Hi, I've been reading the posts here, and found some really interesting projects. I thought I'd share mine since as an artist I come at this from a different direction than some do. My work deals with self image, and how that changes when you're part of a group, it also changes related to place, and in this case, technologic objects.
My goal was to create an object imbued with empathy, something mechanical and technological that responds to a persons presence, causing them to question the border between person and machine. I also wanted it to be surprising, it to react in ways that they aren't used to.
Technically I used sensors like those used to sense Galvanic Skin Response, used in polygraph (lie detectors), but made them out of large copper panels. The input from these goes through an OP AMP circuit to amplify the difference between the sensors. This is then sent into an Arduino board, which uses the data to drive servo motors that have paint brushes attached to them. These "paint" the changing information coming from the viewer upon a rotating fabric sleeve.
I placed all of this into a treadle sewing machine, something from a different time, when machines weren't data collectors, but rather ways to get work done. People identify with this, even though it's been changed, and are happy to approach.
The result is that when people get close to the machine it "wakes up", and paint starts to appear on the stretchy skin like material, people play with it, they experiment, and realize that it's somehow recording their presence, painting their emotions.
Ok.. enough rambling... I've got two videos, the first gives some background, and the second is more about the project.
Antique White Sewing Machine
Servo Motors (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store...rvo-HS322.aspx)
OpAmp and various resistors
Step Switch Mat (http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store...t-5-x-30-.aspx)
stretch nylon tubes
assorted screws/bolts/steel rod
Thanks for your support in making this project happen, it's been fun to see peoples reaction to this subltly altered familiar object. I love the sound the machine makes, and the presence it has in a room!