Thoughts on Gears’ Concept As Potential FYP Ideas

building up on appearance of old gears

I have tested out my prototypes for gears, using old ones from last semester, where lasercut them for my Interactive Spaces final project. The gears worked well and some parts did not work out – for example the deliberate alteration/ removal of gear teeth in some gears. These teeth did not bite well when in contact with another gear, causing a disruption in motion.

The purpose of spoiling the teeth was to represent gears as unique on their own, seperate from other families of gears in terms of appearance. This makes them distinctive not only in terms of how they react to stimuli such as distance, motion but also visually as well. Each family has distinctive identities that makes them different from one another, in terms of size, the type of teeth and reactionary behavior but overall, the round circular shapes makes them easy to look at as a viewer.

One better solution to alter the traditional appearance without compromising on its main function, is to edit them in a way where when two gears are in contact, their shapes complement each other. Their shapes can be altered from traditional teeth, but they need to mesh well together. However, this would be a safer option to altered teeth in same way throughout each set of gears. Because too many alterations, may make things more difficult to put them together ( unless I plan out carefully the position of gears when attached to servo heads ).

The latter is possible, as long as I mark out the exact positions of the gears’ movement. This would allow the gears to appear to work even when it appears the tooth are crooked.

 renewing concepts of using gears as a representation of something (or someone)

I may change my mind, but I think I would be interested to look into gears. As family of gears, they seem to represent behaviors and emotional states – in reaction to a stimuli. The use of rack & pinion, the long object that acts as a bridge between one gear to another, or one gear to cause one other gear to move, haven’t been explored yet. This is because the old laser cut rack & pinion don’t fit well with the different teethed gears I was using, unfortunately.

The lasercutting machines aren’t available at the moment due to the soft lockdown of our school (Covid-19 pandemic). Therefore, I am just making full use of the leftover lasercut wood (which weren’t all that great either) and experimenting with them and how their movement would inspire more ideas on what I could do for final year project.

 “emotional” states of gears

As advised, I started small first. Instead of trying hard to represent something as abstract as relationships, and their complexity through use of gears, I worked out how a group of gears would work. Three was a charm so I wanted to see how each set would bring out different reactions when all 3 are placed side by side (3,6,9).

I let them gears move for a number of times whilst I do other types of work in the room, hoping I can see from afar what trait or attribute I would assign each gears with over time. Also, I explored through use of randNumber to add some unpredictable element to the routine motion of gears.

Is the gear calm and collected? If its making a lot of sharp noises, does this make it someone who likes attention ( the same way its noise grabs my attention )?

Assigning from left to right – gear 3,6,9 for easy coding purposes, I made several alterations to play around with positions and delay – these actually determined overall identity of the gear.

adding nuances to to emotional states of gears

I haven’t reached to this stage just yet, because the coding parts were beginning to confuse me.

In terms of interaction, I would refrain from using ultrasonic sensor as recommended by some people because it is not strong enough to detect movement. It was suggestible to use Kinect Sensor instead.

in summary

I’m looking towards constructing gears as main subject for final year project, which means plywood would be the material that would be heavily used. A wall size full of gears is ideally the scale I would want to represent the gears. The interactivity element – which means how people are going to play an active/passive role in my installation is determined by how my concepts are applied into practice. Haven’t really confirmed yet on what to do – some suggested a more active approach where people are given gears to hold and put against a hook in a wall to make it as if they are a part of this.

Some suggested a game. I didn’t like games, but the idea of holding a gear that enables the person to control the outcome of the  gears.. . maybe that is something to think about.

The above is a demonstration of a potential game-ified play with gears could be allowing participants to put the gears around and figure out where each one belongs.

The above is refined demonstration of roughly how each set of gears work. Each set  follow a different rate of movement, with some jerks in one or two of them. The “delay” and “pos” (position) functions works together to form a certain attribute to describe a family of gears, like how you would describe a temperament of the person. As mentioned before, there are 3 “families” of them each one distinctively different from the other. It took me a relatively quite a bit of time to play around with these functions in Arduino, and letting them “display” their attributes. I draw conclusions about attribute each of them would have, by controlling functions, including adding “randNumber” to generate random numbers that affect outcome. And yes, it would be more fitting for a set of gears described to be unpredictable (like one further left and further right).

The ultrasonic sensors are attached, but I removed them out of the picture because they may not be used as potential materials for my final year project. Kinect would be used instead.

There’s a lot more experimentation to go. The trio of gears are just a sample of a bigger, more larger scale project that is going to take quite a long time for me to complete it!

Curator’s tour & Singapore Bienalle



I have not got the chance to visit the Singapore Biennial, but fortunately there was an online tour that takes you through different parts of the exhibition, where they even have a 360 Panaromic view of each exhibition. One that caught my attention the most was the scrolls’ section. This was created by Veronica Troncoso who produced the scrolls with writings from her own personal archives of migrants and students whom she interviewed. From  memory and trauma, exile and migration, these were common topics in the writings of these scrolls.

