Angela Advanced Projects

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Here are my notes, progress, documentation, etc for Advanced Projects in Digital Art Spring '07.

Links:
Reactive Fashion - A collaboration with Rebecca Grabman on Wearable Computing
Explorations in Wearable Computing - My independent study over FWT
Gellas Final - My wearable computing project from Experiments in Mixed Reality

Projects:

Motor Dress

For Prototopia Project: Motoring, Rebecca and I are collaborating. See our notes here: Reactive Fashion Prototopia 1

Skate Power

For Prototopia Project: Alternative Power, Rebecca and I are collaborating. See our notes here: Reactive Fashion Prototopia 2

Middle School Clique Culture

Idea:

I am working toward highlighting and possibly critiquing the social landscape of middle school (12 - 14 year old) girl culture in a staged performance-type interaction on the runway for the Fashion Show. I have 3 models who will be onstage acting out brief scenarios or interactions, and possibly a few other models acting as catalysts or bystanders.

The Plan:

Right now I am revisiting some of the research I did a few years ago on preadolescent identity formation and girl culture to give me a more informed place from which to decide on the appropriate interaction/effects.

I am meeting with my models on Friday the 6th to begin playing with their interactions and to get them into character. For the meeting I will be bringing in both scenarios to try as well as character/role profiles with sketches and gestures and ideas for look/feel. This weekend I will be gathering/buying the base pieces of their outfits and beginning to prototype the main effects that I decide on after my research/brainstorm and what things come up in our meeting.

Sketches

QueenBee.jpg
SideKick.jpg
NewGirl.jpg

Resources/Research:

Psychological Research:

  • Peer Power: Preadolescent Culture and Identity by Patricia Adler (Read this book for a childhood studies class and am going back to my notes - if I can find them. A good resource for examples of clique structure).
  • Preadolescent Clique Structure and the Hierarchy of Identity by Patricia Adler and Peter Adler

General Overviews/Parenting Advice Columns:

Pop Culture References:

Blog:

(For Prototopia project blogs, see Reactive Fashion Prototopia 1 & Reactive Fashion Prototopia 2)

===Brainstorm Session 3/5/07=== Last night Rebecca and I sat down with a calendar and started to generate a plan for the semester. We've decided that the weekend of May 4/5 would be an ideal time for an exhibition/event showcasing our projects as it is between the Fashion Show (April 22) and Senior Show (May 15).

Here's the idea: during the milling-about time while people are waiting for the Fashion Show to begin, we could have some of our interactive clothing on models and have them travel about the audience, entertaining and generating interest for our individual show. We're back and forth about whether we want things in the actual show up on the runway, it doesn't seem like the most appropriate venue, but a few show pieces might be fun. Then we do a slick advertising campaign for our show and have it 2 weeks after. During our show (which we are still real up in the air about what it will actually be) we'll do lots and lots of documentation, some of which can serve as part of my display in the Senior Show.

Other things we talked about: SEA Grants/budgets, setting up a meeting with Robert and Danny about scope of the project etc, setting up a weekly 'brainstorm/planning' session on Thursday afternoons so we can stay on track, and so on.

My Personal Goals: after getting moved into the studio and arranging it to Rebecca and my liking, its now time for me to sit down and really get at what I want to accomplish this semester from a conceptual standpoint. The first Prototopia project has been fun to get into the collaborative mode and Rebecca and I work well together. But I really need to sit down and just do a big free write about ideas/directions/etc. The plan: do this by Wednesday.

Ideas/Concept Mining 3/10/07

On Wednesday afternoon, Rebecca and I tried brainstorming to get at the root of our ideas/themes/directions for each of our projects (collections) and where they intersect. We each took notes on each other's ideas while we had a conversation. We're going to organize, compile, and upload them this weekend to give us a more solid idea of our direction.

Raw Notes from our Meeting (As recorded by Rebecca):
ANGELA's Concept Directions/Ideas

  • A collection, not a line – it’s not linear
  • One to one
  • Intimacy
  • Honesty (honest communication; no intermediary navigation), giving 100% to one person, rather than a presence for many people
  • Angela’s relationship/engagement – what does it mean, connection with other person? As inspiration?
  • Not just focusing on that one to one, but comparing it to the group setting; making judgments on the personal interaction. How is this private moment perceived by the audience?
  • Cues that say ‘this is not meant for you to see, but you’re seeing it anyway’
  • Ways to continue last term without making it all about relationships – but it’s not about romance, just about different levels of interactions: what are pairings that aren’t immediately apparent?
  • More abstract
  • “I hate conceptual projects - I just want to make things sometimes.”
  • Documentation and personal narrative / journaling, etc
  • Memory and experience over generations/time


What are the shared experiences that we can tap into? Rather than individual, personal issues.

