"Imagine that when you enter the location for the exhibition you see a dozen chubby white pillows scattered on the floor. Different sentences are printed in big black letters on them. Sentences like: “Enjoy the Moment” and “Enjoy Life”. The installation can be experienced from a distance - the “original” do-not-touch(!) way to experience art. But! If you look closer you will notice that the pillows are equipped with a “handle” containing a display with digits and a “GO!” button. Each pillow contains sensors that registers whenever it hits something or someone. Signs at the installation will show people that it is ok to touch and use the pillows and hopefully a massive social pillow fight will break out. Everyone can join in if they want to, have fun and share a good time together. You can fight two against each other, fight all your friends ninja-style or fight people you don’t even know. The choice is yours. At the exhibition a big rope circle can mark the “Battlefield” - an arena where you can fight whoever is in there - mostly to avoid people from bumping into other installations if the exhibition space is tight.
After sending the application I met with my supervisor and technical supporter to discuss the techical execution and discussed the use of:
All the different possible solutions had technical limitations and/or other constraints: some parts were completely unavailable from the Danish suppliers, only available in a limited amount or too expensive when everything were put together. I could then chose to have cheaper components shipped from China but that would potentially take weeks and get caught in customs which would leave me waiting for components that might not even arrive on time. Even if the components did arrive on time the soldering would be very complex and it was questionable if it would even work - and if it got to work then making it durable and making 12 within a month and fixing all the other things related to the project singlehandedly would be too much to hope for.
So by the end of the discussion I decided that instead of constructing the sensors from scratch using Wii Remotes would be the solution. The Wii system is reliable, thoroughly tested as consumer product and easily available and affordable. They contain an accelerometer, bluetooth and x,y,z coordinates that can be made use of in the project - e.g. to add sound effects to the pillows. At the moment only 7 devices (slaves) can be connected through Bluetooth at the same time so I will need to find out how to get past this to get 12 pillows (slaves) connected (through a Dongle) to the same receiver (a Mac computer).
The display and GO! button:
Having a display on each pillow would be preferred but the cost of the components, availability and reliability are unfavorable. Further more the pillow will have to held in a certain way and if this were to be neglected the display could potentially hurt opponents. To solve this it could be placed under a padded flap inside the pillow but all three conditions will interfere with the user experience and therefor the display was abandoned. Using EL-wires embedded in the pillow case (shaped as digital numbers) would be a fascinating solution and solve the problem of having a solid display mounted in each pillow but the same constraint of availability, cost and then fragility arose.
Instead of having a display on each pillow the individual hit count will be displayed on a collective score board.
The function of the Wii remotes will be programmed in MAXmsp. The score board can then be programmed in various ways. Either:
- Flash Actionscript 3
- Jitter for Processing
- Quartz Composer
I will focus on Processing and make a retro inspired score board. Possibly with fluffy pillows turning in each corner.
So... let's get busy. The pillows must be completed by 1st May and ready to join the exhibition.
Here is the list of things that needs to be completed:
- the programming of it
- - making the top score ascend on the scoreboard
- - getting hit count data from MAX msp to control the score board
- making the turning pillows (Maya 3D workshop assignment from uni)
Controlling the pillows
- solving MAX msp
- - get a precise hit count
- - get a precise reset
- - connecting more than one Wii remote
- - connecting more than 7 Wii remotes
- - connecting the projector
The Pillow Design
- find text the pillow case print
- buy pillows and pillow cases
- buy padding for foam core for the wii remote to reduce impact
- test impact and adjust foam core
- print on the pillow cases
- put the Phi sign on the pillow case
- update blog continuously
- take photos of progress, materials and prototypes
- read theory continuously
- write on the report continuously
- finish webpage
- make roll up-display banners in Illustrator
- - include signature sign
- - website adr
- - information about "you play at your own risk"
- - information about how to play (where to see the score and how to reset it)
- take photo for roll-up display banner of pillow fighters
- get hold of a projector
- get hold of a Mac