ZEE LED Podium by Daniel Buckley

Music by Zebbler Encanti Experience

Recently I helped pull together this infinity mirror LED podium for the Zebbler Encanti Experience. This performance podium uses the Pixel Pusher micro-controller, to communicate between Resolume Arena and 5 strips of individually-addressable LEDs via the Syphon graphics framework and Processing. My responsibility on this project included the coding, and consultation of the infinite mirror structure.

Photo by Zebbler

Photo by Zebbler

You can look for this design on tour starting July 12 through August 22, including a Burning Man performance on August 14.

VJ'ing Blade by Daniel Buckley

I've been working on developing my VJ skills recently, and I was given the opportunity to put that practice to the test when I performed along with DJ, The Wig, at Blade's opening night event. I used After Effects to create the raw assets, and Resolume Avenue to perform the visualizations live. 

By timing out the motion of the graphics at 1 second intervals in AE, I could then manipulate them very easily in Resolume, simply by changing the BPM for each song, and clip. Additionally, I was able to grab an audio feed from the main sound board and manipulate certain effects on the visualization based on the audio levels. 

Below you can see an excerpt from my performance.  
Audio: Dennis Egenlauf - Sunrise (The Wig, Panooc Remix)[LTHM]


Exploring Wooden iPod Docks by Daniel Buckley

The graduate thesis process is an excellent time to explore projects and hobbies in order to distract you from pursuing your actual thesis work. One of the activities I enjoyed  during breaks from thesis writing was working in the wood shop. When it came to deciding on a project, I decided to tackle a frustration of mine - I am constantly listening to music while I work, however the speakers on the iPhone are not that loud, and many of the public spaces where I was installing work didn't have outlets. So I decided to explore how to create iPod docks that not only didn't require electricity, but that I could also build out of cheap scrap material. The result was my series of wooden iPod Docks.

This model was the first on which I used a stain on the natural wood, versus paint it.

This model was the first on which I used a stain on the natural wood, versus paint it.

This model aimed to increase the volume of the wooden docks by using a cone-shaped funnel at the end.

This model aimed to increase the volume of the wooden docks by using a cone-shaped funnel at the end.

This version was meant to mimic the boom box form. Although the speaker on the iPhone/iPod is mono, I used a triangular form to split the sound and redirect it to the two speaker holes on the front facade.

This version was meant to mimic the boom box form. Although the speaker on the iPhone/iPod is mono, I used a triangular form to split the sound and redirect it to the two speaker holes on the front facade.

This early version was a gift for artist Fish McGill. My attempt with the painting was to recreate Fish's drawing style.

This early version was a gift for artist Fish McGill. My attempt with the painting was to recreate Fish's drawing style.

TOGO: R&D IN FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS by Daniel Buckley

This deck represents the research and design process conducted by my group in my Industrial Design class. It reflects our primary, and secondary research on the current trends in the food storage market, as well as sketches and ideas for new potential food storage solutions. We compiled our data through surveys, task-based responses, and field research. Our design process was fueled by sketches, many iterative prototypes, and gumption.

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Send A Message by Daniel Buckley

I recently began a collaboration with Conor Barry to create an outpost of his networked sound-art installation, Send A Message, at Massachusetts College of Art and Design. The piece explores the nature of long distance communication through using the speed of sound as the pace at which audio is transmitted between all locations.

Conor's Send A Message poster.

Conor's Send A Message poster.

With instant voice messaging services and telecommunications, we use technology everyday to exceed the physical limitations of sound as it moves through space. This piece reverts to the ‘true’ speed of voice communication in order to better comprehend not just the ways in which we interact with others over long distances, but also the scale of our planet. As you speak into the telephone, your voice propagates outward, and reaches all of the other telephones in the installation. 

The speed of sound is surprisingly slow at 761mph. If you speak into the installation, your message will arrive to each installation after the following time periods;

Ann Arbor in 51 minutes
Athens in 6 hours 13 minutes
Belfast in 3 hours 55 minutes
Berlin in 4 hours 58 minutes
Fredrikstad in 4 hours 37 minutes
London in 4 hours 18 minutes
Portland in 3 hours 19 minutes

You can currently leave a message in the Computer Arts Center center in the Tower building at MassArt until May 1st. If you can't make it to the installation, you can listen to a stream from the perspective of the Ann Arbor location.

