Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Arduino Lamp: Testing Stage

Ladies Designers from Studio Miscellanea were generous enough to go half-way across Delhi and get the prototype casing made for the Freeduino audio reactive lamp. Our power supply was falling short of the required ampere delivery. After replacing it with a half brick-like adapter from Yamaha; this is what we got!

[part]art with Abhishek Ghate from studiomisc on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Connected Life

I write this post sitting in an air-conditioned compartment of home-bound train. It was really cold last night, when I boarded the train at 10.50 PM from Hazrat Nizamuddin station, Delhi. Though the 'scheduled departure' promise was well kept; the next morning came with an unpleasant but not-so-unexpected surprise. In its 8 hour journey till morning, the train only managed to inch till Agra station. We are running eight and a half hours behind schedule. The authorities blame the envelope of thick fog/smog around Delhi for the delay. I hear many other trains delayed and a couple cancelled as the estimated delay crossed a whopping 20 hours.
While I am enjoying the warm environment of the berth and reading away "Fooled by randomness" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb; I cant ignore the noticeable trends all around me. Here is a glimpse of what I see:

Everyone around me is equipped with at least one kind of electronic media device. Mobile phones are way too common to be mentioned. I am talking about multimedia phones (those which double and treble up as music and video players); iPods/vPods, laptops etc. While the delay in the schedule bothered everyone in the morning; almost all of them have submitted to their media devices for solace and 'time pass' (I am no exception! I have closed the book and am surfing on my laptop).

Another important feature which cant be neglected is, the variety of local content created, adored and saved on contemporary media. I have a hard time switching focus between Telugu movie songs, ringtones made out of hit Hindi numbers and voice over of Jim Carrey's mask in PUNJABI!!! The coupé next to mine has a small open screening of The Mask for passer-bys!

Another emerging trend is more related to service design than social habits. Last night, when I was unsure about this train's departure time; I called Just Dial services for an enquiry number. I received an SMS from them stating that I can use SMS feature to know about my train's timings. I did it; in fact am still doing it right now to keep checking if the train has any intention of making-up for the lost time or is the fog in Delhi still affecting our driver's range of vision...
On the same lines, I observed something new during this journey. A hawker distributed food menus in our bogie saying that we can call the number and order food, which will reach our berths on the next big station (a good 2 hours away).
I found it interesting as it is based on one core assumption (which is now an observable fact) that majority of people own mobile phones. Other obvious facts driving the service would be derivative ones like, people must be bored of the limited IRCTC palette, good food can demand good price etc etc. I have ordered a chicken burger with potato chips and a black forest (yum!(

This is the first time I am traveling with mobile internet service (TATA Photon+) and it has not let me down till now.

Signing off for now
Dakshin Express (2722)
Somewhere between Vidisha and Bhopal (MP)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home made B-52

Had prepared Kahlua at home earlier. I was wondering how difficult would it be to make a B-52 shooter at home. I found recipes for Kahlua as well as Bailey's Irish Cream online and so I took a shot (pun not intended) last night. This is what it looks like. I am supposed to use Grand Marnier on top but I will use Vodka in its absence. The current image actually shows scotch on top coz I was out of vodka then.
Lets see how does it work at the party tonight.

Happy new year to everyone!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Pro now!

Bought a Flickr Pro account today! Visit my photostream here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Pixel Art

Monday, November 23, 2009

This Sunday was a real hectic and productive one. I finally got a pending idea to work with a Freeduino board I acquired from the KHOJ workshop. Watch the video and continue reading after the jump.

The assembly uses a condenser mic, a single transistor amplifier, a Freeduino Lite board, a 9V battery and 5 LEDs. As you can see in the video, the lights turn on according to the intensity of the music/speech. The fun part is that it switches to a soothing ambient light mode when the music is turned down.
I got a sort-of-okay code working here. It is not fully optimized but it works.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Workshop @ KHOJ

It was a great experience being at the interactive design workshop hosted in KHOJ. Mr. Matt Kenyon was kind enough to teach a bunch of artists, architects, designers, students and enthusiasts about Processing and Arduino.
Though, it was originally supposed to work with Telepresence, using GPS smartphones; but the workshop did not achieve those goals. However, it was really amazing to meet people of all ages and backgrounds coming together and learning about this new revolution in the making.

For starters, Processing is a new and free programming environment designed specially for designers and artists. It is based on Java but it really simple to learn. The commands are simple, and the structure intuitive. Read all about it on the Processing website.
Arduino, started as a sister project along with Processing. It is the name of a circuit board which is easily programmable using a free programming environment very similar to Processing. People have done some amazing yet simple stuff with it. It is great for prototyping and installations. Read more here.

KHOJ ordered the Freeduino Lite (a simpler variant of Arduino) from Bhasha store, Pune. We had some problems setting them up as some of them were faulty while others had pin numbers mixed up. I used my Diecemillia and also helped a couple of people setting their boards up.
I was funny to see how Apple owners were ready with the boards minutes after they connected it; while Windows and Linux users struggled with myriad problems. USB to serial port issues, missing drivers, restarting systems, incompatible versions of things and what not!
Eventually, everyone got started and had their LEDs blinking. Everyone cooked up their ideas and I hope to see them pursuing those soon (including me). I hope to upload something soooon.