Creative Technology WEEK 7

EVERYTHING THAT COULD GO WRONG.

The best word to describe this week would probably be UNFORTUNATE. After the progress we made last week with our project, i was really looking forward to concluding  the design and coding this week so we could focus on making our video for the Aulos. This did not go as planned.

As i found out,synth ( a required program for running the aulos) unfortunately is unavailable for Mac Laptops, So i had to resurrect my old windows laptop. Was able to download the synth program and Arduino software, just as i thought it was all going well, ERROR. The worst word when coding or programming has to be ERROR. For some reason, the code would not upload to the board which meant i couldn’t make any improvements to the code or even test that it works.

Even with practicing my processing, i kept running into issues and coding syntax that i could not understanding. With processing, you have to understand the language step by step and i learnt that like a building block, if you skip stages, its almost impossible to improve. So i thought it best to stay confused and wait for explanation/help from our teacher Magnus.

Good thing is with creative technology, you are never short on work. With this set back, i turned my attention to  my Sketch book. We are required to keep a sketch book where we document our ideas, sketches and essential images for the course. I am only mentioning this in week 7 as i have been clearly too focused on the other aspects of the course but have always been making little additions to the sketch book.

The sketch book tells its own story in how it maps out our progress during the course. Some what similar to the blogs but in a more visually captivating way. I often had ideas triggered during class or just through simple conversations and when i do, i write them down on anything in hand and transfer them to my sketch book for safe keeping. I have found this to be a helpful reminder of the little triggers that act as inspiration for me. More importantly, i also found that as i look through my sketch book, scanning through the pictures and memories of classes and workshops, it opens me up to more ideas and innovative ways of applying what i learn each week into my ideas.

Creative technology doesn’t just end in the class room, as a creative student, it extends into every aspect of our lives and i am happy to be finding new ways of not only drawing inspiration but also keeping busy. There is always something that needs to be done and keeping active and productive is very important not just as a student but life in general. Applying what we learn into our lives is probably the most important aspect of being a student and maturing as an individual.

Advertisements

Creative Technology WEEK 5/6

ITS ALL ABOUT PROGRESS

The last few weeks have been rather interesting and challenging as usual, forcing us to really buckle down on all fronts. We have had more than enough time to adjust, so we  now have to just get on with it and be productive with our projects and learning in general.

img_9460

I Remember in our second week, Carl asked us to look around and just use materials around us for inspiration for our Aulos Project. Back then, that made no sense to me as i was not very familiar with the project specification. But soon after visiting the museum and getting some more information on the project, i found myself finding inspiration everywhere i looked and finding materials that might be useful for our project.

These were just some of the materials I found just walking around my work place, looking through my car and my bathroom. Combining items I found at work which are originally used for train track maintenance for TFL, along with some household containers, we were able to come up with a reed to hold the mic sensor and a mouth piece to blow into.

Putting the design ideas together with the team was actually a fun process, specially being in the 3D work shop as a group . I enjoy hands on work and was good to get everyone involved in different aspects of the building process. This project has definitely exposed the strengths of different members of the team and allowed us to maximise these strengths to benefit the group. Some examples include Shwetta, who is our expert in video editing and soldering even though she only started soldering during this course. Clinton is confident in the coding and the programming side of the project and has been very helpful in coding for the aulos. Being able to pick on the strengths and weaknesses of a team and using those strengths for the benefit of the team is a very important aspect of any group work and this has been very evident during this project.

Now the processing side of the course is getting fun and more familiar. Practice makes progress, wont say perfect, but its all part of the process.(word play). I really do enjoy processing, even the stress of trying to figure out how to complete a task or why a code isn’t working now seems exciting. I actually find myself waking up and going straight to my laptop, trying to figure out ways of playing around with processing or resolving an issue i had the day before.

Im currently just playing around with balls and just adding small effects to have them bouncing around the screen and changing colours in the process. This is made possible by using functions and variables. Im reading through and learning the different forms of variables and how they are used. Although i am often able to complete the intended task such as making the balls bounce, have them change colours as they bounce or have them change in size, the coding just seems rough and messy. I look forward to learning more and being comfortable with processing so i can find neater ways of writing code.

The last two weeks have been very productive and has us working as a team and coming to terms with our strengths and weaknesses. This project has introduced me to my creative side, a side that i have not been able to tap into for a while now and i really enjoy it. We often go through life questioning if we chose the right part, pursuing the right career or working in an area we are born for. The first 7 weeks  has been really important to me for this reason. The project and exercises we have been introduced to has exposed that i truly to have a creative and engineering mind, evident in the way i tackle problems and approached the aulos project. This has genuigly made me very happy to know that i am pursuing a field that i not only enjoy but clearly built for.

