Physical Computing Project 1: Sensors and LEDs

Although I’m in the very beginnings of my thesis research, my interests are currently centralized around interactive technology, meditation, and breath. Last spring, I started these biofeedback meditation training sessions offered on campus by Student Counseling Services to help learn how to better manage my stress. These sessions guided me through various breathing exercises to help reach a relaxed state of awareness.

For my first project for Physical Computing, I envisioned a large lighting sculpture of a lotus flower, which symbolizes enlightenment, divinity, fertility, wealth, and knowledge. The lights would help guide the breath during meditation.


I imagine the lights starting from the center and extending outwards during an inhalation, and contracting inwards during an exhalation.

To help guide the breath, there would be pre-determined lighting (dictating the blue channel of the LED). The user’s breath would influence the lighting sculpture as well (dictating the red channel of the LED).  When the user’s breath matches the pre-determined timing, the resulting LED color would be purple.

I imagine the lotus frame to be made out of wood and the petals out of rice paper. The petals would be backlit by the RGB LEDs.

To measure the breath, I used an stretch sensor band wrapped around the abdomen. When the user inhales, the abdomen would rise, causing the band would stretch, increasing the resistance. Exhaling would cause the abdomen (and the band) to contract, decreasing the resistance. I inserted the output voltage of a voltage divider circuit incorporating the sensor to one of the analog inputs of my Arduino’s. This value was used to map the user’s breathing to the the lighting animation of the red LED channels.

Here are some pictures of my prototype…. I didn’t get a chance to make a video of it in action. But the circuit is pretty simple to recreate, so I might just have to go back and do that later.

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Wearable Computing and Dance

For class, we had to find an example of a dance piece incorporating wearable computing. I found this particular piece interesting.

Shadows of aikia – documentation cut from stratofyzika on Vimeo.

For this performance art piece we design an environment where the stage performers are not bound to static expressions of sound and visuals. We are working with behavior-based approaches in reaction with interactive software settings for sound and visuals. These approaches and technologies affect the environment; adjusting the situations of appearance of shadows, their recognition as mirror effect and projections, their acceptance in the complex of the personality, change of the position of ego towards those elements. We want to achieve an emotional and physical sensation for the audience where the sound and visuals are in interaction with the dancer embodying the space we will create. This will be done with original visual and audio content, software and hardware interaction. This dynamic interactivity engages both the stage performers and audience to a deeper level of interest and identification.
Another possible interpretation Shadows of aiKia is research and examination of the relationship in between body and its biological existence and system of elements, light and sound, both vibrations in the space existing in due to time line. What is the relationship between human consciousness, space where it’s placed and its perception of time. We reproduce a metaphorical creation of the relativity of those dimensions, according to theory of special relativity, testing the limits of speed and trying to win over the equation defining energy and mass.

The visual and audio elements will be connected with the dancer’s movements speed and rotation, using an Arduino board, 1 accelerometer and 1 gyroscope, which will be the consequences of mind and body reactions onto the audiovisual environment.

The dance and movement will focus on duality and the juxtaposition of one’s ego of light and/or dark shadow in the space defined by and in relationship to the visuals and sound.

The space and time, light and sound will become other shadows of the person in the labyrinth of its existence.

We used Max/jitter, AbletonLive, and built a prototype with Arduino, 1 accelerometer and 1 gyroscope.
both sound and visuals do react depending on the movement of the dancer

official website:
StratoFyzika members: Akkamiau / audio (CZ) Alessandra Leone / video (IT) Hen Lovely Bird / movement (USA)
special guests: Giovanni Marco Zaccaria / interactive technology (IT)
Nicolas Berger / creative coding (CH)
curator and production: Laura Biagioni (IT)

Interactive Performance and Technology Introduction

This specific post serves as an introduction to my fellow peers in VIZA 689: Interactive Performance and Technology.

Hello everyone! This is Antoinette Bumatay. I am a 2nd year MS Visualization graduate student.

Here is a semi-recent picture of me:

And a bonus of me as a little ballet dancer (I don’t quite remember what performance this was for…):

So I have seen many dance performances throughout the years. One performance that was particularly memorable was Bad Unkl Sista’s “The Study of Soft” in San Francisco, CA in the spring of 2010.

From their company site:
“Bad Unkl Sista is a performance installation ensemble that fuses Butoh-inspired choreography, improvised music, couture costuming, and physical theater elements while producing site-specific experiences that seek to move each witness to a state of extraordinary and memorable being.”

Here are some images I found of the performance (also from their website).



It was almost four years ago, so the details are quite hazy. But from what I remember, I was completely entranced by the entire performance. It was morbid, yet beautiful, and absolutely mesmerizing.

Edit: Here is a video of the same company, but different performance.

Alright… now here are a few samples of my work.

Music Paintings:

Kishi Bashi – It All Began With a Burst
Snoop Doggy Dogg – Who Am I

Here is a video example of how the above works were made. This was an earlier version of the system, but will explain the main functionality:

Complex System Inspired:



Again, here is a video example of how the above works were made (also an earlier version of the system):