“Not about pinpointing the relationship, but identifying the actions within the relationship.”

Right now each of us are brainstorming on our own for discrete projects and will be meeting up over the weekend to lay all our sketches/notes out on the table in our studio and do a first pass workshopping session.

I'm finding it hard to just sit down and wait for ideas to come to me, and am kinda stuck. So I'm looking at my notes from FWT and am trying to organize and add to them, I find that making keyword lists helps me to get thinking and use them as a jumping off point. Also trying out the exercise we did in class of asking 'why?'

>> Here is what I have so far - - Please add questions/suggestions as you see fit, feedback is always appreciated. <<

Main idea/concept: Exploring one-to-one social interaction (seems very, very broad, but will get narrowed down in each project).

- Why is this interesting to me? I feel like one-to-one interactions have a potential for more intimacy, honesty, depth, intensity, etc than interacting within a group setting. It raises questions for me such as whether we are more of ourselves if we are only interacting with one person versus the idea of 'performing' in a group setting. I personally find it is easier for me to interact in this setting versus a group setting and partially want to examine this further.

Social Pairings

  • Parent/Child
  • Caretaker/Dependent
  • Lovers
  • Friends/Best Friends
  • Mentor/Protege
  • Siblings
  • Teacher/Student
  • Boss/Employee
  • Stranger/stranger
  • Neighbors
  • Animal/human
  • Private self/public self

Interaction (Keywords?)

  • Sharing Secrets/Confessions
  • Physical Closeness
  • Honesty
  • Intimacy
  • Fighting
  • Love/Hate
  • Curiosity
  • 5 Senses
  • Force/aggression

Communication/Action Types

  • Talking/Listening
  • Gesture/movement
  • Writing/Reading Text
  • Eye Contact
  • Touch/Physical Contact
  • Facial expression
  • SMS/text message
  • Chat
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Smoke signals
  • Morse code
Angela, the topic is big, but I think you can continue to add/edit and clarify. Your lists could be much longer...I added a bit to them. Within the pairings I think discussing the relationship dynamics can help--if there is an inherent power relationship then describe it and how your work may enable or shift the prescribed power (look at Krzysztof Wodiczko, Disarmor project.) How do notions of the "other" play into this? Defining what we communicate without thinking about it--we are male/female, we are white/asian etc., we are tall/big/skinny, we have red hair, we have a speech impediment, we walk with a limp etc etc. While I understand your interest in one to one com., are you designing these items for you or some other persons? Defining the user may be helpful and might also lead you to ideas that are not rigidly tied to pairs.
How will what you create instigate communication by its very existence? Are they secret/hidden or does a public see the items/augments to your clothes/accessaries? It could be that what you create acts as a catalyst for discussion because you are inserting something unexpected into the status quo--it may not need to have a pre-determined pairing. What if a total stranger can text message your wearable item?
How does personal style/choice of clothes communicate?
What is latent in the environment/what can you reveal?
You are creating a platform that enables (changes/shifts?) communication and specifically, you are working in the realm of wearable clothes or accessories. Start to unpack the nuances in relation to these specifics and the users you imagine wearing/owning them.
Robert_Ransick 12:36, 11 March 2007 (EDT)

Project Ideas 3/12/07

Sunday afternoon, Rebecca and I sat down to discuss our notes from our meeting earlier in the week and do some sketching and sharing. We rolled out a big piece of paper and took turns sharing project ideas while taking notes/doing some sketches. It was a good way to get ideas flowing.
SketchNshare.jpg
My stuff is in the pink and Rebecca switched it up a bit on the right.

A brief synopsis/notes on the projects I discussed:

Heart beat monitor/sharing modules - a receiver and transmitter pins (or accessories) that monitor heartbeat and send to one another (or many) the rhythm which is then displayed as an ambient light. Rebecca asked some whys:
  • Why heartbeats? I like the idea of sharing signals of physical closeness/personal data between two (or more people)
  • Why lights? For awareness beyond just the visceral feeling of a heart beating, as a kind of ambient monitor versus needing constant attention. We discussed how feeling someone's heartbeat all the time could potentially be distracting or jarring, but perhaps not. I like the translation rather than just using sound.
  • Why monitoring? To translate the physical, emotional changes. As a subtle clue to moods of the person sending out the heart data or as a way of having a feeling of presence.

Other notes: Has this been done before? There are a lot of heartbeat projects out there, do some research into what's being/been done and how this may fit into that context.

