Lighting up–Analog Input

PhysComp 2016Fall



VIDEO: Light up


I started this work from curiosity of light sensor. It is amazing that it could read different degrees of lightness, it remind me of a famous product: breaking lamp. When people watch the light inside it varies, they feel the lamp is alive and with emotions.

I wanted to make a similar thing that make people fill warm and familiar with. When I got home late, my girlfriend left me the light on, it really feel sweet, especially after a long day during winter. So I decide to make this little house that can turn the lights up for you once you get home.




First I connected the circuit and did a little coding to make sure it works as I expected. Then I took five minutes to test if the sensor work properly when I leave the window space opened up with cardboard I had by my hand.



A little bit details. A handle which make it easier to open the door. And finally the ultimate work!


Observation of Self-service Checking out Machine

PhysComp 2016Fall

Observation on Self-service Checkout Machine

  • My assumptions:

I thought the process would be: Scan the items you bought one by one with a hand-hold scanner (as I used in China before)➡ Make a purchase by swiping your card➡ package everything and leave


  • Actual Situation:
  1. The scanner is a steady one (not a hand-hold one) that means you have to find out the bar code and face the code to the scanning part of the machine.85786168
  2. The system of the machine broke down (encounter errors and could not go on scanning) every few minutes, about 30% customers encountered errors which are not made by themselves. There were 10 machines in that area, 8 of them are in use, but there are 4 shop staff standing around to help the costumers. They were busy helping out almost every moment. Costumers had to wait until someone could be here to help them. The funny thing about this is, some people choose to use self-service lines because they want to avoid human contact, but the errors of the machine forced them to do more of it. If you scanned something and did not put it into a bag in time, the system will report errors and send you help without asking your opinion. And you can’t do anything to retry it or cancel the help request2064608123964373750
  3. To check-out vegetables and fruits, which are sold by weight, costumers had to looking up in the system manually and find click on the corresponding button. But the thing is: the super markets always serve different products of the same category with different price. (For example, if you want Chinese cabbage, you may choose between normal ones that are 2.5/lb and better, organic ones that are 4.5/lb.) It was a little bit confusing for costumer to select what kind of vegetables they purchased, as they are not sure if that’s the kind they bought.848276806

4.A key action of this process is to put everything you already scanned into bags or in packaging area. If you don’t do so, it’ll stop you from scanning next item and remind you to do so. I think this is real confusing. First, many people grab two items so that they can scan faster one by one. And some people go shopping with family. When one is scanning, others are always helping out. Obviously, the machine here forbids any kind of action with two items appear in same area other than packaging area. At least half of the costumers got stuck because this “put scanned items into packaging area” thing. That makes the self-service line even slower than regular ones.750531389

5.The machine provides voice reminder step by step to tell you what to do next. Costumers do not have to read what’s on the screen, which is a great thing. And it also tells you how much you saved one item by another, which is perfect for costumers needs.

  • Easiest/Hardest& Fastest/Slowest:
  1. The easiest part of this process is to scan items with proper package and with a bar code that is easy to find. (If the item is heavy or huge, then it becomes harder for putting it to the right position to scan. It happens.)
  2. Dealing with errors report, as described in 2)b.
  3. Comparing experience of regular lines, the fastest thing in this self-service process should be packaging. There are holders to hold the bags for you, and space that you can category your items. Most costumers finished packaging as soon as they finished scanning.938045331
  4. The process takes the longest time is to put a price on items sold by weight. It takes both first-timers and old costumers more time to do it. The interaction of the screen is OK, but information is not very well organized.
  5. I don’t know the tech part of how they detect and manage the scanned/unscanned items. But I think changing the scanners to hand-hold ones is really an easy and practical approach. As Bret said, our hands are so delicate. So why using stupid “scanning box” and have ourselves do all the work to put stuff on right position?

What is interaction?

PhysComp 2016Fall

I found the first class was surprisingly inspiring!  It was nothing like what I imagined: a hard-core tech course.

A day made of glass

I hated the video ‘a day made of glass’ from the very first moment I saw it, but I didn’t know why. (It was a similar video with the one Bret Victor showed us in his Rant. Made in 2011.) And I finally found the reason why I hated it through the lecture and the article: Everything is FAKE in that so called ‘future interface vision’ video. The only medium they are using is blank glasses and all the information and interactions seem unreal and untouchable to me. Just imagine how insecure could people be in such a world—Just like the concept in <The Matrix>–What you’re seeing are just vison. I think it against human nature of touch, feel and collect things. Like the professor said: the feelings that our physical world can provide us is truly a huge thing: the shapes, the texture, the weight of items and the way we touching and holding and controlling them, make us feel alive. And I believe good physical interaction would start from there.

About Interaction, I agree with Chris Crawford’s ‘Conversation Theory’, but I have another way to put it. In my prospective, everything that response to your action and your action could bring some difference into it, is interactive. Without doubt, games are more engaging than movies because they’re interactive. But why? Tonight I went to NYU game center to see the NYC VR Summer Show. The audience could see what is happening in the VR gear on the screen, but they were still queuing for each booth to actually try the VR games, new tech, immersive theater play base on real time performance. I think the desire that ’I want to try it out ’is the key of interaction. To try what can do what, control things and explore is human nature. I guess that’s why interaction is so engaging. Another instance, in 1972, we’ve already have mater pieces such as <God Father> with great story telling and beautiful film language in film industry, but people still spend lots of money buying the simplest world’s-first video game called <Pong>.

dscf8742Forgive me for bad English expression. In conclusion, I think the nature way for human beings to feel the world is beautiful and important. And the key element of interaction is to make the audience feel they are actually controlling something. I believe this could be a start point of a good physical interaction.