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Moody Marble

For a final physical computing project, my teammate Ellen Il Eun Kim and I created a tool that creates a graphical image based on a collection of emotions expressed by individuals when recalling their first impressions of New York City. Using two pumps, water, paint, and an iPad, a user is asked a question and then is able to drag and drop their response using a blob-like interface. After a user drags and drops their answer choices, the pumps paint a graphical image of the user's response in the water to be captured on paper. This image is a sentiment analysis of that individual's unique reaction, along with previous user's reactions, and is hung in a gallery timeline to showcase the evolving overall reaction. Sentiment analysis provides an excellent source of information and insight that can determine marketing strategy, product messaging, and improve overall customer service.

One part that I worked on for this project was the user interface for the iPad. Over time, the user interface changed because our project changed after user testing. Our final interface was created using a JavaScript library called paper.js.

Skills Demonstrated:

Interaction Design, Physical Computing, Exhibit Design, UI, UX, Data Visualization Technique

Technology Used:

Arduino, JavaScript, Paper.js, Electric pumps, Oil paints


Our goal was to create a physical data visualization based on the mood of the audience at the Interactive Telecommunications winter show. We originally wanted to ask the audience how they felt about the 2016 United States presidential election, using red and blue paint, but we feared that we might not get a good mixture. However, what would have been even worse would have been to start an argument among participants. Something that we learned is that good interaction design starts a conversation between people, and the objects that people interact with. At first, we thought people would be intrigued by the water alone, and from there begin to discuss why other people feel the way that they do. After user testing though, we discovered that there was a problem reading ambiguous data from integral input. Eventually, we decided to use paper to capture each moment in time, and create an evolving gallery that showcased the evolution of how people felt about New York City when they first arrived.

I worked on the interface that the participants interacted with. I started with p5.js, but in order to get the sticky-like look that we wanted, we moved to paper.js. I experimented with creating blobs in just regular JavaScript, but in the end this was not necessary.

Designed and developed by Steven Simon 2018