Glow Power Podium v1.0 by Daniel Buckley

Jeff Bartell, "Glow Power" performing at DMI's Fresh Media 2014

Jeff Bartell, "Glow Power" performing at DMI's Fresh Media 2014

I created this podium and companion audio-reactive visuals to accompany Jeff Bartell's Glow Power music project. The podium itself offers a frosted acrylic front for non-projected performances, and white-painted wooden panels as projection surfaces for projection performances when the venue allows. The visuals include custom-animated motion experiments with the addition of a carefully-curated set of audio-driven visual effects to create a dynamic, yet readable multi-sensorial experience.

To create the initial video assets, I used Adobe After Effects. To launch the video clips and add the audio-reactive effects, I used Resolume Avenue. To create the projection-mapped surface, I sent the textures from Resolume Avenue via Syphon Server to Madmapper. 

This piece was originally exhibited at Fresh Media 2014, The Dynamic Media Institute at MassArt's yearly gallery show at the Nave gallery in Somerville, MA.

Below you can see a test for our non-projected LED-lit pedestal. At this point the shield on top of the pedestal was held together by electrical tape. 

RESEARCH: STOVETOP POT LID STORAGE AND ORGANIZATION by Daniel Buckley

This is the deck that I presented to my Industrial Design class. It reflects my primary, and some secondary, research on the consumer's challenge to organize and store stovetop pot lids. I compiled this data through surveys, task-based responses, and lots of Google'ing. This was an exercise geared towards developing our research skills, but I may come back to this topic in the future in order to begin developing a solution.

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3-inch Cube by Daniel Buckley

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I'm taking Intro to Industrial Design this semester at MassArt. ID has always been of interest to me. I'm guessing it spawns from my obsession with sneakers. I remember my friends and I having sneaker drawing competitions during breaks at school, loading up our designs with the latest features, most often including at least one or two Pumps. 

For a homework assignment, we were asked to design and build a 3-inch cube that reflected who we are in some way.  I started with a couple of guidelines.

  1. I had to use found materials. This reflects an interest of mine to draw inspiration from the materials and spaces at hand. Also, I am constantly poor and often find myself trying to make something beautiful out whatever is cheap and available. 
  2. I wanted it to combine the physical and the digital. The merging of these worlds is a personal interest of mine, so I wanted to communicate that interest in my cube. 
  3. Although I want the piece to be somewhat dynamic, I also want it to be simple. I need to try to not over-complicate it.

I started by digging through the scrap pile in the industrial design department. There I found some scrap plexi that somebody had laser-cut into. After doing some quick measurements, I realized that there was plenty left for me to work with. Once i had drawn out my 6 identical sides, I went back through my measurements to take out the overlap, to create a snug 3-inch fit. 

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After using some apoxy to adhere the sides of my cube, I set off to solve the dynamic piece of the project. Hopeful to keep things simple, I decided to create a clock that simply kept track of each minute of the day, but without the capacity to remember how many it had tracked. Each minute the LED would start at 0 brightness, and light up more and more until it hit full brightness at 59 seconds. By providing no other information, the box would act as a more meditative clock, reminding the user to exist in the moment, with each minute providing a new opportunity.

To solve this problem, I use Processing and an Arduino micro-controller. I was able to take advantage of the built in timer call, seconds(), in Processing, which automatically resets to 0 after reaching 59. I knew based on its design, I could use seconds() to deliver the data I needed to control the LED. By simply adapting the example Arduino Dimmer code, I switched out the entry for the data being written to the serial port to the int s, which corresponds to the seconds in each minute.

 import processing.serial.*;
 Serial port;
 
 void setup() {
 port = new Serial(this, "/dev/tty.usbmodemfa131", 9600);
 }
 
 void draw() {
 int s = second();
 println(s);

 port.write(s);
 }

On the Arduino side of things, I read what was coming out of the serial port (values from 0-59), and mapped them to values that referred to brightness level on the LED (0-256). That value is then set to the designated ledPin.

const int ledPin = 9;

void setup() { 
Serial.begin(9600);
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);
}

void loop() {
if (Serial.available()) {
byte val = Serial.read();
val = map(val, 0, 59, 0, 128);
analogWrite(ledPin, val);
}
}
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In the end, I think I have a fun simple experiment in bringing a simple physical object to life using the power of data. Hopefully, as my future projects get more complex, I can remember to try to keep things this simple. 

