Monday, December 19, 2005


PIC and MIDI to MAX from the variable input of the resistors in our ASL glove (leads connected to block)

Hey these examples look sort of like our ASL glove set-up don't they?

Well actually, I didn't get anywhere near finished with Lab 7 but our final project seems to have filled the bill.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Device / Instrument / Tool - Final Project - " The Spoken Hand" - Group : Terence Arjo, Langdon Crawford, Stephen Kerrigan, Adam Samuels

From Wearable Music -aka - The MIDI Suit Project to:

The Spoken Hand - Auditory American Sign Language

What was the MIDI Suit and how did we get to The Spoken Hand ?

Recent History: Our Wearable Music Project was well on it's way. We had gloves, stitched and outfitted with flex sensors, we had programming through Max, sound tests were "conducted" (pun intended), there were soundbanks indexed in Excel ready to go, we had funky schematics, accolades from well-wishers and a wide array of things we could get these gloves and later elbow and knee braces similarly outfitted, to do.............

Here's (see below) a funky image of our data flow and please see Langdon's Site

for a couple more - they're cool !

The MIDI Suit concept grew from the idea of using normal range of motion in body movement to trigger MIDI : sound effect/ musical/ pecussive events. The viability of this concept is good, testing for the project had begun and the early (raw) results were satisfying. Our group came to a decision however, on a point made by our instructor, Andrew Milmoe regarding focusing our efforts into a more narrowly defined area. We, later that evening, came to a decision to use the model of incorporating customarily used movement in our project rather than movements needed to be made to get function out of the hard/soft -wear designed for the project.
Obersvations and user testing that are part of the project work for Wearable Music will be things that I will continue for specific concerns of mine, regarding therapuetic uses for individuals with cognitive disabilities.
We would have loved to have done the "all of the above" type project but these are probably projects to be considered individually, because there is so much that could be done with any "one" of them.

So,....... Onto the New............
For our group's final project, we have decided to work with American Sign Language, making the alphabet of ASL, audible and transforming the customary movement, i.e. of signing letters of the alphabet, into a form of communication understandable by those who are: ( 1.) not ASL conversant, generally (and 2.) not able to observe the use of ASL for the occasion of conversing with someone who signs. By this transformation, a visually impaired individual, for example, might then have the opportunity to communicate with an individual who is speech impaired.

No laments, about the work we placed to the side for now, because this project has it's own great merits and challenges. Given the efforts that were already invested in what we thought was going to be our project, turning on a dime, as it were, speaks (at least) to understanding and flexability and those are great assets in collaborative endeavors. Thanks to the group !

Take a look at the Michigan State University - American Sign Language Browser (below) for observtions of how ASL is physically signed.

American Sign Language Browser


Hand position shown for fingerspelling of letter A.

Hand position shown for fingerspelling of letter Z.

November 17th :my Dad's Birthday!


One thing is certain, none of us in the group would have anticipated the hours needed to bring the "Spoken Hand" even to this point. We have been able so far to make audible, 21 letters of the ASL alphabet, leaving J,P,Q,V and Z for future development. The necessity of incorporating accelerometers for the letters J and Z ; stretch sensors for P and Q and another dedicated circuit, of a yet to be determined form, for V, required more time than we had and so we proceeded with our 21 letter grouping.


Sign Language, in a literal sense, could be thought of as the earliest practice of “digital” communications. The anatomical definition referring to fingers as digits is indicative of the means by which this communication, in part, takes place. The graphical depiction of words, phrases, concepts and letters is accomplished manually and forms the basis of “speaking” in the Signing community.

Our project termed “The Spoken Hand” starts with the manual American Sign Language Alphabet (below) and literally digitizes it. The result we sought and have been able to demonstrate is a transduction to an Audible form of the ASL Alphabet. Beyond graphic to text (another form of graphic) the transduction is from digitized manual graphic to sound. This was the best place to start because to one extent or another, an understanding of the alphabet, regardless of its form, is common to most people. Conceptually this transduction/translation facilitates an ability of independent communication and instruction. Members of the Signing community would now be understood by individuals who are visually impaired and by those who cognitively might not comprehend ASL. The physical/cognitive situations for each of these groups prior to “Spoken Hand” effectively left them exclusive of each other. This exclusivity cannot be seen as anything other than a loss for all of the individuals involved. Once what relegates a person to a group is removed or remediated, the individuals within the groups become the focus. What they may contribute to each other is of far more importance than the means by which they make that contribution. That it is made possible by a translation of either Digitized Speech-to-Text or Sign for those who find fluid manual Signing not practical or as in our project’s case, Sign-to-Speech, is only a means to have communication take place.

