National Geographic photo essay on High Tech Trash.

Lost tech project progress

Kate and I have decided to go with themes of broadcasting and who gets a voice. In the days that our vintage radios were made, the radio was the main focus of entertainment  as well as news. Only a select few would get the opportunity to have their voice be heard. Today, with Utube, Vimeo, blogs and podcasts, everyone gets a chance to talk. We want to bring that newfound ability back into the radio form. So we are creating an old school microphone that will be available in the 12th fl lab for anyone that has something to say. That will later be broadcast on one of our radios….

This took a long time to figure out how to hack this, but we eventually went with something really simple—the idea of hacking into walkie talkies which finally came in the mail this weekend (totally sold out at radioshack, it appears they are super popular for cruises)

We got them working on tuesday, and wil install next week, but here are some pictures to tide you over!

it works!!

deciding on boxes for the microphone…

our vintage broadcasting system~

Final Project – First On Twitter – Process III

Today I went dumpster diving!(photos)
My favorite E-waste dumpster had the TV I was looking for! It was all the way in the bottom of the dumpster so I had to dive in! My mom took pictures and helped me get it out. There was a huge wood frame TV set right on top of it.

I had to push it out of the way and then lift the TV set from inside the dumpster and out! Luckily my mom was with me to give me a hand.

The iGrabber arrived today! I connected it straight from the TV digital converter and it worked perfectly. BUT, Openframeworks is not recognizing it. It says “device unavailable.” I posted a question on the OF forum. Hopefully I’ll be able to get an answer. I really want to be able to stream live TV on open frameworks. http://forum.openframeworks.cc/index.php/topic,8248.msg38411.html#msg38411

Final Project – First On Twitter – Part II

The tweets are coming in and I am able to write them on the screen and the text to speech is reading the text out loud! The next step is now to figure out how to bring in a television signal into openframeworks so that the tweets are displayed on top of live TV. I asked Jeff and he said to get a tv tuner. I already had an EyeTV so I tried that, but it didn’t work. I did some research on the openframeworks forum and found out that openframeworks is not compatible with EyeTV.
Jonah then suggested to use The Tube, but it didn’t work either.

During class this week Jonah helped me trying to figure out what could be an inexpensive alternative.
I ordered the iGrabber and will play with it as soon as it arrives. Fingers crossed!

I’ve been looking for an old TV to display the tweets but I haven’t found one that I like. I want very old TV with knobs. It’s been raining for three days and haven’t been able to go to my town’s E-Waste dumpster. I went to the regular thrift shops I visit and the tube TVs they have are not old enough…

final project implementation

House of the Rising Sun Using Old Electronics!

This is the BEST video ever:

ARGO Electronics – Canal Street – Good Place For Junk

ARGO Electronics on Canal Street and 6th Ave is a great place to get used electronics and cheap junk for your projects:

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New Idea: In-Person Video Chat

At the beginning of this project, I decided that I wanted to focus on the continuously lost and found art of communication. We, as a species, have developed countless ways of communicating with one another, always upgrading and changing the technology as go. And yet, most of us have removed ourselves from the most primal form of communication: talking person-to-person.

My original proposal was to create a Rube Goldberg machine of sorts that would translate a message from one person to another through a variety of communication media, old and new. For instance, one person would speak their message into a microphone, which was hooked to a computer, which would translate the message to text, which would send an email, which would be received by another account, which would be txted to a phone, which would then convert it to ASCII, which then would be converted to morse code, and so on. At each stage, some fidelity would probably be lost, which would make it more unpredictable (and entertaining), similar to the game Telephone (or as Wikipedia has it, Chinese Whispers). However, as much as I want to do this project (I’ve had versions of this going in my mind for a few years), I realized that it would take several computers and/or Arduinos to do all of these conversions. My six-year-old laptop would not be up to the task.

So instead, I propose to make a simpler, hopefully more direct way of showing the social-digital divide. When researching displays for my thesis, I found out that LCD screens are essentially transparent, even the ones we use for our computers.

