[PHY] Introductions and Fantasy Project

Today was day one of Intro to Physical Computing (Phys Comp). I am in section 005 with Tom Igoe. We learned everybody’s names and shared a little about ourselves. The class isn’t too big, about 16 students. Didn’t learn every name, but wrote them down to my best ability. All the people in the class are unique and have various backgrounds in tech and art. I could say that most are predominantly graphic designers and computer scientists, but that just wouldn’t really be true.

Professor Igoe introduced us to some basic concepts of Phys Comp such as interaction, transduction, digital vs. analog sensors, explicit and implicit actions, and much more. I noticed that the flow of the class depends on questions that people ask and examples that they provide. Then, Tom answers the questions and follows up on the examples.

Our first assignment today was to create a “fantasy device” and to construct it with various junk that was lying around. My group (Sammy, Abby, and I) brainstormed up a device called ‘Dream Designed v2.5’. It’s a device that basically lets you choose what you would like to dream.

So the idea here is that this cube is the dream device itself and it transmits your “dreams” wirelessly onto the glasses that have those little receptors in the middle. You put the glasses on when you go to sleep and dream the dreams that you want to dream. There are six possible dreams (we chose six because cubes are six sided): wet dreams, zen dreams, super power dreams, memory dreams, acid trip dreams, and nightmares. The whisk spatula thingy allows to randomize these. Pretty basic and all, but an interesting activity overall.

Other groups came up with a chip (think doritos and lays) eating device, a self-cooking machine that can cook you any kind of meal you want to taste, a portable sauna, a personal sound bubble/environment, and a cooking fabricator designed for chefs. Every group had a cool idea and the way they chose to tackle their problems was interesting to watch.

All in all, what I rediscovered today was that group work can be both exciting and tough. Individually, the approach we take and the way we tackle problems is extremely different. Brains aren’t wired the same. I just think that in the beginning it can be a little tough being on the same frequency. It’s like when you are a kid and you are making something out of lego, or any other toy, and you have a disagreement with your friend which devolves to fighting and crying. Except we are adults and we just hold our thoughts and criticisms back because otherwise none of us won’t get anywhere.

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