Inspirations: AI and machine Creativity


AARON is a painting robot made by Harold Cohen, capable of using and mixing real paints to create works on canvas. AARON displays a level of unpredictability; with even it’s creator not knowing what it will make. AARON is, however, not technically artificial intelligence, lying somewhere closer to a form of autonomous code. (Cohen, 2018)

Microsoft’s Drawing AI

Microsoft have designed a creative machine capable of making images of what it is told. The machine takes inputs in the form of text, which it then uses to determine what to create. The result is pixel-by-pixel generated images, sitting somewhere between photograph and painting. (Roach, 2018)


Cohen, H. (2018). Harold Cohen Online Publication. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2018].

Roach, J. (2018). Microsoft researchers build a bot that draws what you tell it to – The AI Blog. [online] The AI Blog. Available at: [Accessed 2 Feb. 2018].

Netscapes: Building Bluetooth connections

To bring together the visualisation and physical prototype, I started working on a Bluetooth connection to the MongoDB connection code I previously built.


Physical prototype with HC-05 Bluetooth module

Since we already have the HC-05 Bluetooth module in place and working with the Bluetooth terminal input on mobile, I simply had to look up how to create an output system in our .js code to match the inputs we previously designed for the Arduino.

BSP design.jpg

Initial flow diagram of program

I looked into how this could be done and began researching into using Bluetooth-Serial-Port module for Node.js.

After getting to grips with how the library works, I experimented with creating a basic framework for opening a Bluetooth connection and sending a basic input.  This code will check for a connection with the correct name, find the matching address, open a connection, and if it is successful, and the character ‘a’. When hooked up to the glass head model, this should activate the LED ring, making it light up.

bluetooth serial build code

My experimentation with BSP within the previously made MongoDB connection code



  • Certain information missing from Bluetooth-Serial-Port NPM documentation – I had to work around this by searching for other uses of BSP to fill in the gaps
  • Method to call previously paired Bluetooth devices doesn’t work on linux systems, so a workaround has to be made (looping through available connections and matching a name)

Next Steps

  • Update Arduino-side code: Modify existing code to include more interesting light effects, such as those I previously created for my ‘Everyware’ project. These would not be direct copies, but modifications of this pre-existing code, for a unique lighting effect.
  • Thoroughly test this code to ensure a secure connection is made and maintained for the duration of the installation.

Code Referencing/Libraries Used

Below is a list of the code documentations I used as reference when building my code. Whilst code was not directly copied, it was heavily referenced from the documentation:

JS express –
JS json body parser –
JS path –
JS Mongo Client –

Netscapes: Week 1 – Part 1: Related Reading

Kipper, G. and Rampolla, J. (2012). Augmented reality: An Emerging Technologies Guide to AR Waltham, MA: Syngress.

Kipper & Rampolla’s book offers a look into how AR can be used on a number of platforms (including mobile and desktop) and across industries. It discusses how AR can be used for both education and gaming purposes, and gives insight into security and other issues developers may encounter. The text provides a range of examples of uses in public and private scenarios, and gives examples of how this technology can be used to improve not only our careers, but our daily lives.

Ribas, D. (2017). Building Cognitive Applications with IBM Watson Services. 1st ed. [S.l.]: IBM Redbooks.

The first book in a series giving insight into building AI based applications using IBM’s Watson platform, written by IBM themselves. This book outlines how the platform works and how it can be used in real life applications.

The book provides examples of code and explanations, and explains how the Watson services can be manipulated to cater to individual needs and different purposes, such as in the case example of DeepQA. This is done by discussing the creation of a new system to use for “Jeopardy!”, where Watson AI competed against human competitors in the game show.

Kwastek, K. (2013). Aesthetics of interaction in digital art. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Kwastek’s book discusses how interaction has been and continues to be an important part of installation and performance artwork. It looks into the history of interactive art in its various forms, starting from the 1960’s, and brings it into a modern context, referring to the rising creation of digital art.

The text gives theoretical insight into the creation of interactive artworks, using case studies to help illustrate her ideas and offer new perspective into the creation of this type of art.

Candy, L. and Ferguson, S. (2014). Interactive experience in the digital age. 1st ed. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

This book gives an insight into the creation of interactive experiences within modern art. The book explores the diverse ways in which interactive art can be created, and how interactive media can enhance the experience of artwork for a viewer. It takes research from human computer interaction and applies this to the field of digital arts.

