Category Archives: week5

plant sensor, LCD: it works!

a follow up on week 6 homework. turns out soldering was the ticket!

(better documentation, details to come later)



5 images

It’s the month of October, and the animals are busy at work…


Still, a springy sense of whimsy persists in parks…


Meanwhile, like bees, everyone is so busy at ITP, gathering knowledge.

I’ve been thinking about lots of things. For instance, ways of understanding programming, without the programming…

I remembered being so aware of recursion as a kid, and creating loads of recursive jokes with my brother. Somehow kids find infinity on their own, and it totally enthralls them.

(a TV in a TV, in a TV, in a TV…!)

I wonder what other concepts we learn through our world, through our bodies, through humor.


Here’s a new markdown language just for burritos.

I’ve been on the lookout for systems and new language short hands people make, especially when they don’t have a formal, product-polished system in place.


And as usual, I’ve been observing the hostile, barred-teeth expressions of our city. Somebody must’ve kept sitting on this pipe!

new toys: rain sensor, LCD [bloopers]

For this week, I wanted to make a plant interface which could tell you if the plant needed water. (I have a soft spot for this “Internet of Plants” future…)

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 12.53.13 AM.png

Here are all the parts at play. Note that it doesn’t work (yet.)


I definitely upped the ante on myself this week! This post will mainly be about my process and struggles.

I spent most of my time playing around with these two new sensors….

This lovely rain sensor:

… and this very finnicky 16×2 liquid crystal display (LCD):


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follow up: 4×4 matrix piano, servo fun!

4×4 happy birthday!

Just for fun, I tried playing a full song on the 4×4 I set up last week.

As someone who played the piano for 11 years, it was pretty difficult to conceptualize the notes “wrapping” as they increased. I found myself remembering the “shape” of the sequence of notes, much more than the distance between them.

Many takes later…

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the opposite of a gun

[open in p5.js]


In his poem, “The Opposite Game,” Brendan Constantine describes the experience of teaching antonyms to kids—translating each word of Dickinson’s famed “My life had stood a loaded gun,” verse into opposites.

My Your
Life Death
Had stood Will sit
A Many
Loaded Empty
Gun ?

But what is the opposite of a gun?

I became obsessed with this poem after my friend N shared it this morning. I must have read it over a half-dozen times since.

(Sometimes the best refuge against the news is poetry.)

In the poem, the school kids tackle this question in earnest:

Flower, says one. No, Book, says another. That’s stupid,
cries a third, the opposite of a gun is a pillow. Or maybe
a hug, but not a book, no way is it a book. With this,
the others gather their thoughts

The discussion goes on and on.

Well, maybe. Maybe it’s everything we said. Maybe it’s
everything we didn’t say. It’s words and the spaces for words.
They’re looking at each other now. It’s everything in this room
and outside this room and down the street and in the sky.

It’s everyone on campus and at the mall, and all the people
waiting at the hospital. And at the post office. And, yeah,
it’s a flower, too. All the flowers. The whole garden.
The opposite of a gun is wherever you point it.

The opposite of a gun is wherever you point it. Such a good line.

In fact, the the whole poem is just so beautiful, through and through. Read it!

By the end of it, you’ve just imagined this world entirely made of NotGuns; the retrospective possibility and wholeness of that world…

All the life and beauty that might have filled an inverse-gun-space.

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