Device of the Week 2 | IoT | Smart Speakers


Device Chosen:

Smart Speakers

“Controlling your smart home with your voice”

Description of the Device:

Image result for smart speakers

Smart Speakers are wireless speakers equipped with a voice command device, further integrated with a virtual assistant.

As a smart device, it utilizes WiFi, Bluetooth and other wireless protocol standards for Hands Free Activation.

One thing Smart Speakers are commonly used for are to control home automation devices to enable smart homes. They control lighting, climate, entertainment systems and appliances and take care of home security, access controls and alarm systems.

All these can be controlled via just voice command alone via the in-built microphones in the speakers, rendering efficient functioning of the household.


Well-known examples with Virtual Assistants equipped: 

  • Amazon Echo Series (Amazon Alexa)

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  • Apple HomePod (Siri)

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  • Google Home (Google Assistant)

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  • INVOKE (Microsoft Cortana)

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Pros and Cons of the Device:


Image result for freedom meme nicolas cage

  • Convenience through automation- things can still get done even with your hands filled.
  • Increase in autonomy, making spaces and activities accessible and convenient for people of all abilities.
  • Flexibility of Controls – With simply voice command there seems to be endless things you can instruct Smart Speakers to do, from screening YouTube videos to making reservations at restaurants.
  • Gives you more free time, as you can save more time from doing ‘menial chores’.


Image result for thief meme

  • Security and Privacy Risks with always-switched-on microphone; cannot avoid data collection, storage and sorting. Personal data is put under surveillance of the owner company producing said device.
  • False Positives – Private information captured by Smart Speakers may be unintentionally shared with other people due to misinterpretation of voice command. Unprompted and unauthorized actions may also be made through this misinterpretation of command.
  • Target for Hackers with wealth of information stored in smart speakers.
  • Signal Strength- if you are without a good WiFi or Bluetooth connection, the device will cease to function properly.

Suggestion for alternate use of the Device and/or modification that would generate a new application, a new artwork, a new design, etc. for the Device:

Image result for futuristic glasses

I think a new design for the device can potentially be a microchip sized smart speaker. Imagine those futuristic shows where your sunglasses can screen data and voice command virtual assistants? If these speakers could be wired in such a way it becomes so compact that it can fit on a wearable, it could be a good addition to a non-invasive device that still translates information and feedback to and fro.

For the visually challenged, it can serve as both a fashion statement and as a visual aid should the design be sleek af.

navigation glasses, blind, Xu Guang suo, futuristic devices, smart gadgets

It is similar to Google’s Futuristic Glasses sold at USD$1,500, except that this can be activated via voice command and can probably do a whole lot more stuff. I don’t think Google’s Glasses can turn music on or turn the lights on in another bedroom three floors up.

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Google’s Futuristic Glasses

One can read the news just by putting on their sunglasses and inputting a command. One can screenshot a news article or take a photo just from blinking their eyes through cornea recognition. The possibilities are endless. It can even be embedded in a wrist watch or become a bio-tech beneath the first layer of skin (but that may be taking things a littttle too far).

Image result for iron man vision

Lookat me it’same Iron Man from Age of Ultron

You may get to feel like Iron Man though.

Multimodal Project 2 | Curing the Couch Potato Syndrome (Documentation)


For Project 2 // Multimodal Project 2, I decided to change my idea away from my LED Calf Compression to a Heating Pad Motivator. This name of my project still remains as <Curing the Couch Potato Syndrome>, and still serves the same purpose but with a haptic output instead of a haptic input this time around!

For this project, I have a white calf compression (which I substituted with a flexible fabric for the low fidelity prototype) which is painted with thermochromatic ink of various colours (supposed to look really pretty and fashionable in a non prototype version). A heating pad is slotted along a calf pocket, and it will be attached to a Force Sensitive Resistor (FSR) which will be strapped beneath the foot.


A lazy person puts this device on with velcro.

Whenever the person is off from their feet, and the FSR (also a pressure sensor) does not detect a force exerted on it, it means that the person is slacking. This will cause the heating pad at the calf to heat up increasingly, and the reversible thermochromatic ink (loaned to me by Professor Galina :D) will start to disappear, turning the calf back to a plain ugly white.

The discomfort of the heat and the lack of desire to wear a plain white calf band around, it should motivate the person to get off their feet to exercise. Once they are on their feet, the FSR will detect the force exerted and will turn off the heating pad. This will result in the heat disappearing (and hence discomfort disappearing) and the colours from the ink will start to return.

