A Stone, finally! And Some Numbers on Randomness

I am super happy that my classmate Yen, who happens to work at ITP as well, heard about my project and gave me a beautiful big natural stone that he kept in his office . Very likely it is granite and therefore a good source for natural radiation / random numbers. 

radiation tests

So last night I sat down and did a few experiments measuring the amount of decaying particles with and without a stone close to the geiger-counter. I conducted 3 test rows, so three times with the stone, three times without the stone. 

Here are the results measured over the time of 3 minutes each:

round 1

(86 vs 67)

round 2

(76 vs 67)

round 3

(75 vs 62)


The stone from Yen's office seems to be slightly radioactive, around 15 - 20% compared to "normal" conditions that mainly detect gamma rays from cosmic radiation. It is still very low compared to carbon-monoxide detectors, big granite kitchen countertops, old watch luminescent hands, which emit many more decaying particles over this amount of time. 

installation prototype setup

I decided to do a quick run to test parts of the setup. Here a solenoid knocks the random particle decay from inside the stone that gets detected by the geiger counter back into the stone  - the heart of the stone is talking to its audience:


So far so good - tomorrow I have to test the setup powered entirely with two solar panels - let's hope the sun is out and the panels can generate enough current to power the entire installation! 

More C4D experiments for Randomness_Project

As I am currently looking for a digital translation of the physical interface of the random-project (stone and knocks with hand or hammer / solenoid as the "hammer of randomness") that might be part of the installation piece and create a more immersive space for the audience, I am exploring cinema4d shapes and materials to find the right fit for the  "devotional device" that the installation tries to create: the rhythm of the animation would be triggered by the particle decay inside the granite (and some gamma-particle noise probably caused by solar flare). The materials of the digital objects should remind of devotional objects: precious stones, gold and fur. These become animated and "alive" through true randomness.

And I am quickly realizing the relationship between computational power, render-time and animation/material complexity - it takes forever to render a short animation in high-res ....

Here a few more screenshots and animations:


(animation above based on mograph-tutorial)


Merging "Energy" and "Project Development Studio" - Finals

For my final in my energy-class I decided to create a solar powered version of my installation piece for project development studio: In this iteration of my project, the audience can only "connect" to the true randomness of the granite when the sun is out. 

I will build a more complex installation for the spring show that will not run on solar, this one for my energy-final will run entirely on it.

Here a modified wiring schematics that is based on an Adafruit tutorial for using the piezo and solenoid in combination:



I am using a logic level converter between Arduino nano running on 5V and the geiger-counter running on 3V. The solar panel is providing power for the Arduino and the solenoid. The piezo is running on a separated power-circuit provided by the Arduino. This circuit feeds as well into the logic-level converter which is providing power to the geiger counter (convert voltage down) and enables listening to its pulse (convert signal voltage up). 

The code for the installation is still in the making, I still have to merge the solenoid trigger into the piezo and geiger counter code. The comparison of geiger counter beeps and knocks to identify whether the knocks of a user are in sync with the randomness of the particle decay inside the granite needs to be improved as well. 

Random Random Random ... and my first cinema4d attempts

Last week I took a few moments to play with cinema4d  - I somehow felt explorative with creating animations for my random-project. So far I am not sure how exactly it could fit in, but there is something to this motion ... maybe three screens / panels on each of the side-walls of the room that are triggered by the random-ness of the geiger-counter underneath the black granite?