from Glasgow Caledonian University blog:

A Quick Overview…


Slide1 Slide2 Slide3 Slide4 Slide5 Slide6


We Control The Machines! – What is this about…


Now a day we are all used to computers, microchips, memory cards, smart phones etc. so used that sometimes we find hard to detach ourselves from such technologies. They almost become part of who we are to some extreme cases where those machines become ‘us’.
We might have seen the movie Catfish, or at least heard about it. Is the story of a woman with a very problematic life and family situation to the point she looks for evasion through a virtual reality that she personally builds over one of the most famous social networks, Facebook. She becomes someone else. Interacting with those who she meets behind a screen, she creates her own alter ego starting to act as a different person, through her virtually created identity.
Here, we believe is the clear example of human beings becoming subjects of the machine. Here is where it is lost the view of the technology as an extension of us. A product aimed to facilitate our life and make it better. Instead we become slaves of it. We don’t learn anything by heart anymore, just because we can access any answer at anytime just doing a quick Google search with our phone or laptop. Those instruments almost become the external hard drive of our own brain. The machines regulate us; technology is controlling us.
With {i}ntera<t, instead we want to remind the user that it is still us that are controlling those machine. Trying to remind people that is still us, human beings, who need to program the software and making it do what WE want it to do. It is all still based on our own actions as well as our will power.

The way we want to achieve this is creating an interactive system where the user is able to generate something creative and being able to modify it through his own actions. An old PC monitor have been emptied of all its parts and a webcam has been placed in the inside. The actual screen has been replaced with a one-way mirror, allowing the webcam to track the users features, where the user will see him reflected in the mirror. This would give the idea of being him “inside” the system. A keyboard will be modified and mounted with piezo touch sensors. Those will trigger a series of instruments loop and allow the user to create a simple and basic composition. The user will be guided through a series of instructions displayed on a LED message board, to carry out specific action. The webcam inside the monitor will be linked to a face tracking application. Therefore, the application will control effect units in Ableton 9 varying the user composition.

What we want the user to realize is that he is the one who is making the changes. He is in charge of what exactly the system is outputting. Without his action the system would be absolutely static and inactive.


Behind the scenes!


Finally we have managed to dedicate some time to the blog…

It’s been a quite intense two weeks here at {i}ntera<t, running around and trying to find solutions to everything thats

been happening. Major problems with Arduino and Macbooks; we have been working with 3 laptops with the same set up

and exact same files, folders, files in the same folders etc e

tc and each one laptop had a different problem with one of the

different software. There has also been some conflict between Arduino and OS X causing the laptops to crash and

automatically switch off.

We have had quite a few faulty bits between the Arduino Duemiladue, breadboards and buttons which has taken forever to

test and figure out where the problem was… 😦

Now it seems we are up and FINALLY running!!!

More news coming soon….


Simple Is Better!


We have tried different set ups with buttons and piezos but in the end the most effective was

possibly the simplest schematic….and it works!!



Some tests!


Piotr is testing FaceOSC setting up the different effect….

Different parameters like “mouth width”, “mouth hight” or for example “eyebrow movement” have been mapped respectively to reverb dry/wet, high pass filter and beat repeat. Those will be triggered by the user facial movement which will be suggested by LED lights. Each LED color will relate to a different movement. An instruction sheet will be given to the user so it will be able to carry out the experiment flawlessly. 


FaceOsc is an open source prototype face-based interaction add-on, developed by Kyle Mcdonald, based on Jason Saragih’s (Aus) Face Tracker. With the use of MIDI CC, facial metrics are mapped to Ableton via OSCulator. OSCulator is an application which supports OSC protocol and MIDI CC making possible the interaction between different type of platforms, as well as external MIDI controllers.

The FaceOSC applcation is programmed to be used with the iSight built-in webcam on the MacBook . We instead are using an external webcam that will be placed inside and old PC monitor (please refer to WHAT IS THIS ABOUT at the top of the page) as input source. This was possible thanks to the integration of CamTwist in the system. CamTwist is another open source application that allowed us to select different video sources to be recognized by FaceOSC as its source. 

For more info about those applications please visit:


Some Coding Explained!


In order to have our LED’s playing in sequence and Piezos discs receiving input signals at the same time, we have used two Arduino boards. The first board has the LED sketch uploaded into it and is powering the second board holding the Piezo sketch. This was made possible by connecting the ground of the first board to the ground of the second as well as connecting the 5v output of the first board to the Vin of the second. The Piezo sketch on board 2 was uploaded first and then does not need to be connected to a USB again because the board saves the sketch.