The heating pad and the pressure pad are slotted in pockets that will make them invisible to direct vision. A pocket is fitted on the outside for the Arduino, battery and the breadboard. On an actual device, it should be strapped to a covered pocket with smaller and more compact power such as a Lilypad and a smaller battery component that has a on off function. (Unfortunately this time round my components were either malfunctioning or I was just not able to procure them within a week 🙁 )

Below is the Arduino Code for the controls of the Device:

#include <Wire.h>

int pressureAnalogPin = 0; //pin where our pressure pad is located.
int pressureReading; //variable for storing our reading

//Adjust these if required.
int noPressure = 5; //max value for no pressure on the pad
int lightPressure = 500; //max value for light pressure on the pad
int mediumPressure = 600; //max value for medium pressure on the pad

int HeatPin = 5; //pin where heating pad is located
const int pinUP = 255; //max analogue output, heater on
const int pinDOWN = 0; //heater off

void setup(void) {

void loop(void) {
pressureReading = analogRead(pressureAnalogPin);

Serial.print(“Pressure Pad Reading = “);

if (pressureReading < noPressure) {
Serial.println(” – No pressure”);
digitalWrite(3, HIGH); // Heater is on
} else if (pressureReading < lightPressure) {
Serial.println(” – Light Pressure”);
digitalWrite(3, HIGH); // Heater is on
} else if (pressureReading < mediumPressure) {
Serial.println(” – Medium Pressure”);
digitalWrite(3, LOW); //Heater is off
} else{
Serial.println(” – High Pressure”);
digitalWrite(3, LOW); //Heater is off



Finished Product:

Overall the product was not really finished well with unexpected complications. The design of the prototype could have been better done and the paint could have been more structurally planned instead of my experimental slathers. Also, I did not expect the supply of the power to be an issue again alike the previous project… While the code really worked, I put the wires wrongly when I was transferring the wires and switching them around which caused the wire to short-circuit. This resulted in my heating pad heating up which made me assume that the product did work but when I tested it in class, it started to fail. In the end, after rectifying that issue, my heating pad ended up not really heating up well because the digital pin could only supply 20ms worth of power which was barely enough for the heating pad. The total power of the arduino was 100ms which was 5 times the power of what the digital pin could supply, which was why the heating pad could heat up well when it short circuited and ended up bluffing me into thinking the device was working properly. Smh.

When Zifeng gave me the solution of using the relay and explained that the relay could allow me to draw the full power from the 9V batteries I had attached to the device and allow the heating pad to draw the full power through the digital pin, I quickly tried to swop the Relay into the device but oof, my brand new relay turned out to be faulty. 🙁


In the end, my presentation wasn’t the best I could have done but overall I think it was a good chance to experiment with many different mediums because thermochromic ink, relays, pressure sensors and heating pads were components I never interacted with before. Oof.

Analogue Project 1 | Ideation


My Personal Objectives: To Overwhelm and subvert the 5 senses and one’s perception


Image result for fragment room

<The Venting Room>, also affectionately coined by me as <“DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!”> is essentially a room for people to… vent. However, it is not just any normal venting room like the Fragment Room, but one that is reliever from the pressure of school and social expectations. To blend together with a social construct.

The objective of my object is to represent the pressure of meeting expectations.

How do you live life? What must you do to be constituted as “correct”? No, you cannot do this! No, you cannot do that! You must do this! Have you finished your homework! You are only a good boy if you finish studying for 10 hours per day! You have to behave yourself in front of others! You must always be nice even if people offend you!


If life was made to be full of rules, then I will break them all!!

The Venting Room is split into three partitions; the Study, the Classroom, and the Networking Room. Through all rooms, there will be a fixed music playing in the background featuring really annoying nagging about social constructs e.g. “Have you done your homework? Do you want to sign up for this extra tuition class? Bobby have one mark higher than you for this exam eh, why are you so useless? Omg you know Vivian has this superrr rich boyfriend who buys her everything and drives a Maserati, what are you doing with your life?” etc.

Start, 3:11-4:55

The Study

Image result for crying while studying

In the Study, there will be a single table, a single chair, a clock overhead, and propaganda school posters such as “Every School is a Good School!” There will be several assessment books and stationery in the room as well.

The Study or the bedroom is a place where an individual has to stay in most of the time to study and study and study without taking a break just because their parents say so. “Study until you become doctor, don’t talk to me until you doctor.” Heard of this phrase?

Screw studying though, why not just thrash everything and scream!

