ELMAN Concept Research & Presentation


We interpreted music as
– Rhythmic
– Orderly and flows smoothly like the orbital paths of astronomical objects
– A pattern
– Range of notes jumbled up and put together again to form a song
– Calming

We were inspired by the idea of sounds in space – they can only be heard in space in certain conditions. There needs to be a medium (air molecules) for sound to travel the way they do on Earth. Large empty areas between stars and galaxies are completely silent, but sounds can be heard as you approach them.

NASA Spacecrafts captured radio emissions from planets, their moons and our Sun, and converted them into sound waves. Below is a playlist of the results:

Recommended tracks:
1. Sounds of Saturn: Hear Radio Emissions of the Planet and Its Moon Enceladus
2. Kepler: Star KIC12268220C Light Curve Waves to Sound
3. Cassini: Saturn Radio Emissions #2
4. Chorus Radio Waves within Earth’s Atmosphere
5. Plasmaspheric Hiss

Soaring to the depths of our universe, gallant spacecraft roam the cosmos, snapping images of celestial wonders. Some spacecraft have instruments capable of capturing radio emissions. When scientists convert these to sound waves, the results are eerie to hear.

In time for Halloween, we’ve put together a compilation of elusive “sounds” of howling planets and whistling helium that is sure to make your skin crawl. – NASA Soundcloud

Overall, the sounds were pretty creepy and unsettling, some sounded organic while others were repetitive like waves.

Our concept also encompasses MAN’s theme of passing, as the space represents the passing of time – from the beginning of time (the Big Bang) until present day. Our work also suggests elements of time travel, space warping and planetesimal.

Click here to view Google Slides presentation.


For our storyboard, we plan to start our piece off with a Big Bang inspired sequence – a silent explosive animation that emits waves of particles. We aim to bring our audience through a cosmic journey with abstract waves, particle generation and orbital movements in a 3-dimensional spatial environment.

The stills taken above are produced in Adobe After Effects and Processing. The footage produced in Processing were auto-generative, but not as good in terms of visual quality. To save a video format from Processing, we would have to include a saveFrame() function and to piece a video together using the individual frames (which requires quite a bit of processing power & my laptop might not be able to handle). Therefore we are currently looking to produce similar aesthetics using After Effects instead.

MAN Media Wall Testing on 17/9

Link to video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1U0hebZAhOW5O0AHlFMRZPKiWjpbRpNKj/view?usp=sharing

The generative perlin noise lines were a little pixelated when projected on the media wall, perhaps because it was screen-recorded on Processing before it was imported into AE. Hence we need to find an alternative way to export the video in a higher definition. Some of the footages also needed to be slowed down a little.

To Be Explored 

Below are some other inspirations and visual effects that we would also like to explore and perhaps incorporate into our piece.

Image result for interstellar blackhole
Interstellar black hole
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Wormhole from interstellar

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Image result for ant man ghost effect
Glitchy ghost effect from Antman and The Wasp

Interactive Spaces – Semester Project (Part 2 – Digital)


Under Score is an interactive installation that challenges two players to play a game of soccer confined within the space under the table, relying only on their sense of hearing and touch. Players can hear the position of the ball through the headphones connected to a color tracking patch.

By Joan & Tiffany


Inspired by two branches of the sport – table soccer and blind soccer (played during Paralympics).


From our previous giant hanging foosball idea, our idea evolved towards digitizing the experience to change the conventional gameplay of soccer. Instead of tracking the ball with the sense of sight, we decided to translate what we normally see into sound. This means that players rely on their sense of hearing and touch to locate the ball. The location of the ball is indicated by the pitch and directional sound from both sides of a player’s headphones.

To add on to the aesthetic element of the space, we decided to project a visualization of what they hear onto the table. It also allows non-playing viewers a glimpse of the movement going on under the table.

