Past Work

Paranoid Timothy

This is my first interactive art project - one that reacts to the audience.  In this case, the eyes followed by the head rotate to follow people as they move in front of it.  It's based on PIR sensors (like the ones used in security lights), micro-servo motors (which turn in small increments to a total of about 180 degrees) and Arduino (an open source technology for making micro-controllers).

I see this as a prototype, possibly for a hunting trophy.  Initially, I expected it to "eyeball" viewers in a threatening way but now that it's operational I realise that it's the exact opposite.  He (it looks male) looks scared, of the people he can see and also of the possibility of someone creeping up on him.  Hence his name - Paranoid Timothy. 

It's even better for the hunting trophy idea!  

  Paranoid Timothy interactive art This is now operational, although I've yet to decide whether to tinker with the bottom half.

Here's a video of it working:
  Electronics powering Paranoid Timothy This what's "under the hood" - the electronics powering Paranoid Timothy.

All the credit should go to my next door neighbour, Phil May, a retired software engineer. 

Phil worked out a way to speed up the reaction time of the PIR sensors.  He also put lots of nice little touches in the software - such as making the eyes dart about restlessly, and making the eyes and head jerk about if no signals are coming from the sensors, making it look as though Timothy thinks someone might be creeping up on him.

 Interactive art This is the completed top half, which incorporates 3 micro-servo motors, to rotate the head and each of the eyes.
  Interactive art This is what it will sit on, although I haven't shown the electronics that it will contain.

PIR sensors, the sort of device used in security lights, are glued onto the back of these seven tubes.  They sense movement and send signals back to software that controls the servo motors in the top half.

This is based on Arduino, an open-source combination of electronics and software for developing micro-controllers.
  Interactive art This is what the top half looks like "under the hood".

There's 2 rings linked together with a "lazy susan" bearing (so the head turns very easily and I can get wires to the upper motors). One servo motor sits at the centre of the bottom ring and turns the top ring to move the whole head. The top ring has a servo motor under each eye.
  Interactive art Here's what it looked like before assembly.

On the left is the bottom ring that sits in the lower tub, with a servo motor in the middle.  On top of that is the "lazy susan" bearing between a couple of thin ply "washers".

On the right is the top ring with servo motors under each eye, which are ping-pong balls.  The balls are on some fairly thick piano wire which I've embedded in wooden plugs in each ping-pong ball. 
  interactive art More detail of the bottom ring and how it's connected to the top ring.
  Interactive art
 Early version of the top half- abandoned because it was too rudimentary/ugly. The ping-pong balls were inside spray-can lids, rotating on skewers.

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