The Classroom

Image result for getting scolded in classroom by teacher

There will be a single chalkboard in the room (just cardboard with acrylic paint actually…) and there will be chalk available for scribbling on the board.

Yadda, yadda… solve the sums on the board, and if I don’t I will be scolded as being stupid or assumed that I’m not paying attention in class even though I just don’t understand how to do it… then I get kicked out of class and sent to detention because of it.


The Networking Session

Image result for i hate networking parties

It is a room filled with balloons, party poppers and confetti strings, which is representative of the high life, parties and celebrations. It is the place where most social gatherings take place at.

This is the place where social obligations take place! If you turn up for these events, you give people a chance to insult you and what you have been doing with life while they show off their niece’s 5th husband who gave her 3 BMWs for her birthday. If you don’t turn up, people will think that you are rude, or that you are too ashamed to turn up because you are not doing well in life and don’t want people to question it. You don’t have a choice anyway, so why not go there and make a ruckus?

With these three rooms set up, the goal is to VENT! One goes into each room, stepping into the shoes of a tired and fed up student and young person who has to deal with life. One is expected to do the things that makes the person great in societal’s expectations and acceptance. But what if you subvert their expectations and ruin everything and tell them to screw off?

With this subversion of logic and theory, one can go into this interactive space and indulge in the annoyance and irritation they feel from the nagging and the mundane, dull yet familiar space they see. This is an opportunity for them to feel release and feel pleasure upon doing the things they obviously cannot do in a real setting (or else they will get arrested for vandalism or property damage or something). The room will not be reset after the first person. The next person can come and view the damage that has been done by the first person, and add on to the damage caused. By not resetting the room, it will give the next audience an insight of how the previous participant felt, and how he viewed “venting” as. In a sense, this is an analogue open sourced project for causing property damage together…

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This one in a lifetime opportunity to ruin the place that gives you the most misery is here!! Be sass, do your best, and be yourself!


Multimodal Experience Device | Idea Generation



Brief: Equipped with simple sound and haptic (sense of touch and motion), make a device that informs a person about the content of a message without being disruptive to his or her entourage (e.g. meetings).

My anatomy lel

IDEA#1: Don’t be lazy! // Curing the Couch Potato Syndrome

In commemoration of a Singapore Healthy Society!

<Curing the Couch Potato Syndrome> is a project which encourages people to exercise, while this will be informally broadcast to the public. It will utilize an arduino, along with pressure sensors and LED strips. The pressure sensors will be located underneath the feet, sandwiched between protective sponge and fabric to be inserted in shoes. The LED Strips will be slotted into sewn pouches, along a wearable that resembles a shin guard, and will be elastic for ease and comfort.

Image result for leg wrap sports


This device is an identifier for lazy people and for shaming them for not moving enough per day. When the person begins the day, they can put on their shoes and along with the pressure sensor pouches (activated by arduino and a portable power source) and also put on the shin guard wearable as shown in the picture. The colour will start off as Red, indicating a dire need for exercise and to shame the person for not having exercised for the day. Time to be active!

As the person goes on about their day, their footsteps will be detected by the pressure sensors underneath their feet. There will be a counter in place, and after hitting a targeted number of steps, the colour of the led strips will start to change. (Considering to do a colour wipe effect for every step taken but see how). The meter is as follows:

Red –> Orange –> Yellow –> Blue –> Green

Red represents the least exercise taken. It tells the public BOO you are so lazy!!

While Green (representing approval) shows that the person has maxed out their targeted footsteps. YAY, you are so active and hardworking! The public is proud of you!

Alternatively, the LED strips can represent a Health or Battery Bar instead. The more you exercise, the more the bar will fill up and when it hits maximum light capacity, it means that the target has been met.

The target steps can be set at the start simply by editing the arduino code and re-inserting it back with the device.

IDEA#2: Don’t touch me I’m scared!

The concept for this idea revolves around traumatized victims who has suffered abuse, be it physical abuse or sexual abuse. These people usually have withdrawal symptoms due to trauma, and find it hard to accept touch from other people in fear of being injured by the violence they faced in the past. However, what normal people don’t seem to realize is these people need to be given personal space and dislike being touched. They continue to touch them casually even in an act of supposed good nature, not knowing that the simple action has caused these past victims to feel uncomfortable.