Building a Shpongletron 3.0 by Daniel Buckley

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Pixel Pusher by Heroic Robotics (http://www.heroicrobotics.com/)

Pixel Pusher by Heroic Robotics (http://www.heroicrobotics.com/)

Recently I've been spending some time over at Zebbler Studios, helping them pull together their stage design for the Shpongle national music tour starting at Boston's House of Blues Wednesday, Feb 12. The design features custom-built structural surfaces for projection mapping and LED-driven infinite mirrors that serve as a podium and backdrop for the performer. As usual, Zebbler Studios is pushing the limits of what is possible, introducing a relatively new product, the Pixel Pusher by Heroic Robots, into the infrastructure of their stage design. The Pixel Pusher, allows its user to send video data over a 10/100 Mbit ethernet network in order to translate that information into RGB values on up to 8 strips of 240 LEDs per board — although I will say that if you are going to send data to a strip over 120 pixels or so long, you should definitely consider powering it from both ends. You can check out the Pixel Pusher startup guide here (https://sites.google.com/a/heroicrobot.com/pixelpusher/home/getting-started/hr-strip-quick-start-guide)

Individually-addressable RGB LED strip.

Individually-addressable RGB LED strip.

Using the Pixel Pusher library for Processing and the Syphon framework for Mac, we were able to send video straight from Resolume Avenue into the LED strip. 

In terms of fabrication, Zebbler introduced me to a bunch of new techniques that I am hoping to test out on my own including working with one-way and two-way mirrored plexi. They used them on the Shpongletron to create the inifinite mirror effect. Another technique that I observed was to use sand down the surface of the white plexi in order to create a cleaner, less-reflective projection surface. When it came to wiring this whole structure we ran into lots of logistical challenges, but with ingenuity and lots of soldering we were able to come up with some interesting solutions. 

Overall, this project really got me excited to work on some new LED-based projects, especially with the ability to run video directly into the LED's through the Pixel Pusher. Be sure to check out the video below for a preview of Shpongletron 3.0, and if you are in town on Wednesday, definitely check out the show.

Descrambling the Descrambler by Daniel Buckley

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When I start a new installation project, I always start with what I know are necessary elements to piece. In the case of the YouTube Descrambler, i knew that it had to be big enough to house lots of tech, including a mac mini, an Arduino micro-controller, and a short throw projector. Because of all of that tech inside, the box had to be designed to create optimal ventilation so as not to damage any of the electronics inside, especially the Mac and projector. I also knew that it had to be fabricated in a way so that it could be controlled by an antique cast-iron coffee grinder that John found at an antique shop. One last thing to consider was that, early on we identified that we very interested in using black acrylic as a way to harken back to the black box my aunt had in her living room to give her all the premium TV channels for free. Unfortunately, within our budget, the black acrylic we wanted only came in sheets up to 24 inches. So we worked within that size for each of the side panels to the cube. 

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With all of that insight in mind, I began working in illustrator, to start laying out how I might create interlocking panels for the cube. Once I had narrowed down a size and locations for the ventilation holes, I took my designs and created a model out of one of my favorite materials of all time, cardboard. I knew that the cast-iron wouldn't work well with my cardboard cube, so I hacked a razor scooter apart for its handle and shoved it in the side of the box. You can see the cardboard prototype in the image below. Once we had this prototype, we were able to test loading the equipment inside, and also figure out the correct table height to use with the piece. 

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Magnifying Glasses by Daniel Buckley

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Ceren and I visited the TEDx Beacon Street Google Glass adventure at MIT, where we were able to test-drive some beta versions of Google's upcoming wearable technology offering. The Google Glass were cool, but we were actually much more excited about the hacking session that John Werner, head of TEDx Beacon, put together to keep people busy while we waited our turn to accidentally take photos on each other's Google Glass — FYI speaking actions are going to be a big problem. 

The experiment involved hacking a webcam and attaching it, along with some LED's an an Arduino, onto safety goggles in hopes that we might more closely study one's eyes. We were then able to hook the webcam up to my laptop and run it through Photo Booth. You can see on my laptop screen in the image at the top of this post that we are all zoomed in on Ceren's eye.

The project was inspired by a Media Lab student's work to design glasses that might help doctors detect diabetes.

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Infinite Regression by Daniel Buckley

This piece is a collaboration with Ceren Paydas for the 2013 Fresh Media show at The Dynamic Media Institute at MassArt.

Our work, a projection-mapped video sculpture, attempts to compare the states of gaze, oyeurism, and surveillance. In order to exhibit this relationship, we use three videos that, in succession, each take a step back from the subject of the work. The first video shows a nature scene, the second a subject observing the nature scene, with the third showing the artist, Ceren, observing the subject, observing the nature scene. The series of videos represent the law of Infinite Regression, popularized by the following quote in Escape from Planet of the Apes.

Now here is a painting of a landscape. Now the artist who painted that picture said that something was missing, what is it?

“It is I myself, who was part of the landscape I painted.”

