Jadu (Part 2)

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Grace A. Halverson | Anuraj Bhatnagar | Katherine Bennett

This subproject serves as a exploration into the interactive potential of our Jadu Generative Art Project - an interactive visual representation of Introversion and Extraversion in a conversational setting. We posited that personalities exist along the lines of a spectrum instead of polarized opposites between introversion and extraversion. By allowing equal opportunities of representation for both introverts and extraverts through color, opacity, and frequency of shape placement, we aimed to challenge the common social perception as extraverted personalities being of higher importance and power.

In this part of the project, we have created a table top controller that further sets the contextual environment and encourages users to be more involved in their conversations. Additionally, while certain shapes have been placed strategically on the board, increased interaction by the users also allows for more of a randomized level of responses, reflected on a computer screen. 

 

A Left mouse click is associated with the squares and the Right mouse click is associated with the circles. Paralleling our initial research into personality types and the equal importance both bring to the conversational space, we put all of our shapes onto the table (so to speak). There are equal number of touch points for each shape, placed across the board, reflecting an abstracted place setting of the plate and teacup. This arrangement, really relies on body language and encourages interaction to create the optimal generative art. Giving opportunity to another to engage in a conversation as well as contributing to a social environment requires conscious consideration. 

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Figure 1 - Low-fi table top prototype

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Figure 2 - Initial tin foil testing with the arduino

We used a laser printer to etch our design into the cardboard base. Low-fi touch points were made with aluminum foil and connected to the arduino with wiring imbedded in grooves in the cardboard. We chose to use an arduino because it could support more touch points than a Makey Makey could. Additionally, the Dilac lab had several that we could rent out, as well as extra resistors and copper tape we could use. A big shout out to our TA, Tom Jenkins and our professor Anne Sullivan for their assistance in bringing our art to life.

The silk organza was a beautiful addition to our low-fidelity prototype, but disrupted the capacitive touch sensors. For the demo it had been peeled back to be revisited and revised later. A comment had been made in the previous demo feedback about white fabric on a white tablecloth appearing too much or even seeming elitist. We decided to eliminate the tablecloth completely and focus on alternative ways to refine the physical interface aesthetic.

Going back to the concept of “tea time”, we considered doilies as a possible addition to the tabletop. However, the options that we had on hand and the initial options we found on Amazon were ruled “too feminine”. There also still existed the risk of having any kind of weight on the touch capacitive sensors interfering with the data output in the code. Why were doilies so common if they were considered too feminine? The doily was originally conceived in the 17th century for table decoration to elevate the aesthetic of a multi-course dinner (or sometimes to cover the head). Its popularity has somewhat lingered, but is considered mildly elitist or reserved for special occasions and is seen by many as a somewhat unnecessary, antiquated accessory.

 

What then, would be the 21st century Age of Technology doily? We put on our thinking cats and decided to redesign the doily to appeal to modern times. We designed several templates for circuit doilies on Adobe Illustrator to fit the dimension requirements for our capacity touch sensors. Circuit lines echoed the lines, circles, and wire grooves of our tabletop beautifully. After a lot of effort and input for those, they were laser printed into the conductive fabric. Initial results proved that the design was too complex for the fabric and we reduced power settings and tried etching. The results were quite beautiful and also were a lot easier to mount to the tabletop than if we had stuck to the intricate cut out. To add another layer of complexity and color variation to the mix, we also cut circuit doilies out of parchment paper and swatches representing the radiating range from the human interaction sides of the table out of slightly yellowed, aged parchment paper. Fabric and parchment paper accoutrements were attached with a glue stick. Thus, a soft glow covered certain areas of the tabletop, adding to the texture and neutral color pallet and reducing the more course appearance of the cardboard.

For demo purposes, we brought other metallic and non-metallic props to the demo to elevate the “play” environment. Because Grace was not able to join in person, she sent a plushie knight, Sir Waffles of Quaffles - from the land of round creature who rule from a square table, to serve in her stead (Chivalry is not dead in a fantasy world). Mugs, spoons, cups, and plates of all shapes and sizes were placed on the table. Shiny, beautiful and inviting, they beckon to their audience to sit down for a spell, interact, share a story, and drink in the wonder.

See more photos of the final design and demo below.