This is also in inspiration of trains in Japan, where many people are often molested on the sardine-packed trains of Japan. However, due to outrage of modesty and embarrassment (which is something taken very seriously in Japan), they usually will themselves to remain quiet to prevent awkwardness in a place jammed pack with the public, and have to suffer in silence and discomfort by themselves. Also at times, the train is too crowded for them to signal to someone about their situation anyway…

With an aim to be a social awareness therapy device, <Don’t touch me I’m scared!> is a device which utilizes an elastic hand band (for ease of wearing and comfort) which covers the middle arm. This arm band is embedded with removable pressure sensors. This device is connected to a neck ‘bracelet’ that has an LED strip embedded inside it. This resembles a noose, acting as a visual representation of how emotional trauma can affect one’s life very crucially. (i.e. one can be driven to suicide when their emotions have suffered too much, etc…)

Image result for neck metal choker


The LED Strip will remain green, but upon someone touching the arm of the person wearing the device, the light will change to red; a silent SOS to the unknown fella about “PLEASE DON’T TOUCH ME SO CASUALLY, I’M UNCOMFORTABLE because I have reasons to be…”.

This reduces the need for a traumatized victim to force herself to voice out her discomfort because a visual cue has been set in place, and also to alert others that they have to be careful about treating this person. I believe that such a device can be potentially helpful as an aid during therapy when victims try to overcome their physical contact trauma.

Illuminating Embodiment by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer : Hemmer’s Relational Architectures



Instability, Fluctuation and Re-imagination.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer focuses on the panopticon and surveillance; where “bodies, buildings, cities and technologies are conceptually and functionally interconnected”. Every day, we interact with technology and are reliant on technology to carry on with our daily lives whether it is transport, crafting documents, or having a conversation with someone else across the planet.

In his art, Lozano-Hemmer aims to deal with the body as “a performance, a process of becoming, of change, and less interested in physiognomy, anatomy, forensics and physical ergonomics.” Through re-contextualising the context of a specific building, he makes use of the concept he coined; relational architecture. This happens where the audience relates to the visual and auditory events predetermined by the artist. Physical involvement with the art piece creates a form of organic-technological art which can also be seen as biopolitics. Lozano-hemmer makes use of robotically controlled projectors, widely accessible computer systems, mobile phones, radios and custom-made software to conduct this experience. Architecture then becomes less solid and rigid, and makes room for a more virtual perception of itself. It becomes a lived existence for the audience interacting with it. 

Displaced Emperors, through wireless 3D trackers for instance, allowed for an individual to undergo duo-culture experience in an immersive environment. It made use of the 5 senses (mainly perception of touch (and what it can affect), sights and sounds). The installation brings in experiences and materials from outside a fixed culture and converts the building into something more than just a piece of dead matter. Flexibility and Imagination has been put into the building to make it more than just a building. It provides cultural exchange, learning and commemoration without distance getting in the way. In a way I feel that this is a plus point for biotechnology despite the possibility of it making us more cyborg-like. This experience does not interfere with us as people perceiving culture and encourages greater learning which reduces our focus on technology.

Through interaction with technology and the human perception, Lozano-Hemmer was able to play around with scale and subverted expectations, which made his works so unique and created a new world between organic human interactions and what technology can provide. As Henry Lefevre says; social activities constructed and gave meaning to space. To me, space is perceived differently and becomes a whole new idea because of how society reacts to it. These human activities are enhanced through technology, which also helps people to perceive its effects visually such as in Lozano-Hemmer’s Frequency and Volume where technology being used is being recorded and visually traced.


To me, it is not surprising to me that human perceptions and reactions through technology can create an active response as shown in Lozano-Hemmer’s works. Technology has already become such a big part of our lives. Almost everything we do involves technology; even the toilet flush. While it can aid us in improving the way we do things, I feel that too much of it can be detrimental instead because we become lazier and more dependent on technology to make things work. 

Ultimately, in an experimental art sense it is very interesting and unique but I hope that it does not displace traditional art and representation, just like how it should not override the globe with its over-reliability.

Critical Vehicles by Krzysztof Wodiczko


Vehicles. To be a carrier, as a medium to convey ideas or emotions.

In Critical Vehicles: Writings, Projects, Interviews by Krzysztof Wodiczko, we understand that the Polish artist specializes in large-scale public slide and video projections. This is done on numerous celebratory architecture and monuments, in relation to his idea of “bodification” of architecture, turning these structures into critical vehicles; one of self-critics.

Image result for homeless projections

To him, vehicles “served as a means of enacting (and warning against) the oppressiveness of a psycho-social machine”. He explains that one is not truly aware of being subjects of oppression until they are exposed to this fact can they understand how dependent and incapacitated they are as individuals against the autocratic system as ruled in Poland. 

