fab w2 hw

For my repeatability assignment, I wanted to make a desk organizer like this:

It looked simple enough—I mean, I didn’t know how to make those giant slots in a piece of wood, but I figured I could cheat it by making each section individually and gluing them down to a separate base. Turns out, I’m the worst wood-worker ever, so my results weren’t nearly as nice.

I bought a nice douglas fir 2×4 at Home Depot, along with some forstner drill bits. Then I made a little schematic in Illustrator, along with instructions that optimized my workflow:

Great. So the first order of business was to chop up the wood with the miter saw into 2″ pieces. It’s a scary tool, but what proved to be even scarier was how inaccurate it was…

Maybe I just can’t subtract.

My first attempt at the miter saw yielded three useable 2″ blocks from a length of 12″.

I then tried cutting out the base of the organizer:


Clearly, that wasn’t going to work out. So I drew up plan b (complete with a dowel for keys):


And introduced myself to the drill press:

And the bandsaw:

The next day, I happened to find some thin slabs of wood in the dumpster downstairs:

Potential base material? 

So I dragged that sucker upstairs and onto this crazy contraption:

And my old friend, the miter saw:

The bases were ugly, so I spent the next few hours fretting over finishes:

I hate painted wood.

I hate everything.

Alright well, in the meantime, I had five sets ready to glue:

They were pretty modular looking, so I couldn’t resist putting them in different configurations. Sorry, Ben! I also ended up cutting a couple bases from the original douglas fir with the bandsaw (at the expense of some skin) because I really hated that wood I found.

Pretty okay.

I’ll update later with pictures of them in use!

ICM/Pcomp final project

For my final project, I would like to make a brain entrainment pod wherein the user can choose two states: relaxed or focused. Each state will trigger light and sound settings that emit at frequencies associated with either the Default Mode Network or Task Positive Network, respectively. The concept is basically an updated and elaborate dream machine: the user’s exposure to pulsating light and sound will reproduce those frequencies in their brain. I will attempt to lead the brain into either the DMN or TPN by replicating the dominant frequencies present during either open monitoring meditation or focused attention meditation, respectively.

As a result, the user (theoretically) will not have to actually meditate in the traditional sense, but instead receive “treatment” that hopefully will yield the same results of meditation by an advanced practitioner. I would like to corroborate this theory by including an EEG device that measures the user’s brain activity while undergoing “treatment”. Because there is such disappointment over the reliability and price-point of open-source/consumer-grade EEGs, we will attempt to design our own device tailored to our purpose (while also preparing to purchase one if that proves to be an impossible task).

I believe light and sound will be the most effective sensory inputs for entrainment, as you can define their frequencies, but I also hope that we can hide these pulsations underneath visualizations and music that are actually aesthetically pleasing, so as to not alarm or disturb the user. Once we receive the user’s mental state via serial communication, we will generate visuals/audio based on their data. However, the stimuli won’t be a reflection of their state—it will be a response to it and their decision to either be “relaxed” or “focused”.

The visuals—generated in p5—will be projected on the walls of our dome (likely a purchased geodesic dome), and the audio will be combination of binaural beats and actual music (TBD), also generated in/played through p5.

I first became interested in brain entrainment when I discovered the Dream Machine, and kinetic light sculpture by artist Brion Gysin and engineer Ian Sommerville, circa the early 1960s. The Dream Machine was originally a cut paper cylinder placed on a record player and illuminated from the inside; the frequency of its pulsing light produced alpha activity in the brain, which is associated with relaxation.

So it should follow that we can use this method to produce any sort of activity in the brain. I’m especially interested in deactivating the DMN as a long-term therapeutic tool for depression, but for this project the user will decide what they want. (Generally, the DMN is associated with increased lower-gamma levels in the prefrontal cortex, but we will be grabbing the settings of advanced meditation practitioners for this project).

Another example is the vibroacoustic recliner (used therapeutically by Dr. George Patrick):

Image result for somatron vibroacoustic recliner by Dr. George Patrick

I became interested in EEG devices after seeing ITP alum Lisa Park’s thesis project:


Mood board for visuals:


Our project will be for users who are anxious or stressed out and need reprieve. The Winter Show is pretty chaotic, and our entrainment pod will totally immerse users in a completely different environment. Barak has dreams for it to stay at ITP permanently, so students have a nearby retreat from the floor/their crippling self-doubt.

fabrication w1 hw

My lithium ion battery charged up last night, so I set off to make what would be possibly the ugliest thing I’ve ever made in my life.