Social networking datamining jacket - I had an idea very similar to/inspired by to Owen's exploration of having data print in a stream from the web last spring. I'm envisioning a jacket/coat that has a tickertape like feed out of it into a pocket, so that info (the size of fortune cookie paper) builds up into it. Then the wearer can pull out information whenever he/she feels. The information would be feeds from social networking sites. We talked about Facebook and it's mobile phone functionality as a potential source, the news feed on that site is interesting in that it tells you every single thing that someone has changed "so-and-so is now in a relationship", "billy has changed his profile pic", etc. There is the potential for using some of this 'personal' data and printing it out into a physical feed for you to carry with you. I also really like the idea of sharing secrets/confessions and this may be a way to tap into sites such as Livejournal and other blogs and grab on the fly personal info, that could potentially then be shared (for embarrassment? enlightenment?) with the world unknowingly. I like the idea of people posting on their blogs (a public forum) but then getting mad when people find out this 'personal info', and would like to play on that by making it physical. Also the idea of gossip plays in. Rebecca and I imagined a scenario in which a labelmaker could be hacked so that the slips of paper coming out could be stuck at random to public places. We also talked briefly about if using Carnivore was an interesting route, to get data from the network around the piece. Also RSS feeds.

Other notes: Talk to Owen about his explorations, research more about Facebook mobile/tapping into phones, datamining projects, look into labelmakers (found one on sale at Staples later on for $15 and am going to pull it apart and see if it could be adapted to something like this)

Blushing dress - I thought it would be interesting to explore the idea of augmenting bodily signals. Using some kind of sensor to detect blushing or embarrasment (don't know what would be most reliable/if there is a way to distinguish), and then having that make the entire garment blush with the wearer. This could also be interesting for anger, fear, and other emotions. This idea is very rough, but the idea of an 'aura of emotion' (though aura might not be the word I'm looking for) is compelling to me. Rebecca brought up the idea of it being a hybrid of sensing what physical signals you are giving and then you choosing a mood (pushing a button/dial or some such to say 'I am feeling: happy' etc) and having the garment try and determine (or mix) those two.

>>Though I didn't sketch them, I had a few other ideas that we briefly discussed. I noticed that my ideas weren't necessarily centered around my concept of one-to-one relationships, but I'm going with it to see what happens. Maybe I'm drawn more to other topics besides the social aspect...<<

Documentation clothing - I really love the idea of permanently altering clothes and making them unique through wearing. I saw a project a while back called Fashion Victims that used ink release as an exploration of Hertzian space (they respond to mobile phone calls by staining the garments), that really intrigued me. I want to explore the idea of using your clothing as a record of events or data (such as time, messages received, etc), and not necessarily the avenue of awareness as they are focusing on. Originally dyes/inks seemed the most appropriate path, but it seems to close to that project, Rebecca and I were trying to brainstorm other things - burning? tearing? shrinking? - that would have a permanent effect on the garment.



Hourglass dress - playing on the hourglass figure, I thought it would be interesting to use a dress as a timing device through the treatment of its surface. Thinking back to a project called The Progress Bar which is an ambient timer for goal-setting, I like the idea of taking the idea of time outside the realm of the clock or watch and having it be more ambient and part of your subconscious perhaps. My idea would be to wear the dress as documentation of time away/apart from someone? time since you started something? time till you need to finish something? that uses physical parts (sand being moved/fallen?), inks (thermochromics on a grid that is programmed), or even lights (though I think the first two are more interesting to me - lights seem too flashy and not integrated enough)

After our sketch 'n' sharing, Rebecca and I noticed a trend: that she is more into gesture and active garments and I lean toward more information gathering/sharing and relatively passive garments (also 'overblown reactions to environments). This is interesting to note, and there could be some potential for crossover between some of our pieces, something that is passive maybe being acted upon unintentionally or intentionally by a seemingly unrelated piece.

I think I'm going to revisit some of my ideas from FWT as well. They are all here.

Trying to Refine 3/18/07

I spent some time this weekend sketching to try and visualize some of my ideas and figure out which ones jump out at me as more interesting. Though even while doing this, I'm kind of stuck and am having a hard time looking at my ideas through different perspectives/directions.

Thus far, the projects that interest me the most are:

- The interactive Tag game vests:
TagSketch.jpg

- The Voodoo-like doll/jacket pair:
VoodooSketch.jpg

- The Social Networking feed/printing device:
PrinterBag.jpg

New Direction 3/23/07

After the braindump session in class, I think I'm leaving the Tag concept for a moment and pursuing something a little more abstracted(?). I like the idea of modular/interchangeable pieces on clothing and want to make sleeves, pieces, etc that when recombined as other parts of a garment change both look and function (both technologically and fashion-wise).