In his works. Wodiczko aims to uncover the conditions of life under the delusion of freedom– where one seeks refuge under a political or cultural entity as an excuse for their individual passivity. Andrzej Turowski calles this ideosis— the commonsense life of well-calculated choices for navigating through the system by claiming a critical or independent perspective on it.

In a sense, I think what Wodiczko is trying to portray in his works by projecting on cultural and political buildings is about the petrification of individuals and their personal thought process. Their individuality is sacrificed in order to protect themselves under the larger umbrella of a cultural or political entity. In a sense, these monuments which represent the cultural or political entity ironically becomes alive despite being dead matter; they are living in place of the people who have thrown away their individuality and ideas and are hence stagnant and in stasis. 

Nationalism? One people, One nation? Who cares when individuality and self-protection is lost along the way?

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In his works for instance Homeless Projections and then Homeless Vehicle, it was a mockery of American Freedom as the homeless die of wounds and malnutrition. Such a social commentary is one of the reasons why I felt that Wodiczko was trying to mock society about what they perceive as safety and perfection; trying to advocate largely established point of views can very well lead to one’s death instead. He calls this “Nationalistic Madness” and I agree with him. 

Perfection? I call bulls**t.

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In Homeless Vehicles and Projections, they tell us the story about how being homeless is not a choice, even though the government “pretends” to offer help; one might end up suffering even more under a shelter. People would rather run free on their own to avoid such dehumanizing, prison-like treatment. The government does not offer them opportunities to get back on their feet either. In a sense, once you are out of the system they call society, it is very hard to get back in. You are treated as an outsider, and you are abused by society’s lordings. And people who live well do not bother with these “trivialities” simply because it does not concern them because they are one with the general social sentiments. Pretty stupid in my opinion.

In my opinion, humans are slowly becoming cyborgs. We listen and abide by the rules of society. We are becoming increasingly dependent on social constructions, and live our lives based on that. The everyday cycle we put ourselves through turns us into mundane robots functioning on food, water and oxygen. This is also a part of us losing our individuality. This is aligned with Wodiczko’s projects The Alien Staff and Mouthpiece (Porte-Parole), where it portrays an authoritarian machine. “The instruments provides prosthetic devices, counter-machines that empower the wearer, in cyborgian fashion, to survive and transform the conditions of his or her social existence.” This essentially conveys to us that humans are becoming less vital in their social existence. To put it in extremity, the world can function with robots and without humans (in a sense) one day.

As sad as reality can be, I find this to be closely relatable to Singapore’s situation. We are constantly surrounded by high expectations in school and work in order to be productive for Singapore’s economy. The health of society’s progress is reliant on the deterioration of our own health. As cyborgs of society, we sacrifice ourselves in the name of hard work to make Singapore great and in turn, the government rewards us with some benefits which by the way do not make up for the shortening of our life spans from the lack of sleep and overworking. We become vehicles of work for society rather than being vehicles that can convey our emotions and thoughts properly.

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I just want to say I’m not on amos yee’s side btw I still don’t like him

Any wrong opinion can get you fired, expelled, or exiled from the organization and even the country. Look at the multiple political leaders and writers who can exiled from Singapore just for reciting their own opinions. Look at the disciplinary penalty we get just from being slightly off from the generic rules and regulations, such as not being able to take our exams just because we did not bring out matriculation cards by accident. Look at the amount of foreign expats flooding into Singapore and being able to purchase landed property with 2-3 cars per household while we have elderly Singaporeans still struggling to make a living and to feed themselves with porridge and canned food daily.

Image result for singaporean's poor

If you ask me, Singapore has gotten its priorities wrong a lot of times. Yet barely anyone speaks out about this. In Singapore, if someone pulls off something like Wodiczko did on the National Gallery building, I can promise that the person would be charged for political sentiments and would be put in jail or exiled.

#Reasons why I hate Singapore at times.

I would like to end off with a quote from the reading which I find very applicable and suitable of Wodiczko’s projection art:

“The aim of critical public art is neither a happy self-exhibition nor a passive collaboration with the grand gallery of the city, its ideological theater and architectural-social system. Rather, it is an engagement in strategic challenges to the city structures and mediums that mediate our everyday perception of the world; as engagement through aesthetic-critical interruptions, infiltrations, and appropriations that question the symbolic, psycho-political, and economic operations of the city. “

Project 1: LED Lights TradeShow 2ND Documentation | “CAW CAW” Means I like you


So <“CAW CAW” Means I Like You> ended up becoming a beta project instead of its main version.

