BOM lab residency week six

Last week I mostly tried to perfect my breathing detector in openframeworks. The conclusion I came to is that it works really great if you’re wearing the right coloured jumper and not at all if you’re wearing black or even worse a checked shirt. Having booked myself in for a Skype chat with the ever helpful and talented Zach Lieberman I think the dark clothing can probably be overcome by improving the contrast and standardising the input somewhat. I don’t think the checked shirt problem will be overcome but you can’t please all the people all the time. Given the installation will do other stuff in response to movement and standing still besides responding to people breathing I’m not too worried. Besides, check shirts are all ghastly.

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I also boxed up my home made air quality sensor and tried to calibrate it with an expensive one kindly loaned to me by the University of Birmingham. I left it running all day and burned some incense next to it to give it some nice tiny lung ache inducing particulates to measure. Sadly when I compared the results I found my sensor was detecting something very different, so different in fact it made me question the validity of the results at all. Having read through the literature again I’ve decided I am probably better off sticking to my original plan and trying to recreate the work of indiairquality blog by drilling a hole in the side of the PPD42 and fitting the fan to suck air through it, alas the laminar flow light locked laser cut case might have been a blind alley.

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I’m at that irritating middle part of any creative endeavour where it seems like most things are going wrong and you start to question the validity of your original idea and your own ability as a creative practitioner. This is fairly standard though so I’ll just muddle through. I went to a good artist’s talk by Nicky Pugh recently where she mentioned the importance of play testing ideas early on and regularly through out a project so I shall get on with that and try to find ways of solving my kinect and air quality sensor problems while play testing my ambient music generator with the kinect…

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