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  Current Research: an ongoing log of my current research processes


An elecroluminescent raincoat that showcases hand-silkscreened luminescent lamps and embroidered rain sensors. The goal of this project is to frame technology as a medium for fashion that can be softly toned, playful and exuberant rather than cyber-styled gadgetry.

7/28/01 - See Puddlejumper in progress!

Soft Hard Ware

Based on my own experience designing and building the projects for my master's thesis from scratch, I'm now working on ways to erase the separation between software and hardware. We need architectures for programming physical devices in tandem with screen graphics, with seamless interaction and communication between both aspects.

6/29/01 - PCB design of the final boards has commenced. The boards will be optimized for small size, easy attachment/incorporation, modularity and flexibility.

5/7/01 - Efforts are being temporarily redirected to experiments in electroluminescent silkscreening. The C compiler for the Tiny boards is still being planned. Some Tiny-board features are being rethought and designed, for instance the analog IDs; hopefully a screen-based simulation of how these IDs might work as part of a general communication/broadcasting scheme will appear soon.

4/17/01 - Programming directly in JetSet instructions is enabled via a pc-based program that includes cues for sending code to the Tiny board. Although right now code must be entered with Jetset mnemonics that are packed into the jetset 2-byte instructions, programming capability in C is on its way. Also, when code tagged as a 'program' (rather than single-exectuion 'instruction') is transferred to the Tiny board, it will automatically be written the PICF876 built-in EEPROM for persistence through power-down.

4/1/01 - Jetset, our instruction set for the new Tiny boards, has been implemented on the PIC16F876. All the core stack, heap, logic, math, register and branching functionality is up and running. PIC-specific special calls for setting I/O pins high and low have also been added, as well as printing out to serial port for debugging. The next step, currently underway, is building the link from the PC to the Tiny board; right now i am working on an interface for coding directly in Jetset mnemonics, which are converted to 16-bit instructions and sent to the Tiny board via serial line. The Tiny needs to know how to write to the internal PIC eeprom for program persistence. Eventually coding will happen in C, and get compiled to Jetset code via Jared Schiffman's PERT system.

3/4/01 - The lastest major development of the soft hard ware project, which I'm calling Tiny for now, is the specification of an instruction set that will be used by myself, Jared Schiffman, and Tom White. I've moved from Microchip's 16F84 to the bigger, brawnier 16F873. I'll be writing a VM that will run on the PIC and receive code via a serial line from PC. Jared's C interpreter, Pert, will be expanded to compile into instructions that will run on the VM. I've also started thinking about the form factor and flexibility of the end-result boards, i.e. how to allow for expansion modules, communication, easy hookup and connection, etc.

2/15/01 - The past few months have been completely absorbed by Atmosphere
(see above), a humongous endeavor by scores of people. As part of this, I did some WinCE programming for the Compaq IPAQ3600, a palm-sized PDA with a bright 16-bit color, 320x240 display. I'm hoping to do more stuff with the IPAQ soon, perhaps involving a wireless network connection. Maybe a hook-in to the soft hard ware system I've resumed building?

10/18/00 - My current project, Lint, is mostly finished technically. On the soft hard ware front, Lint utilizes the Cricket bus protocol to control tri-color LEDs. The next step, now that hardware/hardware communication is established, is to start working on the software/hardware link. This is the meat of the problem. I'll be starting to design an interpreter specification for the PIC chips, while coding serial communication from the PC to the PIC.

10/7/00 - My Edgewise00 presentation went pretty well. I brought an in-progress Lint to show, as well as still images which can be viewed online here.

9/18/00 - The current model
is one of interpreter-based firmware (Microchip PIC) as the core of hardware program modules. PC-based software can send instructions/programs to the program module serially. A standardized set of i/o sensors and actuators, with normalized values, can be driven from the PC or the program module. As references, I am looking at the Epistomology & Learning Group's Crickets project, which is also interpreter-based and modularized.