Society has become increasingly disconnected to their interactions with their surrounding natural environment.
‘How Slow Can You Grow’ is a fully immersive experience that explores how humans react to being faced with feedback – both short and long term - from their environment based on their positive or negative physical interactions. The exhibition examines whether humans are willing to take the time to positively interact with their surroundings not knowing if others will reciprocate, as such is true with the natural environment. The multi-sensory exhibition is made up of multiple interactable components. Users can interact with the floor, the 5 ‘Sprossens’ scattered around the exhibition and the central Tree. Each interaction will have an immediate positive or negative effect depending on the user's slow or fast movement, quiet or loud sound and touch. Depending on all user interaction over time, the overall ambience and exhibition will change positively or negatively, simulating societies collective impact on the environment.
The exhibition has been split up into three main components – Arduinos, Unity, and Projections. The central part of our exhibition is built upon multiple Arduino Circuit Playgrounds. Arduinos come with an array of features that we were able to use: the Accelerometer for movement and shape detection, the Microphone Sensor for sound level detection, Capacitive Touch Sensors to detect touch, and LED/RGB “NeoPixels” to help communicate feedback to the user. The second component is a computer using Unity game engine which enables serial communication between the computer and the Arduinos as well as providing processed data to the overall exhibitions’ state/ambience. The last component is two different projections – one through LumoPlay for the floor and one controlled through Unity for the wall.
ArduinoFor our Arduinos, the exhibition is using 6 Arduino LilyPads and 1 Arduino MEGA connected to a computer by micro USB cables. Five LilyPads will be used in each five tangible, Sprossen plushies hanging around the room. Each of these Sprossen LilyPads will use the Accelerometer, Microphone Sensor and LED/RGB “NeoPixels” and be placed within different plushies. The Sprossen LilyPads will be able to detect exhibition users’ movement (shaking fast or holding defined as variable SHAKE_THRESHOLD) and speech (whether yelling or whispering defined as SPLvalue) to the Sprossen plushie and will give instant feedback of the overall interaction to that user through the LED/RGB light (namely the variable sprossenStatus). There are three different levels that will be represented by different lights: green for positive, blue for neutral or the starting position, and red for negative. Depending on the users’ input, the light will give instant feedback.
In relation to the Sprossen LilyPads, the exhibition includes another Arduino LilyPad that controls the tree of the exhibition. This Tree LilyPad uses capacitive touch to measure users touch and gives immediate feedback through LED/RGB “NeoPixel” lights. The variable is defined as treeStatus.
The last Arduino circuit playground (Arduino MEGA) is then used to control the LED strips hanging on the side walls of the exhibition. This gives another form of immediate feedback from the users by showing all Sprossen plushie status (sprossenStatus) at a given time.
UnityThe way we keep track of these levels is by using three variables in Unity scripts: sprossenStatus, treeStatus and soulHealth. sprossenStatus starts at a value of 0 and will always trend to 0 or neutral while not being interacted with. When the Sprossen LilyPads detect interaction, the value will change either positive or negative depending on the harshness or loudness of the input that the sensors are picking up from the users’ interaction. treeStatus will be either true (on and touching) or false (off and not touching) and will be immediate. The status will only contribute positively if touched and neutrally if not touched. The sprossenStatus and treeStatus is then continuously communicated through Unity to the soul (defined as soulHealth variable) where the soul changes health accordingly. The soulHealth starts at 500 (neutral) and will change positively or negatively accordingly. Overall, the Sprossen LilyPads, Tree LilyPad and Arduino MEGA will give fast, immediate, and small system feedback while the soul will give slow, persistent, and big system feedback.
ProjectionsThe soulHealth will be displayed through a projection handled by Unity on the back wall and will have different coloured levels to indicate overall soul health.
Lastly, there will be a projection on the floor of the exhibition. The team started with MediaPipe and machine learning models but due to its new nature, decided to use LUMOplay software for the floor. LUMOplay has the in-built ability to detect motion/people and will change projection accordingly. It will have different coloured participles/wisps that will follow the user through the exhibition.