aLDN0.1 – analogue Light Dependent Necklace

Sideview of aLDN0.1

Sideview of aLDN0.1

The aLDN0.1 is a first prototype of an analogue light dependent necklace.

The aLDN0.1 awakes when it gets dark or a person/object is approaching. A red light begins to increasingly light up as soon as a person comes closer or the environmental lighting conditions are changing (e.g. opposing blinking of the strobe raver in the club).

Each part of the necklace constitutes both a design element and a part of the electronic circuitry at the same time. It’s an attempt to bring aesthetics and function as close as possible together.

aLDN0.1 awake

aLDN0.1 awake

Sideview sleepy

Sideview sleepy

If you want to help me with making a small video clip or being an aLDN0.1 model, please hit me up

 

 

Energy Hack – moving power plants

Talking about energy, let’s first hear Bucky. When he was asked by a 12 year old boy, “How would you suggest solving international problems without violence? he answered: I always try to solve problems by some artifact, some tool or invention that makes what people are doing obsolete, so that it makes this particular kind of problem no longer relevant. My answer would be to develop a world energy grid, an electric grid where everybody is on the same grid.

All of a sudden there would be no problems any more, no international troubles. Our new economic basis wouldn’t be gold or dollars; it would be kilowatt hours.” (Fuller’s Earth, 1983, Richard Brenneman)

Sounds good to me, that change from dollars to kilowatt hours and I wouldn’t mind either
imagine my life standing (metaphorically) on a collective energy grid. Of course, in a way we always do that, since all is energy and all is us. Since energy is constantly changing its
form, the central question seems to center around the question: How can we access best/most efficiently the form of energy we need in that moment?

Besides the energy produced by our internal combustion system (also called digestive system), we mostly speak about electricity that drives our nowadays environment. Thus, food as an input energy for the human and electricity as an output energy for current societies seems to be important. From an energetical standpoint, ensuring access to food and availability to electricity are probably the two energetic forms bearing most power on earth (and power in a hierarchical societal system of course always means potential for conflicts).

So, to make the long story short – we as society should (especially) care about these two forms of energies in the hand of all of us.

The following is an idea of how to decentralize (electrical) energy production. It basically is
a mere derivation from the most prevailing output energy form of humans (kinetic energy) into the most important energy form for current societies – electricity.

Kinetic energy –> electric energy

To transform kinetic energy (movement) into electric energy, we can make use of induction!
Without going too much into detail, we can simply use a magnet and make the magnet move through some windings of a coil. The magnetic field thereby pushes out some electrones within the winded wire (coil) and thereby produces electricity. In the next step, we just have to find a way to store the produced energy. For example, we could charge a battery with it. Once the battery is full, we can talk on how to design Bucky’s electric grid – “…where everybody is on the same grid”. Well maybe, “walk” on the same grid would meet it more specifically because the part of us that moves most of the time are our feet. So putting the linear generator described above into our shoes for example would enable everyone to automatically generate electricity as soon as one moves the feet. We would act as little micro energy systems – and well, moving around we do anyways…

Prototype

I already built a first prototype, based on the prinicple described above – and it works. Schematics  as well as more technical details will be added soon – I was just to enthusiastic about it and had to write it down directly… :)

Receiving phone calls through a finger

Yesterday, I received my first phone call hearing the caller speaking to me out of my left ring finger. Instead of pressing my clumpy mobile phone onto my ear, I realized it’s far more comfortable to have my finger there. Since the microphone is attached to my wrist, (the posture of) my hand is actually quite similar looking to a telephone. We germans, we always used to call mobile phones “handy”, now this totally makes sense to me.

The ways and forms we use digital technology (especially information and communication technologies) today reminds me on early analogue tool use of human. In order to go hunting you would first have to spend a week with preparing your hunting tools and make everything ready to use. Well, I don’t need a week to type in and get a message sent but still, for me it’s just annoying how we interact with technology. I need to spend way too much of my ressources just for the interaction with current human-technology interfaces.

Thus, invisibility and transparent human use of technology was also the goal for my magnetic finger call project. Using my body to communicate independently from time and space sounds quite attracting to me. The technology itself gets into the background and is used as a vehicle to extend my human/cyborg abilities. My body is literally interwoven with other bodies – the voice of the caller directly stimulates my magnetic finger and speaks to me through my body, quite awesome!

 

 

Make soliloquizing funnier

A guide for a robot finger hack

I think people should more listen to their fingers. Why? you ask. What in the world fingers could tell you? well, a lot…

But first things first.

Half a year ago I went to a body modification studio and got a tiny little neodym-magnet implanted into my left ring finger.  Besides pure curiosity, I was totally fascinated by the chance of new research topics coming out of that little body intervention. I thought and expected a new way of sensing more aspects from my environment, magnetically controlling some external devices like my smartphone and alike. But the possibility of actually transmitting audio signals via induction to the magnetic finger was surely not in mind at the beginning.

Since the grinder, bodyhacker, cyborghacker (or whatever other term you will find) community is growing bigger and bigger, remix and modification of modification culture within the scene is also becoming richer and richer. Did I say “richer”? yes, that brings me to the guy who inspired me to do the robot finger hack – Rich Lee. He implanted a magnet into his ear lobe, so that he can transmit audio information via a necklace directly to his magnetic ear lobes and can listen to music without earphones.

How does that work?

Basically it´s all about oscillations of the magnet, leading to a hearable event. To demonstrate that in a more tangible way, let´s first have a look how speakers work.

speaker

Good old Mr Faraday not only discovered his cage but also made his contribution that  we can go to Berghain and enjoy some nice bass waves massaging our bellies. He therefor began to make experiments with electricity and magnetism, showing that every live conductor automatically builds up a magnetic field around itself. Now, if that´s the case that means that if current runs through the coil, the coil builds up the magnetic field around itself and since it is surrounded by a static magnetic field from the magnet it moves up and down in the rhythm of the audio signal (current). Having the coil connected to the speakers membrane, this vibrating movement is exactly what you hear when the vibes coming through the air to your ear (or belly). Great!

Finger magnet producing sound

In the speaker example the magnet always stands still and the coil is the vibrating element. With the finger hack it´s the other way around. Here you have the coil standing still (i.e. around your neck or your wrist) sending the vibes (electromagnetic waves) to your loosely floating magnetic implant (whatever site of body). The magnet grabs up the waves and vibrates like the coil in the speaker example and yes, YOU CAN HEAR IT! (even if it´s not comparable with berghain sound, it´s there).

Robot finger hack

Now it´s only a small step further to develop some fun stuff to get your finger speaking to you in whatever way or mode you want. I prefered a robot voice coming out there. If you want to build it yourself, here´s the schematic to do so.

robot_finger

I simply used the HT8950 Voice Modulator IC (the 16 Pin version). It´s a chip which provides several steps to shift the frequency of an input voice, producing a vibrato or robot effect. There is also a built-in microphone amplifier included, so you can easily “speak” with it. Then it´s just about to connect it to an amplifier. Depending on the gain you would like to have (options between C10 and PIN8 of amp are: 1,2kOhm for gain = 50, bridge it for gain = 200 [recommended] or remove it completely if you´re fine with a gain of 20) you should also consider putting a small heat sink onto the LM386. Use thermally conductive paste if you want to do so. I haven´t used it for a longer period of time but you´re better off if you give the IC more surface to breathe. Connect a 9V monobloc battery to it, get your coil connected (I made 30 winds) and listen carefully what your robot finger tells you – like for example these guys: video