The sketch for the LED’s was adapted from the traffic lights lab and is as follows;

//INT (each of the PIN’s as well as a delay time are initialized at the outset.)

int ledDelay = 15000;

int redPin = 7;

int yellowPin = 6;

int greenPin = 5;

int whitePin = 4;

//SETUP (this sets the Pin Mode, whether it is an input or output. Since they are LED’s they are all outputs)

void setup()


pinMode(redPin, OUTPUT );

pinMode(yellowPin, OUTPUT );

pinMode(greenPin, OUTPUT );




void loop() {

//RED LOOP (red LED on for 15secs and off)

digitalWrite(redPin, HIGH); delay(ledDelay);

digitalWrite(redPin, LOW); delay(1);

//YELLOW LOOP (yellow LED on for 15secs and off)

digitalWrite(yellowPin, HIGH); delay(ledDelay);

digitalWrite(yellowPin, LOW); delay(1);

//GREEN LOOP (green LED on for 15secs and off)

digitalWrite(greenPin, HIGH); delay(ledDelay);

digitalWrite(greenPin, LOW); delay(1)

//WHITE LOOP (white LED on for 15secs and off)

digitalWrite(whitePin, HIGH); delay(ledDelay);

digitalWrite(whitePin, LOW); delay(1);

//RED & YELLOW LOOP (red & yellow LED on together for 15secs and off)

digitalWrite(redPin, HIGH);

digitalWrite(yellowPin, HIGH); delay(ledDelay);

digitalWrite(redPin, LOW); delay(1);

digitalWrite(yellowPin, LOW); delay(1);

//GREEN & WHITE LOOP (green and white LED on together for 15secs and off)

digitalWrite(greenPin, HIGH);

digitalWrite(whitePin, HIGH); delay(ledDelay);

digitalWrite(greenPin, LOW); delay(1);

digitalWrite(whitePin, LOW); delay(1);


2 arduinos connected pic



Putting it Together!


2013-04-18 17.40.05 IMG_1404 Controller IMG_1405

Here below there’s a linkto a wee clip where we trying to connect it all up….god was a mission!!



Thank You ALL!


We are veeeery flattered here at {i}ntera<t!

Last Friday our project was judged best project of this year Audio & Interactivity class group! Plus, we have been asked by our tutor to present the project at Caledoninan Creates on the 14th of May…

So, if anyone is reading this blog and has a free evening on the 14th of May, make a stop at Glasgow Caledonian University

and come play with us!!

Thanks again to all our fellow students who voted for us and to P. Quinn for the invitation!!

The {i}ntera<t Team


OSCulator or MAX/MSP?…this is the question!

Being a student it always equals being tight with cash. Especially when you received your last student loan payment more than a month ago, and still haven’t decided what kind of job you would like to apply for for the summer….!

Therefore, while still working on our system for the Caledonian Creates, we felt we didn’t really want to spend another £15 for another OSCulator license (yep! Piotr’s Mac had an hard drive failure and we have lost it all! 😦 ). So, we decided we could built our own little OSC to MIDI CC “converter” in MAX/MSP.

Here below is a screen shot of the patch. Obviously it isn’t a state-of-art, and trust me  it is worth it to pay 15quid for OSCulator. But for now it will do the job!!

Hope you’ll find it interesting and useful.

Screen shot 2013-05-12 at 12.32.11


Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you need more info and a copy of the patch!!


Here you can find both applications:

MAX/MSP by Cycling74




Piotr & Fabz

[ {i}ntera<t  Team ]


Caledonian Creates 2013

Caledonian Creates Exhibition 2013

A collective showcase of creative work from Glasgow Caledonian University will be available to view from the 14th – 19th May on campus. There will be private viewing of the Caledonian Creates 2013 exhibition on Tuesday 14th May 6pm-8.30pm in the Saltire Centre.

Caledonian Creates is the new face of creativity at Glasgow Caledonian University. It brings together the collective talents of staff and students from a breadth of academic and business backgrounds, offering a holistic approach to research, consultancy and teaching in creative industries’ subject areas.

We are inspirational in addressing design, multimedia, technology, marketing, communication, fashion and interior architecture needs. Innovative thinking combined with an entrepreneurial approach gives clients the confidence to connect with Caledonian Creates.



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