As previously explained in my 1st Documentation of this project, <“CAW CAW” Means I Like You> is supposed to be a visual representation of how someone likes to have their friends around them, emulating a Peacock’s Mating Dance. This project utilizes Arduino, and makes use of Servo Motors to change the wing directions, ultrasonic sensor to detect distances, and LED Strips W2818.

When one is alone, the LED Strips would be facing upwards and will emit a red light indicating animosity. When someone approaches the first person, the ultrasonic sensor will detect the presence of the second person and set the LED Stripped wearable off. In response, the “tail” of LED Strips will move outwards, 90 degrees in opposite angles and the color of the tail will be wiped to green for approval. This indicates that the person hates being lonely, and likes to have his friends around them.

Creating this in view of the brief, it is supposed to be a flashy presentation of the LED Strips that the tradeshow is trying to promote. With its interactivity, people would be more inclined to try out the wearable technology and it would ideally create more fascination with the LED effects it provides.

Source Code for Arduino:

#include <Adafruit_NeoPixel.h>
#include <Servo.h>
#include <NewPing.h>

const int ServoPin1 = 13;
const int ServoPin2 = 12;
const int TriggerPin = 3;
const int EchoPin = 2;
long distance;
long duration;
const int ledPIN1 = 8;
const int ledPIN2 = 9;

const int numOfLeds = 30; // Number of leds

//Adafruit_NeoPixel pixels = Adafruit_NeoPixel(numOfLeds, ledPin, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800);
Adafruit_NeoPixel strip1 = Adafruit_NeoPixel(numOfLeds, ledPIN1, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800);
Adafruit_NeoPixel strip2 = Adafruit_NeoPixel(numOfLeds, ledPIN2, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800);

//Create a servo object
Servo Servo1; //LEFT
Servo Servo2; //RIGHT

//100 = maxDistance
NewPing sonar(TriggerPin, EchoPin, 100);

void setup(){
pinMode(TriggerPin, OUTPUT);
pinMode(EchoPin, INPUT);
strip1.begin(); // Initializes the NeoPixel library


void loop(){
//int cm = sonar.ping_cm();
//int angle1 = (map, 2, 40, 0, 128);
//int angle2 = (map, 2, 40, 0, 218);

if (distance <=150){
//Spread wings
colorWipe(strip1.Color( 0, 255, 0), 50); // Green
colorWipe(strip2.Color( 0, 255, 0), 50); // Green
//Go back home
colorWipe(strip1.Color(255, 0, 0), 50); // Red
colorWipe(strip2.Color(255, 0, 0), 50); // Green


void colorWipe(uint32_t color, int wait) {
for(int i=0; i<strip1.numPixels(); i++) { // For each pixel in strip…
strip1.setPixelColor(i, color); // Set pixel’s color (in RAM); // Update strip to match
delay(wait); // Pause for a moment

for(int i=0; i<strip2.numPixels(); i++){
strip2.setPixelColor(i, color);;

void ultra(){
digitalWrite(TriggerPin, LOW);
digitalWrite(TriggerPin, HIGH);
digitalWrite(TriggerPin, LOW);
duration = pulseIn(EchoPin, HIGH);
distance = duration*0.034/2;
Serial.print(“Distance: “);

void rainbow(int wait) {
for(long firstPixelHue = 0; firstPixelHue < 5*65536; firstPixelHue += 256) {
for(int i=0; i<strip1.numPixels(); i++) { // For each pixel in strip…
for(int i=0; i<strip2.numPixels(); i++) {
int pixelHue = firstPixelHue + (i * 65536L / strip1.numPixels());
int pixelHue2 = firstPixelHue + (i * 65536L / strip2.numPixels());

strip1.setPixelColor(i, strip1.gamma32(strip1.ColorHSV(pixelHue)));
strip2.setPixelColor(i, strip2.gamma32(strip2.ColorHSV(pixelHue2)));
}; // Update strip with new contents;
delay(wait); // Pause for a moment

Initially, I had big ideas about having it be a audio visualizer slash music visualizer and having one more static LED Strip in the middle against the back. But I faced multiple issues along the way and had to compromise:

