An installation exploring memories of love and growing up through touch and audio made with Max Van.
TOUCH OF LOVE INSTALLATION SET UP
Touch of Love is an interactive large-scale Valentine's Day chocolate box. Users will put on headphones, place one hand on the mini heart, and stick their other hand into the box. As the pulse from the hand on the mini heart changes the LEDs on the box, the user's hand inside the box explores the different "chocolates.” Each “chocolate” is an object that represents the feeling of love through a tactile and sometimes also an auditory experience. This project invites users to reminisce their younger experiences of love and to anticipate upcoming experiences of love.
This project was made with Max Van. I was in charge of the capacitive touch sensor, Arduino, and p5.js, while Max was in charge of the touch sensor, second Arduino, and LED strips. We worked together on the fabrication of the box.
OBJECT BRAINSTORM AND INSIDE BOX
Inside the giant heart box are “chocolates” or objects that represents a feeling of love at different life stages ranging from diaper-hood to adulthood. For example, a soft plush cube acts as a stuffed animal received as a baby or a locket necklace to symbolize relationships as a young adult. Even though the objects are laid out in increasing age order, there are no physical division to demonstrate what age group the item belongs to because objects and their association with love are subjective and can represent many stages of life. Some "chocolates" are only a tactile experience, while other "chocolates" will also trigger an auditory experience, creating a soundscape.
CAPACITIVE TOUCH SENSOR DEMO AND INSIDE OF BOX WITH DIVOTS
The user starts by placing their hand on the pulse sensor on the smaller heart outside which will trigger the LED lights to flash to the user’s heartbeat. This section of the project is done by Max.
I worked on the capacitive touch sensor inside the box. With the other hand, the user will insert it inside the heart box and start exploring the objects. The objects lay inside individual divots similar to the divots that hold chocolates inside a chocolate box. For objects without an audio experience, the divots are lined with foil, while the objects that trigger an audio are lined with cooper tape because not every object is made of a material that the capacitive touch sensor and Arduino will pick up. Under the cooper tape is a wire that connects to the capacitive touch sensor to sense when the divot and object is being touched.
P5.JS CODE FOR THE TOUCH AND AUDIO INTERACTIONS
I also worked on the capacitive touch sensor triggering the audio. Once the sensor registered a touch, it triggered the appropriate audio in the p5.js sketch by using p5.serialcontrol. For instance, the soft plush cube/stuffed animal will cause a lullaby to start playing or the AirPods started the ringtone sound.
A challenge I ran into was that the sound would play multiple times for one touch, creating an eerie effect with the overlapping audio. I created a variable to check if the an object has been touched, and if it has been touched, the audio should be played. Then that variable would be checked against another variable, so if the previous variable was said the object was touched, the other variable would know that the audio has already been played so it doesn’t play again.
HEART BOX FABRICATION SKETCHES AND MID-PROGRESS
Max and I worked together to create the installation. We cut foam boards into heart shapes and created walls by cutting and scoring long rectangles so they can bend. We painted the outside with acrylic paint and added fabric curtains to hide the contents of the box.
Inside the box, we used the foam board as a base to hold the “chocolates.” On the foam board was memory foam that we cut the divots into and we covered the foam with fabric.
USER DEMOS OF TOUCH OF LOVE