Awake – A Touch Board Interactive Wall

Good sleep, bad sleep, lots of sleep or not sleep at all. This is a common problem that we face and many scientists, researchers and now artists are trying to explain this very common issue through their work.

Marco Bazelmans , a Communication Designer got inspired by this issue and wanted to create an interactive experience and show the steps; from lying awake on the bed to hardly being able to fall asleep.

Marco created an interactive wall that told a story in 5 stages. Firstly, visitors see a person unable to sleep well because of a blue light emitted by the screen. Where does the problem lie? In the brain, in greater detail, the pineal gland, is where the hormone melatonin is produced which has various different characteristics, important to the human circadian rhythm and other functions.

At this stage, the information is given in textual form via beamed in video.

In the second to last stage, you can see the melatonin concentration in the human body over the course of a day.

The last stage shows a person that is not affected by any light before sleep and thus does not defer the sleep cycle and can sleep quite well and with no interruptions.

Marco’s inspiration for this project came in part from Dalziel and Pow’s Animated Wall. He absolutely loved how the technology allowed them to create an experience which was both playful, immersive as well as full of informative content.

For this project, Marco used Electric Paint and the Touch Board. He screen printed Electric Paint directly onto the surface of a piece of wood and connected it to the back through holes that he filled with Electric Paint.

He initially tried to coat it with a white acrylic paint but that didn’t work because the paint started smearing and it was impossible for the white acrylic to get covered up.

Marco decided to do the covering himself with a brush. He explains that he had to be very careful, so the Electric Paint won’t smudge again,  but in the end, it worked out quite fine.

Tip: When sealing Electric Paint the key to avoid smudging is to apply one quick layer of paint in a single stroke. After this first layer dries, the following layers can be applied more freely as the paint will not smudge any further. The smudging only happens with the first coat.

For the coding, Marco used the DataStream.ino code and modified it for his needs. The bigger challenge was the part where processing got involved and he needed it to contact Resolume Arena to figure out the issue.

Happily, he got some great customer support and managed to get the code working nicely. What it does is interpret the serial port of the Arduino, analyses it, and if it detects a touch it sends the corresponding OSC Message to Resolume Arena 5.

Marco is planning to develop the project further, with more details and interactive videos to come. So stay tuned for more updates!


Images: Marco Bazelmans

If you want to create your own Projection Mapping project, have a look at the tutorial with the Touch Board or the tutorial with the Pi Cap.

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