Tag Archives: Adam Williams

Video: This (physical) filing cabinet is interactive

Designer Jaap de Maat of London’s Royal College of Art recently debuted an exhibit titled “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”

As GizMag’s Adam Williams reports, the exhibit is essentially an autonomous filing cabinet designed to follow people around.

“In the digital age it has become easier to look back with great accuracy,” de Maat explained in a project description.

“But this development contains hidden dangers, as those stored recollections can easily be misinterpreted and manipulated. That sobering thought should rule our online behavior, because the traces we leave behind now will follow us around for ever.”

According to Williams, “I Know What You Did Last Summer” is built around a modded filing cabinet fitted with an electric wheelchair (+ battery), an Atmel-based Arduino board, a BT2S Bluetooth interface and HC-SR04 distance sensors.

So, how does it work? Well, the cabinet is linked to a webcam via Bluetooth, which scans the room for movement.

“When the webcam finds a person, it sends the relevant location to the Arduino, which in turn controls the wheelchair motors and directs the cabinet toward that person,” Williams added.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.

Lucid Stead illuminates the desert with Arduino

Phillip K Smith III has created a rather unique work of art in the California desert using an old shack tricked out with an Atmel-based Arduino board and LEDs. According to Gizmag’s Adam Williams, the solar-powered structure is designed to change color throughout the day like a chameleon.

“A curious blend of architecture and art project, Lucid Stead is located on a sizable plot of land owned by the artist himself. The [renovation] process involved adding mirrored strips to the exterior of the shack, and installing a custom Arduino-controlled electronics setup inside,” Williams explained.

“The Arduino is programmed to slowly change the color of several LEDs, also placed inside, which shine light out of the four windows and door as the day progresses. It’s a simple enough concept, but the effect is striking and makes the building seem to almost disappear, or glow, depending on its state.”

Interestingly, the solar panels were installed some distance away from the shack on a temporary frame, hidden behind already existing desert plants. A battery array, which provides power at night, is also located on the same unobtrusive framework, with wires buried underground to avoid spoiling the minimalist style of the project.

Clearly, Lucid Stead is all about tapping into the quiet and the pace of change of the desert.

“Like the enveloping vista that changes hue as time passes, Lucid Stead transforms. In daylight the 70 year old homesteader shack, that serves as the armature of the piece, reflects and refracts the surrounding terrain like a mirage or an hallucination,” said Smith.

“As the sun tucks behind the mountains, slowly shifting, geometric color fields emerge until they hover in the desolate darkness. When you slow down and align yourself with the desert, the project begins to unfold before you. It reveals that it is about light and shadow, reflected light, projected light and change.”