Pi-Security system

Johnny and I created a very simple raspberry pi motion activated security system.

Code can be found on our github repository.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 1.12.30 AM

Parts required:
PIR motion sensor

Piezo buzzer

Raspberry Pi 2

The security system uses the GPIO, picamera, and email modules in order to operate. The security system must first be activated via terminal where the user will be prompted with a series of important preliminary questions such as their email user and password, whether they want sound activated, or if they want to receive email notifications. The owner can operate the security system remotely by sending their selves an email stating PiSecure-On or PiSecure-Off. The raspberry pi takes a picture whenever motion is detected and quickly sounds an alarm, takes a picture, and then alerts the owner via an email that an intruder has been detected. A picture is attached to help the owner identify the cause of activation.

Inputs: PIR, Email

Outputs: Email, Sound

If we had more time, we’d like to have created wireless motion sensor modules. The wireless modules would include an arduino, PIR motion sensor, and an Xbee for communication. This could be setup in any location, provided power is supplied. The raspberry pi would have a receiving Xbee module and be connected to the internet so the owner could interact with the security system via email.



The first reading about the future look of interface design misses a lot. I think future interfaces won’t strictly be visual. I think future interfaces could include a plethora of new communication/feedback methods such as bio integration. Humans have always been dealing with user interface design. Arguably you could trace user interface design back to our primitive cavemen ancestors – the ones who made spears and clubs. The way you are meant to hold a club and swing it, the material on the handle, the weight, and the material are all important variables that must be taken under consideration. User experience is all about improving the users relationship/interaction with an object. How do you go about improving interaction? Experimentation with how you interface with something is important. Do you interface with something via touch or sound? Maybe interaction is triggered through brainwaves such as with MindWave EEG sensor. Perhaps interaction is performed via buttons as with a remote. Or maybe it is through simple touch-based gestured as with an iPad. Perhaps interaction is via haptic feedback, such as with the apple watch and maps. The watch taps/vibrates to indicate turn left or turn right. There are thousands of ways interaction can be created between you and an object/device. How do you choose which interaction makes the most sense to the user? There are a bunch of important factors that need to be taken into consideration. For instance, the context of use. It wouldn’t make sense to add all of the features that an iPhone has into the functionality of an apple watch because a watch is inherently tiny, light weight, and something which is constantly worn around the wrist rather than large, usually rectangular, and meant to fit into a pocket or purse. Some other things that matter: Environment of operation, purpose of object, intended user…

In response to the cyberpunk movie,  Strange Days – or at least the trailer, I think they present a great example of how user interfaces can expand beyond the screen. An interface could possibly jack straight into your neural circuitry which could dramatically change the scope of usage.

The point being, user interface design is a diverse subject.


P2P networks

Lime Wire P2P file sharing service – Similar to the BitTorrent P2P network, it allowed you to download and upload content to websites like The PirateBay. LimeWire has been around for a while, but recently BitTorrent has becoming the leader in P2P networking.

AIM – This is another old one and a fairly simple. AIM was (and I believe still might be….) an online PM chat client that simply allowed you to communicate with anyone else with an AIM account over an internet connection.

LTE/4G – This one is probably one of the most popular a wide spread method of communication. We use our phones to communicate between individuals.

TorBrowser – An example of an interface for connecting to the world wide web as well as the “deep web.” Essentially it is a web browser, but unlike AIM or LTE/4G, it is an actual interface for accessing websites stored on servers.

Interactive Art Installation Idea – Two screen interfaces made up of an array of protruding buttons or actuators. When you press an actuator in on one interface, it pushes out on the opposite interface. Alternatively they could be buttons that controll individual pixels, allowing you to draw something on one interface and have the drawing immediately replicated on the opposite interface over a network communication. Mostly this provides entertainment value because it can be used to communicate with friends or family. Most communication happens in the form of text messaging, but this device allows people to communicate through drawing. It also could help bridge the physical gap between people communicating over a network, especially if actuators were used. As one persons presses an actuator, the opposite user would be able to feel the force/pressure being applied to the actuator. This provides tactile feedback rather than traditional textual/visual feedback which gives it tangibility. I think people like tangibility.




thoughts on Mail Art

Mail art and the network known as Fluxus is certainly an interesting artistic experiment because there are some parallels that can be drawn to society today. Mostly, I think mail art has died off as a result of email and the widespread adoption of the internet. The internet is a much more public and accessible form of messaging and in some ways even more expressive. The one thing the internet lacks is tangibility. The process of making mail art and then going through the process of shipping is a highly physical activity compared to sending mail on a computer. You have to take into account size, weight, material. All of these things vary the price of the item you send. Also, mail art is an inherently private act. When you send a piece of mail it is addressed to a very specific individual. Email is also private, but it is a very different medium. email is virtually limitless but still confined to the digital realm – or is it? Email can trigger actions in the physical world, but for the most part the art would would just be consumed by ones inbox. While i’m sure people have sent email art, I think tumblr and Instagram are the modern version of mail art today. They are much more inclusive platforms which provide the platform, or library, for many individuals to share their work with others.

Core Lab IoT


The Internet of Things

What is my definition?

Ubiquitous computing. Microprocessors in everything we use. RFID tagging technology. Massive connected Sensor Networks. Huge databases and processing centers. Everything will become hyper efficient but at the cost of Security. Security will have enormous value when everything becomes connected.

Self Driving Cars:

I think self driving cars will have massive economic and social impacts. If all cars were connected by a central network or behaved in flock like patterns (being aware of their surroundings and completely reactive) it could eliminate the need for stop lights and allow the cars to operate at maximum efficiency. Also, because computers can react much quicker than humans, could drastically reduce the amount of crashes and the number of car related deaths. Who doesn’t want that? Well, this also makes cars suseptible to hacking. Over 100 cars were disabled because an employee decided to take his anger out on some customers. This may be the most obvious objection to the IoT… While self driving cars might drastically reduce the number of car related deaths, if an accident does occur it might affect 100’s, even 1000’s of people at once. Cars could be exploited in endless ways.

The Soofa Couch:

A bench developed by MIT. The bench harvests energy from the sun, collects air quality data, noise level, and can duals as a bench and charging station. This thing is much less complicated compared to a self driving car – but still may be a security or potentially a privacy concern. While many of these IoT devices seem beneficial overall, they come with price – your security and privacy – whatever that may be worth.



How do you measure the value of personal data/information? How do you measure the value of your privacy? Are connected devices worth giving up all privacy? For better or for worse, I think the IoT is here to stay and will quickly touch everyone’s lives in some way. Its only a matter of time before the answers to these value questions surface.