GEN U INTERACTIVE
When in my Uni years in London… I had the pleasure of studied at The University of the Arts London, at London College of Communication. Every year after registering and paying the university fees, every student is given this card as their student card. We are talking about approx. 42.330 yearly Admissions (2015/16).
Do something about it! A gradient? really? are u serious? white to blue? University of the …WHAT?
ONE POSSIBLE SOLUTION
“The University is home to 18,205 higher education students in 2015/16, including 14,800 undergraduates and 3,405 postgraduate and research students. There were 9,325 further education students. It is the fourth most popular institution in the United Kingdom for international students”.
Every journey worth taking, starts with a challenging question, and there I was… At the point where university is about to end and I wanted to dive deep into something that will push my boundaries, take me out of my comfort zone and set my next challenge.
Initial research was done in areas like Biometrics, Human-Computer Interaction, Generative Art and a personal journey, probably the most exciting so far, started where all the dots seemed to connect between each other.
3 months, 8000 words, few very interesting conversations and some consultations later, I believe I had better knowledge as of how to approach this challenge.
Further research in Biometrics help me analyse and compare few technologies and recognition systems in order to extract unique information from different individuals and decided to use fingerprint scanning as an affordable and effective approach to uniqueness.
When choosing and purchasing fingerprint readers, few came into consideration as they were easy to hack, Microsoft and Digital Persona are the main suppliers (Although Microsoft doesn’t deliver to the UK). Digital Persona provides the right UrU series fingerprint reader with Open Source drivers and a Linux SDK (Software Development Kit).
As drivers and SDK were only Linux supported, DualBooting my Mac Book was required.
All left to do was to start getting dirty with the coding part, something pretty challenging for a person with very very basic C++ knowledge like myself, but with some help from a very good friend of mine (David…You are the greatest!!) we managed to extract the position of the unique points from a fingerprint (minutiae point).
After managing the feature extraction from the fingerprint, I obtained unique information every time a finger was scanned…hooray !!! The last part was to transfer that information into processing.
With some modifications of a good sketch (Thank you zenbullets), an Arduino board and a few pressure sensors… I manage to build an installation.
An installation which will create interactive experiences to an audience and will reward them with a generative art design based on their unique fingerprint.
And one day (night) at 3 am this happened…
One of the happiest moments of my life, first when we managed to extract the minutiae point x, y and zeta value, and then use those values to create something unique to whoever is using the installation! AWESOME!
Let me break down in simple steps the whole process in order to make it easier to digest:
- Users place their finger on the finger print reader.
- The reader scans the fingerprint and extracts each minutiae point location and zeta (x, y, z)
- The information is then exported into a pdf which get overwritten every time someone uses the artefact.
- The pdf is imported into processing and the sketch runs using the data imported from the minutiae points.
- The sketch creates an element based on a wave clock, which location is determined by the minutiae information, so is the color of the element.
- Every time the user presses button 1, a new element is added to the design.
- Whenever the user is ready and presses button 2, the artefact prints user’s design.
- User walks aways with his/her unique design.
REFLEXIONS & TAKEAWAYS
- Don’t let everything till the last minute.
- If you are stuck, communicate! There are always people willing to help.
- Always be good and nice to your developer friends.