The Protest Time Machine
For our final project, we created a protest time machine, in which each decade reflected some political movements or protests that influenced that specific decade. The concept was to connect the lyrics to the songs with what was happening at the time.
At first, we used the bare conductive paint, with the bare conductive board, which instantly allowed us to download music on to the board and connect it to the paint with conductive tape.
The TouchBoard however, only allowed us to play the music that we wanted to put on the board, not the visuals. The initial idea was to have animated visuals of the lyrics and videos of that movement in that decade, to show to the people how the song is connected with what we wanted to portray. Therefore, in order to do that, we used the program Max, to connect the pins from the Touch Board to the code in Max.
Every time you would press on a figure, the song would play from the touch board, and the visuals would play from Max.
Because we were using conductive paint (which is flakey), during user testing the figures did not really work that well. Therefore, people were unsure as to what to do when they looked at the board, and ended up touching all around the board, mainly the conductive tape. So after careful consideration, we decided to change routes and decided to go with actual buttons instead – this was because buttons are more reliable.
The first thing that we had to do, was to create a schematic which connect ed twenty buttons to a breadboard and an Arduino.
-I tried really hard to multiplex, but it seemed impossible at that point, so I then went for the mega Arduino. It was going to be cleaner and tidier.-
When connecting the buttons to the Arduino, it was easier to create a code with an array, which would loop depending on the button pressed (or pin mode).
After creating the boards and the wiring, we needed to decide on the design. Because we changed from paint to buttons, our design was going to look a little bit different due to the fact that we now had four different breadboards to connect together. At first we thought we would use six breadboards – four for each decade. Honestly, I spent way too long reorganizing buttons during this project in order to find the correct way to place them for our design. Our initial idea was to use small boxes for each breadboard, each one attached to the other, and wires going through them. But after careful consideration, it made more sense to keep the original design, and put the breadboards on the white wood just like we had it before.
To hide the breadboards and the wiring and connect our figures to our boards, we cut out acrylic over the buttons, and put the acrylic over the breadboard with some space in between – kinda like 3D, and then put the stick figures on our buttons.
The projections of the visuals will be projected from the top facing down on the board. We did not have accurate size acrylic on the top of the boards, because it was too late to re-do the second one.