Explorations of open platforms, visualisation and connected objects.

Project Information

Location: Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, 2014
Client: Internal
Project Time: 5 Days
Team Members: Anne-Maree Chua
Personal Contribution: Concept Development, Physical Prototyping, Coding, Hardware Sketching, Processing, Arduino, Temboo

Final Concept 

The outcome of the 1 week course was less of a final concept and more a collection of ideas and experiments. In this way this week was really about using hardware sketching as a method of learning about how to design IOT prototypes using open platforms.

Bringing it all together

This 5 day workshop was the last of four I took part in during Summer School at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. The course was taught by Gabriella Levine and Marius Watz, two digital artists based in New York, who have both taught in the ITP program at NYU.

The week was great as it was focussed on not only Processing or Arduino, but rather how these two can be brought together to create data-driven visualisations and experiences.

Some clouds don’t have silver linings.

The project work started on Wednesday, with the general goal being to produce something for Friday. From the get-go I was very interested in using the Arduino Yun that Gabriella had brought with her.

This presented challenges. Lots of challenges. After a day and a half of experimenting with different approaches to get it to work with the network at the school, it was decided that we might have to take a different path.

This was kind of unfortunate because the Yun was really easy to code for, particularly when using the Temboo platform.

From Input to output, to Output to Input

With arduinos and sensors being quite scarce, we decided to use the sensors from the Macbooks ambient light sensor as a replacement sensor. Initially using the sudden drop sensor was planned, however the library seems to be out of date and not able to work with the current Processing IDE.

The initial work was in creating a sketch that could record the data from the sensor and capture this data to a spreadsheet. The hard part here was understanding the syntax required by temboo. There are specific methods needed to log data, however once the language is understood, it is fairly straightforward and quite sophisticated.


My team mate Ann-Maree and I had kind of decided to use the week as a way to explore the platforms and techniques rather than focus on a final concept.

This was a good approach for learning, as it allowed us to explore without worrying too much.

The sensor logging program created with processing was good, but it was a goal to explore IOT a little bit.

With this in mind we took the concept further, quickly adding an arduino and a servo to represent this data in terms of a moving dial. This was fairly easy as we had already done the hard work understanding the temboo client.

So basically we created this really complex way of moving a dial using the macbook LMU. If the ambient light sensor detects less light, it bounces information all around the internet using various services to spin the cup a very small amount.


Yep. Thats all it does.

What I Learned

This was a really fun and interesting week. I think that after the previous three weeks of the summer school, it was good to take a step back from the idea that each workshop should lead to a final polished outcome.

As a result the learning was much richer, and a lot more focussed on areas we wanted to explore, rather than what we would need to produce an outcome.