About marcela

Posts by marcela:

Rocking horse!

I’m a horseback rider, so what I miss the most while being in NYC are horses. After taking a walk to the Central Park (just to share an apple with one) , I felt inspired to make my next pComp project.

My own goal for this week was to play around with servo and potentiometer. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I bought a Continous Rotation Servo instead of a standard one, so I’ve been struggling how to use it so that it won’t rotate 360°.

Anyway, as a kid, I always dreamed of having a rocking horse, but I never had one, so now I decided to change that !

Laser cutting it seemed to be pretty smart idea, so I drew one in Illustrator and uploaded to the machine.

Voila! Here they are!

So, the general idea of my project was to move a rocking horse using servo, controlled by potentiometer. Because of the fact that I purchased the wrong servo, I decided to use the potentiometer to turn the LED on and off.

It did’t went exactly the way I wanted, but I achieved my goal anyway. Now, I understand how a servo and a potentiometer work like! Let the game begin!



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And here’s how my project looked like:



Making a stand

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And finally, the video:

PS. Thank you Emmanuel for holding my Servo! 😀


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This week I continued practicing organizing my code. I had many ideas, of what I could create, but then finally decided to listen to my heart.

There’s one thing I really miss in NYC – I have never see the sky fill with stars at nigh here. I used to see it back in Poland, but unfortunately, the light pollution of the city prevents the stars from being visible. Dreaming about my lovely night, I started creating my own, p5 night sky.

Practicing arrays, loops and functions, I ended up with a nice night sky, full of my beloved stars. To add some magic, I decided to add some movement to the stars, which move in circle.

That was a good opportunity to practice ‘sin’ and ‘cos’.

Moreover, I wanted my project to be more educative, so I singled out stars, which creates constellations. Here, I added a small drawing simulating animation, which one by one, shows constellations on a sky.

I also added 2 hidden features:

mouseDragged – adds more falling stars

keyIsPressed – displays constellations’ names

Link to sketch HERE

Have fun learning!

Bloodcurdling breakage!

‘In teams of two tell a story through sound. Upload it to your blog. ‘

A week ago Ishaan and I met for the first time. During that meeting, drinking nasty salted caramel coffee, we came up with the perfect plan. Surprisingly, both of us wanted to make something spooky, so ideas were coming to us like crazy! I won’t describe anything here though, it’d me more fun if you can hear it first.

We decided to try out few options to record a sound, so we took Shotgun Microphone, Zoom audio Recorder and A Yeti USB microphone from our ITP shop. Finally, after few tests we decided that Yeti meets our requirements completely.

Saturday was so much fun!  In the afternoon, Ishaan, our two actors Selbi and Zeyn and I met in the hope to combine business with pleasure. While actors were reading the script, we started preparing our terror scene. It didn’t took long, so after couple of minutes we were ready to rock!

Of course I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t take any pictures! So, here’s how it all looked like:


Scene number one takes place in the bedroom. Ishaan and our brave actors were getting ready to begin the game!


Are you guys ready?


This item made so much noise! We all loved it!


Quick meditation before the grand finale…


Petrifying moment of breakage have been exposed!


Director Ishaan explains how to play the fighting scene.



Recording from closet turned out to be a great idea!


And, as befits the all great photographers, I haven’t been captured in any picture :(.

And now, ladies and gentlemen…. The short video of our petrifying ‘fight sceen’! BEWARE! SPOILER!


To sum up… We had a lot of fun and did a pretty good job! The apartment still exist, nothing was broken and none of us got bruised. Hope to do it again soon!

You can listen to our story here:

PS. Selbi, Zeyn, If you happen to read this – Thank you once again for your help! We wouldn’t be able to do that if it wasn’t for you!

Food Guard

For our third assignment, we were supposed to come up with a simple application using digital or analog input and digital output.

I really wanted to explore force sensitive resistor, so I decided to build a funny ‘Food Guard’ project.

