Bio feedback anti-stress game

9 January 2008 at 10:06 am (First ones, Games, Hybrid Workshop, Links, Un-Usual Post)

I’ve just seen at the French news a biofeedback anti-stress PC game made by SymBioFi. The game idea is quite simple: you stick some cardiac and breath sensors on specific parts of your body and plug theme into your computer: this is your control. But how can you play with this stuff on you? “Easy”: all you need to do is to control your breath and cardiac rhythms. In other words, you need to control your stress level… The less stressed you are the more points you get…



Besides the Zen attitude, Jedi training and therapeutic proprieties of this game, the control system seems very interesting to me. It could be used to develop games where self control is a part of the plot. For instance, in a war strategy game, if you get too stressed your leadership level decreases.

This device can although be used in some kind of interactive installation where your stress level change proprieties of the installation itself…

Since we are working with Laboratory of fictions theme in the Hybrid Workshop, this device could be part of a future project. Therefore, it deserves to be presented and to have a more serious reflexion on it.

Now that I am thinking, we could use it in sound applications too…

More reflexions coming up…


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A/V Feedback

10 December 2007 at 12:30 am (Circuit Bending Workshop, Hybrid Workshop, Hypermedia,, School of Art, Sound, Videos)

Here is a schedule of my project in the hybrid workshop and sound/hypermedia AOC (Creation Tool Workshop)…

Basically, I see the electronic components of the computer and its structure as a filter to generate and modulate sound. Using a phone pickup coil (a kind of “mic” that is able to register electromagnetic variations some decades ago this kind of material was used to spy phone calls), I listen to the computer electromagnetic variations.

I treat the collected signal with Pure Data, where I digitalise it and send the data to processing, in order to produce a visualisation of the sounds. I want to pick up the signal straight from the video card. Since the computer treats both the audio and the video signal, we can considerate this kind of experience with a kind of A/V feedback.

This work is based on three references. First, the most obvious for me : Alvin Lucier‘s piece, I am sitting in a room (1970). In this piece, Alvin Lucier uses a room as a filter, his voice is deformed by the room acoustic proprieties. In the end, the room is seen as a music instrument.

Another obvious reference is the Feedback exhibition (held in 2007) in Gijón – Spain. Among the art works, the one of the 5voltcore piece : Shockbot Corejulio (2004), a hacked compute, where a robot produces circuit connexions directly on the video card.

Finally, once again, Nicola Collins‘ workshop about circuit bending and work with feedback is my last reference.

To finish, I’ve made a small animation as a schedule for my project, here are the details :

Animation here

Source codes: Presentation_AOC_LAB_DS_Fictions_2_c Electre Moniteur Noise Plug Pure_Data Speaker carte

Source code ziped

Built with Processing

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High Voltage Circuit Bending

9 December 2007 at 2:58 pm (Circuit Bending Workshop, Hybrid Workshop, Links, Mechatronics, Sound, Videos)

Here is an example of high voltage (HV) circuit bending: a keyboard connected to a tesla coil. When you play a note, the tesla coil is activated. I don’t know how dangerous this is… so… I don’t know if it is a good idea to do it…

Still in the HV theme, here is another video of what we can built with a HV Power Supply (more then 30k volts): we can build lifters. Basically, when the 30kV field is generated, the air around the anode and cathode gets ionized and start to create an unstable plasma gas vertex. When the air particles hit the aluminum sheet, a small force is generated, when you make the sum of all the forces, the structure starts to lift. To build a HV Power Supply, you can use and modify an old cathodic tube. Here, you can find how to build your own lifter (be careful please…) and here you can find some theories about how lifters work…

Well, here are videos of lifters, enjoy it:

And now with some speech:

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Programming, sound and moving

9 December 2007 at 2:18 pm (Hybrid Workshop, Hypermedia, Mechatronics,, Sound, Videos)

During the Sound/Hypermedia acquisition workshops we had to think on a project using the Wiimote, processing and sound.

Well, here is a video showing what can be done with accelerometers, programming skills and sound production:

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Past week, AOC and drawing introduction…

21 November 2007 at 12:15 pm (Hybrid Workshop, Hypermedia, Mechatronics,, School of Art, Sound)

Since last week, I didn’t had time to write on my blog. So I’ll do a short summary and talk about the things that happened. I’ve already spoken about Monday and Tuesday (second part here) in past posts, therefore, I’ll start speaking about Wednesday. We should have started the mecatronics workshop, but since there was the Mormyrophone™ workshop with Christian Graff going on, we had no class.


But we could stay there to see what was going on and how it worked. Students were working on the Mormyre (scientific name: Petrocephalus simus) a tropical freshwater fish living in Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Zambia that produces an electrical signal and has electroreeptors to locate itself and predators. The objective of this workshop, was to use the signals generated by the fishes as a number input on the computers.


Students developed several works using Processing, Blender and Pure Data. The generated signal variates randomly, so it can be used as an exponential random function (that explains the use of logarithm to treat the signal). The fish is although sensitive to external electric variations.

Thursday, we had our first Sound and Hypermedia AOC. We started learning the bases of Pure Data : number box; message box; object box; sum, subtract, multiply and divide objects; bang object; float object; and print object. Finally we shortly introduced the variable concept. We although saw connection between boxes and learnt that electronic sound is mainly number manipulation. We made a small program that counts the number of apples and prints a sentence on the screen.

