Kip came over on Saturday to show me the analog to digital solution he had come up with me for the willow ball art piece I've been working on since the big storm. The willow branches came with Sandy, I practically had pneumonia (bad bronchitis) so instead of getting out to help with relief, I sat at home and wove willow.
After the ball dried for a few weeks I covered it in a skin of one ply natural paper towels misted with a solution of elmers glue and water, ghetto paper maché I've been calling it. From the start it was designed to a be a light thing of some sort. I like the shadow play of the branches on the paper skin.
The hole that is in the bottom of the ball is an interesting side note, if you put this lamp shade on your head it's more like a resonating chamber. In fact it's sort like being in a private echoey place in nature, perfect for chanting or singing to yourself...but I digress.
It's lit from the inside by a strip of 24 controllable rgb led's. What Kip had been helping me with was getting normal analog pots to control each of the three color channels-- one each for red, green, and blue. It worked.
There are two final steps. First we have to add in one more potentiometer for rhythm. Then we create two identical versions of this system to complete the willow piece.
In the end, someone walking up to the piece can control the color of its heartbeat (ranging from 40-150 bpm) and the color of its breathing (ranging from 1-7 seconds). All of this analog twiddling controlling digital functions to make storm detritus appear to be alive.
In addition to Kip being here, my neighbor Tracy also stopped by. She teaches computer science in a NY middle school and has opened a maker space during lunch with a grant she received. It was great to introduce the two of them. Each of them has promised me post for the blog, so I'm not going to put too many words in their mouths... yet.