I like the idea of input/output and having the interchangeable pieces act like sensors or switches that trigger different sewn in circuits depending on how you connect them to each other. I'm imagining 3 models, each with a 'core' garment with an Arduino and circuits sewn in to different fastening points. Each model will have 3 individual interchangeable pieces that can then be moved around on themselves or traded with/stolen by/given to the other models.

A lot of my ideas right now involve how it would be staged and what types of connections/fasteners would allow for quick and easy transformability (ie velcros versus snaps). And how they would be changed on the runway (such as using typical poses as ways to trigger, for instance switches located on hips). Though I'm having trouble figuring out exactly what pieces could be used/patterned and what they would do besides lighting up and being flashy. This weekend I'm going to start sewing some simple circuits with a variety of fasteners to experiment, and to try and collect some clothing to tear apart and try building interesting combinations.

In my Costume class, I brought up the fact that I'm having trouble seeing past the tech side of many of my projects, and they suggested buying some fashion magazines and flipping through to see what I like and don't like as a jumping off point. Yesterday I did just that and now I have some ideas for looks I like (and found some interesting ideas for fastenings online at designer John Ribbe's website) pasted into my sketchbook.

I suspect you are still pondering this new direction and playing with the many different directions it can go. One thing to keep in mind is how your "tech" intervention opens up a new experience (activity?) for the individual wearer in isolation or with his/her partners in play. the elements can also be a combination of analog and digital (like the slap stick bracelet skirt etc.) Perhaps revisit some of your research on tech projects and try tweaking them to your interests--for example, how could you take the idea of LED throwies and reposition it within a clothing context.
We talked about "characters" in terms of who you might be designing these items for and i still think that it might benefit you to try to define who the pieces are for or what character they are/play in your work (perception of the world?) fashion model is very different than soccer mom or business women or student etc. once the character is defined (middle school dance boy/girl) it may open up your thinking and lead you to the modes of interaction/engagement that best suits them or the elements that they could exchange or steal or?
Your conceptual frame could be something as simple as give and take. depending on what you make and who wears it would define what that meant to you--including social interaction etc.
looking forward to hearing more details...Robert_Ransick 21:03, 25 March 2007 (EDT)

I've taken to my sketchbook and made some lists to try and work out other things:

Garment Pieces Brainstorm:

  • Sleeve
  • Pant legs
  • Pockets
  • Hats
  • Vests
  • Skirt
  • Gloves
  • Hoods
  • Belts
  • Shoulder panels
  • Shoes

Transformations/Changing pieces:

  • Pulling
  • Ripping
  • Taking
  • Absorbing

Effects:

  • Light Patterns
  • Sound
  • Muscle Wire contracting/releasing
  • Spinning/kinetic components
  • Unraveling
  • Color Changing (Thermo- or Photochromatics)

My big question right now is should it be more than just this idea of interchangeability and have another conceptual framework? My other projects were more geared toward social interaction or a solid concept before I started designing and this one seems to be coming more from a desire to want to make interesting clothing... I'm trying to figure out a way of maybe situating the 3 models as representations of three different ideas or personalities, and then having them mix up perhaps? Things are still a bit up in the air...

(As far as the Voodoo project, I still want to pursue that, but not as a piece in the Fashion Show. I am focusing on this one first and developing the Voodoo one simultaneously or right afterward.)

Quick Brainstorm 3/25/07

Trying to think 'who' instead of 'what'/'how', as per Robert's suggestion.

Quick idea:
Cliques- was talking with friends about childhood experiences (somehow I always seem to come back to middle school!) and the cattiness of kids when they are preadolescent through teenagers and how that never really seems to go away as you grow up (though it becomes about different things). Is there a way to bring this into my project? When I first thought of the idea I thought mostly about staging, and the idea of possibly competition and tearing pieces off instead of trading or giving. Also the idea in my head that I will have a set of three models, so how do they relate? Are they identical or unique? Perhaps they can start out either all the same or all different and then merge by recombining pieces. I like the idea of coming to a resolution if the staging was aggressive at first, or the other way around. (Someone commented to me that they all should get along at the end, don't know if I want it to be supernice, but perhaps). Anyway: I'm thinking can I make them personality types of a clique, such as the Leader, the Follower, the Mediator or some such and then play that up? How would the garments reflect that. Perhaps also Flashy/attention getting/show off, Observing/collecting/background, and then Transferring/communication/mediation as three avenues of both effects and potential personalities. When I've been thinking about tech I had three different types of fastenings/designs come to mind - cut outs/sliding revealing pieces, buttons/fasteners scrunching things, and zippers/buckles - could these inform personalities? I guess it doesn't have to be three either, but I don't want to make it the associations of a couple or pair if I only use two. Plus three has more combos/interesting group staging dynamic.

