Thursday, March 29, 2007

It will have to wait

I was planning on redoing my website and posting my thesis project there, but I recently have come to the realization that with everything I'm working on, the official site will have to wait.

In the meantime, I'll post here.

As an introduction, here's the abstract from my thesis:

Cousteau is a kinetic interactive sculpture, a meditation on the intersection of Nature and Technology. The sculpture’s form is inspired by aquatic life and movements: sea grass swaying in the ocean, the undulating motion of currents, and the hide-and-seek of some sea creatures. The project grew out of my interests in oceanography and design, and the way that we as humans anthropomorphize in order to relate to technology. Cousteau synthesizes these ideas by using simple movements to suggest that technology might possess its own life force; through an array of sensors, the sculpture monitors its surroundings, reacting to ambient activity, and a user’s proximity.

The project is a collection of modules, where each unit acts independently yet still communicates with others. Each module consists of an array of “eels” which grow upward from the base, creating a dynamic field. The “eels” bob back and forth as well as up and down depending on the inputs received from the sensors. For instance, if a user startles Cousteau, the “eels” will seek safety by retracting into the base. Alternatively, if a user waves his hand over a portion of Cousteau, the “eels” may emerge to investigate. Stimulating one module might provoke a neighboring or a remote one to react as well, as if seeking attention or expressing neglect. Cousteau’s animation is contingent upon multiple factors such as noise levels, distance readings and especially frequency of stimuli. Using multiple inputs this way will keep the interaction interesting and ever-evolving, adding a higher degree of unique experiences.