Device of the week #2: Tangible Media/ Sensel

The next installation that I would like to talk about is the interactive art device called Tangible media.The device is a new take on the Pinscreen, a popular desk toy that allows you to create a rough 3-D model of an object by pressing it into a bed of flattened pins.

In this build, the pins are connected to a motor controlled by a nearby laptop, the camera from the kinect takes in infra red signals from the user and projects them onto the pinscreen.

This project had me thinking about how I would be able to do something similar with a much smaller budget. Using a webcam, I would then aim it downwards onto my arm and have the setup lighted downwards so that the image registers contrast clearly and keeps the shadows on the corner of the arms, rather than having it one side over the other.  I would then be able to use the rgb values/luma values and use cellchecker in max to get values from each individual pixel before sending them to each individual pin.

There are a few limits with this setup however, although the pins slide up/down fairly well, they are’n’t entirely 3 dimensional and still require the user to look at the installation from one single vantage point. I could see this installation being applied towards representation of data or physical topographical representation in maps. On a much larger scale, i could foresee this being used to redefine topological/partitioned spaces in shopping malls, depending on the kinds of events or roadshows which would be presented in the atrium.

One small device which may use this application would be a morphological tactile surface controller, similar to a keyboard that changes ergonomics, which brings me to the next device…

Another device that tries to use the same principle of a modifiable tactile surface is the customizable MIDI controller. The thing that makes this controller different is in the detection of velocity and dynamics, creating a more nuanced controller that can play notes of varying volume. This principle is also applied to the stylus pad, allowing users to paint more naturally, compared to the rigid wacom intuos 3 stylus, which has to be custom controlled, and has a more limited tilt and pressure sensor which has to be calibrated. The selection of brushes would also be limited there. However, the sensel skips the hassle of brush selection online.

The touch pad itself is intuitive, and is a simple more plug and play configuration. Other configurations include the trap set, keyboard and the MPC controller.

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