History of ASL

In the United States, as in most of the world, hearing families with deaf children often employ ad-hoc home sign for simple communications. Today, though, many ASL classes are offered in secondary and postsecondary schools. ASL is a language distinct from spoken English—replete with its own syntax and grammar and supporting its own culture. The origin of modern ASL is ultimately tied to the confluence of many events and circumstances, including historical attempts at deaf education; possibly the sign used by the indigenous nations of North America; the unique situation present on a small island in Massachusetts; the attempts of a father to enlist a local minister to help educate his deaf daughter; and in no small part the ingenuity and genius of people (in this case deaf people) for language itself.

Standardized sign languages have been used in Italy since the 17th century and in France since the 18th century for the instruction of the deaf. Old French Sign Language was developed and used in Paris by the Abbé de l'Epée in his school for the deaf. These languages were always modeled after the natural sign languages already in use by the deaf cultures in their area of origin, often with additions to show aspects of the grammar of the local spoken languages.

American Plains Indians used Plains Indian Sign Language as an interlanguage for communication between people/tribes not sharing a common spoken language; its influence on ASL, if any, is unknown.

Off the coast of Massachusetts, on the island of Martha's Vineyard in the 18th century, the population had a much higher rate of deafness than the general population of the continental United States because of the founder effect and the island's isolation. Martha's Vineyard Sign Language was well known by almost all islanders since so many families had deaf members. It afforded almost everyone with the opportunity to have frequent contact with ASL while at an age most conducive to effortlessly learning a language.

Congregationalist minister and deaf educator Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet is credited with popularizing the signing technique in North America. At the behest of a father who was interested in educating his deaf daughter, Alice Cogswell, he was enlisted to investigate the methods of teaching the deaf. In the early 1800s he visited the Abbé de l'Epée's school in Paris and convinced one of the teachers, Laurent Clerc, to return with him to America. In 1817 they founded the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb (now the American School for the Deaf), in Hartford, Connecticut, to teach sign language to American deaf students.

It was at this school that all these influences would intermingle, interact and what would become ASL was born. Many of the school's students were from Martha's Vineyard, and they mixed their "native" sign language with Clerc's OFSL. Other students probably brought their own highly localized sign language or "home sign" systems to the mix. Undoubtedly, spontaneous lexicon developed at the school as well. If there was any influence from sign language of indigenous people, it may have been here that it was absorbed into the language.

Interestingly, because of the early influence of the sign language of France upon the school, the vocabularies of the modern sign languages in North America and France are approximately 60% shared whereas the vocabularies of ASL and British Sign Language are almost completely dissimilar.

From its synthesis at this first public school for the deaf in North America, the language went on to grow. Many of the graduates of this school went on to found schools of their own in many other states thus spreading the methods of Gallaudet and Clerc and serving to expand and standardize the language; as with most languages though, there are regional variations.

After being strongly established in this country there was a bitter fight between those who supported oralism over manualism in the late 1800s. Many notable individuals of high standing contributed to this row, such as Alexander Graham Bell. The oralists won many battles and for a long time the use of sign was suppressed, socially and pedagogically. Many considered sign to not even be a language at all. This situation was changed by William Stokoe a professor of English hired at Gallaudet University in 1955. He immediately became fascinated by ASL and began serious study of it. Eventually, through publication in linguistics journals of articles containing detailed linguistic analysis of ASL, he was able to convince the scientific mainstream that ASL was indeed a natural language on a par with any other.

The language continues to grow and change like any living language. Currently, as with spoken English, ASL constantly adds new signs in an attempt to keep up with constantly changing technology.

Material from Wikipedia - search ASL

A Brief History Of The American Asylum, At Hartford, For The Education And Instruction Of The Deaf And Dumb
Creator: n/a

DATE: 1893

American Sign Language (ASL) is the dominant sign language in United States, English-speaking Canada, and parts of Mexico. Although the United Kingdom and the United States share English as a spoken language, British Sign Language (BSL) is a different language from ASL, and not mutually intelligible.


American Sign Language (ASL) Signed in: United States, Canada and Mexico

Region: Anglophone North America


ASL is also used (sometimes alongside indigenous sign languages) in the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Mauritania, Kenya, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe. As with other sign languages, its grammar and syntax are distinct from the spoken language(s) in its area of influence. There has been no reliable survey of the number of people who use ASL as their primary language; estimates range from 200,000 to 2 million


Creole emerging from Old French Sign Language, Martha's Vineyard Sign Language and home sign

Hardware , Software, Handwear, etc.:
Pictures of the setups:

The first version ofthe glove proved to be too difficult to remove from your hand . It worked but really only with flex sensors. We neded to find a more sturdy glove that could have a fair amount of fabrication done upon it and that could remain fairly flexible.