Spatial layout & diagram:

Materials needed:
External camera (webcam or phone cam), attachable wide-angle lens, table (with four legs at the corners and no obstructions underneath), wooden stools, large black cloth, some cardboard panels, projector, colored soccer ball


MAX Patch processes:

1. Get feedback from the camera (interchangeable between computer cam and external cam)
2. Color tracking with min and max values for the color(s) picked, the range of color values can be adjusted via the ‘tolerance’ bar slider at the side
3. Extract the top left x and y coordinate values from the camera output
4. For the x coordinate, scale (1 300 18 58) and input the values to the keyboard to control the pitch via the colored ball’s x position
5. For the y coordinate, scale ( 1 220 1 158 ) and ( 1 220 158 1 ) and input these values into the left and right gains~ of the audio output respectively. This creates directional hearing based on the ball’s y position

Screenshot of our colour tracking MAX patch, tracked via camera
Screenshot of our MAX patch for the production of synthesized sounds/visuals – part 1
Screenshot of our MAX patch for the production of synthesized sounds/visuals – part 2

For the construction of the table, we bought 6 planks of wood, measured them and sawed them accordingly. We joined the planks together by hammering in nails (the hardware uncle told us to use nails and hammer), but discovered that the process could have been made easier/hastened by using a drill and screws instead.

Hammering processing to building our wooden table frame from wooden planks
Hammering processing to building our wooden table frame from wooden planks
How each table corner was joined and reinforced
Blocking two sides of the table using cardboard and covering the whole table with a layer of black cloth
Torch lights attached at each corner of the table frame to illuminate the playing area
Phone camera attached under the table, directly above the playing area. Camera signals are sent over to the laptop via wifi and DroidCam
Our colored ball in the lit up playing area
Presentation in class


feedback & Improvements
  1. Audiovisual feedback was fairly slow, players will have to play slowly and kick gently for the position of the ball to be updated in sync.
  2. The audio feedback was too hardcore. Perhaps the sound feedback could have less noise and smoother sounding.
  3. Lighting underneath the table could have been stronger and evenly lit, to prevent blind spots that allow the ball to hide in the dark.

Project Dev & Planning – FYP Proposal Idea(s)

Profiling (& based on feedback from my peers):

1. Concern for animals – What’s right/wrong?

Related theme(s): Animal conservation, human to animal relationships, excessive/inhumane poultry farming

#1 – Animal conservation
What is it? – A programme/setup that challenges the players to protect both the welfare of wild animals and mankind in a virtual world

#2 – Relationship between mankind and animals
What is it? – A programme/setup that allows players to build their virtual world, and express their views on how an ideal society should function, how animals and mankinds should co-exist
Challenges the player to reflect on their personal values and priorities, and make certain sacrifices to achieve an ideal situation

Possible aims:
For participants to reflect on self & their relationship with the wildlife,
To increase one’s self-awareness and impact on the environment/animals,
For relaxation & appreciation

2. Pet peeves – Inconsiderate people, people who intentionally cause inconvenience to others
Related theme(s): Interaction between strangers, connecting strangers, moral issues

#1 – Connecting strangers
What is it? – An installation that encourages strangers to interact with each other

Possible aims:
Build relationships between strangers,
Encourage consideration for others,
Random acts of kindness

Other areas of interests: Plants/nature, water, astronomy, exploration, idea of play

Inspiration: SIMSafari

Image result for sims safari
Image result for sims safari

Kristy’s feedback:
Idea 2 can be applied on idea 1, e.g. consideration for other beings
Which kinds of animals? For consumption or? Pets? Strays?
What kind of tone? Cannot be too serious, be more playful
Pick a few animals as case study, list some specifics, types

Interactive Spaces – Semester Project (Part 1 – Analog)


The Hangout is a kampong-themed laundry area, designed to simulate a human foosball (or table football) game. Our aim is to connect people through a classic game of football, but with a twist – the constraints of being pegged to a pole. Through our setup, we hope to build social bonds between strangers and friends through physical interaction, and away from our digital devices.

By Joan & Tiffany


To introduce play using the simple household objects, and to relive the kampong spirit in the youths of today.


With inspiration from our previous mini project (EX1 – Be part of the art), we decided on the idea of hanging people on a clothes poles and exploring the possible human interactions that could emerge within these limitations.

