From API to LED: First Connection

The simple joy of making one single LED light turn on returns this week with the first step towards linking the IRL, moving, ever-changing internet to an Arduino.

Using serial communication and an API call, the green and red lights indicate if the price of Ethereum – a popular cryptocurrency – has gone up or down in the past hour, as per Coin Markets Cap.

What is more, this light shines with different intensity depending on the degree to which the price has changed (i.e. bigger increase = brighter green light).

Continue reading From API to LED: First Connection

Dice Catapult 5000

Do you ever get tired of throwing your own dice during a particularly long game of Monopoly?

Me neither because no one plays monopoly anymore, but for your dice throwing pleasure, here is the Dice Catapult 5000!

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Push to cross: power and access [Part 1 of 2]

You likely have seen the push-to-cross buttons scattered across various crosswalks in NYC.

The functionality and effectiveness of these buttons is often challenged, and with good reason. The primary reason is because most of them are not even connected to the system that governs the traffic lights! As originally reported by the New York Times in 2004:

 “…the city deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals. More than 2,500 of the 3,250 walk buttons that were in place at the time existed as mechanical placebos.”

Continue reading Push to cross: power and access [Part 1 of 2]

Push to cross: power and access [Part 2 of 2]

continued from part 1 here

While thousands of NYC push-to-cross buttons are inactive, there are ~150 special new push-to-cross buttons. They are called Accessible Pedestrian Signals (APDs), and they look like this:

Unlike the crosswalk buttons of old, the primary purpose of APD’s are to help blind and low-vision pedestrians navigate crosswalks more safely. They also provide a legend to the 3 modes of the crosswalk light (from a visual management perspective, this seems unnecessary if not counter productive).

From the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), APDs are:

“wired to a pedestrian signal and send audible and vibrotactile indications when pedestrians push a button installed at the crosswalk.”

In other words, they vibrate upon touch, and also make the following audible noises:

  1. A command to “Wait” every time the button is pressed when the cross light is red:

Continue reading Push to cross: power and access [Part 2 of 2]

Coin Collection Switch

Did you ever have one of these?

They are fun to complete, but what do you get when you collect them all? NOTHING. No compliments. Well I made one for budding numismatists among us, with the sweet sweet neurological reward of a blue light turning on upon completion:

If a Kickstarter fails in a forest…

Note: This post includes analysis based on material in The Art of Interactive Design by Chris Crawford and A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design by Bret Victor.

To me, interaction is indeed a feedback loop between two or more people/things that involves them taking turns sensing, thinking, and responding to each other (and, alternatively as Chris Crawford says: inputting, processing, and outputting).

However, interactions come in all shapes and sizes, and unlike Crawford, I feel that the opening of a refrigeration door fully counts as an interaction, just not a very ‘rich’ one.

Some interactions are more ‘rich’ than others, and it seems to be based on the quality with which something performs the sensing, thinking, and responding phase in the cycle. But I don’t think scoring low in one of those categories should disqualify the interaction.

Continue reading If a Kickstarter fails in a forest…