routerI used the router with a 45 degree bit. The shop doesn’t have what would have given me a bigger cut – resulting in a uniform pitched roof. I thought about making a jig and using the ban saw but knew I probably still wouldn’t get ideal results. Instead, I decided to see how far I could go towards realizing my vision with the constraint of the router bit. 

trees helping trees


At first i was interested in a continuum from the most uniform machine – made to unique pieces using the sander. Although making measurements and building a jig, etc would have been more rational and considered – I knew I still wouldn’t get them perfect with the tools in the shop. But, less time spent intuitively using the sander resulted in much more elegant objects. NEAT.


pine box I

The following are images from play testing in class last week. Prototype:


Even without the tech element people seemed to respond positively to the interaction with the needles.

playtest 1
playtest 2

This week Kevin and I met a few times to play test the image element of PineBox (working title). The first pass we used a webcam with a small box. I quickly learned it most likely can not be a light box if we want to hide the camera under the drawing plane. I’m pretty wedded to the idea of hiding the camera, you know for magic’s sake. I figure at the very least I’ll set up lights around the user to make a pseudo-lightbox in reverse. But, for now, we’ve just been playing with ambient light – it’s always lighter outside the box. We’ll return to this problem when we finalize the camera as well as the material for box’s surface (frosted plexi?).

pine box webcam test
webcam test

The quality of the webcam is no good. The pixels are not differentiated enough in color value and contrast.

pine box - sketch

During last week’s play testing someone suggested I try pulling the RGB values from the photo-image of the pine needles to create a graphic translation in P5. Above is a quick photoshop sketch I did to illustrate what I imagine could be translated from the actual material the user will be interacting with. At the very simplest visual and code level.

A few days later and after talking with Moon, we set it up again with a Kinect. The photo image quality is certainly better but because the whole point is that the physical drawing is on a two-dimensional plane I’m not so sure we need it. The Kinect is all about sensing distance/depth from the lens – but I’m more interested in flat. The next test – a Lumix or other still camera. Need to work on the P5 aspect, for sure.

We’ve added the sound of walking in the woods which will be trigged when while someone is drawing. I’m thinking headphones. Usually I really don’t like headphones in gallery settings but I think here it makes sense. It isolates the person and makes the act of drawing with the needles more focused and meditative. The smell of pine and the sounds of leaves cracking underfoot.

leaves | pillars | blades – two

For my Physical Computing final I would like to make a device that enables a user to create an image using natural elements – probably pine needles. The user will first “draw” with the needles, then push a button and a translation of their drawing will appear as an image in p5.

grass box initial diagram

grass box - 1st testFirst pass at a prototype. The canvas is too small.


Richard Long – A Line Made by Walking, 1967


leaves | pillars | blades – one

Ctrl, Alt, Delete., 2007. 30 x 40″ Darkroom chromogenic print

For my ICM final, I want to create a program that enables a user to draw with grass. I like the idea of making a creative program that introduces a constraint. How do you make an interesting image using only specific lines or shapes? You can pick up, rotate and move the blades. There are maybe 7 different shapes to choose from. I’m thinking they will be pulled from images. Ideally, it will exist on mobile devices.

move blades, make things

shake animation


I found this in the Apple App store. It’s made by an ITP alum, duh. It’s obviously now my favorite thing on my phone.
lincon logs

Lincoln logs: simple elements of varying size and style to create a larger scene. Also wood, it’s sorta like grass.

Mirror Piece 1

This is a document of Mirror Piece 1, a 1969 performance by Joan Jonas. Body, landscape, rectangles, reflections – and grass.

Questions: Any suggestions for further interactivity? Is this more fun if it’s a game somehow? Are there any games or programs like this I could look at for inspiration?