24-Hour Marathon Begins

This morning, we began hour 24-hour making marathon. Frederik helped my group realize that we had a lot of different ideas, and we needed to focus on just one if we were going to have anything to show tomorrow. We decided to hone in on the idea of challenging the binary of digital presence/absence. We about the suddenness of ending a video a call and how that can feel like a real drop in energy. In physical reality, the process of entering or leaving a space is more gradual.

We landed on the idea of a chat interface that allows for spatial mapping. The interface allows for multiple conversations to be held simultaneously with users being able to “physically” move between them. We will be using the Circuit Playground as a physical device that indicates the liveliness of different conversations. Each LED on the circuit will represent a different participant and will glow brighter as that person speaks louder.

We separated into 4 subgroups to complete the work for tomorrow’s presentation. One group is developing the interface as it can practically exists for tomorrow. Another group is developing a sort of speculative interface for how it could exist in the future and accompanying visuals. The third group is developing the hardware as it can practically work for tomorrow’s presentation. The final group is creating a speculative model for how it could exist in the future. Fien from Sint Lucas Antwerpen and I focused today on getting the Circuit Playground working. We both have a pretty limited knowledge of the code needed to make this actually work, so started with just testing how the circuit could respond to sound.

Once Frederik was free to help, he explained that we basically need to create a line of communication between the server that our project will be hosted on and the Circuit Playground. Whenever you load a website, for example, you open up a connection, but it just gets information once. We need a constant stream of data to represent the voices in the chat. The amplitude of their voices will then be converted to a numerical value that is assigned to the color of the lights. We now have the code working to create that constant stream. You can see how the data represented by the 10 circles on the screen is translating through to the lights on the Circuit Playground. Tomorrow, we just need to replace the placeholder server with the actual server for our project, and it should be ready to go.

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