So he mentally takes a step back, or regresses, and paints a picture of the artist painting a picture of the landscape.

But still something is missing, that something is still his real self painting the second picture. So he regresses further, and paints a third, a picture of the artist painting a picture of the artist painting a picture of the artist painting a picture of the landscape.

Now because something is still missing, he makes a fourth and a fifth - until he paints a picture of the artist painting a picture of the artist painting a picture of the artist painting a picture of the artist painting the landscape.

-So, infinite regression is?

It is the moment when our artist has regressed to the point of infinity and he, himself, becomes apart of the landscape he painted, and is both the observer and the observed.

In addition to calibrating the projection mapping for the piece, I also modeled the Vacuum-formed projection surface. In order to understand the shape building towards, we began by building various models, while also testing different materials. While it may not be a long-term sustainable solution, wood served us well due to it's quick and cheap assembly, especially due to the fact that we really only needed to produce one mold.

W.H.I.G. by Daniel Buckley

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This case study, created for the Provocative Objects show at MassArt, was a product of my interest in digital sherpas. Inspired by my interest in the contemporary version of Clippy from Microsoft Word, this wearable technology helps guide you through the process of a more formidable self-image.  The speakers in the W.H.I.G. are emitting a constant stream of a man hitting on you. The absurd, and sometimes obscene remarks, in combination with the silly afro wig, are meant to bring you out of your comfort zone, and remind you that it is more important to feel good than to look good.

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... and the initial prototype.

Arnie Game Animation Test by Daniel Buckley

I created this animation as a test for a Arnie-inspired video game during my time at Arnold's R+D lab. Arnie is Arnold's smart beer vending machine. My idea behind the game was that a Rambo'esque Arnie wandered through a boring office, in hopes that he might shoot a beer to it's zombie-like employees. The color palette of the office and it's employees are muted until Arnie shoots them and they spring full of life (ie brighter colors.)

An Army of Me by Daniel Buckley

I created this prototype during my time at Arnold's research and development lab. It is an initial test in the world of projection mapping, specifically using the software MadMapper. The projection mapping software allowed me to sculpt the light, from a single projector, onto specific surfaces in physical space, while fixing any augmentation in perspective. All of the outfits were mapped from a single reference template, and the faces referenced six different videos.

I crafted all of the soldiers by hand. Each soldier consisted of a combination of a paper Cubee body, and a custom head piece that I designed in Google SketchUp. Below is a time-lapse of my production process.

Below you will see the images I used to create the outfits for my soldiers.  On the right is the Prince outfit shown in the documentation above. On the left is the Michael Jackson Thriller jacket that I experimented with, but ultimately decided not to use in the documentation. Each body was used once for each character, while the arms were used twice.

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Altoid Tin Webcam by Daniel Buckley

A webcam with a busted case was the perfect excuse to work on a fun prototyping/fabrication experiment. I looked to a recently emptied Altoid tin that I had on my desk, as inspiration, and away I went.

I used paper, tape, and foam to build in an infrastructure to the case to keep the camera from shuffling around, and prevent the circuit board from touching the metal sides of the enclosure.

Using some small pliers, I created holes in the face of the tin for the camera lens and microphone.

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Once the case was complete, I added a mount for attaching to other structures. I also added a drawing of the R + D lab mascot on the front.

Empathic Elevator by Daniel Buckley

This elevator experiment, designed by Maria Stangel and I, was implemented to test the comfortability of our community to share stories within a compact environment. In general, elevators seem to stifle any sort of action, so we thought it would be an interesting environment to stimulate storytelling. After covering the walls with color-coded post-its, we applied prompts to the doors of the elevator which we only revealed once the users had entered and the doors had closed. 

Empathic Cafe Tables by Daniel Buckley

On the same day we installed the elevator project, Maria and I designed an instal- lation at Peete’s Coffee in the MassArt cafeteria. Our goal was to create a system that complemented the elevator experience, included more questions, used a different me- dium and explored the dynamics of a different social space. Starting with the questions we used in the elevator and my Things I Wish I Could Say survey, Maria and I each created a list of five sentence-starters. Creating a longer list of sentence starters forced to flesh out the area of focus we intended to study.

Maria’s sentence-starters were “Today I Draw…”, “Crowds Make Me…”, “I am Full of Joy When…”, “I Will Play if…”, and “When I Was Small I Used to Play…”. My sentence-starters were “I am Afraid of…”, “The Last Time I Cried was About…”, “I Feel Disappointed When…”, “I Lie About…”, “My Biggest Regret is...”

