Back in November, I travelled to Sweden for a little break from the metropolis that is Falmouth. It was amazing to get away and experience the cities i’ve read so much about, but mostly it was incredibly inspiring and motivational for my work. We trundled upon the Tekniska Museet, at the time they were celebrating our new revolution in interactivity, I was humbled to see such pieces as “The Treachery of Sanctuary” by Chris Milk and “BrainWriter” by Not Impossible. That day, amazingly, Massimo Banzi of Arduino was doing a talk about the Arduino revolution and its impacts on technology. All in all, it was very humbling.
— Francesca Sargent (@bellachezella) November 26, 2014
I think this talk was directly influential on my project. I’m not using Arduino technology, but I’m hoping to take the arbitrary and overlooked sensation of taste and employing it into something intriguing and exciting using new technologies. Processing and Arduino are often seen together, they are both open source and have a following of passionate artists. That’s the main point really, they enable artists to create products, or even silly sketches of their imagination, to illustrate ideas and bring them from the realm of our brains into something tangible, something you can communicate with via gesture. Oh, and it’s free – you only invest with your time and dedication, the pay off is huge. As we interact with interfaces more and more, it seems sensical to interact with flavour through a computer. If Marshall McLuhan is right, and i’m sure he is, our tools are becoming an extension of ourselves. The extremes are negative, of course, but it’s an exciting time.
After this, we travelled to Malmo and visited our friend Sarah at Malmo University, she’s undertaking an Interactivity Masters there. We were invited to one of her lectures about the Internet of Things, taught by David Cuartielles, co-founder of Arduino. We were in luck, for sure, and even luckier that it was an intimate affair, we even looked around the Arduino base in the building. It was a good day.
Regarding the IoT, technology is getting smarter. The new Arduinos run an Ubuntu OS, running your own server from the microcontroller is now possible out of the box, without any need for a wifi or ethernet shield. David showed us the Arduino created alongside Telefonica using cellular data to send and receive data, some of these are being used in fieldwork in the most remote of places. It is so exciting!
Could my project be classed as the IoT? It doesn’t have a tangible input or output yet, but I would love it to someday. Even something as simple as a wristband with LED’s representing the flavour graph I described in my last post. But it’s a step in the direction of connecting us, and hear me out here, if creating a database of collated flavour perception is as simple as running your own $5 server on Digital Ocean, using a free API to populate it with recipes, and releasing your own API via an open source and document rich framework then implementing it in Processing (which bundles the whole thing as an application, no dependencies required), it’s an area i’m happy to be part of.