First step was to figure out how to actually use such a battery. After several warnings against soldering directly onto the battery, I decided to snap off the component below:

And solder my circuit onto it:

The next question was how to secure the component to the battery. Turns out, not like this:

A lifetime later…

ICM class notes

function deviceMoved();

function deviceTurned();

function deviceShaken();

rotationX and rotationY

touches is an array

navigator.geolocation.getCurrentPosition(); pulls GPS coordinates

windowResized(); and resizeCanvas();

*requires https://

face recognition: https://github.com/auduno/clmtrackr

fabrication w1 hw

Don’t judge me Ben Light, but I’ve only really started thinking about this flashlight assignment today because I moved this weekend! But while I was packing, I found this little guy:

I was still using this phone when I moved to NY five-plus years ago, and couldn’t quite bear to part with it. So I thought I might try to break it open and see if I could install some light fixtures??

Charging the battery now to see if I can use it to power a LED… after I tore it apart, naturally.

Binaural beat machine

I’m interested in brainwave entrainment, so for my ICM homework this week, I created a sketch that plays two sine wave tones of the user’s choice. If the frequencies come within a 40hz range of each other, they combine to form the illusion of a third tone, aka a binaural beat. This third tone’s frequency is the difference of the two.

The p5.sound library has a great class called FFT, which enables you to visualize the frequency of any sound playing in your sketch. I wanted to visualize how the sound waves would interact as the user changes their frequencies; especially interesting are the shapes that emerge with binaural beats. To make it clear when you’ve reached such a threshold, the visualization turns from blue to red:

To properly induce binaural beats, each tone must be heard by one ear exclusively, but simultaneously. Luckily, there’s the .pan() function for that. The first tone will play in the left earbud; the second, in the right.

Try it here:

pcomp midterm

For the pcomp midterm, I agreed to help my friend Ilana make a jukebox for her boyfriend’s birthday. The jukebox would feature her boyfriend’s original music, each activated by a specific, sentimentally associated photograph. Each photograph would close their song’s switch via copper tape applied to its back. This project seemed like a challenging learning experience, so I was happy to work with her.

Because of time limitations, we ran over to Tinkersphere to buy an mp3 shield. This turned out to be an immediately regrettable decision, because there was very little documentation, the provided link to the datasheet was broken, and the library—incredibly—didn’t work.


Luckily, Aaron (our miracle-worker of a resident) was able to hack the Adafruit mp3 shield library (sorry Adafruit) to work with our questionable Tinkersphere purchase. Unfortunately, that only opened the floodgates of pain and suffering, as there was still a lot of crazy mp3 shield logic deal with (delays, booleans for each song, the concept of interrupts and how they apply to serial communication…). Eventually, many office hours (thanks Yuli and Chino) and even more if statements got the job done. However, we weren’t able to figure out how to get combinations of switch states to allow for more songs.

preview of the madness

So we hooked this up to push buttons to test the code, then threw together a rough prototype to test the technical concept:


With the circuit working, it was time to work on the enclosure. We bought a utensil tray from The Container Store (shout out to this video), and laser cut an interface, first with cardboard:

Then with acrylic:

To create a product independent from the computer, we hooked the circuit up to a battery, which was hooked up to an on/off switch. We had some trouble with the switch—we bought a strange 3-state one from Tinkersphere—and ended up borrowing one of Barak’s after completely ruining it (ie Ilana burning herself and melting the plastic after a short circuit!).

Transferring the circuit to the box was a struggle, and for the next iteration we have to switch to the multi-stranded wire, because as it is with the solid-core wiring, the box doesn’t close. But at least the circuit works:

Now for some sleep…

LM W6: Class Notes


(Adam optimizer helps avoid local minima)


  • sessions are run-time environments (what happens in your session, stays in your session)

convolutional neural network

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kernel_(image_processing)

recurrent neural network:

  • sequence to sequence


  • language in vector space; can perform algebra on concepts
    • king – man + woman = queen
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principal_component_analysis