Small Steps 3/29/07

A couple of the questions raised in class wednesday were about the scale of my project and how to approach it without making it impossible to do. Bang Geul made a point of having one garment be more of a centerpiece or focal point and that the other two would be able to take from that to make them more complex? I need to make decisions as to what exactly is happening in the piece and start making. My goal for next class is to have a prototype of one (design/garment and some sort of action occurring).

This afternoon I talked to Joe, who didn't know what I was doing and his fresh perspective was good to have. He asked me why I was even augmenting the garments with electronics, rather than just having the interchangeable snapping which was interesting in its own way. I hadn't thought of exactly why I felt electronics made sense to me and in talking in out I realized that it has more to do with incorporating devices into clothing (ie tools to sense ambient data etc instead of carrying objects that do these things) as a conceptual idea that this could be developed into in the future. I'm now at the point where I want to make things for the fashion show so that is a very different audience which demands more of the high impact stuff than I think I would have originally thought of if I was just doing a project for my own exhibition. I always come back to clothes being used as connection points for communication and we briefly talked about using physical connections (snaps etc) as a way of making a serial connection between two arduinos. I think this will be my main task this week, to see if I can prototype that on a board and then design it into the context of clothing and action (hand holding to complete circuits embedded in gloves or something, that then can extend a light pattern to two garments over one). Other avenues we discussed were more along the lines of sensing and reacting to environments (playing with phototransistors like Aurora's explorations and having garments respond to the intensity of light on stage - this could be nicely demonstrated on the runway with lighting cues). What can give the most impact but go beyond just sewing LEDs on to everything? That is my main concern.

Rebecca and I are busy trying to secure models for our show, which will allow us to start making/finding garments for them. So far I have asked Genevieve Belleveau and Hannah Wolfe, and am on the look out for others, taking into consideration who would be a. comfortable on stage b. work well together and c. be able to commit to two separate shows (Fashion and our 2nd one). Hopefully we will be shopping this weekend for materials as well.

My current goals/to do list:

  • Figure out the best quick change, durable, and easy to use fasteners:
    • Find magnetic snaps and experiment with them (are they conductive or is there a way to sew them into a fabric pouch with conductive fabric that connects when they are connected) - yes they are all conductive, but strong, putting a piece of conductive fabric on one side makes enough of a barrier to keep conductivity but allow easier/quicker detachment
    • Getting some conductive Velcro to play with - ordered Monday 4/2
    • Playing more with my zipper sensors
    • How about temporary connections such as conductive patches like my last project?
  • Start programming!
    • Communicating between two arduinos w/o wireless
    • LED sequences
    • Sensor inputs
  • Researching cheap wireless alternatives (for voodoo project or future projects) such as radio controlled things etc etc which would give simple on/off signals. Doesn't need to be complex like WiMicros (and could possibly be smaller). - Joe sent me a link to the XBee module.
  • Get some clothes!
    • Deconstruct/Reconstruct existing garments (no need to make from scratch unless necessary, for time's sake)
    • Play with pattern pieces, how to make things more modular than just snapping on patches (can a sleeve become not only another sleeve but a skirt panel etc)
    • Start to figure out how they relate/look together, design from a costume perspective
    • Get them on my models to figure out both how they fit and how they would work - ease of use, intuitive, interesting?

PreWeekend Update 3/30/07

Got out my arduinos to get going on working in the computing world in addition to the thinking and designing modes. Hooking up my MAX395 chips that I used last term, I tried hooking them up to two separately powered boards and seeing if they could be daisy-chained that way. It worked! This means that one arduino on one garment can have the data (on/off state) for all the switches involved, and by connecting the three necessary data transfer wires on the chips (clock, send(?), and data-in pins) from one to the other, I can send along the chain. (They need a total of 4 connections - the three data lines and a common ground in order to work properly.) (Will show-and-tell in class). This made me happy because I had an idea early in the winter about having garments that when connected would create a large pattern of lights that would animate along the 'line' of them, rather than just turning on/off individual static LEDs. This will probably be my first prototype to show next week.

Also I've gotten in touch with more people to be my models. Should be meeting up and getting schedules finalized in the next few days to decide if they can commit to the dates we have in mind.