Creative Technology WEEK 4

GO HARD OR GO HOME

This week has been one rollercoaster of emotions and truly emphasises that masters is nothing like your degree.

Being that i have never done any form of programming, i spent the some time each day practicing and learning as much as i could about processing. By the end of the week, i was happy and  felt confident in my programming skills. Imagine my shock when on Monday, i was made to understand that i was still miles behind. Felt somewhat demotivated but i have come to the understanding that i have to keep pushing through the disappointments to get to where i need to be on this course.

We also had a wake up call this week on how little time we had on completing our first project on the aulos. Getting adjusted to the independent learning was clearly difficult for our group, so much that one of our valuable members changed courses due to the demands of the course. But we had no time to waste as we had less than 3 weeks to produce a working prototype and with this, we all sprung into action. We were able to actually program some switches to produce sounds using the pressure sensors.

With help from Carl, we have definitely gained more of an understanding of the programming aspect of the project and have been able to work as a team to plan our week to productively use the time we have left to accomplish our goal. The image above is just an idea for mounting the switches so they can be pressed. Simple but still bouncing ideas around.

We worked with Debbie this week and as usual, we are thrown into thinking on our feet and working as a team. The above image is a way of testing out an idea on the public in a way that exposes aspects that need to be worked on or simplified or just to show the user experience of your idea. For this task, we attempted to take someone through the steps of downloading and using “instagram”. From unlocking the phone to downloading the app, to using the app, we had to put ourselves in the position of someone using the app for the first time and imagining the steps they would have to take in using the app. This task allowed us to understand the importance of customer experience in any idea you think up. You have to be able to make your ideas/products easy to use and understand and the steps simple and straightforward.

IMG_9338

We were introduced to the smart board which allows you to play around with effects and editing in some interesting ways. The smart board along with the steps we learnt for testing out customer experience using a product would come in handy  in our project, when it comes to having to make a video, explaining the processes we followed in the production and explaining how it works.

UNI AT THE MUSEUM

As we all know, your studies extends beyond the walls of the university establishments. For us, our studies lead us to the museum where we intended to get a more in depth understanding of the aulos and the general history of greeks musical instruments.

We learnt that aulos were often made out of bones which i didnt know before this visit. They were always played through a reed and often in pairs as shown in the image above. Also found that the lengths of the aulos and the spacings in the holes on them were very intentional in altering the sound produced by the instrument. We were unfortunately unable to get a hold of a curator to help give us some more information on the instrument but was definitely worth the visit to learn about the different designs of musical instruments at these ancient times. This worked as a stimulus to inspire us in our designs for the project.

The above instruments where some examples of some ancient greek wind instruments. The big curved instrument on the right is a roman trumpet often used for battle calls and also played with reeds similar to what we were shown by peter last week.

This must mean that the reed we ere shown might have also been used for an instrument of similar size. Only an assumption due to the size of the reed but we had no one to confirm my hypothesis but seems like a good educated guess.

We got to see some other instruments from ancient roman and Egyptian times as shown above. From exploring the museum, the Egyptians seemed more interested in string instruments in comparison to the romans who were more diverse in string and wind instruments. The jars seemed to be used as means of passing down instructions through drawings. We have one showing a wind instrument being played with some sort of battle in the background. It seemed that while we have note pads, books and news papers for passing on informations or instructions, big jars where used for a similar purpose in a more elaborate and artistic way.

This week was a very interesting and productive week for me. Started of with a few worries, wondering if i would be able to keep up with the work load and learn as quickly as i need to but the lecturers have equally stepped up in putting me at ease. Its good to know that i have a good support system who are more than willing to help with struggles and as much as they want us to struggle, they are always there as long as we all keep pushing ourselves and keep practicing.

The Life Of A Creative Tech Student

FIRST TWO WEEKS AS A STUDENT.

My name’s Ehijie Egualeonan and i recently started my masters degree in Creative Technology at Middlesex University.

IMG_9245
Being attentive in Class

The hardest part of this course is actually learning how to be a student. The irony…i have to LEARN to be a STUDENT. But a key thing that you would always learn in Creative Technology as my lecturer Debie says..”its all about the process”.

STRAIGHT TO WORK….NO CHILL.