PD-Cours 1

By the afternoon, we had our first hypermedia class… We saw a number of artists like . Then we started to learn some really basic concepts like the size, ellipse and stroke objects. We although learnt some bases of color on a computer screen : the prime colors are not Cyan, Magenta and Yellow but Red, Blue, Green; and the sum of all colors don’t produce black but white. The last thing we learnt was that color values go from 0 to 255 (because it’s encoded on 8 bits). Finally we saw that shapes have two color parameters: their line and their area. We can change theme by using the line and fill objects.


Friday, we debated about what would become the “Atelier des fictions” project. We will discuss about it again next Friday.

Monday we had English class, we discussed about doing a blog in English speaking about our experience in the academy, this blog will be soon on-line. At the afternoon, we had philosophy class, this year’s topic we will be about Machine, Thought and behaviour.

Tuesday, we had drawing class at the morning. Our topic was the tool. By the afternoon teatcher were on strike.


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Cleaning day…

9 November 2007 at 1:45 pm (Hybrid Workshop, School of Art, Un-Usual Post, Videos)

Today we had to choose the AOC (Ateliers d’Outils de Création, not the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) and to clean up our work space… Here is a small video of the job being done…

And now, the windows details…

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Fake Wood, True end?

29 October 2007 at 7:30 am (Hybrid Workshop, School of Art)

This week we finished our project. We have installed the laine de roche in order to get the phonic isolation, we painted the volume in fake wood, we found a system to close the door and we varnished it.

Friday October the 26th morning, we installed all the electronics inside: amplifier, computer, speaker… We found out about a “small problem”: the heat inside the electronics’ space gets too high for the amp, and we had to change the amplifier.

This Friday was evaluation day too; we received some critics like the fact to use a recorded sound and to control the sound rhythm with the wiimote. We agree with the critics we had received, to be honest I really wanted to build system using the live sound record, but we had not the capacities and time to learn and understand perfectly the tools (pure data) used for this. Therefore, this project has a fake wood and a fake end. Now I guess we will improve some things, like the door , the sound system and we will find some solutions for the heat issue.

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Getting rhythm control…

22 October 2007 at 8:53 pm (Hybrid Workshop, School of Art)

Last week we had to start building our metronome, we divided the group in order to progress in every aspect on the project. Two students started to do the 3D animation, three students started to work the wood part (to build the piece) and I was doing a little of everything, but I mainly focus on finding a solution for the sound issue. I started working with pure data (very confusing to be honest), then we decided to record the metronome sound and to treat it on a computer. We had to find a way to play it and to set the rhythm. We first thought on electronic solutions, using a digital audio recorder. But the sound quality was really awful, and the rhythm setup was complicated.

EPROM Digital Audio Recorder

EPROM Digital Audio Recorder

Back home, I started to get bored and I decided to make a research about how to connect the wiimote with the computer. I discovered a programme called Glove PIE 0.29, and started to study its use. Basically, the program seems to be built with BASIC language, and it allows writing scripts using a wiimote object. I started learning the script language, which is pretty simple, and started to try to understand how it makes the wiimote and the computer interact. Studying the program possibilities, I saw it is possible to play sounds (only wav files) and it has some tools to measure time and pauses. I started to think on how I could use it for the Metronome project. I end up with a simple code, where thanks to the wiimote, the user could start and stop the metronome and change the rhythm (increasing it and decreasing it). After that, I decided to put some visual and sensorial measures of the beat speed. I use the four LEDs of the wiimote to show how distant is the current beat from the default rhythm value and some rumbling to show the current beat in real time.

You can download the source code of the script here.

PS : The script code is protected by creative commons licence, terms are presented here.

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3D, let’s start! or not…

15 October 2007 at 8:39 pm (Hybrid Workshop, School of Art)

Today we started to explore the basic functions of 3D Studio Max. We saw how to put primitive objects, how to move theme in the scene, how to erase theme, etc.

The only “small technical problem” was that we had 5 computers for 25 students… And we didn’t had time to start on building our own first animation…

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Exhibition “Video vortex” in the Netherlands Media Art Institute

15 October 2007 at 7:09 pm (Exhibition, Hybrid Workshop, Links)

Last Tuesday, I had class with Douglas Edric Stanley about the web 2.0 and how to make a (this) blog… He spent a lot of time speaking about the Web 2.0, ok I’m kind of a geek sometimes, I had heard about it already, but I had no clue on what was it, how fascinating it is, and all the consequences this “small” change made.

After this course, I happily got home, turned on my computer, as I usually do, logged into my chat program, mail and all my accounts on the web, and started to search about the web 2.0. I finally learnt what this orange thing called RSS was, so, started subscribe to the sites I liked to visit most.

Today, I got home, and same ritual : turn on computer, logs in, bla bla bla… NEW THING, since last week, check the RSS new posts… Ok, I go read the new stuff at Rhizome and I see this : AN ART EXEBITHION ABOUT THE WEB 2.0! OH MY GOD!!!! I immediately think, GREAT! I’ll go see it in my Christmas/New year break… But bloody hell… The exhibition stops on December the 2nd… Yey!!! I must find a way to go to the Netherlands!!! :p

I’ve just read that they’ll do Video Vortex II… And it will be rocking while I’ll be in the area!!! : D That means that I’ll go for sure there to see this exhibition…

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