Trial and Error 3/31/07

Rebecca and I spent most of the day in the studio getting started on testing things and also finishing up parts of our roller skate project. We both are getting stumped easily so things are going a bit slow, hopefully tomorrow's shopping trip for supplies will give us some new inspiration (and things to play with).

Got our 10ft sample of nitinol wire in today, and tried to test it out but it is rather disappointing. We found a video showing how you can just hook it up to power to contract the wire, but aren't sure if our wire is 'trained' (some need special processing before they'll work nicely, usually involving high amounts of heat). Even if we did have it working, it would still only contract about 4% (according to specs), which on-stage would hardly be noticeable.

After needing a break, I decided to try out our thermochromic ink with the resistive yarns I got samples of at the beginning of term, and that was far more successful. I just sewed the yarn through our screen print tests from last term and then hooked up my AC adapter set to 4.5 volts. Instant change! This is promising - meaning we could probably send a short pulse to change color without too much risk of it burning up from being on a long time. It takes a little longer to cool down, but it is still a really fun effect. Too bad the change is from purple to blue, which isn't as noticeable as we'd like. We're trying to find a place that will send us another sample (of another color if possible) or sell small quantities.

ThermoInk.jpg ThermoInk2.jpg ThermoInk3.jpg
From left to right: Ink at rest, Ink with VN series yarn, Ink with another type of resistive yarn (this one was slower to react, and didn't have as good of an effect)

On the subject of my project, I'm still stuck as to what effects I should have on my garments and how they're related. Right now I'm going to prototype a connection between all three that relays light patterns, but as far as individual actions on each model I can't seem to think of any good ideas. Rebecca and I talked about 'sensor patches' having different sensors be embedded on little interchangeable patches that would hook in to each model and be passed around. Maybe I'll make a few mock ups of those to play with for Wednesday. I'd really like movement to be a part of these instead of just visual effects, but am not sure how that could play out. Will do some more thinking tomorrow.

Radio Control 4/7/07

I bought a Zip Zap RC car from RadioShack and am seeing if I can hack it to be the basic guts of my voodoo doll ideas - they are customizable little RC cars so fairly straightforward to take apart and mod. I've found lots of info on them online..

InsideCar.jpg

InsideController.jpg
The controller bits will go inside my doll, and then the car bits will go in whatever it's controlling. Unfortunately Zip Zaps it seem only operate on two frequencies so I couldn't have an army of them going at the same time. Another issue right now is the battery in the car charges through the controller - so I'll have to get rid of that function if I am embedding them into things. Probably hooking up a battery holder and swapping out the little battery in the car when I need new ones will work fine.

Long Weekend 4/10/07

Unfortunately both Rebecca and I are sick, which makes for slow goings - however Long Weekend will be a chance for us to work (and play!) with our ideas to get to some conclusions and decide what can get done for the Fashion Show. Right now the motor dress and skates will definitely be in, and depending on how the next few days/week goes we may have monster bags and middle school gals.

Another bit of bad news is that one of my models had to pull out of the show due to other commitments/scheduling so I'm working on getting a third model for my middle school piece. Good news is that I did some sketches and got measurements and chose who is going to be which characters (see my sketches above in the Sketches section of my project description). Right now I picked three characters: The Queen Bee (most popular girl, leader of the clique), the SideKick (the Queen Bee's best friend and somewhat of a wannabee), and the New Girl (who gets 'adopted' and made over by the two other girls). I'm combining a few of my ideas from other projects as part of this one, which I talked about a little bit in class last week. The voodoo idea is now going to be part of the Queen Bee's ensemble, giving her the ability to literally manipulate the other girls. I also want to do more with motors/transforming onstage and thats working into the 'instant makeover' of the New Girl (the sketch is a bit vague, but I'm thinking that her oversized 'uncool' clothes will morph through strategic pulling/shifting into something more aligned with the clique). As far as the SideKick, I'm less sure of what she will be doing, other than being a victim of Queenie's voodoo pranks (thermochromic inks triggered to say embarrassing things on her Tshirt? Costume class suggested maybe stains or clothes breaking/falling off could also be mortifying to tween girls). I also did a little fun experiment with the flower pens I had in class, taking the flowers off and putting tricolor LEDs in so they can function as little pins/indicator lights (Red, Green, or Yellow light) and possibly show the status withing the group...