It relates well to me, where, even though  I consider myself Singaporean-Muslim myself, I have thought migration and its implications to my routine lifestyle, the norms and how I would relate differently to locals in the migrated place that I would go to. And regarded how different it would from place I migrated away from.

It also brings forth the idea of how our identity is always misshapen by stereotypes and prejudice -which also depends on which culture you come from, which community you are a part of, and how as a foreigner, you try to blend yourself into a said community that you have wanted to call home. When I made a short visit to Turkey last year, I had the opportunity to meet so many Turkish people, who were Muslims like me, and visit their cultural museums like Beylerbeyi Palace where Ottoman sultans used to live.

It gave me a sense of solidarity when we met, unexpectedly, and that curious to learn more about these people, also made this experience a rather interesting. And it was simply because we shared similar faiths – Islam and how our cultures, as worlds apart are very similar in more ways than we can imagine. However, there are instance where my foreignness is disregarded, and sometimes perceived as a nuisance. And I guess that is consequence of being seen as unfamiliar to some people.

From that experience, it has made me more aware that there are cultural implications to migration. And these personal anecdotes resemble how each person quietly suffers the negative perception of locals when they decide to migrate. I think migration is a personal choice that people need to consider, and I guess these anecdotes are personal reminders to all of us, that we are subjected to some form of prejudice – whether good or bad (hopefully good).

Hence, this part of the exhibition impressed me the most.

Personally, there were not a lot of works that I particularly connected with at the ADM Gallery.  I liked how the trail of words from a letter were a way to code people to direct themselves from one place to another in an exhibition.

Unfortunately, in this ADM Gallery, the only thing that fascinated me was the shadows. They looked dream-like.


In the bigger picture, when it comes to both museums and their message or objective behind the work, I felt that it followed a very broad theme between past and present. I don’t particularly have strong feelings regarding how both of them are. The range of mediums used were very broad, and their focus on sub-themes were very different from one another.

Final Year Project Idea

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Nature/ Complexity of Relationships Through Representation of Gears

  • Follow-up of Interactive Spaces Final Project
  • Personifying Gears with human elements through their motion and distance with audience interaction
  • Movement, Speed of Movement, Type of Movement determines Gears have their own “expression”,  “reaction” atypical to people reacting to others
  • In reaction to external stimuli, the above is altered
  • Evoke mood of wonderment and curiosity in viewers 
  • Location of gears to be against two walls perpendicular to each other or against a canvas board (?)
  • Personifying Gears through their motion and distance with audience interaction
  • Movement, Speed of Movement, Type of Movement determines Gears have their own “expression”,  
  • In reaction to external stimuli, the above is altered
  • Evoke mood of wonderment and curiosity (?) in viewers



In-Class Assignment


Written by *

She is a designer learning the ropes of interactivity and art and turning them into piece of work in School of Art Design & Media. In this school, she specialize in Interactive Media. With the projects she have done so far, she have explored different materials to work with, combined with electronics, put together to form different kinds of installations.Prior to majoring IM, she was formerly a Digital Animation student. But after much thought about whether Animation would befit her interest and career path in future, she made a switch to Interactive Media instead.

The learning curve for IM has been very steep for her but her interest in conceptual side of making art installations remains, which she finds very important even though School of Art,Design,Media emphasizes a lot on usage of modern technology and devices to produce contemporary works of art. This is possibly due to foundation of artistics concepts which were taught during her Art classes in junior college back then, where analysing artworks, artistic backgrounds and purpose behind usage of mediums were heavily emphasised back then.


Written by *

Technology opens the doors to a better future. As a forward-looking person, Najiha is a conceptual designer who is greatly aware of this truth. As someone who cares greatly for society, she is willing to persevere through any difficulty to create a better society. This is what gave her the courage to shift away from her former training in traditional art and animation. Yet, this training has not been lost. Instead, she has adopted it into her current pursuits in Interactive media. Some of her works include

Recently, her efforts towards social causes have also begun to bear fruit. As the Publicity Officer for Nanyang Technological University’s United Nations Students Association, her illustrative works for Sustainable Development Goals have raised awareness amongst the student body Publications’ Wing under United Nations Students’ Association.

A Sample of Najiha’s Work

Title: The Tree

This is an interactive installation of a tree that is personified. When one walks towards or around it, the tree draws it’s branches in and out as if its ‘calling out’ to the viewer.  But if the person is further away from you, it withdraws.   

When you walk around the grass, the sounds of birds chirping and the crunching of leaves can also be heard, inviting people to surround themselves around the lone tree. 

Title: Complexity of Relationships Through Representation of Gears

This is also an interactive installation where the movement of a family of gears move in accordance to distance. Using in-built sensors, viewers are the main subject in affecting the movement based on close and far they stand around these gears.

As a result of one movement of a gear, leads to other gears moving too, causing a ripple effect.  This artwork is meant to showcase gears as personified, with human elements such as being a part of a family (hence the term “family of gears”, and triggers that create conflict factors outside of reach such as people, intimacy and emotions.

