estimates for cost of updating components

Estimates for Equipment to create updated version of Distant Narratives

These parts are for one station in the system. Multiply x3 for total cost.



xbee adapter kit (for bluetooth arduino connection) – $35

arduino uno – $35

ecamm wireless (bluetooth) web camera for mac – $150

IN1100 series LCD projector from InFocus – $975.00

Mac Mini (2.4 GHz – Intel Core 2 Duo processor, OS 10.6) – $700

motion range sensor – $10

fan – 5V – $10

box enclosure – ?

materials for enclosure of fan, camera, and any other parts – ?

total = $1,915 (all part purchased new) for one station

3 stations = $5,745



PDF summary paper for spring semester 2011

Next Steps / Summary

April 27, 2011

Technical Issues


Research ways of sending receiving two video signals while sending one.

Performance of video, ability to have program not quit, keep signal stable / frame rate

Installation / Container

Heat, smaller projector would be good to look at.


More voltage, material for showing movement of air.



Feedback from Open House

the fan was an inventive, interesting idea

where would it go in the house?

how would the user know it is activated or the other person is present, if they are not near the projection/fan area.



Can it send images rather than video

haptic feedback

computer / video solution

installation in environment closer to concept

Enabling Technology Open House – April 21, 2011


Installation View




Installation View



Installation View





update to Processing issues (video and server/client)

This past week, I have been identifying issues with sending video from one computer to another using Processing. Also, I have been identifying similar issues with sending other data from one computer to another. Both of these tasks are necessary in the configuration of hardware and materials for the Distant Narrative project.

Sending data between computers, or more specifically as is necessary for this project, from one computer to a computer which collects the data and sends it out to two other computers, is something that Processing allows for and I understand after looking into the problem and working with test files. The setup that will be required is to have, for example, one of the stations (A) detects motion from a user and then, acting as a client computer, sends that data to a server computer which then broadcasts that data out to the two other stations (B and C) which would receive the data as clients and activate the electronics and overall system. I have looked at examples and understand this setup.

Sending video in a similar client-server-broadcast (or multi-cast) configuration is also possible, and I have looked at examples and understand the code that is necessary to implement this setup. From what I have found in initial tests, it would be best to have the one or two video sources be sent to the third station in a side-by-side composition rather than trying to composite or mix the video sources. This will probably make the video more stable and maintain a better frame rate. Creating a mixed video may be more demanding on Processing and is also more difficult to implement; also, it may be more confusing visually.

Right now, I am trying to set up a test from one computer to another for the client-server configuration. I am running into some difficulty in getting Processing to properly install and run on the EEE computer, but have been looking at examples and forums to fix this and get it installed correctly. Once this is done, I expect to perform some tests to see how the EEE computer does as a client. Then, I will add another EEE computer to the system and test this, and finally, add the third EEE computer and use my MacBook Pro as the server computer (the EEE computers will all be clients). I would like to get this testing done as soon as possible.

I have not worked with the electronics this past week, but will get back to figuring out a solution to the power (getting enough volts into the electronics with the arduino) once I have the computer tests done. I would like to get the computers working in the client-server setup with the correctly powered electronics by March 30. At this point all of the Processing sketches should be working as needed for the complete system and all the computers and electronics will be working. Then, from March 31 to April 8 this setup could be transferred to the boxes and by April 8 this final setup would be ready in the setup  for how they will be shown. From April 9 to 13, final testing and any adjustments could be made for the April 14 GVU demo.

Update to Prototyping with Arduino

This past week have been working with Arduino Duemilanove to test set up for:

Sharp IR motion sensor: worked with 2Y0A700 motion sensor with higher range – need corrector 5 pin connector – on order lower voltage fan (5v) is also on order.

With current available components, have tested arduino program with a an LED indicating output and smaller motion sensor of the same make (Sharp 2Y0A02) as the input. Currently the Arduino is connected to a mac laptop for testing.

Will use this setup to test how the system works and incorporate the other elements of the system: LED, projector, camera this next week to get one complete working system from the mac.

Depending on the success of this test, can then port the system over to the intended components, including the parts of the system that are being substituted for currently: the ee computer, larger sensor and higher voltage fan.

Production Schedule for Distant Narratives

preliminary production timeline

10 weeks to complete

week 1 (2.23)

get parts

week 2 (3.2)

create enclosure / box for pc/projector with connections

to underlying camera and ir sensor (arduino)

week 3 (3.9)

continue from week 2

start creating floor surface / rug

week 4 (3.16)

continue from 3 – box should be completed  / rug should be close

week 5 (3.23)

rug finished and tested w/ system

(create box for remote)

week 6 (3.30)

continue box for remote

week 7 (4.6)

test complete system, main box, remote box, and rug

week 8 (4.13)

update / repair / revise depending on where things are at

week 9 (4.20)

test system / deploy / document

week 10 (4.27)

built in extra time for any troubleshooting / revising misc.

Components for Distant Narratives

list of items

ir motion sensor w/ arduino interface
LED lights / individual and in strips (red, green, white)
images for remote
wireless transmitter for pc to remote to rug (arduino)
enclosure for projector, pc
mount for camera, ir sensor
enclosure for remote

User Scenarios

view of interior, remote and hallway in distance

view of interior, hallway to left

Remote Indicator provides Presence Information

detail view of Remote Indicator with Presence and Images for Sites A, B, and C

View to Hallway from Interior

View of Distant Narratives Installation / Projection Space with Components (red=cpu and projector housing, orange=motion sensors, yellow=cammera w/ mount

View of Rug with LED lights indicating presence for sites A, B, and C

detail view of cpu, projector enclosure (red) with camera (yellow) and motion sensor (orange)

2 Design Concepts

Concept One:

This is an alternative version of the design for Distant Narrative based on the initial design concepts:

The physical components in system are separated from the screen display and haptic feedback component (fans) to be more integrated into the home environment. Components including the projector, sound speaker, and remote indicator are all separate pieces which can be configured in a room depending on the user’s preference. An existing television or monitor can be used as a computer interface to set preferences for the system. Components are designed to be non-intrusive to the existing environment. The projection screen, speakers, and floor sensors are created with, and housed inside in the case of the fans and sensors, flexible canvas or fabric to allow for easy storage and portability.

Concept One - view of components in living room area: projector, speaker, computer, and remote indicator

Concept One - View of Projection Screen and Floor Sensors with Fans and Computer

Design Concept Two:

In this design there is a small computer unit which placed in a room, other networked stations can be placed throughout the house. There is only one other component to this system which is a small unobtrusive communication object. This object is similar to the remote indicator in the first design. It houses a number of LED lights in colors that allow for a signaling in red, green, and other colors.

six communication objects with pictures to identify personalization

Detail of Communication Objects