physical computing – week 2

Switch Lab

This week I created an improvised wearable switch using aluminum paper modeled to fit my fingers. When I touch both fingers, the current starts to flow, activating the circuit and turning on the white LED.

This is a very simple experiment starting to explore the possibility of creating live storytelling performances using special effects activated by the hands and facial expression.

final result

Some brief thoughts and notes about pcomp paradoxes

Last week during the class, Daniel Rozin asked: What’s the price for us to have each day more innovative experiences with Physical Computing? This question keeps resonating in my mind. Furthermore, I thought about two other questions to deepen the reflection: Who has been paying the price? And who gets paid for that?

When we look at “The Treachery of Images”, by René Magritte on a big screen at NYU, we are seeing an image of a pipe that depends on a long colonial history of violent extractivism and genocide to exist. Actually, going back some levels, closer to the roots of the problem I’m trying to describe, the pipe itself, as well as the Tabacco used in it, were technologies created by the native South-Americans, who were using that to access images and virtual worlds much before than we do and without causing any harm to the environment. 

So working with technology for me is inhabiting this kind of paradox. We are working to design a better world, more comfortable ways of interacting with machines or even creating politically-engaged projects, using machines which fabrication is the cause of most of the harmful of the planet and society. 

Another technology paradox is pointed by Donald A. Norman in the first chapter of the book “The Design of Everyday Things”. The chapter is called “The Psychopathology of everyday things”. He says that technology offers the potential to make life easier and more enjoyable and at the same time, adds complexities arise to increase our difficulty and frustration. Each day we are more dependable on specific technicians to deal with everyday issues. 

I see these paradoxes as challenges and opportunities to think and design collectively different worlds – both in the everyday real world and in fictional worlds – or even better, in the intersection of both. 

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