I wanted to create a 2-layered ‘plate’ for the food. I laser cut two equal squares, then carved a circle, on which I planned to put my food.

Then, I started with a simple version of the project, which was supposed to turn the LED light off every time someone takes the apple from the plate.

Next, I decided to add an alarm, so that we could also hear that someone’s trying to steal our food.

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Also, that was a time to solder wires to my force sensitive resistor. I It wasn’t easy due to tiny and flat parts of the resistor, but luckily I’ve managed to do that.

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Finally, the assembly:

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Turned out that the hardest task was to set up the value, that would both run the alarm, and light a LED light. Also, I put few rolled and unstick pieces of electric tape on the force resistor, just to make the sensor more sensitive to a flat surface of the plate.

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MetroCard Vending Machines

From time to time, almost every New Yorker must deal with MetroCard Vending Machines. We can find them at every subway station. I decided to watch the one at Vernon Boulevard station, next to my apartment.

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First thing you notice, while approaching to the machine are color-coded sections, indicating:

Touch screen – Black,

Cash & coins section – Green,

Metro Card section – Yellow,

Credit/ATM Card Section – Blue

Change/ Receipt – Red

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I must say, this color code is easy to understand, and significantly quickens the whole transaction.  According to what Norman wrote in his book: ‘The most important principle of design is visibility. The correct parts must be visible, and they must convey the correct message’, vending machines seem to make a good impression on a future user.

To begin the usage, first thing you need to do is to touch a screen, which immediately asks you for a language of preference. After picking the language, we’re headed to the menu, where you pick the MetroCard type. Next, you pick the transaction type. If you wish to refill your MetroCard, all you need to do is to Insert your card to the ‘Yellow’ section and make the payment.

The whole process seems to be pretty easy and intuitive, unless you’re foreigner, who is in rush and wants to pay by international CreditCard. I remember that very well. Right after I came here, first thing I wanted to do is to be able to move around NYC by subway. I went through first steps, but when it came to payment, I encountered a difficulty. Turns out that when a credit card is used the machine asks you to enter your zip code for verification. Back them, my credit card account had a Polish billing address, so I was not subjected to the zip code verification requirement. It took me a while to google the whole situation and find out that instead a zip code I should type in ‘99999’. This  indicated that the card I was using was an international one, what leaded to different authorization process.

So, taking into consideration the amount of tourists who don’t own an American credit card, I’d definitely add a ‘Pay with international Credit Card’ option to the menu (without adding extra step to do that).

Another thing, I would change, is the ‘Touch to begin’ menu. Do we really need to see this welcome screen? What if we could skip it, also skipping the ‘Select your language frame’, just pressing the button with the right flag on it? Wouldn’t that be both intuitive and time saving? Could I touch it it less to get what I want?

The design displays high-contrast graphics, which definitely helps visually impaired. Braille and audio instruction are also available.

After staying next to the vending machine for a while, I could observe that usually, the whole process of refilling card does’t last more than a 2 minutes. There were few people, who were struggling with payment when using international Cards. Most of them ended up asking ticket seller for help.

I’d say that MTA Vending Machines are quite nicely designed, and pretty intuitive example of public interactive technology. I am sure that after few updates they could became even easier to use.

Dots – my first game


I came up with this funny idea of a game. The goal is to get to the other side of the road without touching any other dot. Each touch increase our size, making it even more difficult to pass.

Here’s how it looks like when you succeed:

Moreover, if we’re feeling strong enough we can make the game harder by adding more ellipses to the game. To be able to do it we must click and drag the mouse through the canvas.

but… this is a total hardcore. Free drinks to anyone, who’s gonna pass it!

This game is my introduction to Object Oriented Programming . I really wanted to learn it. And although I’m still very confused with this topic , with a great guidance of Moon, I was able to program this game in more professional way . I still need to practice this. It’s still very fresh for me. I didn’t let myself to add more options, even though I had 12345 crazy ideas of how to improve it!

