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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:

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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.

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  1. matt richardson: Fade Away 1

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