Introduction: Interactive Portraits Using Lilypad Mp3

Picture of Interactive Portraits Using Lilypad Mp3

This project explores the connection between portraiture and interactive technology. It uses an mp3 Lilypad, copper tape, neodymium magnets, plexiglass, velum, small cardboard box, acrylic paint, an mp3 file on an mini SD card, conductive thread, alligator clips, two small speakers, lipo battery and clear tape. 

Check out the user guide on the SparkFun site for more information on the MP3 Lilypad
Also notice if you buy the Lilypad MP3 you have to also purchase the battery, FTDI header (for changing the code) and speakers. 

Step 1: Record a Story and Take a Photo.

Picture of Record a Story and Take a Photo.

The first thing you want to do is to find a person and record their story. This project specifically was focused on the connection between memory and the body so questions were asked about the persons body. This interview was recorded using the iPhone's voice memo. The application and interface looks like this... 

Step 2: Take Recording and Convert to MP3

Picture of Take Recording and Convert to MP3

The Lilypad MP3 reads many different files but the ones that work the best are MP3. Sync your computer with your iPhone if you used this to record. Find the voice memo section. If you have a Mac drag and drop the file onto your desktop. Convert the file by clicking on it and then the get info option. Change the file name extension from m4a to mp3 .  You will also need to change the file name so that the first character is a number from 1-5. This is because the there are 5 triggers. An example would be to name your file 1myfirstsong.mp3. This means if you were to activate trigger 1 your song would play. You will get a confirmation prompt. Select mp3. Then drag the file onto the SD card. 

Step 3: Check to See Your File Has Been Transfered and the Lilypad Works.

Picture of Check to See Your File Has Been Transfered and the Lilypad Works.

You want to make sure your Lilypad and your files work. Take your mini SD card and put it into the Lilypad. 

Step 4: Connect Ground and Battery

Picture of Connect Ground and Battery

Use the alligator clips to connect one to the ground. Plug in the battery. 

Step 5: Connect the Speakers

Picture of Connect the Speakers

On the back of your speakers you should see a positive (+) sign and a negative (-) sign. These must be connected to the positive and negative signs on the Lilypad. Connect one side of an alligator clip to the positive (+) of the speaker and one to the corresponding (+) on the board. Connect the other pin on the same speaker negative sign (-) with an alligator clip to the other negative side (-) on the LilyPad. Do the same thing to the other speaker. 

Step 6: Trigger the Sound

Picture of Trigger the Sound

Next turn the power switch on. You should see a red light when the switch is on. Take the unconnected ground clip and touch it (do not clip it on) to the trigger number (called transition pins in the photo) that the song is labeled to. For example if you named your song 1firstsong.mp3 then you should touch the ground to T1 plate. After a couple of seconds lift it off of the trigger plate. The MP3 should start playing. 

Step 7: Congrats Your Sound Works! Make the Image

Picture of Congrats Your Sound Works! Make the Image

If your sound does not work check out the trouble shooting page on Sparkfun page. If it works you need to now draw your portrait of the person. I chose to use Dular .005 matte film finish and speedball pens. 

Step 8: Make Your Platform / Enclosure.

Picture of Make Your Platform / Enclosure.

I decided that one way to enclose the Lilypad was to use a small Sparkfun box that I already had. I cut two slits in the box. Each one measured out so that the plexiglass fits in the slits securely. Make sure that the space between the two piece is about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch so that they can connect. Test to make sure it can stand up. 

Step 9: The Interaction.

Picture of The Interaction.

It is always good to draw out the interaction you want. Notice that the second panel is determined based on figuring out the interaction. 

Step 10: Layout the Copper Tape on the Panels.

Picture of Layout the Copper Tape on the Panels.

Use the copper tape and lay out the traces on both panels. The portrait side will be connected to the ground plate on the Lilypad and the second panel with have copper tape that connects to the trigger plates. Connect magnets on the second plate (the back plate) at the end of each trace. 

Step 11: Glue Magnents on the Top Conners.

Picture of Glue Magnents on the Top Conners.

Glue the magnets on each corner to make it so that the two pieces snap together but that you have enough space so the inside magnets do not touch the copper traces. 

Step 12: Copper Tape in the Enclosure and Lily Pad

Picture of Copper Tape in the Enclosure and Lily Pad

Mark out where the copper tape needs to be inside the enclosure to correspond to the Lilypad. In the example all the triggers are in the back, the speakers are in the front and the ground is on the left side which will pass under the Lilypad and connect to the first panel touching the other copper tape within the first slit. Also notice that the copper tape for the ground is taped over with clear tape to restrict short circuiting. 

Step 13: Conductive Thread

Picture of Conductive Thread

Next use the conductive thread. Knot it around each connection using the holes. Attached the conductive thread to the copper tape inside the box. Plug in the battery and tie on the speakers. Make sure there are no threads interfering with one another. 

Step 14: Insert and Touch to Play Recording

Insert each panel into the individual slits. Make sure the copper tape from inside the box and the copper tape on the panels touch. Once the panels are snapped in place take a bunch of the magnets in your hand. In the example to magnets were placed into the finger of a glove which already had conductive material. Then trace your finger around part of the face. You will feel a small snap. Move your finger away from the face and the recording will start to play. If you would like to trigger a different part of a recording trace your finger over another part of the panel until you feel a snap and the audio track will change. 

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