New Version in stages of fabrication. Fitted with contact switches and flex sensors.

Glove with new resistor array to allow more discrete spacing between hand positioning to correct letter response

Leads from glove sensors and contact switches to PIC and MIDI out to USB 2x2 Midiman and into Max

First glove with MIDI to Max

in to
flex sensor

Here is a screen shot from the freeware audio editing program named: Audacity, of the Alphabet Letter Sound file I recorded and edited for use with our "Spoken Hand" -sensor glove mapping information. The sounds of the letters have been time adjusted to occur at 2 second intervals. This negates the need for an Excel spreadsheet listing of the individual sound files. It is saved as a .wav file in Audacity and will be converted to an aiff file for our uses.

User Tests

Using the glove has a learning curve but with a little work users are able to correctly form letters.

Some users depending upon their hand size have an easier time forming letters.
This glove is not a one size fits all but that might be helpful if an on the fly calibration of individual bendings of flex sensors, etc. could be made.

Only took

User Tests Responses:

USER QUESTIONAIRE for the Spoken Hand

Name : C. High School Senior


Are you familiar with American Sign Language (ASL)? - No

Have you ever had occasion to observe ASL before? -Yes

Have you ever had occasion to use ASL before? - No

Are you familiar with the ASL alphabet? - No


Please rate the ease of use in forming letters of the ASL alphabet


How would you rate the feel of the glove?

Difficult to manage--------------------------Easy to manage


Comments: After a while the glove felt uncomfortable.

Thank You from The Spoken Hand PComp Group for your participation!

USER QUESTIONAIRE for the Spoken Hand

Name : D. - Special Ed. Teacher


Are you familiar with American Sign Language (ASL)? - Yes

Have you ever had occasion to observe ASL before? -Yes

Have you ever had occasion to use ASL before? - Yes

Are you familiar with the ASL alphabet? - Yes


Please rate the ease of use in forming letters of the ASL alphabet


How would you rate the feel of the glove?

Difficult to manage--------------------------Easy to manage


Comments: I found the glove to be a bit loose on my hand and also found that at times the material would stick making it difficult to maneuver into the next letter. I feel that it is a bit too bulky with all the wires but an ingenious project which just needs a little tweaking here and there.

Thank You from The Spoken Hand PComp Group for your participation!

USER QUESTIONAIRE for the Spoken Hand

Name: F. - Kindergartener


Are you familiar with American Sign Language (ASL)? –A little

Have you ever had occasion to observe ASL before? - No

Have you ever had occasion to use ASL before? - No

Are you familiar with the ASL alphabet? - No


Please rate the ease of use in forming letters of the ASL alphabet


How would you rate the feel of the glove?

Difficult to manage--------------------------Easy to manage


Comments: It was hard to form the letters and the glove felt weird. My hand is too small.

Thank You from The Spoken Hand PComp Group for your participation!

USER QUESTIONAIRE for the Spoken Hand


This project has been a wonderful challenge. Our group put a great amount of energy into this endeavor and the result, I believe, has been geater than we had tought it might be. We will continue to develop a more sleek and responsive version making it wireless, enabling a freer user experience. Our ultimate test will be to have an individual who signs as a primary communication find our work useful. The idea of having this device become a usable communication and teaching tool will be better realized under fire, as it were, with a more high powered work-out. Until then there is more than enough work to be done on this project to refine it.

My thanks to our group members. I was greatly privleged to work with them.

Thanks also to our instructor Andrew Milmoe. Had he not pointed out(more than once)the importance of the user and not technology being the center of the idea, I'm sure we'd be off to some spiffy yet less helpful corner by now.

For Additional Info about the different areas of hard work in the Projects, please check out Our Group's Sites, They all like it so, when company comes a callin' :

Terence's Site

Langdon's Site

Adam's Site

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Lab # 6 H - Bridge DC

Until my H - Bridge arrives, here's a googled list of H - Bridge sites and things you can peruse:

Googled H- Bridge Sites

H -bridges to arrive shortly - Priority mail shipped-got the email last night.

The pins weren't too good on this one. They were in fact somewhat of a wider spread than the space accross the divide on the breadboard . I bent the pins on one side but it wasn't quite enough and I was concerned about breaking them so I sent for another H-bridge.