Our first class involved having to learn about processing, something i have never done previously but definitely beginning to enjoy. Talking with Magnus and just being in the environment with creative students seemed to jerk start my own creativity and had me getting inspirations from random conversations. Magnus talking to us about his bird cage with cameras triggered an idea for a video and picture form of Shazam.(still laying down some work on this idea..hopefully no one has beat me to it.) And hearing a fellow student Ash talk on to phone to his friend from Sudan had me wanting headphones that could translate all languages to your preferred dialect (ill probably call it “Chinese whispers”),  So you could say i chose the right course.

With my engineering back ground, i am somewhat familiar with circuit boards and resistors, but its a new experience to actually do the background work of programming a circuit board for a desired function. Never done this either but again, its all about the process. Also got to learn about some interesting creative technologists such as studio drifts (shy light design…check it out!!!), Jason Bruges with the nature trail design and more. This exposed us to the different ways of implementing creative tech, emphasising  that there is no such thing as limitations with creativity.

SECOND WEEK

With no time wasted, already having presentations and coding home work.

Screen Shot 2017-10-21 at 19.08.07

Had to write a code for a robot using the “Learning Processing” book. This started of a little challenging but i am somewhat getting the hang of it and beginning to enjoy the process.

Here i also had to do some presentations on the Tech involved in gardening and present a technical designer of interest. This was rather interesting as i learnt a lot about agriculture and that there’s more tech implemented in gardening than i realised. I was a little disappointed to find that one of my ideas of an automatic lawn mower had already been designed. But this woke me up to the idea of actually presenting confidently and researching on specific topics. Good welcome back package to being a student.

 

Creative Technology WEEK 3

BUSY,BUSY BUSY.

This week has proven to be the most active and the most productive week since beginning on this journey. We were booked in for a 3D work  shop induction (General cutting/drilling/moulding etc…), as well as a Lazer cutting and 3D printing Workshop induction.

3D WORKSHOP

During this work shop, we learnt how to use band saws of different sizes, drills and mechanical files to smoothen edges  (cant remember the actual names but ill come to this later). Its important to know the health and safety measures of using such equipments for our personal safety as well as that of others who would be using the equipments. Working with drills and saws can be very dangerous so we learnt to use the right equipments for the right tasks and the importance of never working alone as you always need someone to call the ambulance in times of emergency.  I actually enjoyed cutting the little piece of wood and just being able to do some work with my hands and away from a computer for once.

LAZER CUTTING AND 3D MODELLING WORKSHOP

This was honestly fun as i genuinely felt like a kid just watching the lazer cutter do its thing. We got to also see how 3D printing is accomplished and the amount of design and CAD drawings involved.

AULOS PROJECT

Our very first project involves designing and producing an aulos instrument by coding an arduino board. Aulos is and ancient greek wind instrument with the similar design of a flute. Rather than the traditional aulos where the sound is produced through the vibrations in the reed (the mouth piece of the instrument), our design would be using pressure sensors to determine what sound should be produced by the arduino.

AN AULOS

We first had to understand the original design of the aulos before going off to make one of our own. For this, we needed Peter Holmes who is an expert in ancient instruments, to help us understand the different parts of an aulos.

IMG_9246
PETER HOLMES AND AN INTERESTING ANCIENT WIND INSTRUMENT

With his help, we learnt about the different parts of an aulos such as the syrinx ring, bulb, reed and even how the spacing of the holes influences the sounds of an aulos and more.

 

The reed is the most important part of an aulos as they are made specifically for each wind instrument. The shape and design of a reed often tells a story on the intentions of the designer and small changes in the reed significantly influence the sound produced by the aulos.

 

Talking with peter opened our eyes not only to the specifications of our project but also to the creative ways we could approach the project. A huge part of the project would involve coding the arduino but we first need to understand what exactly we want from the instrument in oder to have a finished product.

STORY BOARDING

Its all well and good to have an idea or design, but it is important to be able to visually explain without words, the purpose and function of your design.

IMG_9287
STORY BOARD FOR HOW TO MAKE A CUP OF TEA

We were asked to make an 8 Step story board on how to make a cup of tea. We were told what mistakes we made, steps we missed and how best to improve our story board.

This week has definately been the most hectic one soo far but also the most productive and exciting as i am slowly being dragged into the deep end of my creativity. I am learning the importance of working as a team and knowing my own strentghs and weaknesses but most of all, i am learning that being creative truly has no limitations