This week I'm going to work hard on prototyping each of these so that when my models get back they can have something to try out and work with and it will give me an idea of if the effects make sense/read well to an audience.

sounds great on all fronts other than the sick part! pump the vitamins. looking forward to more.Robert_Ransick 17:32, 10 April 2007 (EDT)

Some Voodoo 4/12/07

Today I made some fun progress on the RC car wireless hack. Yesterday Joe and I sat down and figured out how to set up an adjustable voltage regulator so that the car could use the 5V from the arduino board. I finished pulling the cars completely apart and soldered on my own leads to the switch contacts.
RCBoards.jpg
On the left: The board from the car controller, with my leads, which fits perfectly in a little project box from RadioShack. On the right: The board from the car hooked up to an adjustable voltage regulator (set to 2.4V) with matching leads to the controller (little motor at the top right has been removed, all I want is the signals from the car).

I did some little tests with the car signals going to the arduino and had it print the state of each lead in the serial monitor. The Blue and Green wires were hooked to Forward/Backward and are off until one is turned on. This connection is temporary. The Orange and Yellow wires went to Left/Right steering and alternate. Once the connection is released the signal stays continuous until the other is pressed. This will affect how I can use my switches in the Voodoo doll.

I also made some little felt and conductive fabric switches for 'Voodoo Action'.
FeltDiagram.jpg
CarBox.jpg
Switches in progress (Blue one is completed) inside my project box. Single Yellow wire is where antenna can connect.

By pushing a pin through the felt, it connects the two pieces of isolated conductive fabric and completes the circuit. So the only way you can trigger these parts of the doll would be by stabbing it. I'm considering alternative switching mechanisms such a magnets or zippers as well. Unfortunately only one of each of the pairs of switches can be on at the same time (ie both Blue and Green cannot be on but the Blue and Yellow can be), so it'll take some planning as to how the effects will play out.

The whole set up is then inserted into my little Voodoo doll mockup.
VoodooInnards.jpg VoodooTest.jpg
So far the doll is headless and a mess, but fun to play with. I've sewn one switch in (the heart 'target' shape) to play with. I'm still brainstorming the placement of the switches and what effects they will have on the garments and how to make it intuitive. So far my ideas mostly involve stitching icons/circles/targets for where to stab it.

Even More Voodoo 4/17/07

I ripped the antenna out of my old cell phone and gave the little voodoo doll some additional range - works from about 5-10 feet away now. Still working on a way to secure the antenna in the body, but it's nice and safe in a bit of styrofoam in the head.
Antenna Detail.jpg

I've figured out another fun effect - this time using magnets. I have a small (mockup) flower that will mirror the LED flowers I have for the garments, depending on which side of the flower is attached, it will signal that the girl is 'in' or 'out' of the clique perhaps (the flowers are like little badges of inclusion in the group). This way Queenie can be mean and let the girls know that she is mad at them. I have a two-color LED in the garment flower that turns from green to blinking red - the real question is: is this intuitive to the users/audience?
Doll Flowers.jpg

FlowerBack.jpg
Inside the flower magnet.

For the most part this week I am focusing on finishing touches for the pieces going in the Fashion Show, so that's all for the moment.

Ugh. 4/24/07

Bad News: the place we get conductive thread from is backordered and we can't get anything for at least two weeks. We ran out of thread on Friday night and hadn't realized we were getting so low until it was too late.

Also Bad News: Two of our new babies (Aruduino Minis) were accidentally fried minutes before/during the Fashion Show so we need to get new ones to complete some of our projects.

Good News: The Fashion Show is over and things seemed to go okay despite chaos backstage and some technical difficulties. On to figuring out Senior Show displays and our 2nd event.

Senior Show 4/25/07

Here are some sketches I have for how to display my pieces in the Senior Show.
SeniorShowIdeas.jpg
Right now I'm really into the idea of hanging dress form torsos as a way to display the clothes on a form but without having them look so much like mannequins. With a small platform underneath to make it visually kind of like a column - separating the space. Have to figure out how to hang them and if they are going to spin around like crazy (which I don't think I want too much of). Also the issues are where to put a video monitor if I'm including documentation of the Fashion Show/Demos/Last term's show.