In the meantime I've acquired a serial to USB adapter for the PIC programmer I got on ebay.

[ebay want me to comment on how fast this guy at Carnegie Mellon got the programer to me........yeah,... well, he didn't say anything about how fast he got the $$$ from me so, I hope he 's not the "wait by the email inbox" type]

but enough of that guys' problems......

I signed up for a free demo account at . They allow you to compile your programs for free needing only to endure some advertising. I didn't notice anything being in your faceabout it so for someone who can't be down at ITP all the time, it cold be a time saver. You do need your own PIC programmer but I think it is worth the investment.

Here is a picture of the successful compile of the PIC code for
Lab #6 with the programming verify indicated. The M.E. programmer (wide box in foregound) allows coices from a long list of different chips

This is the breadboard setup.

The board has power but the results thus far are a might less than textbook. The motor benchtested OK but on the board it isn't. I've programmed the PIC twice and the result has been the same. I am running the motor in parallel with the 7805 voltage because the motors' voltage said it was 9-18 volts( my local RS has a poor parts selection- choices were this and a 3 volt motor)
Might be the H- bridge, my wiring or some other glitch. I'll have to reprogam the chip using a programmer in the lab to determine that at least it isn't my new ebay programmer. I'd also like to use a 5 volt motor and eliminate the parallel wiring.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Lab # 5 Serial Out Read in Processing

Here's the setup for Serial to Processing readout.
Serial / USB adapter, potentiometer and RB6 Led (lit green closest to PIC). At first there was no readout through the tracking program in Processing and I thought it might be the cable/adapter. I found that the Device Manager assigned port COM 5 for the USB/Serial. When I changed the program to read COM 5 it didn't work either. Same for COM 4. After that I changed it to COM 1 ( same as read in Hyperterminal) and then TX/RX indicators on the adapter started flashing , data started comming in varied by the pot and the green square started tracking the pot.

Light 242
Slide 181
Button 0
Accumulation 728, 727, 0

Light 110~111
Slide 83
Button 0
Accumulation 333, 332, 0

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Lab # 4 Servo -in- Motion

Here is the setup for the servo lab assignment. Programmed the chip - it's O.K. At first the movement was minimal
but it was only powered with a 500ma DC supply. I changed it to a 1000ma supply but it still didn't work too well.
I repositioned the leads of the servo, fired it up (ha) and with Charles' help, captured this potentiometer / servo synchronized movement.
( Thanks to Arly for technical assistance.)

I'm trying to figure out how to compress the mpg file in HP Image Zone so I can load the Servo-in-Motion movie....and.....(days pass).. now, I Decided to provide a link through my page from Sound Design for the Web for the Servo QT movie:
Servo-in-Motion !
(you may experience trouble when using firefox to view this clip)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Lab # 3 - Analog in - Potentiometer value read through Hyper Terminal

Here's the breadboard for Lab # 3. It works, finally. In previous attempts I mistakenly added the pot wiring as though it was a voltage regulator (IGO) and cooked it. I substituted a flex resistor and a new chip but that didn't work either. I believe the flex resistor may have also been NG because when I decided to try a new potentiometer, the Hyper Terminal readout was O.K. Below are some pix of readout values, through Hyper Terminal, that I adjusted the potentiometer to.

Hyper Terminal readout value = 3

Hyper Terminal readout value = 193

Hyper Terminal readout value = 256

Hyper Terminal readout value = 555

Hyper Terminal readout value = 728 ( my son's birthday)

Hyper Terminal readout value = 1021 ( the highest value this pot would register)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Device / Instrument / Tool Project - Group: Langdon Crawford, Charles Harlan, Stephen Kerrigan, Adam Samuels

Razor - Airgo, air powered POGO Stick
a more quiet POGO because there's no spring
mechanism. Weight adjustments can be
made for a range of approx. 60 -220 lbs.

Other piston/power band POGO's:

See the POGO Pros do their Stuff Right Here !

October 10th update :
The aforementioned Pogo is expected to arrive shortly. Got it new, discounted and free shipping, albeit in a plain box due to original package damage. Full Razor warranty, though. Pogo, Airgo: Airborne! (heh, heh)

Device / Instrument / Tool Project - Group: Langdon Crawford, Charles Harlan, Stephen Kerrigan, Adam Samuels

Week 1 - Observation and Presentation

Smiles Notwithstanding..... These traditional POGO users are having less fun.. yes,.. less.. fun than they think !

If They only knew..........................

