iBall – so you can always be there

For this week, we were asked to critic on a topic related to technology. Pedro gave each group some extra constrains to work on. For us, it was:

    • Attribute: Playful
    • DeviceAbsurdity
    • Mood: Shame

Idit and I decided to make an object concerning mass surveillance. On our first meeting, she came up with the idea of using eyeball to watch back to those who surveil us. I think the idea was interesting, and it matches the constraint of being playful and absurd. But we also thought the form of an eyeball was too predictable.


We then saw these images, and use it as reference for the foundation to our project, (left) gumball machine and (right) eye-shaped candy. After setting with the theme, we did our research hunting for the components. Idit happened to have a gumball machine at home! How wonderful is that! Adafruit has some mini spy camera and TFT display which could be useful. We bought both the sensor but found out that the result was not that ideal nor impactful, plus it was not very stable. The mini spy camera can take photos, but it’s all stored on a microSD card. The TFT only displays a pair of goggly eyes.


We scheduled office hour with Pedro, and he told us about RC camera commonly used for drones. It gives live feed within a certain range and does not require any programming at all!

For some reasons, we were having a hard time matching the right channel for the camera and receiver. Each time we reconnect the power, we would have to search through the different channels . We then noticed that the frequency range would show up for a split seconds when the receiver is attached to my phone app FPViwer, top left of the screen. We try to tune it with the chart given in the instruction sheet and now it works like a charm.

Idit excels in fabrication. She created the eyeballs using paint and plastic spheres. The result was phenomenal.

Final Product:


Last Sunday, Arnab get all of us to go to the Toyfair NYC. Hundreds of exhibitors from all over the world came and covered up two full floors of Jacob Javits Convention Center. It took me approximately 3 or 4 hours to skim through them at the very least.

This year’s trend must have something to do with sensory objects. Multiple variations of putty toys were introduced, each showcasing different rigidity, materials, or elasticity.

I came across a booth with a product called SculptaPalooza, the Squishy, Squashy, Sculpting Party Game. It’s a package that comes with a Playfoam, some game cards, a dice and a timer. Unlike other putty toys that relies heavily on ones’ imagination, users will be given constraints! In a given time, the player will be given instructions on how and what they should sculpt. Then their team members have to guess it.

What the Creator Says:
Playfoam is carried by Educational Insights, a company that focused on preschool market. They sell individual foams as well as other kit combinations. While SculptaPalooza is their first game designed for older children, ages 10 and up; they did propose instructions on how to include younger players. It is made with safe and non-toxic material, but can still be dangerous for kids as it has the capability to choke them.

What Parent and Kid says
The product is listed as Amazon’s Choice and best seller in the toys & games and learning & education toys category. They got 4.7 out of 5 stars in customer reviews. They could see similarities with the game Pictionary or Charades. All three are fast-paced multiplayer games that stimulate players’ imagination and creativity, and they have to race with time. The fact that is built on top of a game everybody is familiar with, makes the instructions pretty simple to understand.

They loved how they took a seemingly solitary, kiddie toy and turned it into a party game where adults could enjoy. Some still wish it could be more accessible to the younger audience for more families to enjoy. As we can see, they did not include children across all their promotional materials.

Another common complain was with the use of materials. They think that the foam can not hold itself very well and would rather use Playdough as substitute to it. But others disagrees as they said it adds silliness and challenges to the game.

Video Playback System

We were asked to start building our own video playback. I played with the brcosa, plane, and random a lot.

Below are some of the playback attempts I made.

Some of the problems I encountered:
1. Confused on where to connect the nodes
2. Playback speed not in realtime due to CPU limitation
3. Outputing multiple effects into a window
4. Switching between different videos

Bias Resume Shredder

For disobedient electronics, we need to make an object that meets the tech and critic side of the triangle. I build a shredder that shreds resume of applicant who fails to meet the “hidden” criteria. The definition of a qualified candidate has been blurry in a job hunt, especially in Taiwan. Western people have a higher chance of getting an english teaching position in nursery schools, not because they are more skillful at the language but because they are Caucasian. A pregnant applicant gets rejected because she is expecting to miss a few weeks of work due to labor or maternity issue, which then will cause a great impact on the company’s profit. Furthermore, older people were perceive to be less productive, less creative, and have more health problems.

The shredder has three inputs – age, gender, race. It decides whether to trigger the shredder depending on your input combinations.

Arduino Source Code:


Moving Imagery

For first week’s assignment, we were asked to took some videos that has design context in it. It is quite hard to not capture people. I took some that are materials related and some that has a main focus or subject.

Evocative Toys

No, my evocative toy was not a laptop. It was not even popular at that time.(I hate to admit that I am old). Just want to point out how undecorative my laptop was judging from the obsession I had over stickers when I was a kid. I guess the 7-year-old me would despise me for this.

Back in grade school, I remember sitting in class. We were having lessons, but I can’t pay attention at all. My friend and I were too busy browsing the sticker albums beneath us. Hiding it under the table so the teacher would not see us; admiring each other’s collections and exchanging stories on where we got them. We would trade off Ragnarok with Sanrio, Cardcaptor Sakura with Sailormoon, Power Rangers with Pokemon.

My brother and I would rush straight to our rooms whenever we got new stickers; whether that be I-behave-in-checkup-session-today sticker from the dentist, or I-did-great-in-exams sticker from our teacher. Part of the fun was to compete who can stick it straight, tidy, and fast! The trick was to always reference the alignment along the edges. Another criteria was to also maximize the space, rearranging them over and over again so they fall along some category, pattern, or theme. All in all I have 4 sticker albums. I still kept them inside my drawer back home.

This journal is making me nostalgic.

(Sample image from user dogboneart on flicker)

Pomodoro Clock

Our homework for this week was to build a clock with controls. I decided to make a pomodoro clock using MKRZero and the rotary encoder. When the rotary is turned, it sets the seconds and time value. When the encoder is clicked, it sets the alarm to work.

Problems encountered
1. was to limit the numbers with a rotary by using a self counter
2. originally I intended to have it respond to a longer button press to start the timer instead of doing
3. p5 indata that sleeps the display of the computer

Order more claw

In class, Pedro showed us a triangular graph that consists of tech, design, and critic. For our first homework, we were asked to build a critical object that has both the critical and design element on it. Adi and I listed down topics we have in mind, some of these were capitalism, addiction over smartphone, online shopping waste creation, and household food waste. At the end of the day, we decided to dealt with the online shopping topic since it is relatable to both of us.

The evolution of online shopping has increase drastically over the past decade. It’s easier than ever to shop a wide variety of goods, from clothing, electronics, to daily consumables. However, all these comes with a consequence. The creation of excess waste through packaging, especially cardboards.

It is an easy-to-find material even in ITP floor. We find different sizes of cardboards and stacked them inside one another, similar to Russian doll method, pointing out how frequent online shopping happens in our life. Inside the smallest box is button with “order more boxes” label , implying the cycle that is never ending.