Studio/Lab: Systems – Midterm Submission

Cursor Toolbox 

Concept, Usage and Technology

Cursor Toolbox is a system that translates the online experience to real life and uploads it back online. It consists of a toolbox of different forms of physical “cursors” with various functions (for midterm, I made the “pointer cursor” and the red “upload button”).  The user is able to record colors, GPS data, and point at object with laser, which respectively correspond to the three functions of the actual cursor on the computer: saving images, saving URLs and navigation. All data are stored temporarily on a micro SD card inside of the cursor. When the user gets home, he/she can put the cursor on the “upload button”, so that the data can be transferred to a web server through RFDuino Bluetooth transmission and serial reading on a Raspberry Pi inside of the button. A P5.js sketch is served on the Pi as the visualization of the recorded data, showing the color and the processed GPS data (the GPS data has not been input into the website in the current phase). Meanwhile, for each time of “uploading”, two colors are randomly selected from the color recording file and pushed into the database on Parse. Ideally, these color data can be utilized in the future as a palette from which the user can pick the color and draw on the screen.

The goal of Cursor Toolbox is to address on the issue that physical interactions are diminished by online activities for various reasons such as convenience and novel lifestyles. This shift from offline to online has tremendous impact on our communications, relationships and social interactions, inspiring the future of communication, social structures and human-machine interface, as well as causing unprecedented problems: apathy of physical contacts, digital abuse, online privacy, etc. Therefore, this project aims to re-emphasize the significance of offline activities and explores its connections back to the digital world. It uses the features of online behaviors as the lens to observe and magnify our offline life, facilitating physical interactions between people. As the bridge between online and offline, the system in this project also develops new possibilities for interactions and behaviors in the built environments.

The devices in this project take forms of identical computer interface icons. Through the explicit representations of the digital navigation tools, which defines and also limits the online experience, these devices investigate how digital/online tools have shaped the ways that we perceive the reality. In addition, the dual nature of the digital icons and their physical counterparts reflect on the idea that various social issues also exist online and offline that relate or contribute to each other. However, until now the functions of the devices focus merely on the actions that engage interactions between people and their environments. In the future, more functions and other forms of cursors will be developed to facilitate social interactions between people or address on other specific social issues.

Demonstration of the usage of the “cursor”, the “upload button”, and the visualization.

IMG_4967  IMG_4974   IMG_4980  IMG_5006   IMG_4960  IMG_4997   Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 1.30.45 AM


Documentation of Making Process:

IMG_4924  IMG_4910   IMG_4922 2  IMG_4958 2   Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 4.14.37 PM  Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.36.19 AM   Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.36.37 AM  IMG_5009

Here is the final presentation: midterm-finalPresentation

Here is the initial proposal presentation: midterm-proposalpdf

Here is the research for the project: midterm-research

Here is the code on GitHub: midterm-code

* Until now I only have image documentations and short videos. I will edit a demo video for the project and update this post soon.

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