This would portray the idea of how people who approach these gears, whether near or far would trigger certain outcomes from these gears. The clip shows how family of gears can be triggered by factors such movement of other neighboring gears, or even people. Additionally, unknown to visitors, their presence around these gears creates a sense an unpredictability,  an element that we see in relationships in general.



Phone: +65 9023 2450 | Email:
Portfolio URL:
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore             AUG 2016 – AUG 2021
Bachelor of Arts, Interactive Media
Specialization: Interactive Media

Videographer                                                                                DEC 2018 – JAN 2019
* Worked alongside lab technician and professor for filming of lab presentations and experiments for students’ e-learning purposes
* Operated video cameras and sound recording equipment on-site, producing segments of video clips edited using Adobe to meet specified requirements

Publicity Officer, Singapore                                                   JUL 2019 – PRESENT
* Created publicity materials for UNSA’s upcoming social events
* Collaborated with Public Relations Officer in managing content, and providing updates on UNSA’s latest events and projects on a weekly basis
* Contributed to the team’s discussion blog “Watercooler Series” through personal writings and commentary on topics of interest, followed by interactive discussions on topics proposed

Project Meraki 3.0, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Financial Committee                                                              MAY  2019 – JUN 2019
* Raised funds selling merchandise, food and beverages at discounted prices to achieve target of $1500 for Project Meraki 3.0
* Achieved $2727.82, which is 182% above target which were funded towards expenses across 4 committees within team
Lead Translator
* Led closely with volunteer tutors in direct translation of Malay to English to reduce language barriers during English-spoken Academic and Enrichment lessons in two schools – with 13 and 44 kids respectively
* Planned out a shared document containing up to 25 commonly used words/phrases in using voiceovers; operated by in-built app Kaizena as reference material for future use
Refurbishment Manager
* Structured workplan with two team members on assigning tasks to members to clean and decorate interior of kindergarten school
* Assisted in rearrangements of reading materials to introduce a borrowing system for age range from 3-12-year olds, resulting in systematic way of borrowing and returning materials
* Created school’s first large scale banner using Adobe which is on display at school’s entrance

Graphic Design Director                                                        JAN 2019 – MAY 2019
• Created designs as add-ons to team’s written article, including topic on NTU’s S/U Policy
• Generated up to 930 views and 558 visitors on month of February on our website, comparatively higher in views and visitors in previous months

Project Meraki 2.0, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Head of Academic Team                                                        JUN 2018 – JUN 2018
* Managed alongside 4 members and planned yearly lesson curriculum for primary level English, Math and Science subjects based on IGCSE standards and referring to assessment books
* Planned English, Math, Science and Enrichment lessons customized to children’s learning abilities in a school of 23 children

* Led 15 team members and children across two schools in translation of Malay to English in reducing language barriers between non-Malay speaking members and students during lesson time in two schools – up to 23 and 30 students in two schools respectively

Head of Programmes                                                       NOV 2016 – MAY 2017
Led a team of 3 in planning and execution of two events – a workshop based on dispelling religious
myths on public speaking for women and mass lecture on discussing social roles of men and
women in Islam – resulted in turnout rate of 15 and 20 audience members respectively
* Led a team of 3 in planning of two events resulted in turnout rate of two events – a workshop based on dispelling myths on public speaking for women and mass lecture on discussing social roles in Islam – resulted in turnout rate of 15 and 20 audience members respectively

* Digital skills: Proficient in Adobe Software Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas, Powerpoint, Word
* Languages: Proficient in English and Malay


A Link To A Sample of Work – InfluentiAl

“Relationship Carrier”

Short Description

“The Relationship Carrier” is about the journey of relationships and how temporary and fleeting they are. Every relationship is like a story: it has a beginning, the good, the bad and most importantly, an end. Buses are a common mode of transportation in Singapore the different parts of buses are

As the “carrier”, buses take passengers who share a similar ride with others and form some kind of relationship with them. As time passes, there will come a point where people will depart from their journeys. This leaves the ones they cared for behind, moving on to their own personal journey on their own. While some relationships are lost, new ones are formed. But new ones become old, and even newer ones are formed. This repeated cycle of coming and going is a cycle.

Mediums used: Colour pencils/pastels on black canvases ,Video projector, videography/filming

Location of video: Bukit Batok Bus Interchange

How did the work impacted you?

The process of working around filming and working around medium of colours to bring out the place where I filmed was quite an interesting for me. Never had I considered using both traditional and technological forms of art as ways to portray an art piece. This was started off through having an art teacher observing the traditional  mediums I meddled with and giving advise as to how my artwork can be better improved. In this aspect, this work was like a transition, especially with growing use of technology to produce art. And the use traditional forms of arts such as using paints, colour pencils, chinese ink etc are becoming less common, because other digitized forms of art has made our work far more efficient and popular these days.

But what struck me, was this work seemed like a precursor to the use of technology, or electronics that I would use to produce artworks/installations in the coming years.  In a way, this was the work that made it influential, because of the change of mediums we use to day.

Narrative For Interaction – Similar Works Done in ADM