The text also features insights from professionals such as artists, entrepreneurs, designers and creators.

Setting up Eduroam on Raspberry Pi

Anyone who has ever used Eduroam on a Raspberry pi will know that it’s no easy task to set it up. Fortunately, it is possible, it just takes a lot of trial and error.

This has been tested on a Pi2, Pi3, and a model b+ with a WiFi adapter.

How to set up an Eduroam WiFi connection on Raspberry pi:

Firstly, you will need to find out your university’s network information – this will vary depending on which university you are at. As this guide is made (and tested) for Plymouth University, you may have to find your own university’s information. In this case, the information was readily available on the university’s website — you will need to look this up in case there are any differences (this part is up to you!).

Before you start, you may need to stop network connections:

sudo service networking stop

Warning:  This will disable any currently open network connections – if you are using your Raspi with SSH, this will disconnect it, so be sure to do this using a mouse/keyboard/screen.


If you have used WiFi on a Raspberry Pi before, you may have noticed your password is stored in plain text – this is not okay! We can combat this by hashing it. You can convert your password by opening a command prompt and typing in:

read -s input ; echo -n $input | iconv -t utf16le | openssl md4

then type in your password. It will feed back a hashed version of your password. This needs to be added to the the ‘wpa_supplicant.conf’ file as indicated later.


Editing the Config files

The two files we need to edit are ‘/etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf’ and ‘/etc/network/interfaces’. What you put into these files depends on your university’s network.

The first can be edited in the terminal by typing:

sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

in ‘wpa_supplicant’:

   ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
scan_ssid=1 scan_ssid=1
pairwise=CCMP TKIP pairwise=CCMP TKIP

where <eduroam username> is your usual eduroam login and <eduroam password> is the hashed password.

Next, edit ‘interfaces’ by typing into the terminal:

sudo nano /etc/network/interfaces

and adding in:

 auto lo wlan0
     iface lo inet loopback
     iface eth0 inet dhcp
     iface wlan0 inet dhcp
        wpa-driver wext
        wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
     iface default inet dhcp


You may also need your university’s security certificate – this can usually be found with the other details for manually connecting to your university’s WiFi. Once you have found it, add it to the folder ‘/etc/ssl/certs/’ and then link back to it from within your ‘wpa_supplicant.conf’ file by adding:


where ‘/etc/certs/<NameofCert>’ is the name/location of the certificate needed.

Once this is done, you will need to run wpa_supplicant:

sudo wpa_supplicant -i wlan0 -c /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf -B

You may need to reboot to get it to connect.


You may find that your Raspberry pi resets key_mgmt to “none” on connecting to Eduroam and lists as “disassociated from Eduroam” – if this is the case, you may find it easier to work on a copy and overwriting the original with the Eduroam version.

Useful links

Eduroam for RasPi at Bristol University

Eduroam for RasPi at Cambridge University

Digital Cities: The future of urban life

In the modern age, everything is becoming smart. From phones, televisions and even home appliances. But the ‘Smart movement’ is also taking place on a much bigger scale; whole cities are becoming smart.

But what is a smart city? Whilst there is no complete definition as to what a smart city is, they are based around using technology to create solutions to modern life problems. For example, Barcelona has introduced ‘smart traffic lights‘ that provide “Green light corridors” to emergency service vehicles, as well as introducing new bus services that use technology to ‘ensure the system is managed effectively’.

I created this short video to give a basic explanation of smart cities and their aims:

Creating my Digital City Visualizations

Because of the lack of local data available, I had to use mock data & data from other cities to test my app – In this case Bristol.

I made 2 visualizations using PHP – one takes percentages of residents happy with their local green areas and represents it with the number of living and dead flowers in a field, the other takes the number of shopping trolleys found in rivers and represents that as dead fish in a river.

Building the Automated Home


Raspberry Pi checking weather

Next I made a miniature model of a house fitted with a Raspberry pi & Arduino. The Arduino was wired up to a selection of sensors and servo motors, with a small screen on top. I programmed the Raspberry Pi to read in live online data, such as weather, sunset, and temperature. If the weather was bad, the servo motors would spin and the windows would shut, and if the weather was dry and sufficiently warm, the windows would open.

The Raspberry Pi was connected to a Unicorn Hat, which I setup to scroll text across according to the weather data, for example, if it was rainy, it would scroll the word “Rain” in blue.


