Moulded Memories

by Electro Jesters

Shaping Fleeting Moments Into Lasting Impressions

In today's fast-paced world, many people often lose themselves in their personal devices, simply letting precious moments slip by. Our concept envisions creating meaningful interactions that, while fleeting, leave lasting impressions within spaces where people spend brief moments in transit from one destination to another.

Moulded Memories is a localised projection installation that prompts reflection on how people spend their fleeting moments. By urging users to feel "present in the moment" and consider how they fit into the world, we hope users become inspired with a sense of connection with others.

Moulded Memories features two main components that facilitate user interactions. The first is a shapeable Mould, which is hosted on a Pedestal. The second is the Collaborative Space, which includes an interior wall projection. Users physically sculpt the Mould with their hands in response to prompts displayed on the Collaborative Space. These prompts encourage users to reflect on their memories and create shapes that represent their personal experiences. The resulting Moulds are then projected onto the Collaborative Space, creating a collective scene of diverse memories.

Our vision of technology within Moulded Memories is to encourage users to engage with the Mould in a more tactile and embodied way, using their hands to shape and create. We hope to offer a refreshing break from personal devices and invite users to fully immerse themselves in our intended experience.

Moulded Memories employs transient, ephemeral interactions that connect to the concept of "Future Everyday" by employing embodied and slow technology to explore the technology of the future. The role of technology within our concept is to facilitate calm yet creative interactions that provoke introspection. By fostering a sense of youthful playfulness and curiosity, Moulded Memories speculates on how users can reconnect with their pastimes through asynchronously creating interactions with one another.

Technical Description

Upon entering the Collaborative Space within the Moulded Memories installation, a user should step on a footpad made of corflute material and aluminium foil. This triggers a sequence of light animations on the Pedestal’s tabletop, which is powered and operated by an Arduino microcontroller. The light animations are displayed through NeoPixel LEDs that are individually programmed, controlled, and addressed by an Arduino Uno. The Pedestal itself is made of timber and painted acrylic black. On top of the Pedestal is a tray with the NeoPixel LEDs covered with a frosted acrylic circular lid. Black fabric material is wrapped around the Pedestal to cover its legs.

We employ a web camera to capture short, top-view footage of each user's moulded memory on the Pedestal at specific intervals, With this footage, the Python libraries OpenCV and Pillow are employed to process footage images and save them directly into a Unity scene that is projected onto the Collaborative Space.

The Collaborative Space is a semicircular frame built with a combination of several PVC and conduit pipes connected together with 3-way joints, mounting saddles, and zip ties. Nylon rope was wrapped around the frame to create tension to hold up the top curved bar of the frame. The white ITY Jersey Knit fabric is then stretched around the semicircular frame, securely held in place by white velcro straps and large bull clips. Black fabric makes up curtains that enclose the front of the installation. Directly behind the frame is a short-range projector, an EB1430Wi Epson projector, projecting the Unity scene of each user’s moulded shape once they step off the footpad.

The lights animations on top of the Pedestal were individually programmed using the FastLED LED animation library for Arduino. The animations are generally split into three main segments, "Before Moulding", "During Moulding", and "After Moulding". "Before Moulding", when the user initially walks towards the installation, a pulsing warm white glow animation should beckon them to approach. To start the intended moulding experience, users need to stand in front of the Pedestal by stepping on the footpad. This should stop the pulsating and trigger an outward white ripple animation as if the Pedestal has noticed the user’s presence and then enter standby mode by displaying a static, low warm white light while they mould. After users finish moulding, they will step aside and off the footpad, where a dynamic, kaleidoscopic, and technicoloured spiralling light animation should initiate, signalling to the user that their moulded memory is being processed. "After Moulding", the Pedestal should then pulsate a prismatic and polychromatic light animation to captivate the user's attention back to their moulded creation.