Mixed Signals, A piece about interspecies/human-animal communication. My final project for my sensors art class! It’s a plush cat with a LED Matrix head who responds with abstract compositions when you pet it’s back. Sewn into it’s back is conductive thread that acts as a capacitive touch sensor — and pretty cool, it’s not really visible under the fur! Inside the head is where the arduino uno is housed, and a long-life battery is housed in the body in a hidden zipper pouch. Embroidered into the plush’s back are rows of conductive thread that serve as one big capacitive touch sensor to trigger the matrix. At first I thought of programming the matrix with ‘faces’ or recognizable symbols like letters or numbers, but then decided it might be too cliche and too embedded in human communication to be animal communication. I chose to instead create abstract compositions that would be displayed when the cat was touched, the thinking being that they would invite interpretation by the viewer, just as animal communication invites interpretation. In critique, one of the first things my classmates began discussing was whether one reaction was a ‘good’ reaction or a ‘bad’ reaction, so I was really pleased with that! This lends to my concept being that whatever the animal’s intention behind it’s communication, we only take away our human interpretation of it.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.