Rain Sensor allowing for viewer interaction


The house was also wired up with sensors that would override the online data inputs, such as in the case of unexpected rain showers. This also allowed for viewer interaction during exhibition.

Related Links

News Report: Bristol UK’s leading Digital City outside London

Bristol Open Data

Urban API: Uni Voice

Uni voice is an interactive feedback system built for Plymouth University. Its aim is to make it easier for student’s voices to be heard in a fresh and exciting manner, by creating a connection between the virtual and physical world.

It is built using Unity and Vuforia to create an augmented reality app. It uses the QR codes as an AR target. Live Twitter data is given a sentiment score using Node-Red and used to dynamically change the size of buildings on the map.

Our Inspirations were:

Peronio: an AR pop-up book built with Unity and Vuforia; much like our own project.Read More…

Monsters Multiplayer AR board game – uses Vuforia smart terrian to build a game board that includes physical objects as part of the game board. Read More…

Central Park – Listen To The Light: an interactive location-aware album that changes based on where you walk. Read More

Design Process

Planning and low-fidelity prototypes


First map that uses images with Vuforia to play sounds.

To start with, we used images that Vuforia would recognise and use to replay sounds. We later replaced these with QR codes.

3d map

concept of map with building sizes influenced by Twitter data.


Final Designs/High-fidelity prototypes


QR codes on the map.


AR still.png

Concept of 3D building on the physical map.

Using Blender camera tracking, I was able to quickly create a concept of how the 3D AR buildings would look on the physical map.


Uni Voice in action



Jack demonstrating the AR app in action.

uni voice logo black

I created the logo in Illustrator as an identity for our project.

Future Improvements

  • Potential for further expansion such as having more ‘points’ on the map.
  • live Twitter updates with Text-To-Speech technology (which we simulated with pre-recorded Text-to-speech software).
  • Switch out QR codes for alternatives, possibly using NFC tags under the map or the numbers on the map.

Evaluation & Feedback

We used an online feedback system to both gather first-hand research on students views of how the University handles feedback, and another on feedback from our project to help us measure our influence and impact on the university.

See it here: University Voice Survey



Unity • Vuforia • CrazyBump • Node-Red • Stellarsurvey


Music from the Mundane: Field Sound Recording

Field sound recording is the art of taking recordings of everday noise – Cars, People, and Trains to name a few – and using it to create music.


Marc De Pape – ‘Chime – Scoring the City’

Chime is a wind-chime inspired instrument that captures motion data from various points around the city.

“The Chime is a collection of 18 sensors measuring 27 parameters assembled to poetically translate the impulses and flows of the everyday city into sound. “

Listen/Read more | Video

Yuri Suzuki – ‘Sound Taxi’

Sound taxi features a black London cab decked out with 67 speakers and one measurement microphone. As it drives around, it picks up sounds using the microphone on the roof, then uses software to analyse the frequencies and convert it to music

Listen | Read more

Giorgio Sancristoforo – Project AudioScan

006lorenza daverio pg

“Audioscan embodies the confluence of three stages of modern music technology: tape recording, electronic synthesis and processing, and personal-computer-based digital audio. It starts with recordings of street sounds, turns those into electronic instruments processed by electronic effects, and then creates the final composition in a digital audio workstation.”

Read More

My Sound Recording

My recording features sounds of Plymouth: Featuring shoppers in drake circus, train announcements, devonport siren, cars and buses, buskers, seagulls and of course the ocean. I recorded these on my camera and used Audacity to put it all together.

My idea was to recreate and reflect the city atmosphere in sound format.




Chime by Marc de Pape

Yuri Suzuki sound taxi:Article | Artist Website

Giorgio Sancristoforo – Audioscan

The Art of the Journey: GPS Drawing

GPS drawing is a combination of art, technology and travel. The aim is to draw using a GPS co ordinates – such as using tracking app on a mobile phone – turning travelling into an art form.

My Drawing

I wanted my drawing to reflect the local area; so as Plymouth is known as the “ocean city” i decided to try and create a simple boat on campus.


My  boat drawn on campus by using GPS co ordinates. Mapped using Single points during the walk and later connected with straight lines in GPS visualizer.

Some of the difficulties with GPS drawings are obstacles such as buildings and walls that could potentially block paths you are trying to create; and if you are using a mobile phone app, they tend to drain battery quite quickly!