  1. Not enough power to supply 3 LED Strips worth 30 bulbs each. I didn’t know how to increase the power at then, so I had to make do with 3 LED Strips instead.
  2. Problem with Flashy LED Colours; Because of silly me utilizing delays in my code, the flashier light effects I originally intended for did not seem to work. In the end, I had to make do with simpler light effects (Colorwipe instead) to represent what I was trying to do. I made use of red to indicate indifference, and green light for approval.
  3. The circuit kept bloody falling off. I did not have the right materials at then to create a proper pouch and I wasn’t adept enough to solder my wires confidently on a breadboard meant for soldering too. In the end, I was just taping and taping even more onto a piece of cardboard and to the belt I attached the wings to. It fell off right before presentation….
  4. IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE A PEACOCK TAIL. But I didn’t procure fabrics in time and made use of white crepe paper instead. While it certainly gave off the right effect, but I had to make the tail two tails instead (because the wrong measurement would tear the paper if my circuit went wonky) and it ended up looking like insect wings.
  5. The color wipe turned out to be a bit laggy. I don’t know why still…

My wonderful cardboard apparatus

Testing it out. Thank you Shah for modelling and Bryan for snapping this pic!

“Is everything ok”

Overall, I was a little proud of myself for being able to make my wearable work somewhat given that it was my first time dealing with these components but I was also disappointed that I didn’t have enough time to make it optimal.

Siah Armajani Exhibition @ CCA: Reflections


SIAH ARMAJANI reflections

  • Reading Room No.3
  • Siah Armajani’s Films


Sacco & Vanzetti Reading Room No.3:

With the purpose of being functional and inviting, Iranian-born political activist Siah Armajani created a reading room that has a deeper meaning. Dedicating many of his works, including the display of books to poets, philosophers and political activists, he quietly and passively declares his political stance through art. His main art style revolves around American conceptual art, such as dealing with geometry.

Among many of his art pieces such as stippled art of tombs dedicated to different individuals (“The Tomb”) and mirrored bridges symbolizing an interstitial space that connects architecture and sculpture (“Street Corner 1 & 2”), the works that stuck with me the most were the Reading Rooms. 

Pencil Spikes,  shophouses converted into reading spaces, and spiked chairs to “relax” in. These are very unconventional uses to create a space meant for relaxation and indulging in complex texts. 

The room that caught my eye the most was the Fruit Store Reading Room. With only one square table and one planked chair in the room, it gave me a serenity and solitude akin to meditation. I felt like I could accomplish a lot just by sitting on that chair, putting my hands on the table, and looking out of the room through the fruit store’s open “window”.

On the shelves, it displayed a lot of novels Siah had dedicated to, and on one shelf, every single book on the shelf was a Poem Book. On the opposite shelf, every single book was about Anarchism and finally, on the bottom fruit rack outside the shop, every book was about Power play. I found this really interesting because it was as though Siah was trying to “sell” his ideas. The shopkeeper, in this sense, was Siah himself. 

At the other shop, its outlook featured a tobacco shop, and there were only two chairs facing each other inside. Sitting inside the space made me feel safe, as though I could share my ideas and opinions with the person sitting opposite me without fear of betrayal. I guess in a sense, this emulated the feelings of the two political activists who were executed via electric chairs for being… well, political. 

The Relaxation chair made out of Pencil Spikes was also particularly interesting ever since Kee Yong tried to sit on the chair and made a resounding pencil-breaking symphony from his attempt. Maybe the chair of spikes was a reflection of how it felt to be a political activist. On the front, it seems that life is fair and one can relax in their chair but underneath, one is actually lying on a bed of spikes rather than a bed of roses because they may be prosecuted any time for their political sentiments.


Siah Armajani’s Films:

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Regarding Siah Armajani’s Films, it took me several revisions at home to understand what it was trying to convey. Siah Armajani took a very modern approach in playing around with lines and other geometry to shift perspective and create points of departure. While some of them like Rotating Line was easier to understand, Before/After was a little more abstract. However, they eventually conveyed the same concept. 

Image result for siah armajani films

All in all, I found his concepts quite fresh, and at the same time brave, because he dared to create an art piece based on political sentiments. At the same time, his pieces gave me a homely effect from the way the structures were built on; earthly colours for its paints, old school buildings fashioned into reading rooms, olden day utensils, and even the iron bridges had an old-fashioned vibe spun into them. This homely effect could be seen as an attempt to communicate and bond with the masses to make them understand and be able to relate to what Siah is trying to portray.

Device of the Week 1 | Health Devices | Muse Brain Sensing Headband


Device Chosen:

Muse Brain Sensing Headband by Gaiam Corporation

Description of the Device:

The Muse Brain Sensing Headband produced by Gaiam Corporation is a headband utilized for meditation purposes. It makes use of electroencephalography (EEG) sensors to analyze the brain activity.

