Autonomous Opto


An embodied experience that questions the relation between autonomous cars and their drivers.

Critical Design

Create an embodied experience

Team of 4 people

Researching, Creative Coding, Max7, Unity & Arduino

Process

Before the start of this project we all had to collect several embodied experiences projects, made by other designers. From which we had to pick one to recreate in the coming weeks. Someone brought a work of Golan Levin called Opto Isolator. We really liked how people interact with this work, and how 'simple' it looked. We concluded that it was about the fact that we always judge art, but what if art did the same to us? Because of that interesting statement and the technological viability that we saw in the Opto Isolator we decided to recreate it.

Together with one other group member I had to design the technological part of the project. Our goal was, like the work of Golan Levin, that an eye follows the spectator. It did not take long before we decided to use the xbox kinect to track the user.

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Combined with Max7 and an arduino with several stepper-motors we achieved our first prototype. Even though it was just a spherical kneaded eraser on top of a stepper motor, it was very fun to interact with.

Autonomous Opto

For the second part of the project we had to place our work in a different context. We eventually chose for the context of a selfdriving car, what if we have such an object (the eye) on our dashboards? Would it influence drivers to behave better and stay focussed on the road?

Our plan was to create the experience of a self driving car. We also decided to get rid of the kinect because in many ways it was very limited. From this point I was responsible for creating a virtual environment in which our self driving car will move.

We wanted the car to start driving the moment the user fastens his seatbelt, I achieved that by just putting two wires on the seatbelt. So when the seatbelt clicks in its socket it creates a closed circuit, which an arduino reads and sends to Unity.

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We also bought a new mechanism for the movement of our eye which was way better than our own in terms of movement and solidity.

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We ended up placing our eye on the dashboard which we picked up on Marktplaats. The whole installation was full of distractions. We also integrated a webcam in the dashboard which was able to track the users face. The moment the user gets distracted, the eye immediately stops focussing on the road and looks at the user in a judgemental way.

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Full video about our project (dutch):

projectbeeld