I will do it next time, as a reward for myself that I can use arrays and feel comfortable with Object Oriented Programming.

I can’t wait for that moment. I’m so excited!

If you wanna play the game, here’s the….


Good luck!

Her Long Black Hair


That was the first time I experienced a Sound walk. I’ve chosen a ‘Her Long Black Hair’ by Janet Cardiff, because Central Park is the place I love the most in NYC. I usually go there alone, running or just enjoying the nature. I was pretty curious how it would be to disconnect from the reality, and enter someone else’s story, which takes place in the exact same path I was supposed to follow.

This assignment turned out to be a great experience! Hearing peaceful voice of a woman I followed her instructions, listened to her footsteps and sounds around her. Sometimes I was confused if what I just heard was happening now, or is if it was just are recording. It wasn’t difficult to become a part of her story. I fell in love with binaural recording. I could hear everything from different directions – that was amazing!


A lot of things happened during this walk. I saw people lying on the ground, I even saw a freshly married Asian couple, which mentioned in the audio. That was way too real!

I loved this multi-sensorial experience. I would recommend it to anyone. The moments, where the story meets with the reality and made me feel very confused. Wait ! Was it supposed to be like this or was it just a coincidence?!

Plagiarism in Art


Heinz von Lichberg, published the tale of Lolita in 1916, but it’s Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ the one, which gained the popularity, even though it was written 40 years after the original. This is the first example of a plagiarism, provided by Jordan Lethem. He explains that literature has always been a field in which familiar themes are continually recast.

Similar situations occur in films and music. The great example is Bob Dylan, who was inspired by many Hollywood films, poetry or dramas.

Basically, the whole art is based on plagiarism. Music, like blues or jazz have became some sort of an open source culture, where songs are often reworked.

Now, thanks to the technology, we have more and more possibilities to recreate other’s work.

We were forced to create ‘Copyright’, which is a legal right that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to its use and distribution. Culture became to be seen more like a market right now.

Thomas Jefferson, considered copyright as necessary, but he’d shrink the copyright to minimum enforcement. He believed that second comers might do a much better job than the originator with the original idea. I must say that I partially agree with this statement. Of course, nobody likes to be copied, but without that the world wouldn’t not be able to develop.

What I liked about this article, is a part called ‘The beauty of second use’. Books can be quoted in reviews or parodied in magazines. The artistic content sinks into our culture pretty quick, engaging receptive minds of our society. Same with consumer goods – they need to be used, to become ‘real’.

Another interesting subject raised by Lethem is a  ‘power of a gift economy’. He says that ‘where there is no gift there is no art’. Everything what’s free (open-source software) coexist very naturally with the market.

Very often, art and culture becomes commons, altered by every contributor what doesn’t mean that the community owns it. It belongs to no one, not even by society as a whole. We have to remain constantly vigilant and not let anyone exploit our common heritage for their private gain.

Basically, the valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism. All ideas are secondhand, drawn from a million outside sources, and daily used by each one of us.

Another reading, we were supposed to familiarize with was the ‘Rights of Molotov Man’.


“Molotov Man,” was the main character of a photography taken by Susan Meiselas in revolutionary Nicaragua in 1979.

The photography inspired the painter – Joy Garnett, who reproduced the man’s image, making it one of the leading painting in his series. After showing his work at the exhibit in 2004, he has been sued by Susan Meiselas for the right of an image.

The photographer claimed that she do respect the individuality of the people she photographs. She rather focuses on contextualizing images, whereas Joy Garnett did the opposite. Moreover, Susan wanted to protect the original context of the whole image. That was her way of fighting against misinterpretation.

I totally understand Susan, who actually had a chance to be a part of the whole situation. She had to face both historical and political backgrounds.

