Project Proposals: Vincent Miller

I’ve had a couple ideas about what to do for my final project. I’ve put more thought into the first one, and I’m leaning towards that. However, I wanted to put both here and see what other people think.

Idea 1: A Representation of Neurons

Image result for neurons

The idea here is to create a dynamic piece of light art that resembles neurons and the connections between them, both visually and functionally. It doesn’t need to accurately portray the shape or structure of the cells themselves, but rather how they connect to each other. The first version I came up with shows each neuron as an LED:

This version consists of a bunch of LEDs laid out on a flat plane. The LEDs would all be controlled entirely independently, with the software responsible for handling the connections. The connections may or may not be shown visually on the board, but would be seen by how individual LEDs seem to affect each other.

In this next version, EL wire is used to represent the connections. This would likely require more circuitry than the previous example, but might be a better representation, and more visually interesting.

This is a slight modification on the previous examples. Here, instead of mounting the LEDs or EL wire on a plane, they are suspended by string or wire, and form a 3D piece. While interesting, it is unlikely that I will do this, since it would likely expand the scope of the project beyond what is reasonable for a few weeks.

This modification adds several buttons that can make the piece interactive. Pressing one of the buttons would stimulate a nearby neuron, altering the signal. The buttons could also be replaced by other sensors such as a microphone. Again, the buttons here aren’t actually connected to the LEDs, they just cause the software to activate them.

Idea 2: A Visualization of Rainfall

This second idea is to create a visual representation of rainfall in a given area. One way to represent that would be with a low resolution LED display. The LEDs could be used to show the ripples of falling raindrops, which vary in frequency according to measurements of rainfall.

This piece would likely need to be connected to a computer at all times in order to retrieve live rainfall data. The computer could also provide a user interface for selecting different areas to show on a map of the US, as well as playing audio to accompany each raindrop.

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