Since the arrangement of clothes on a pole is usually organised and occur in almost a grid-like form, we thought of several activities which the participants can engage in within these formations:

3 rows x 2 to 4 people – team based ball games, like soccer, sepak takraw, volleyball, captain’s ball

2 rows x 3 or 4 people – hanging out facing each other as a group of friends, play chapteh facing each other

We realized that these layouts resembled that of a foosball table, where plastic soccer player figures are also attached to the rods. This gave us the idea of combining the two aspects together – hanging clothes on a pole and foosball table – to actualize our concept of bringing people together through play in a simple setup.

Final Layout:

This layout allows for a team-based soccer game, where each side allows for an equal number of players (maximum 3 players + 1 goalkeeper).

Initial location in mind #1-  area between trees at the sunken plaza
Why not? – Lack of places to anchor/hang our poles from, unsuitable for wet weather, and troublesome if soccer ball goes out of bounds and falls into the water.

Initial location in mind #2 – open area at level 2
Why not? – Width of the area is a little too large compared to the length of the poles, might be dangerous for passersby if the poles swing and hit their faces

Final location – Under the staircase beside the open area at Level 2
Why? – This space allows for a more organised hanging of the poles, slightly safer and a more compact space for hangout



Testing the feasibility and layout of the space, and finding the optimal number of shirts/players per pole
One end of the pole attached directly (and tightly) to the string
Other end of the pole clipped on, with string attached to the clip (for easy removable or addition of clothing)
Testing 1
Testing 2
Top view of our setup, marked with football field lines


Feedback/Areas for improvements

1. Scale
A slightly larger space would allow for more players or more movement for exciting gameplay. The poles with 3 players were also a little cramped, making it difficult for the ball to get past their defense. With the current length of our poles, the ideal number of players per pole is 2.

2. Height differences
Although our poles are leveled to a height that fits most people, there are some people who may find it uncomfortable (too short or tall). This can affect gameplay and cause the strings attached to snap. One solution is to create a pulley system or a series of adjustable knots at the ends of the poles.

3. Location
Due to the open space, the ball went out of bounds easily, making it necessary to have a referee or someone to run after the ball. Although the stairs proved to be very useful for hanging the poles, the gameplay can be improved by shifting the setup into a smaller, enclosed space where the ball is allowed to bounce off the walls (similar to a street soccer court).

Assignment 4 – Response to Chapt 1 from Kim Goodwin, Designing for the Digital Age

Designing for the Digital Age by Kim Goodwin provides a framework for designers embarking on their projects, to achieve optimum efficiency and effectiveness, from a functional, industrial standpoint. Goodwin believes that the essence of design is to visualize concrete solutions through conceptualizing for stakeholders to see and understand, and eventually build. As mentioned in the second paragraph, the ability to serve human needs and goals is what sets a design artifact apart from art.

Goal-directed design is a method developed at Cooper (founded by software inventor Alan Cooper) for approaching the design of products and services. With user goals in mind, goal-directed design aims to aid skilled designers in their job of generating great solutions, instead of acting as a set of rules or restrictions. This method consists of four main components – Principles, patterns, process and practices, that make up some of the techniques that one can implement while designing projects in the real world.

In my opinion, this framework would be very helpful in the planning, conceptualising and the production of a design artefact, but should be used as a general guide, and not in a way where it dictates the direction of the ongoing project. While adapting this framework, certain components and processes may also change depending on the nature of the project and its participants, and exceptions should be made for unique cases. For example, the processes, structure and practices behind the makings of a computer game would be very different from the one behind the production of a household product. What do we change then?

Apart from that, some other questions also come to mind: Does this framework still come into play with several key stakeholders in collaboration? What if there is a conflict in interests and goals?

Research Critique – Jennicam

In 1996, Jennifer Ringley was the first person to broadcast her life online. It started when she was in college, where anyone with internet access could watch her through her photos that were updated every three minutes. Months later, her experiment spiraled into a global sensation, attracting up to four million paid views per day.

She was her own reality TV, in the sense that everything was uncensored and unedited, or as she would describe as a “virtual human zoo”. Just like how visitors pay to watch animals go about with their daily life, Jennicam viewers pay to watch her go about with her daily life.

