Project Title: émile

Project Creators: Julien Hespenheide, Irena Kukric, Jasna Dimitrovska, David Beermann

émile is a philosophical writing machine using the Baudot code – a binary 5-bit code, predecessor of ASCII and EBCDID – intended for telecommunication and electronic devices, representing the entire alphabet. Visualizing how electronic signals work can be difficult. A physical model can be useful in overcoming that difficulty. At a workshop entitled “Unboxing Black Boxes” the group of Interaction Designers (Irena, Jasna, David and Julian) created a device to show Baudot code in operation. This amalgam of wood and Arduino was dubbed émile in honor of Émile Baudot (1845-1903).

émile in action

I thought this project was interesting because it wasn’t responding to a direct need or wish for comfort or information, but for a more poetic and interesting understanding of the world. This physical translation of a completely electronic process, and how it incorporates sound and marbles, which everyone is familiar with, made the Baudot code much more approachable and intriguing to people outside this specific realm of computer science.

I think if I were to add anything onto this project it would be to take the sound component of the project a level further. Right now the setup of the project makes it seem almost like a game, and I think adding in sound components (maybe through an arduino or through adhering a different material to the where the marbles hit), could make this a more immersive experience.