Assignment 3: Bright lights and friends

For this assignment, I thought about how I could incorporate light and emotion, simply because I wanted to experiment with LEDs. It got me thinking about how people in your life enhance your emotions and can affect your personality.

“Light up my life”

This then got me thinking about a system that requires another person to work, similar to how friends and people can figuratively light up your life.

The concept: A garment that can be worn and connected to a sensor that when a buddy interacts with it, controls the lights on the garment.


  • White 3.3V LEDs
  • photoresistor
  • breadboard
  • Arduino UNO
  • 10K resistor





I lasercut a pattern on the sleeve of the garment for the LEDs to backlight and it came out pretty well. It was my first time cutting denim and I definitely learned alot.

Some issues, I came across included how to hook up multiple LEDs and also how to keep the intricate cut from literally falling apart. In the end, I taped the LEDs to the interior of the garment. I then connected the photoresistor to a long cable so it could be used further away.

Assignment 3: There’s a Fly on My Face

The emotion i was willing to portray through this project were happiness and anger(more like annoyance).

Upon using a face drawing, I decided to use a photo-resistor as the switch for transitioning between the two emotions.

As to add a context to the change in emotion, I further decided to regard the user’s finger as a fly that perches on the face’s nose (which is also where the photo-resistor is placed at) as the anger-triggering factor for the face.



Google Drive Link (Video/Fritz/Code):

Moody Monster

My project is based on the idea of relaying an emotion of the user based on the input that they feed the Arduino.

The little monster expresses emotions that are directly related to the speed at which the user presses the button, and the intensity with which they press it. The ‘intensity’ is calibrated by the potentiometer connected to the board. On the setting with high intensity, the faster the user presses the button, the angrier the monster gets. The slower the button is pressed on high intensity, the sadder the monster gets. On low intensity, the faster the button is pushed, the more scared or nervous the monster gets while the slower the button is pushed, the more tired he gets. In both intensity settings, if the user pushes at a medium pace the monster will be happy.

The following is a link to the video, code, and circuitry:

Nervous Shoes in a Shoebox – Gaurav

After much thought and discussion with friends, I decided to make a project that focused on the emotion of nervousness.

The idea was to create two legs with shoes attached on them that “walk” in the same place by their attachment to two servo motors. A photoresistor would be placed such that it is able to pick up when a shadow is cast on the project and someone is getting close to it. The closer the person gets, the more nervous the legs get, and the faster they move.

I made the legs out of Popsicle sticks and connected them with wire. The shoes were made of tiny red balloons.

Once I made a working prototype, I felt the shoes needed an environment to walk in. I painted the background to represent a dark and starry night. In our world today, walking alone at night is associated with nervousness.

Through this project I learned a great about the conceptualization process of a project. If I were to do this project again, I might learn how to laser cut and create better parts for the project.

This is a video of the working project:

Fritzing of the circuit:

Link to the code

A Machine that Slowly and Painfully Erases Waluigi (Assignment 3)

I started with this:
A tripod of solenoids that would behave as specified in this image:

The emotion I was going for was futility and frailness.  I wanted the tripod to scramble about aimlessly, the firing of the solenoids powering it.  Unfortunately I over estimated the strength of the solenoids and found that they wouldn’t move when under their own weight.  I simplified, and got a bigger solenoid.


I found that its’ scooting about was still really weak and pathetic, which I liked.  The ideal version of this piece would have had a slice of pizza stapled toppings-down to the bottom, as the sled.

Assignment 3 Cathy Fang: Reverse Whack-A-Mole

My idea is to create a reverse Whack-A-Mole. Video demo is here:

The “hammer” (solenoid+motor) tracks the finger’s location and hits your figure if you cover the button (photoresistor).

Challenges and failure:
1. Burned an Arduino when playing around with the solenoid. The solenoid needs a 12v power but I was pulling power from both the power box and the Arduino.

2. The appearance of the project could look more stable. I did not have time or material to build a stable post or box, which affects the performance of the project.

Assignment 3: Kinetic Sculpture

My project is a kinetic sculpture. I had a lot of fun with this and spent way more time than I probably should have. The concept was about changing a physical form by switching the rotation of a motor.

My initial idea was to use string to put some object into tension and cause motion, but that was really difficult to control with a dc motor (though it probably would have been fine with a stepper motor). I then thought about how I might be able to flip a piece of paper with different colors on each side to convey a change in emotion via a shift in color. When I started to experiment with this I realized that the speed of the motor made it difficult to discern between color states, but that led me to stumble upon the form-changing aspects of this project.

Getting this piece to perform the way I wanted it to was incredibly difficult. There were a large number of variables, things were imprecise, and debugging was a major pain. In the end, I was able to elicit a very specific behavior out of the machine, but I think earlier versions filmed much better, though the final product looks quite nice in person and is much cleaner when not in motion than the others were.

Below is some process.

First success with a motor:

First success with a change in form:

Some iterations:

Final product:

Iterations of different components:


(uploaded to google drive because WP would not let me upload with the current filesize)

Clapping Hands

This project is about using motion to express emotion. Here I chose the emotion of happiness, related to the motion of clapping hands. So here is my tiny robot “Pat”.

The main components of this setup are solenoids, potentiometer, and pushbutton. Here, the solenoids represents the hands; the button represents praising words; the potentiometer represents how flattered Pat  is.

When Pat got praised (the button is pushed), he starts to clap his solenoid hands. If he is more flattered than normal (turn the potentiometer to one side), he will be happier and clap his hands faster; if he is not so flattered (turn the potentiometer to the other side), he will slow down the clapping speed back to normal.


If you want to create your clapping “Pat”, here is the code and sketch to help you:

Arduino Code File: Clapping Pat – Code

Fritzing Sketch: Clapping Pat – Sketch

Assignment 3: Unsteady

The goal of my project was to explore how heart rate can implicitly express emotion. A faster heart rate can mean many different things, from adrenaline, to fear, to excitement. In this specific case, I wanted to see how an increased heart rate can be linked to negative emotions associated with being off-balance.

As you knock the person off-balance, the heart rate increases rapidly. Once the person is back on his feet, the heart rate returns to a steadier, more relaxed rhythm. The heart rate is represented by a string of LEDs in the shape of a heart mounted on a protoboard. The protoboard is mounted to a servo, which moves in rhythm with the heart beat. The person is hand carved from a bar of soap, with an accelerometer embedded in its back.

All details (Arduino sketch, demo video, etc.) can be found here: