Category Archives: ARTS 344

Low Tech Sensors & Actuators

(I’m not sure if this document was put up for us to do a reading response to or just to use as a resource guide but I’m responding to it just in case)


I found all of these projects very interesting and I think given time I could find applications for many of these techniques. However, someone needs to take these people aside and teach them how to write a proper manual. There are no list of resources or details about any of the products they used. They used the term “CAT” even before they introduced a picture of the cat toy and with no explanation to what it referred to and even after we actually saw what “CAT” was there was no real product description to accompany it. This goes along with any of the other products they used. Given that these instructions could very well be very product specific and not carry over to all flashlights or all noise-making cat toys it would be helpful to include these details. In addition I don’t think I could actually follow any of these instructions. They are simply to vague and the accompanying pictures do little to aid in instruction. As someone who likes to tinker with things for fun occasionally but who needs very specific and detailed instructions to achieve a specific goal I can’t help but think I would be totally lost attempting to follow these directions. In short, this reading gives a nice overview of what types of low tech sensors and technologies can be created, but if I actually wanted to pursue any of these projects I would go elsewhere.

This probably wasn’t even the point of you assigning this reading to us but I find myself very annoyed by this incompetency. The introduction presents this as a “how to” guide for artists but I don’t think it achieves this goal very well at all.

Mapping Problem and Questions

1) What is the problem you’re solving

We are trying to increase the interaction between students and their awareness of the people who use the same spaces but at different times.

This is interesting because people usually use the labs independently of each other and don’t interact with others in the lab. They also don’t usually have any exposure to the work that their fellow students are doing unless they are in the same class. This would let people both share their work with and communicate remotely with other students.
2) Define your desired audience/users

Students, specifically art students who use the computer lab.
3) What are the territories established or observed in your problem?
The territory will be limited to the art and design computer labs.

4) What is the data or information-space of your problem?

We assume that they know how to use a computer, specifically word and image processing software. The people using the lab already know how to use at least some of the programs on the computer and how to navigate the different availability issues.

The layout of the space already exists, people learn when the computers are available based on signs listing when classes take place, and the art and design website lists what computers have what software.

Data that can be produced is any type of media that can be produced by a computer.

Psychogeographic Walk


1. I started at Allen Hall. I went out the front door because they are closest to Altgeld

2. I took the right sidewalk so I don’t have to cross the street. It was nice out so I walked slowly

3. I took the path that cuts across the grass next to Freer hall because it seemed shorter.

4. I walked to the corner because there were cars and I didn’t want to j-walk, and I didn’t want to walk to the intersection because there was even more traffic there.

5. I walked on the side walk because there were bikes on the bike path. There was a car on the side walk (as always) so I avoided that.

6. I kept going straight instead of turning right because the left path was sunnier

7. I took the first right hand path that led to the quad because it seemed faster

8. I would normally cut across the quad but there were a lot of people out and some were playing Frisbee and I didn’t want to disturb anyone so I just went straight

9. I did cut across that quad at this point because I saw some guy with a dog in this direction and I love dogs.

10. I turned right and then went straight here because that’s the easiest way to get to Altgeld, but I walked even slower so I could watch the tight rope walkers

11. I then made a quick right and then left because it was the quickest way to Altgeld

12. I took the first right hand path to go in the front entrance of Altgeld since I’d never been there before and didn’t know where anything would be and I thought it would be easier to navigate if I went in the front

13. I started to go up the right stairs but then some guy started as well and I didn’t want to follow him so I went up the left stairs.

14. I turned to the left and walked around, hoping to find the stuff we were supposed to be looking for. When I found it I just paced back and forth looking for a mathematical model that fits my personality

15. I chose this one.

Denis Cosgrove’s Carto City; Multidisciplinary Interaction Design for Alternative City Tourisms

I find this article very interesting. I’ve never thought of a map as an interface for dealing with a city before, although now that it’s been pointed out I realize its the perfect description. I find the idea that maps could be used to highlight different values and ideas fascinating. I especially found it interesting that in the 20th century map were used to control cities. I’ve never thought of a map as a way to control space before; rather I’ve always thought of it as merely a transcription of a space onto a two-dimensional medium. It’s interesting to read about through the perspective of artistic and social merit.

As for the case study of Alternative City Tourism in Rome I thought both ideas were very interesting. I loved their motivations of bridging the gap between tourists and residents. I think it’s very true that locals tend to ignore parts of their cities (and tourists most certainly do as well).

I loved the idea of the tour-shirt in theory, although I’m introverted and I hate talking to strangers so I feel like I’d either be miserable using it or it could possibly be a really good exercise in going outside of your comfort zone.

I like The Cube as well, mostly because I like the idea of your “map” becoming a way to relieve your trip after the fact. I think the duel-function of the device is very nice and makes an other wise “meh” idea of traveling by dice much more interesting