Electrocymatics

Made by Erin Fuller, mluong, wonjaek and skwon1

Public Data Visualization of Hunt Library

Created: October 27th, 2018

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RSMA Fall 2018 - Project 03 - Data Visualization
Wonjae Kim - https://vimeo.com/298277784
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The Idea

Our idea was inspired by the idea of “Chladni’s Plates”, vibrating plates that provided a way to visualize the effects of vibrations on mechanical surfaces. These plates’ frequencies change the pattern of the material being affected, typically small particle solids such as sand, but sometimes fluids.

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The Experience

While in visualizations we have the project proposed to be installed set in the ground around the cantilevered entrance canopy, replacing the current in-ground light apparatus, but due to the tile-like nature of the object, it could be placed in the pavement at any building entrance. A constant presence outside Carnegie Mellon’s main library, the installation can be chosen to be ignored but when noticed be intriguing. Students and viewers can choose to gather around and observe how turbulent the liquid is as well as the morphing color of the exterior wrapped lights. We do not propose there to be any sort of plaque to explain what the observers are seeing. The goal of the installation is for the viewers to understand the more intense a pattern the liquid is creating and the more the lights are changing, the more something is happening at the current moment. There is some whimsicality in trying to understand the unknown.

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Animated Render - Installation's Lights Affecting Existing Canopy
- https://imgur.com/91LWDUj
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Proposal Around Hunt Library Canopy
Render2 copy.thumb
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The Tech

Because Chladni’s Plates create visuals through frequency, we had to relate the Carnegie Mellon University Facilities Management Services (FMS) data to a frequency. Using the TouchDesigner Math function we mapped the value of the current energy usage in relation to the minimum and maximum values for the data to a range of frequencies that would best create interesting visuals in the liquid. In a similar manner, we mapped the current water usage to a gradient between red and blue color values.

As for physical prototyping, we set a transducer, as a means of producing the vibrations, underneath the vessel holding the water. LED strip lights are placed around an exterior box to allow for diffusion of the hotspots. 

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In-Action Shot of Electrocymatics
Shk 8194.thumb
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In-Action Shot of Electrocymatics
Shk 8201.thumb
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Screenshot of TouchDesigner Setup
Screen shot 2018 10 29 at 6.47.54 pm.thumb
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48-734 Reactive Spaces and Media Architecture

· 22 members

How can embedded computation change the way we experience our surroundings? This class will focus on the design and prototyping of reactive spaces. Over the course of several small projects and one...more


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Public Data Visualization of Hunt Library