• Elvin Ou

Making the garment wireless


After presenting the garment piece being in progress for the midterm, I decided to go on and continue working with the garment piece. There were three aspects that I wanted to change and revise for the garment project:


1. Revision on the visuals of the diffused lighting effect on the garment.


The journey of trying to cover this three revisions are not as easy as it sounds; I had lots of trouble starting from the first revision. I was troubled for the fact that the "boxes facade" I made for the garment piece is diffusing the light too extremely that the representation through LEDs were not as clear as what I imagined. From there, I spent so much time in processing to trying to find a way or a balance that would help express the visuals more clearly. After so many different testings of the video alternation on processing I eventually decided with a more blurred posterized look so that the edge condition could show somewhat clearer than before. Then I added in a sound function where the garment would shine a gradient of red if the sound reaches a certain threshold of the amplitude, which performs as heartbeats when the piece hears the sound of footsteps.


2. Revision on the cable connection and make it wireless.


After kind of settling down with the revised visuals, I moved on and tried to work on the wireless part of the revision. Since I am using fadecandy for controlling LEDs and using processing and a live stream camera for controlling the fadecandy, I needed to find a device that would be able to run processing, a fadecandy server and a camera. From there I did some research on what devices out there is suitable for this need and then eventually decided on trying to use Raspberry pi.


I first started researching on raspberry Pi and the instructions/ tutorial of how to use it. I really thought it was gonna be easy until I actually started doing all the set ups.. But before that, I did a little typology sketch to know the relationship among all the devices.

From there, I started my first time ever Raspberry Pi journey. I actually purchased a Raspberry pi zero camera kit and when I was trying to set it up, I could not get all the cables I needed from the workshop and since there is only one micro usb on the Pi zero and I needed to connect so many USBs onto it and so on. Eventually I decided to borrow a regular raspberry pi from the shop. Following the tutorial downloading so many weird files and application and then "made" a micro SD card.


Instruction of making an SD card for Raspi:

https://learn.adafruit.com/introducing-the-raspberry-pi-zero/making-an-sd-card-using-a-mac



Then it was time to figure out how to do the wireless set up on the Raspi, and it was a disaster. I have never used Raspi or terminal before so that I did not even understand the instruction since it was written as like "sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf"

I was extremely confused and spent so much time working around it and eventually got help from a peer. The wife was set up and connected but then I did not get a grip of terminal still until I learned my hard lesson. I was still half half understanding what all those lines of code does in terminal and then when I was dealing with fadecandy server setup and processing, it was a completely shit show.

I literally thought the Raspi was a computer so I kind of went off track of the instruction and was trying to download processing from the webpage... After like 10 failed attempts.. I finally realized that I needed to use terminal language to download the processing specifically for raspi. Then I slowly got an idea of what terminal is, and then get the idea that Raspi is literally a small computer and all the code typed in terminal are commands just like a computer.

The processing set up went kind of smoothly after I figure out the whole sudo nano thing on terminal. However, the fadecandy server set up did not end up smoothly. It was a similar kind of processing where I "curl" a downloading link that downloads the whole fadecandy server pack. There problem happened when I was trying to create the fcserver.json file, I am not sure what happened to be honest. It was first saying that I did not have the permission to change the serial code in the json file and then after I "sudo" it, I could. In the instruction, it was saying that after connecting the fadecandy, its serial code should show up as a new line in the window, but it did not... I have no idea why and when I was trying to figure it out. Then I was like, let me just hook the fadecandy up with my computer to get the serial code, and also double check if its a hardware problem. When fadecandy was connected to my computer and the server on it, the serial code showed up and everything works fine. So I decided to take that serial code and manually typed it in the terminal in Raspi and hoping it would work. And of course it did not work....


Story to be continued.


3. Complete the physical fabrication.