BLOW by Diego Rioja & Molly Schwartz
In a tiny dark space, there is a paper pinwheel in front of a large screen using rear projection. On screen is a large spiral galaxy, very slowly rotating. The user blows on the pinwheel, as the pinwheel spins and speeds up, the projected galaxy's rotation mirrors the pinwheel. We're seeking to transform a person's experience in a small claustrophobic physical space into an expansive experience, via an immersive audio/visual installation which changes the context of the space from intimate to cosmic.
We used an IR bounce-back sensor to detect the passing of the pinwheel arms, every time an arm passes the sensor, the Arduino would log a change from 0 to 1 and back again. The Arduino counts the millis (milliseconds) between changes and sends that value via serial data to the Processing sketch. We mapped that value to the rotation of the spiral arms of the galaxy. (Many thanks to Matt Parker and Jared Schiffman for all their coding help. Through working on this project we learned about the physics of a spiral, easing rotation, smoothing, and just overall getting practice with building code..) Our final code contains 4 spiraling overlapping arms. 2 arms of cloudy .png images and 2 of ellipses for pinpoint stars, a dense center of gold .pngs, as well as a background star field.