I’ve taken apart one, and even managed to get it hooked up to a VGA signal (from my iPad, seen through the screen), so I know this can be done.

transparent lcd showing a book on the other side

What I would like to do is create a way of chatting with another user that allows two people to type to one another, while at the same time seeing the other person’s face through the screen. Yes, the people would be able to talk to each other, but that’s the point: we so often let technology mediate what could be a real and meaningful experience.

As you can see in the image above, the screen is pretty dark without the backlight. I’m going to see if I can lighten it up a bit. Apparently there are ways of removing the antiglare coating, which I’ll try to do this week. I’m also playing around with what sort of graphics or text to use. Here’s my most recent idea on how this might work:

Chat Screen Example

Final Project – First On Twitter – Process Part I

Reviving this project has been very challenging
The old sketch does not run on the new version of Openframeworks, and it does not run in the old computer where it was built on either. I am getting all sorts of errors which seem to point to core libraries.

First try:
Downloaded openframeworks version007 on my new laptop running Lion.
Searched for all the libraries I had used before hoping that they would still work and downloaded them into my new computer.
Realized that the open frameworks sketch is different than the one I learned on and read line by line to see what changed.
Began using the movie player example to refresh my memory.
Uploaded the text to speech library and got the computer to talk by pressing the space bar.

Second try:
Time to bring in the tweets
Downloaded an open frameworks twitter stream to my new sketch add on. Nothing happened.
Tried manipulating the example that came with the add on. Nothing happened.
Downloaded a second twitter (ofxTwitter) add on I found online, included the libraries that were listed on the header files, about 67 errors appeared. It didn’t work.
Removed the twitter add ons and tried the run the project again. 9 new errors from ofQuickTimePlayer.h came up. I searched online and I couldn’t find anything related that could help me in the forums.

Third try:
Went back to the old computer and tried running the old sketch again. Returned 8 Errors.
Uploaded the old sketch to the new computer. Returned 5 errors.
I talked to Jeff Crouse and I learned something new. He says that sometimes when a new version comes out the old sketches stop running, even in the same environment they were built on. He also said that since my old computer is running Leopard that could also have something to do with the code not working.
He hadn’t seen the ofQuickTimePlayer.h errors I was getting, so we re-installed Openframeworks again, and created a new sketch using my very first sketch I had with the movie and the text to speech and it worked! Again!
I showed Jeff the twitter add-on I used and he said that I should try using a json wrapper that works with this new version of openframeworks and that he will send me an example so I can see how it works.
To get the video from the TV into the computer, Jeff says that I should use a TV tuner and use the movieGrabber example.

Right now the main goal is to get all the tweets working again.

With this project I am also feeling a bit like an old technology that is being updated!

Fourth try:
I downloaded a new Jon sample and tried to run it but the sample didn’t work. Again it showed core library errors. I did some digging and apparently it was missing a curl file. I uploaded it but I don’t know the configuration so unfortunately I couldn’t fix it.

Fifth try: SUCCESS!
A friend sent me a different Json sample that works and I began writing a new twitter code. I noticed that the code in the Json library changed. Now has fewer lines of code, but I was able to figure out how the classes changed and how to declare the new objects to parse the user name and the text of the tweet. I am very happy that I got to update myself with the technology. I was able to relearn Xcode, Openframeworks and the Json library!

Final Project – First On Twitter

For my final project I would like to iterate on a past project where tweets with hashtag breaking news interrupted a video of the news cast.
This time I would like to refine the banner where the tweet is displayed as a bubble that covers the mouth of the reporter and use a live TV stream instead of a news video playback.
I also want to take this opportunity to learn the new Xcode 4 and get back to coding, since I haven’t coded since my first semester.

The concept behind this project is that news no longer break on Television. News now breaks on Twitter, to the point that Twitter has become a source for news channels to report on.
This is an example of how technology is overriding the work of a news reporter who had to go out to the streets to find the story to report on. Now, anyone with a mobile phone can provide a piece of information and reach thousands, or millions in their network in an instant.