World’s biggest if – Hugh Pryor



‘If’ features 70 mile tall letters spanning London, Oxford and the surrounding areas. It is created only by travelling through places with names that begin with ‘if’, such as ifield road and ifold, as seen above.

World’s biggest if

Hugh Pryor – ‘The Wallingford Fish’


The Wallingford Fish, created by Hugh Pryor, is regarded as one of the first GPS drawings. It covers 13  miles, is 67 miles long, and made using felt tip pens and a map!

Wallingford fish

My Ghost



A complex example; ‘My Ghost’, uses GPS data collected from all his daily travels to create a ‘Personal Cartography’ map of London. It reflects the daily travels that we take, but often do not realise how much we cover.

My Ghost


Plymouth Whale


Read More

A Road less Travelled: Psychogeography

“The science of anthropogeography, or more properly speaking, psychogeography, deals with the influence of geographical environment on the human mind.”

– J. Walter Fewkes, Bureau of American Ethnology, (1905)

Psychogeography is based around identifying the ambiance and general feelings associated with a place. The aim is to divide city zones into ‘distinct psychic atmospheres’; Creating an illustration of a city not based upon topography, but instead based around the feelings created in certain areas, and how they link together.

Our inspiration today is based around the work of Guy Debord, an example of which is below. The arrows represent unity; a connection between areas based on psychological aspects; these are known as ‘Slopes’. The size of the arrow corresponds to the strength or length of a slope.


Guy Debord’s Psychogeographical guide to Paris

Our work was also inspired by Mark Shepherd’s ‘Serendipitor’; an app that leads you from point A to point B using roads not yet walked (Similar: Drift), as well as Susan Philipsz’ installation ‘Surround Me’, which uses sound as a medium to reflect the atmosphere of areas of London.

My Psychogeography Journey

To start our journey, we placed a cup on a map to mark out a general area for exploration. This is not a limitation; it is merely a guideline for our path.

Our journey starts on the outskirts of the university, near Drake’s reservoir, a place where work and rest collides. There is a sense of calm; a juxtaposition between the busy streets and the university campus.

drake resevoir

The train station and surrounding main roads have an overall sense of restlessness; it is an area of transportation that never sleeps.


In stark contrast to the city centre, these cramped flats almost give a sense of suffocation. The atmosphere is quiet, almost depressing in nature.


An area of transition; watched over by CCTV. An Archway leading you away from residential to commercial, a gradual transition dusted with grassy banks.


As the residential area melds back into the commercial area of the city, the mood changes. The silence is broken by the sounds of cars overhead and the soft strumming of a guitar as the quiet of the residential areas give way to the commercial and work areas. This is a place of transition.


Another transition; this time from the city centre near the hoe toward a quieter area. Although the churches may represent a sense of community to some, the dark cobbled alleyways may represent a feeling of nothingness, possibly even unease in others.

to churches.jpg

Lastly, we return to the University’s Roland Levinsky building; a modern, angular building with a strong presence. The shape of the stairway and surrounding walls naturally leads you toward the entrance, not dissimilar to a funnel. Although fitting with the architecture of the nearby shopping centre; the feeling is overall different.


This is a rough map of our actual journey, and a psychogeographical map based on our own experiences.

psychogeography routepsychogeography plymouth map






3D Modelling for the Immersive Vision Theatre

We were tasked with creating a 10 second animation in Blender for the Immersive Vision Theatre. We had roughly 2 weeks to create it, so we had to keep it simple yet still demonstrate our knowledge of Blender and 3D modelling.

We all decided to create a different game each. Meg (View her website Here!) created Space Chess, Jack made Space invaders, Rachel made Pac-Man, Harry made Tetris, James made Monopoly, and I made first-person Sonic, as I felt this would work well in the IVT.

I decided to go for a low-poly aesthetic as we had limited time, so I needed to keep it simple whilst still making it look good. Having previous experience of Blender, I was able to easily create assets for my animation such as springs, rocks and spikes.


Work in progress

To render for the dome,we had to use Blender’s fish eye camera. We also had to take into account the angle of the screen, which means we have to angle the camera roughly 25º down.

sonic test0205.png

One of the frames from my animation, rendered in Fisheye.

Because the Dome is truncated, we had to edit it to fit in After Effects to crop 20% off the top. We also took this as an opportunity to add transitions and audio to make our work flow better.

My part of the animation, ready to be put together with the rest in After Effects ready for our presentation.