Materials and Technical forays into the Time Machine…

Posted on Oct 21, 2013 in Physical Computing
Materials and Technical forays into the Time Machine…

Cheesy granted, but until we begin sketching actual interfaces, it seems like a decent name for this project (so mechanical, so analog at this point)…

how to tell time in 16mm

Thanks to cinema studies, I managed to preview my 16mm (Bobst, has gotten rid of their projectors, which is insane from an archival viewpoint!). A small, really bad sound version of the film is below (mostly). There were alot of irregularities in the original- playback dynamics? wear and tear? the type of audio-on-optical? So, we’ll see what that really means once I get all my sensors working.

[Encyclopedia Britannica, How to Tell Time, 1961]

Clearly, I’ll want to choose excerpts from the oscilloscope section and the clock section. (Sorry, bored kid, you’re too boring for quote material.)

tinkering in advance of player construction

I spent the day tinkering with the RGB LEDs and light sensor/speaker outputs, just thinking that having both colored brightness and general illumination would allow me to span a greater array of the sensors and that perhaps color pickup from the environment (user’s shirt? etc?) could be then looped back into the spectrums to be read by the individual film strip photocells… different re-mixed soundscapes for different people. I’ve not made much progress, beyond feeling comfortable hybridizing many of the analog and digital reading techniques we’ve worked through. Below are a) simple analog light brightness adjustments b) just a few seconds of playing with brightness (for LED/RGB) based on the mapped light readings of the analog-log sensor, and c) more servo play… (really a lot of the tune lab… but without the screeching output recorded…)




mechanical baby steps… then electronic and interaction…

I think part of my slow speed is that I both need to finish the initial reader mock-up (tomorrow am) and really see what does or doesn’t work.  (Plus, I should order a bucket of RGB LEDs). The laser file is pretty close to go, but I just need to spend a bit more time calipering and working on the enclosures. After that, the real problem will be coding- particularly getting the angle and speed parameters into the arduino. I’m just not sure that a servo angle is the route to go, but I’d like to tinker with it before jumping to forward-and-back programming for the DC motors. Hopefully by tomorrow night, I’ll have a completely assembled mechanical iteration #1 and can wrap my brain around how it might be programmed, interact w/ people & processing, or even, how it might sound… even smaller baby steps. Off to model those ‘black boxes’….

pre-laser mechanism


There is the utterly terrifying factor of precision in reading this film (720 different sound screens/second) that makes me wonder about how intense and how tight all these components need to be. I guess for the moment, I’m just getting all my sketching out there (in advance of sketching interfaces?)…

As far as I can tell, I’m purely working on mocking up the mechanisms highlighted below (or all of Ebeling’s page), but without the focusing light beams. Results to be determined.

US1866528.pdf US1859435.pdf US2077860.pdf