Exploration of Materials

To explore even further with the materials, we especially focused in the physical form and temporal form this week, to see how the thoughts of the looks and the computational states of the Jellyfish could be realized in practise.

Physical form
At first we had to figure out how to build up the jellyfish, to do so we found a lit of a juice at the canteen, that could be used as the top of the jellyfish and contain the lights. From that a skeleton was build up around it using plexiglas cut on the laser cutter.

To figure out how to accommodate the looks of the jellyfish in combination with the led lights we tried out different materials, to figure out which ones to choose as the right one for our design. The final materials however, ended up with something completely different by coincidence. But to get to that point, we firstly had to mould the silicon base with the lights around this shape somehow.

At first we tried to mould different silicon and latex on top of the shape, to make room for the lights inside the top. However, when trying to light the different materials up with the led strip, we found that it did not give the impression of being almost alive, as it became to mechanical to look at. Therefore, we tried to look around in the lab, where there was a round silicon shape lying on the table in one of the labs, with a hole in it, therefore we tried to insert the led strip, and it worked magically, the lights finally came to live! (as seen in the first picture). Through that experience, of exploring the different materials, it gave a good result of finding the right materials to let the led strip shine through. Furthermore, to create the tentacles of the jellyfish, a regular silicon based join filler was used, on the surface of a balloon, to try out and see if the tentacles could also be silicon based, or if we had to use fabric instead to create the aesthetic movements of the jellyfish.

Temporal form
To give the impression of the jellyfish coming alive, the lights had a very important function, as these could help in giving the impression of a pulsating living creature.  After researching a few plausible ways of going forward with this, we found that sine and cosione, could help creating this feature. Hence, in order to gain a continuous and natural wave of lights, we chose to play around with the sine and cosine functions, as they are natural poles to each other, this could be exploited by dividing the lights into an upper an lower par, where the lower part is set to exploit the waves of cosine and the upper part, sinus (as seen in the below image).

However, to actually use this function in the code was found challenging, as the function somehow had to be translated into the following fade function.

Fade function
We wanted the fade function to go through a constant loop, hence the void loop was used.

void fade() {

      // map() only deals with integers, so sin() is scaled by a factor of 1000

      // Note: sin() works with radians (2π radians = 360°)

    // Lower pixels

As we wanted the the two parts to exploit the poles of sine & cosine, the lower part was set to fade the light in and out using the sine function. Hence the title of this is the lower pixels of the lights of the LED strip.

    for (int i = 0; i < 8; i++) {

The for loop is used to set the first 8 pixels of the strip, therefore as long as the value is below 8 the loop will continue and plus it by one.

      brightness = map(sin(singleCount - pi/10) * 1000, -1000, 1000, -10, 100);

// normal toLow and toHigh is -10 and 100

sine and cosine gives values in between 1 and -1 one, therefore it is actually the angle that rotates within the function. We choose to * with 1000, as the accelerometer only reads whole numbers. Furthermore we exploit the map function at this point to map it down to -10 to make sure the light at this point can be completely shut and a 100 at its maximum in brightness.

      if (brightness > 0) {

        setColor(i, brightness); // If the brightness is positive call the set Color function with the brightness value


This is to make sure, that the output of for instants the above negative value is turned into 0, and thereby insure that the light is turned off, rather than risking that the value could be turned into a different value instead.

      else {

        setColor(i, 0); // If the brightness is negative call the setColor function with the value 0 (turn the pixels off)



Here the same loop goes for the sinus function, which regards the sinus function, hence creates  the waves of light for the last wave is from the 8 pixels up to the 14th.

  // Upper pixels

    for (int i = 8; i < NUMPIXELS; i++) {     

      brightness = map(cos(singleCount) * 1000, -1000, 1000, -10, 100); // Utilizing the fact that cos and sin are inversions

      if (brightness > 0) {

        setColor(i, brightness); // If the brightness is positive call the setColor function with the brightness value


      else {

        setColor(i, 0); // If the brightness is negative call the setColor function with the value 0 (turn the pixels off)


    singleCount = singleCount + countStep;

Through this specific fade function, the led strip in combination with the silicon moulded top, created a light that somehow came to live, making the jellyfish looking as a real creature.

Interaction gestalt
Through the experience of exploring the different materials that could support the appearances of the physical form it finally gave luck, in terms of what we wanted the intended outcome to be. However the appearance is supported by the temporal form as the whole experience of the artefact, in which first came in to shape after playing around with these three stages. Through overcoming that challenge of getting the light to have the correct expression through the use of the light at the temporal form, it gave a complete impression as a whole. Which hopefully can lead towards, the exhibition next week, to cast upon how the interaction gestalt will be when it is actually in use, rather than what our imagine of how it could impact people in its use and affordances of the object itself. Because we imagine people picking it up by it string, but will they? The only way to figure that out, will be through the exhibition, because for now it is only what we have explored and imagined rather to see what users could see in it, which I look forward to see.