I'm thinking of including 3-5 pieces (counting pairs as 2) in the end. Right now it comes down to what presents itself best/has the best documentation as well. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Update 5/2/07

So far I have all the bits and pieces for my base garments. I dyed and gathered the right colors, styles, etc etc. Now for detailing and embellishments (purple shirt will have some sparkles like the fuschia). I've also started making the final versions of the dolls with clothing etc.
Clothes.jpgClothes2.jpg
Left to Right: Sidekick, Queen Bee, New Girl
Dollclothes.jpg

I'm still kind of up in the air about the effects and whats best for the girls. My one sure thing is the little LED flowers I showed in class, which will be sewn into the SideKick and Queen Bee's outfits. Last night I tested out our thermochromic inks triggered with a relay by the arduino. I wrote code so that when the doll is poked with a pin it turns on the current to the resistive thread for only a few seconds then turns it off (keeping from starting unnecessary fires), even if you keep the pin in, it won't constantly trigger accidentally. on Friday Rebecca and I screenprinted some larger areas with the ink to test with. Since it's old now, it's not as reactive as I'd like and is more blue colored than purple (still turns bright blue when heated). I used some resistive thread on felt and sewed into a word then placed underneath the inked fabric, to see if it could heat it well. Still tweaking time for holding the current and seeing how far /drastic the ink spreads for placement of letters. It didn't read very well, so I'm hoping I can get it working, if not maybe there is some other way to make words appear such as my tiny tiny leds hidden underneath a fabric panel.

Going to try and brainstorm additional effects today. Perhaps it can be more informed by the staging I want, which goes something like this: QUEEN BEE and SIDEKICK have semi-coordinated outfits and matching flower pins. NEW GIRL shows up looking uncool. QUEEN BEE, bored of SIDEKICK goes over to new girl and decides to give her a make-over. Both QUEEN BEE and SIDEKICK do her hair, try and make her look nice, give her fancy girly jewelry etc, while motor in her skirt makes a transformation from long and awkward to 'supercute' and short (final shape is that of the QUEEN BEE's skirt). Somewhere along the way QUEEN BEE gets out her voodoo doll to embarrass SIDEKICK (maybe she is spending more time with NEWGIRL). NEWGIRL starts to become more 'popular' and reveals her Diva shirt (like QUEEN BEE's) when she takes over as the new top girl and punishes QUEEN BEE's meanness with her own voodoo doll of QUEEN BEE.

As far as display for Senior Show, I got in two of my mannequins to decide if I want more of the same style. This pair is for the dance outfits I made last term. Looks like they will work great, only I am worried the gal is too busty for my middle school girls piece. I'm worried it will read as older, maybe that's ok? I may look for different ones, or for the sake of time just order what I know. Any ideas?
Mann.jpgMann1.jpgMann2.jpg

Effects Ideas 5/3/07

So today I ordered my mannequins, and decided that for the busty ones it's pretty easy to downplay that by wrapping the torso in a few layers of fabric making it a little wider. They should be in next week in time to hang on Friday.

Now the question is: what shall these tweens do? Here's some possible effects that I've come up with, need to decide what's best. Here are two that I'm pretty sure I could hook up easily, gonna try and brainstorm some more to add to the list

  • Loser sign - thermochromic ink and resistive thread beneath which makes an embarrassing/insulting word appear. Right now I've been using 'loser' in my experiments with the tech but perhaps another word is more specific to tweens? From my research 'slut' is a common insult, but i don't really want to go there.
  • Deflating/Inflating bra - I think it would be hilarious to have the Queen Bee to look like she obviously stuffs her bra, then in revenge the other girls can use the voodoo doll to deflate them. I have a little air pump that seems to do an ok job at inflating plastic bags for tests, and with a little adaptation I could use it with one of those padded bras that uses air in it. My only question is would this read this way or be weird? Also I would have to get my models to agree to wear the crazy hacked bra...

Also as far as getting the boards in the outfits, the more things I add (like pumps) the harder it's going to be to put in those little shirts and skirts. I'm thinking to make it easier (and prettier) maybe I'll hide the components in those little minibackpacks girls wear, with the necessary wires coming out through the straps and into the clothes. This would mean that the bags would be permanently attached to the outfits, but I think that will be okay for performing. The voodoo dolls could also be in the bags, though I'm trying to figure out how they would get at them without being able to take the bag off. Perhaps a permanently attached purse over one shoulder instead?

I suppose fanny packs are way not cool ;)
I think bags that are attached, but look normal would work fine. one thing i thought is that if they are shoulder bags worn like a messenger bag across the front, they act as beauty queen sashes--which you could place words in to light up (grid of small leds that could be programmed with different words) or change color with your thermo ink. but alas, that may alter other options you have discussed..
All of your defined options above sound appropriate to the trio/project (bust size seems to be a reoccurring theme on this page...) When i/we think of voodoo dolls they usually do have some pain associated with the victim and the derogatory words and humiliating bust deflation speak to this nicely. However, I wonder if there can be any redemption for the trio--meaning, what if one of them rips the head off the voodoo doll or somehow subverts its "power"--could something positive happen for the girls?
Robert_Ransick 11:12, 5 May 2007 (EDT)