Project ideas for Intro to Physical Computing. Most explore the concepts around time – traveling, manipulating, or fretting. =P

Time Machine

I’ve been enamored with time travel for a long time – movies, science fiction books, and really just day dreams in 5th grade math class. In this project, I want to explore the experience of time travel – that is, the feelings that time travel evokes before and the questions that arise after.

In doing so, I think it’s also important to do the interaction right, which is where PCOMP is going to be the most fun.

alt Time Machine from the reference frame

alt Time Machine from the inside

By the laws of Special Relativity which I’m now a temporary expert in, this Time Machine will actually work!

alt Time dilation caption from wikipedia.

alt The oh-so-perfect time dilation gif that explains everything!

Sunrise Dancing Booth

In this second exploration on time, I poke fun at the joke that staring at a clock causes it to not move. This booth is a party booth where the objective is to “party” until sunrise. To actually move the clock towards sunrise, we gear the clock to move faster when one isn’t looking! (via face-tracking / computer vision). Using “not-looking-at-the-clock” as a proxy for properly parting.

alt Booth with clock, disco ball, speakers, and LIGHTS LIGHTS LIGHTS!

Vending Machine for Future Ailments

A familiar vending machine with a p5 interface serving up “imagined” future ailments.

In this third exploration on time, I reach deep into my brain to express some of my future fears. In the familiar form of a vending machine, I’d like to sell prescription kits for ailments that I fear now and into the future.

alt Familiar, wall-mounted vending machine. Especially want it to be slim profile.

A convenient stop to get your new cyberworld cures, 24x7.

Items for purchase include:

Loneliness wearable (

A wearable that attempts to measure loneliness. This is not easy, and would involve finding a reliable and accurate proxy.

One such proxy is skin hunger, or really, the lack of physical human contact. Perhaps there is a way to measure the change in resistance when two people hold hands?

Whiskey Sphere