Pretty Lights 2x2 LED matrix

Project Goals (or: Why???)

Posted Tue, Nov 23, 2004 at 08:15 PM

Been thinking but why? lately regarding this project.

Inspired by InteraXity and Hole in Space , I originally conceived this project as being a network of window-based video projections. Multiple people standing in front of retail or gallery windows, in different locations, could interact with animated content by means of touch and gesture. And because their actions were being broadcasted in real-time, they will also be communicating with each other.

But video projectors don�t come cheap (except this one). I would also need to use video cameras for tracking movement. And the thought of having to talk to and coordinate so many locations made me decide to make things "simpler" and instead went with the idea of an interactive "floor mat". So: one person, multiple internet users.

But technologically, PoC seems to be getting pretty unwieldy with all these different components (ie. LED matrix, sensors, Basic Stamp, web server, web browser, etc.) needing to talk to each other so I must ask myself: Why bother? What am I trying to say with this piece? Would anyone else find value in this project?

So to remind myself:

Why the LEDs and sensors?

You wanted something that was more permanent, something that you can stick in your living room so when guests come over and ask what you "learn" in the "New Media" program, you can just point to it and say, "That."

None of this: "I can�t show you because it requires a $1500 video projector." Or: "Oh, it�s online. Let�s huddle around this computer screen." Or worst case: "No, new media isn�t just about making websites."

And besides, with Norm as your electronics professor, why not take this opportunity while you can?

What does the piece "mean"?

You don�t want to be a gallery artist anyways so why does it matter if it has some bigger meaning? Because you want the time you spent on it be for a reason? Isn�t just learning, experimenting, and puttering around with different types of electronics and software good enough of a reason?

I thought so.

Would anyone else benefit?

You�re going to post all the source code and diagrams online, right? One day, someone will google "interactive LED floor mat", come across this site, and make their own without the same hardships you went through. They will get to enjoy all the LED goodness because of you. You.

So far, that sounds good enough for me.

Pretty Lights 2x2 LED matrix
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Posted by: Lightspace
April 4, 2005 04:44 PM