EEG in general is widely used by neuroscience researchers worldwide. It makes use of advanced signal processing to interpret one’s mental activity which can help to guide control over it. It is often used in hospitals and research institutions to study the brain.

Muse utilizes 7 EEG sensors; 2 on the forehead, 2 behind the ears, and 3 reference sensors. During meditation, brain activity will be monitored and this information is then transmitted to the computer, smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. The report can then be viewed right after each brain analysis session, showing the brain data. This real-time feedback tells you what is happening in your brain and guides you in achieving peace and calm.

In a way, not only can meditation be more effective with Muse’s guidance, it can also allow one to learn more about their body. Muse also provides guides about sleep, performance, stress reduction and more. Motivational challenges and rewards are also offered to encourage meditation as part of daily routine.

Furthermore, Muse 2, the second version of the first headband, added Photoplethysmography (PPG) and Pulse Oximetry breath and heart sensors on the front, right-hand side of the forehead. PPG is an optical technique that measures blood volume variations. Pulse Oximetry calculates the arterial oxygen saturation in a non-invasive manner. Furthermore, gyroscope (determines orientation) and accelerometer (used to measure non-gravitational acceleration) body sensors can be found behind the ear. The increase in balancing the body and blood flow helps to calm the body easier. On top of that, there is no electrical stimulation.

Muse can detect a range of brain electrical activity and transforms this information into easily understandable experiences for the common masses. Raw brain signals are transformed into many different components such as noise, oscillations, non-periodic characteristics and transient and event-related brain events.

Signal-processing and machine learning techniques are also applied to the brain signal components to control the experience in real time, encouraging more effective feedback for the person meditating.

Convenience of information is also taken into account for with Muse. with MuseDirect available on iOS, it can help to record, visualize and stream EEG and movement sensor data from Muse. This information is retrieved from the raw data and band powers to head movement and rotation. It can be used for neurofeedback, research, art installations, and even education purposes.

Pros & Cons of the Device (Analysis): 


  • You can know whenever your mind becomes distracted during a meditation session — Can consciously try to bring your mind back to its calm state from any emergence of unnecessary distraction and improve understanding about your state of mind
  • Impressive Build Quality- Bluetooth, handy, and information can be transmitted over various devices
  • Portable, lightweight and very small
  • Affordable for its function (for a health device that can benefit medically)
  • Not electrically stimulating


  • Feedback from veteran meditating users says that the device cannot really distinguish well between a calm mental state and an active mental state
  • Bluetooth connectivity not perfect- connected through wireless to your smartphone.
  • Battery life is not impressive
  • Expensive (high-end headphones price range of $300-ish)
  • Cannot be compared to professional EEG devices (such as hospital ones which cost $10K)

Suggestion for alternate use of the Device and/or modification that would generate a new application, a new artwork, a new design, etc. for the Device: 

An alternate use of the device would be for First Aid and home-medication for people with anxiety issues aka psychological aid.

Anxiety problems is one of the major health concerns that does not always have a medicine. Brainlessly chugging on Xanax is not always going to help especially when the body is starting to be immune to long intakes of such medication.

Having a sister who once had a sort of Autoimmune disease which attacked her brain (anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis), it was very difficult to find a way to calm her down during her panic attacks and anxiety syndromes during her recovery phase as her brain receptors had gone wonky. Even if they try to tell themselves not to worry about practically nothing, and to try their best to “calm down”, it almost never really works because the body is not listening to the brain. The whole experience from three years back taught me that Anxiety Issues are a whole new level from physical ailments because it is a mental disturbance, and no one can physically invade the mental and emotional realm if the affected person is not even able to listen and digest anything outside of their own world. It is scary, and having a solution for that would be ideal because it is never easy to find a “solution” to calm someone with anxiety down.

With an upgraded and medically enhanced version of Muse, I believe that it can become a medical aid towards people facing similar issues because Muse can accurately decipher the actual brain state of the patient and pinpoint the issue before giving the right solutions to the patient. This can definitely ease the burden of self-hate from the patient, and also ease the workload of family members and friends who has to take care of these patients.

Another design to upgrade Muse could potentially be an arm-chair version of the device. While massaging armchairs are meant to help the body relax, this experience could be further enhanced if accurate data about how to relax the body is applied to various other parts of the body. While it is obvious that your legs and hands cannot listen to the vocal feedback, Muse Armchair can be modified such that the massage chair applies the right massaging techniques for relaxation right after receiving the real-time feedback from Muse’s physical body analysis.