Peete’s Cafe proved to be more controversial than the elevators due to social dynamics of the space. The cafeteria at MassArt is actually a shared by students from MassArt, Harvard, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services and Wentworth. In the elevator project we designed for use within a single community. The members varied in age, sex and social hierarchical status, but they all belonged to MassArt. That common ground created an understanding amongst the group. However the Peete’s space is inhabited by multiple communities at once. The intermixing of communities made for a tense atmosphere that was reflected in our collection system.

In order to create privacy in a more highly populated space, we installed on the table-top surfaces of Peete’s tall cafe tables. The table tops provided an opportunity to re-contextualize a personal space that already existed. One does not simply walk up and disrupt a stranger at a coffee table. By making it a feedback surface, the table-top would provide a more private and intimate experience for user interaction. A user could inconspicuously interact with and digest the information on the table top at their leisure. The table-top experience could last for long periods of time because it disregarded the pressure of a formal exhibition space. In a gallery setting a user might feel pressured to move along after a short amount of time. By integrating the system into the table, users could spend as much time as they liked with the piece and it would appear as if they were merely enjoying a coffee.

Interaction

It was interesting being in the space and seeing people react to the piece. Some used the piece as we had anticipated, sitting at the cafe tables, writing or reading as they wanted. But surprisingly others experienced the installation as a gallery piece. Those in the latter party stood at the table to view one collection of responses. Some gallery viewers might write their own response before walking to the next table to repeat the process. Most often the gallery viewers took the time to experience all of the tables as a sequence. The table tops had become their own gallery space. Although it was not our intention to create a gallery, we were open to the ways in which our users might define their own experience. I often define the success interaction platform by its ability to cater to a range of user scenarios simultaneously. Using that metric, I considered the Peete’s table installation a success.

Response

As with almost all of objectified Analytic Third pieces I have created, the range of responses that we collected at Peete’s covered a wide range of content and authenticity. In response to a question like “I am afraid of...” I got everything from “Ghosts” to “My external hard drive crashing... oh wait, that just happened.” The ghosts response seems more playful and less introspective relative to the external hard drive comment which seemed more authentic. It’s important to remember that there is no quantitative metric for measuring the authenticity of a response in any of my installations. Rather I rely on my own subjective experience to help me establish an opinion about each participant’s response. Not to say that the responses needed to carry a certain tone in order to be deemed worthy. Although silly in nature, someone else might deeply connect with the ghosts comment and empathize with that anonymous member of their community. I consider that process just as valid.

Specific to this location, I did see responses that were used to create conflict between the various cultures represented in the space. On the “My biggest regret is...” table one user left the response “Not punching everyone who goes to MCPHS in the face. Get out of my cafe and out of my way!” Which instigated a handful of responses including, “Our name’s on the cafe too! (It’s above the door)”, “You’re jealous you’re not making bank!”, and “Fuck You, buddy!” This is a difficult correspondence to analyze. On one hand I was disappointed by the perceived insensitivity of the student who wrote the initial comment. On the other hand, I did ask the question in hopes of receiving honest responses, and that may have been the way that student had felt. By sharing their opinion about the MCPHS students, it created an opportunity for discourse and a platform for the MCPHS students to be open about their feelings as well. Ultimately the table contained my user group’s frustrations rather than let them fester within them. In an even more unfortunate scenario those frustrations could have been communicated directly at the other students.

Conclusion

This installation focused on targeting multiple communities at once. All of my other installations to this point were created and tested in single-community environments. If you are interested in conducting this type of experiment it is important to remember that multi-community experiments pose a greater potential for conflict than experiments within a single community. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Just be conscious of how that will effect the data you collect.

I also conclude that these systems work best when they allow communities to work from the inside out, in parallel with the individual self-identification process. Communities as a whole, have their own personal myths, which means that they too can take part in the self-identification process. Just like individuals, the dynamics within a community are constantly changing dynamic systems. A community must regularly reflect on its emotional well-being. This system is designed to help communities in that process.

Music + Piezo Sensor by Daniel Buckley

An initial test in my "Rain Data" research, an attempt at figuring out how to use rain in order to use rain as in input in order create multi-media sensorial experiences. For this I used an Arduino UNO, Processing on my MacBook, and a piezo-electric sensor which, when flexed at varying degrees, sends an electrical signal to the Arduino. Processing then translates that signal into varying color and size values for the box on the screen. 

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Rain-Data: Umbrella Test by Daniel Buckley

An experiment in my Rain Data testing series using my webcam and a Max MSP patch in order to capture the frequency and position of rain drops on an umbrella, and in turn use that data to create a light and sound performance.