Image result for jennicam

So, what makes Jennicam interesting?

“One of my favourite emails I got last year, I got a message from a guy, saying he was in college, it was a Friday night and all of his friends were out. He felt like a loser because he was sitting at home.
But he turned into Jennicam, and I was there doing my laundry. So he said it made him feel better because I’m popular.”

Firstly, it showed the most humane side of things, not just the best side. In a way, Jennicam was comforting for those who felt lonely, as it showed the most authentic, humane side of a person who was supposedly popular. It makes one feel relatable, and perhaps less of a loser. Most people on the internet (then and now) show only the best sides of themselves – for example, a gamer would stream his best game, a stripper would stream her most provocative side, and a makeup artist would stream herself looking flawless. Jennicam, on the other hand, lived her life in front of the camera seven years, truly capturing the ‘real-ness’ of her ordinary life.

Image result for jennicam site

Secondly, viewers were entranced by the story of Jenni’s life, with the occasional glimpses of nudity and private, personal moments. Despite being mundane everyday life, viewers can’t watch anything like that in the physical world – not without being close to the person or getting arrested. At the time when Internet was relatively new, Jennicam was a complete new form of entertainment and provided people with a brand new experience. People were willing to pay and spend time watching her, out of curiosity or excitement from the small chance of catching her doing something “happening” at times.

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Thirdly, this experiment was not something that everyone could do, despite seeming innocent at the first glance. On David Letterman’s show, Jenni mentioned that while she is completely comfortable with doing everything on camera, she understands that everyone has their own boundaries. Experiments like Jennicam was an example of data over-sharing. She may be comfortable with sharing every detail of herself with the world, but she will never know who is watching and what their (possibly malicious) intentions could be. After all, her whereabouts and activities were just one click away. Even 14 years after she has shut down and deleted her website, her images and data are still easily accessible on other sites and she can never truly remove herself from the Internet.


Overall, Jennifer Ringley’s personal experiment was indeed remarkable journey that contributed to the mass personal data sharing we have today. It evolved from an innocent sharing amongst friends, to a globalized sensation, sparked several controversies, and now – offline. Her experiment has shed light on technological advancement and massive reach of data sharing (from one to many) over the past two decades. Now that it has completely shut down, it also raises questions about over-sharing of data, internet security and online expression in the digital age today.




Device of the Week #3 – FITZANIA

Fitzania is preventative medical checkup disguised as an immersive game. Its aim is to encourage citizens to return regularly for health check-ups and fitness tests, by making healthcare a more personalized, stress-free and enjoyable part of everyday life. It allows viewers to have fun and immerse themselves comfortably in a game world, while analysis and diagnosis happens naturally at the same time. This setup consists of a spacious open room with digital walls and a single orb for players to carry during the game.



Players can lift the orb from the pedestal as they verify their personal information and calibrate their body movements with the system. Upon successful log-in, the orb vibrates, signaling the start of the game. 

Fitzania makes use of a unique tracking system to map player data in the virtual space. Each orb is also treated with halo retro-reflective coatings, allowing easy detection by the sensors and plotting of the player’s precise location. As the player moves and positions the orb in the physical game space, several sensors around the room detects and analyze the bio-metric signals collected. The game provides on the spot diagnosis and updates the player’s personal fitness profile, allowing the player to receive his or her results right after.


Museum of Future Government Services, UAE, Dubai, 2015


This is certainly a refreshing approach towards healthcare, with easy calibration and little props. It pushes the boundaries of conventional games by incorporating aspects of health diagnosis with fun. 

However, this setup could be a rather pricey investment – could only be applicable to youths, as this activity could be physically draining for kids or the elderly. Furthermore, the scope of the fitness diagnosis is perhaps limited or too general across all patients, and hence unable to determine specific illnesses or health problems simply through a game.

Perhaps this game can be installed in large hospital buildings or gyms as a form of entertainment, where visitors or patients can interact with. It can be a fun alternative way for people to understand the importance of health check-ups and have a general idea of their physical well-being, instead of being an official diagnosis.




