Emotional Computing

Yesterday we started physical computing and opened our Arduino kit and explore what we can do with it. I’ve tinkered with arduino a couple times before, and made a couple of projects with it. I can say I’m somewhat comfortable with it. However, it’s been a long time since I’ve touched any of these tools so I was refreshing my mind with doing little practices.


With the bulb

With the servo



The first one is using potentiometer to slowly fade in and fade out an LED light. And for the second one I use the potentiometer to control the servo motor. I made a Fritzing file and I saved both the codes on my github as “potentiometer_bulb.ino” and “potentiometer_servo.ino” I think getting the habit into documenting stuffs is great and it helps me memorize things better.

Having a tactile experience with coding makes it easier for me to find “poetry” in the context of modern technology. Especially with a wide selection of sensors I can buy off the internet for real cheap. Is tactility helping a digital product achieve the “poetry” I am looking for? But what about all of the other qualities that could make digital and virtual objects have the similar vibe of “poetry”?

If I were to equate my definition of “poetry” to definition of “affect” through “gesture” as Vilem Flusser describes, the characteristics of “gesture” is considered movements of the body of tools attached to the body. So does something needs an attachment to a living being to be considered to have a “poetry”?

This is something that I’ve been trying to look for the answer to. Can an inanimate object have a poetry? I say, absolutely, because I’ve seen it. But it does, in fact, always have relations or attachments to living beings around it, or an anthromorphization by us, the living viewers. It seems like inanimate objects could only be poetic through the lens of living beings.

Anyways, since my observation began, I keep anthromorphizing objects around me. Am I studying too much or am I just an empath? *laughs* I’m starting to realize that my study focus heavily on human and their lenses, technology is just a tool that opens up a new lens.


Warm robot: heartbeat sensor

From now I’m gonna refer to my final project as Warm Robot, just a temporary name but it makes it easy to track the project’s progress.

After purchasing the pulse sensor, I tried to do a test with it with LED light as an output. It reads my heartbeat pretty well, especially when I hooked it up on my ear.


(it came with an ear clip!)

I wrote the code for analog serial reader and added an LED for an output (and additional LED to test out multiple output), here’s the code:

int Threshold = 520; //the turning point when the heart beats
int LED1 = 13; //first LED, to indicate each beat
int LED2 = 5; //another output in correspondence to the first LED

void setup() {

// the loop routine runs over and over again forever:
void loop() {
 int Pulse = analogRead(A0); //where I plugged in my pulse sensor
 // print out the value you read:

if (Pulse > Threshold){
 } else {

if (LED1, HIGH){
 delay(4); /* i made sure the total of delay is less than or
the same number as the LED1 delay */
 } else {


Then I opened the serial plotter to see the graph of the value from the pulse sensor. I googled and looked around codes people have written to find a best way to count each heartbeat and so far putting a threshold seems like the simplest one that worked for me. I wonder if there’s a way to count it for each +apex and -apex? is that even possible? I think? I’ll need to consult someone for this.

IMG_2138 copy

mmmm yaA i’m alive



it seems to be working with LED lights, I tried piezo for a sound output but it doesn’t seem to be working.. I thought it would work if I just change it from digital to analog. Regardless, it’s a step forward!! let’s see what else I can do before class on Wednesday!

Industrial sewing machine and arduino

Last class, I had the opportunity to learn how to use the industrial sewing machine in the fiber department with Michelle.



this machine can sew thick materials because the needle has diamond point, unlike normal needle that only goes through the in between the weave of the material, the tip of this needle makes a hole to let the thread goes through and sew the materials together.

I need to learn how to use this machine to sew vinyl together to I can make an inflatable piece that will be a part of my project. Next week Michelle told me she would teach me how to use the heat seal to seal plastic based material to keep the air inside.

with scrap material that I found in the donation bin, I practiced setting up the threads and gave it a go and tried out different speed and spacings as well.

Then later after dinner break we learned the basic of arduino. I’ve taken several of Paul’s arduino courses before and I’m also currently taking an intro to robotic class, so I’m just gonna post picture from Paul’s workshop and talk more about my troubleshooting with my problems in the other class.

Arduino in class workshop:


next on my robotics troubleshooting, so we learned how to use the function ‘map’ in class and the use of RGB LED. after I was done with the first practice I challenge myself to create 3 analog input that correspond to 3 analog outputs. so with this 3 potentiometer I could create any range of RGB color I want from R0;G0;B0 to R255;G255;B255 it was fun to twist it around have a tactile experience of color picking


I also learned how to make cleaner prototype wiring as I go and getting less confused by reading resistors. go me! and most importantly, I learned how to make fritzing drawings


Next is another example of putting multiple analog input into a single digital output

IMG_1786nilam fritzing sketch

conductive foam is fun.

so the conclusion is, I think I’m getting the hang of arduino. I need to learn more about different kinds of component to create more possibilities for me to explore.

now it’s time for me to nap a little in studio



First try on electronics: bzzbzZ

I signed up for Unravel The Code with a lot of ideas in my head, but not enough skill for what I want to do, so I thought it’d be smart to take an Intro to Robotics class at the same time (it was a smart choice). The class is being taught by Lucas Haroldsen, he graduated from MICA sculpture program and he’s pretty cool. So on Tuesday, I did my first tutorial on electronics in class with different ways to set up LED lights. After the tutorial we were given assignment to put together a circuit based on a couple of schematic drawing options to build from a couple of basic components (transistor, potentiometer, a couple of different motors, lights, and a photoresistor) to work with. I was very fired up about the idea of my first robot I finish a week worth of assignment in one night. I didn’t talk to anyone. Am I turning into a robot? Find out at the end of the class!

So this was one of the schematics that I chose to do:

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 4.42.38 PM

Which is which, what is what, I had no idea what was going on. But it’s an introductory class for a reason so it came with a drawing:

Screen Shot 2017-09-08 at 4.43.09 PM

Nice, right? So I did my best and prototyped it on my breadboard:


I had trouble with the transistor, but after a couple of tries and when everything finally worked out, it felt like jesus was born again. it’s also interesting to see components that look exactly the same but work differently and make an entire circuit works in a different way.

By turning a small input current into a large output current, the transistor acts like an amplifier. But it also acts like a switch at the same time. When there is no current to the base, little or no current flows between the collector and the emitter. Turn on the base current and a big current flows.” (src: explainthatstuff.com)

So I used the PNP transistor to switch the current to go to the base from emitter (which is connected to the photoresistor) to the collector (the output, here I chose a small motor that functions like a vibrator) and while in the day bug (using NPN transistor) the motor runs when the photoresistor is exposed to light, the PNP transistor switched it around so current flows when the photoresistor does not receive any light. Honestly, I don’t really know how it works, but at least I could understand the flow of the current so I could do my own troubleshooting.

After making sure the circuit is good on the breadboard, I put it together on a tiny copper clad board. Took me a little time to get used to soldering but it feels just like a small TIG welder:


I am still impressed at how all of these things could fit in that tiny board (and how I didn’t burn my hand or anything nearby). I’m so proud of it.

That was my first baby step and journey into making robots, and I definitely will go beyond the class and make more.