Of course, as we have learned from the previous article, the great art bases on the other art. That’s exactly what Joy Garnett did in order to succeed. Actually, by suing him, Susan helped his art even more.

I wouldn’t like to keep anyone’s side, I’m rather neutral in this case. Both artists are right. Each of them has their own ideas and beliefs.

It’s an obvious thing, that each piece of art would be subjected to misinterpretation. It’s obvious, that Susan didn’t like the fact that Joy became a popular artist, through the wrong interpretation of her art, but I think that there wouldn’t be any art if everyone has the same way of thinking !


Allergy to Originality – I totally enjoyed this video! This delightful illustrated op-doc for The New York Times, explores why all creative culture is built on plagiarism and appropriation.

I love this funny interpretation on the issue of plagiarism. I think that a monotone voice of the ticket seller and his quotes directly from wikipedia (he even included ‘edit’ word from time to time) was a pretty nice idea! I think that video tells the true.

Recently, I realized that I just stopped going to the cinema. I wasn’t exactly sure why, but after exploring foregoing materials I finally found the answer. I am getting bored out there. It seems like many films are remakes of the old ones. Why do I have to watch similar plot over and over again? (Even actors remain the same).

I’m expecting that moment of dubiety, when I actually don’t have a clue what will happen next, how the story is going to end and what how I would feel after discovering it.

I really wish there was a little bit of originality in the movies.


In ‘Embrace the Remix’ video, Kirby Ferguson, quotes Henry Ford, who said  ‘I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready, and then it is inevitable.’ I like this idea. To create something new, we need some bases.We need some fundaments to be able to build a house. Even programmers use pre-programmed softwares with already assigned functions. By transforming, copying, remixing artist creates a new form of the art with references to other works.

Thats how it is! That’s how humanity moves forward! Steal your colleagues’ code – professor told us during our first programming classes. Improve, use what has been already discover, recreate. Isn’t that a little bit the way ITP works? Let’s help each other, share our ideas, thoughts, learn one from another. I don’t thing that there’s anything wrong with basing on the same fundamentals, but building our individually shaped houses.

Money Bank

My idea for the second assignment was to create a money bank, which would encourage people to save some money. Usually, spending money seems to be a lot of fun. Let’s make the process of saving them equally entertaining!

To do that, I decided to build a simple box with 3 LED lights on the top, that shines every time someone puts money through the whole in the lid.

I needed only basics tools, which I could find in my own apartment.

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The construction was easy:

In the bottom of the box I placed the 9 V battery, connected to 2 wires.


Then I built the second, conductive  ‘layer’ made of aluminum foil.


I connected one wire to the resistor (don’t forget about it Marcela! You don’t wanna burn the LEDs!) and 3 LED lights placed at the top of the money bank.


To complete the circuit, I attached another sheet of aluminum foil to the second wire, placing it horizontally inside the box ( the foil should not touch the bottom).

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The circuit completes when the weight of the coin inserted to money bank press both aluminum sheets together.



Here’s how it works:

The best part of it is the fact, that coins, being conductive won’t break the circuit, so we can easily leave few of them inside the bank and still be able to re-light the LEDs.

I really enjoyed this task. As a physical computing newbie, I was pretty excited seeing that my money bank  actually WORKED!

I’m sure that this tiny gadget will make me a rich man soon!



I came up with this weird idea, and decided to practice my p5 skills a little more. Firstly, I wanted to create some ellipses,  which would follow the cursor with a different delays.


Then, inspired by clock and solar system, I made some randomly shaped circular paths, for another set of ellipses.

The ellipses in the background use nested loop function. To make it more fancy, I made this ‘flashing’ effect by setting ellipses’ opacity to random.

I also added two additional ‘hidden’ features, which plays more with the background.


Surprisingly, one of the most important thing I’ve learned thanks to this sketch, is that I definitely should write my code in an organized way! I created so many variables, so many elements that I almost got lost! I need to work on that a lot…