Device of the Week #4 – Four Letter Words

The Four Letter Words
is an installation by interactive artist Rob Seward, consisting of a robotic collection of fluorescent lights. The setup is separated into four units, each capable of displaying any of the 26 alphabets by shifting the placement of lights. Hence, any four-lettered word can be displayed at one time.

The word sequence displayed is continuously generated by an algorithm derived from a linguistic database developed by the University of South Florida. The meaning of each word, the letter sequencing, rhyming and association are all taken into account with each generated word. For example, the following word will always have only one difference in alphabets compared to the previous word: RATE – RAKE – LAKE – WAKE – WAGE – WARE – DARE – DARN



What is needed

4 Arduinos
20 servos
8 step motors
24 3.9 inch cold cathode lights

How it works

The positions of the lights are stored in an XML file, while a mac mini runs a Processing code comprising of data alignment to the four Arduino boards. The application reads the list of words generated, and send the data over. The position and angle of each light bulb responds to any of the alphabets from A-Z, moving in a fairly quick manner. Rob Seward mentioned that there were certain alphabet transitions that the device could not carry out, due to the arrangement of the light bulbs. For example, if ‘S’ switches to ‘D’, two of the bulbs would collide. The Processing code ensures that none of these transitions would happen, to avoid collisions and destruction.

Image result for four letter word rob sewardImage result for four letter word rob seward


As a functional piece, I feel that this device would add an exciting touch to existing neon signs, in place of restaurant or bar signs, or other places of entertainment. It could display names, or short meaning words pertaining to its surroundings, or simply move around forming an interesting design.
It could also be installed as an art piece in museums or hotel lobbies where visitors can sit and admire.


The length of each word displayed is restricted to the number of Arduino setups, and only appears one at a time. While point of the work revolves around word association and rhyming, the same device would be unable to display other types of textual content, unless produced in a large-scale setting.




Device of the Week #2 – NOTCH 3D MOTION SENSORS

Notch is a wearable sensor technology that tracks 3D body motion. It comes in a pack of six small triangular waterproof sensors, weighing less than 10g each. They can be attached to and worn using thin elastic straps, on key areas such as elbows, knees, ankles and torso. Its small and comfortable design allows it to be used anywhere, without hindering movement during activities or being visually obtrusive. Unlike traditional trackers that can only be worn on the wrist, Notch is able to capture much more precise body movements and is suitable for sports or activities involving full body movement.


You can try out the configured 3D visualizations here!



The sensors can be calibrated through the Notch smartphone application, and users can pick a configured movement or create their own. Fit with an accelerometer, gyroscopes and compasses within each device, users can also collect data and replay movements through the app, to check for correct postures and monitor their progress. Sensors can be controlled by tapping to toggle between recording and pausing, to allow movement capture to be continuous or only on specific postures. Users are not restricted to the number of sensors that they can wear, depending on the range of movement tracked.

Screen grab from Notch 3D simulation of motion visualization on their website

Notch is not only an input device but also an output device; a haptic feedback function is included, where a vibrator motor is triggered when a good or bad move is made, acting almost like a ‘personal trainer’. This device is aimed at profession athletes, coaches as well as therapists, making it easier to identify problematic physical habits and to correct techniques. Its waterproof features also benefits synchronized and competitive swimmers.

While it is currently being used mostly by professionals and developers, the Notch kit can be purchased by anyone who wants to try it out, at 379 USD per kit.

Not only is it for sports players but can also greatly benefit healthcare sectors. This device can help injured or disabled patients in physiotherapy, to monitor their movements and track their healing progress. Professionals in various other fields have also expressed interest in the technology: martial arts, climbers and even animators. As they plan on releasing an API for third party users to build additional uses for Notch, the potential uses are endless:

Sports – Sensors act as their personal guide in preventing unnecessary injuries and correcting techniques based on their motion data.

Healthcare – To enhance recovery during physiotherapy.

Entertainment – For dancers and models to perfect their moves, aid 3D animators in creating characters.

VR Gaming – Replace VR controllers to provide a more natural and physically immersive gaming experience