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Fade Away 1

December 16, 2011

Some people say that what you put on the internet never goes away. Perhaps it’s just a cautious way of thinking about what you upload, but in reality, things really do fade away. And if a particular datum isn’t ever completely eradicated in your lifetime, it gets diluted among the huge amount of data that get uploaded everyday.

It was on this theme that I created Fade Away 1 for my Introduction to Physical Computing final. It performs a twitter search for the term “fade away” and uses an ultra violet laser diode to write these tweets on a phosphorescent surface. Each character has been programmed into an Arduino, which controls the servo motors and the laser. The code is available here.

I appended a 1 to the name of this project because it’s very close to the idea of what I want to create, but it’s not quite there yet. Improvements I want to implement in the next iteration of Fade Away include:

  • Reducing the keystone effect
  • Smoothing out the motion of the laser
  • Finding a way to make it work more quietly.
  • Word wrapping and adjusting the kerning for fully justified text

The original inspiration for experimenting with phosphorescence came from The Space Beyond Me. I owe thanks to Ben Light and Tak Cheung who advised me on construction, Dustyn Roberts who advised me on mechanics, Karolina Ziulkoski who led me to a creative breakthrough, and Scott Fitzgerald for his feedback throughout the process.

Here I am explaining Fade Away:

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2011 7:55 am

    Superb, I love it. If you use servos with metal gears, the high end ones have, you can try switching out with ones that has nylon gears to reduce noise.


  1. matt richardson: Fade Away 1

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