe

Luke Jerram: Glass Microbiology

1. T4-Bacteriophage
2. Enterovirus 71 (EV71), one of the major causative agents for hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD)
3. H1N1 “Swine Flu” detail
4. H5N1 “Avian Flu”
5. E. coli
6. Malaria
7. Human Papillomavirus detail

(via science-in-a-jar)

ART: Shipping Containers Painted With Greek God and Goddess Murals by Pichi & Avo

Spanish street art duo, Pichi & Avo’s participation in the North West Walls street art festival in Belgium resulted in this staggering, jaw-dropping mural.

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(via vangoghsotherear)