Introducing ~

POGO-Simon / POGO-Tone
An interactive aerobic game, where a player(s) uses a POGO Stick, Pogoing on a floor mounted,
color wheel to replicate cued, random color / sound patterns of variable difficulty. The modified POGO Stick will include a battery to supply a current which will power an “on” event when the stick comes in contact with any of the separate areas of the color wheel. This “on” event satisfies a programming requirement of the PIC, which then triggers lighting and or musical events, Indicating success or lack thereof. Whole or segments of each color area could be assigned different timbres or pitch characteristics. Other modes of play might include individual or ensemble POGO-Tone improvisation.

The player(s) interactivity with the device(s) in POGO-Simon, provides competition, aerobics and mental and physical agility challenges.

POGO-Tone offers aerobic, mental and physical agility challenges as well as the challenge of musical creativity.

The rewards of competitive success and creativity, engage player(s) to continue play.

The POGO-Simon / POGO-Tone 4'- 6' colorwheel design (plan view)

October 7th -update info:

Our group, heeding some sage wisdom, has determined that supplying a voltage, albeit a small one, without a common ground, when the POGOer comes in contact with a conductive segment of the color "rebound zone" is not the workable solution we thought it might Adam is investigating alternate switching possibities that are least absorbing of the POGO's potential energy as it comes in contact with the rebound zone. The closing of a switch to trigger the programmed PIC event and maximum rebound to the next, cued, sequenced, color area are our concerns du jour. When we have found a switching method that works, I'll fabricate the rebound zone segments that the test POGOer will target. You can go to Adam's Blog for switching successes !

Week 2 - Parts investigation and Prototype (basic)

October 11 th update:

Adam is investigating switching possibilities and has some diagrams on his site, so check that out!

Langdon's testing the possible setup(s) for switch events as simulated by the button box. It looks good so see his site for the visuals.

I've been thinking about the punishment this pogo impact will impart to the switch and how the height of our "impact/rebound zone, shouldn't be too high, lest the pogoer catch an edge somewhere. It might necessitate a more low profiled, fixed, pogoing surface. So I googled a while about impact, switch, severe, sensing, thin, pressure and found a site that makes switches that are ribbons and mats and traffic sensing, industrial purposes etc. I've got a call into Paul Sords about the specs of some of the products.....we'll see what comes of it. The product line is from a company called Tapeswitch from England but they have a factory in Farmingdale, NY. It's one of the lines of Anderson-Bolds, an Ohio company. Here's the link:

If we can use any of these switches it might give us a low profile on the pogo surface, stability and industrial stregnth! .....Maybe.

If they are usable I could rout recesses or channels in a bottom peice of plywood to allow the switch to sit flush with the lower surface and rely on the pressure contact through the upper piece of plywood to close the switch and trigger the event, .................maybe, .............we'll see.

October 11 th 10:35ish PM update:

I spoke with Paul Sords late this afternoon and explained to him: who we are and about our PComp project, etc. He is sending me a catalog with the specs for the pressure sensitivities of the line of ribbon switches. There is another product line that uses the same technology as the ribbon switches and turns it into a highly durable mats that, according to Mr. Sords, can be cut and terminated however you'd like. The ribbon switches are extruded to make a 500 foot roll and then cut to length and terminated. Turnaround time for an order is about 1 week. He extended an invite to see the Farmingdale facility, where he says, we could pick an order up ourselves and save some time.

October 12 th update:

Better still............I checked out this site : which is the Farmingdale factory site and we can buy a Do-it Yourself kit for these switches. It may solve a potential problem of stability of the Pogo costs a fortune!

Possible Construction Design for the Pogoing Surface

Weeks 3 - 5 and Presentation:

Construction/Fabrication, Wiring/Lighting, Power Supply and Programming proceeded more or less independently by each member of our group and then we put together a test session for the prospective users to give it a whirl.

4' plywood circle layout wedges cut & routing for tapeswitches wedges primed/painted

Pogo DJ /Pogo Simon Lighting harness
earlier Max setup for Sounds

Brave volunters:

Our user test revealed a "suPOGOsition" regarding our original design intent for the Pogo Simon Concept. That was.... that people would have an easier time Pogoing, that is, using the Pogo stick, than they actually did. The learning curve for the immediacy of our project turned out to be fairly steep. Given enough time and desire on the part of our intrepid users, they may well be able to manipulate the Pogo Stick with enough control to take on a challenge game such as the Pogo Simon concept. The concept is not lost of course, as it can be one of a number of modes that could be available using the Pogo Surface. The novilty of using the Pogo is important. Interest in playing on the Pogo Surface was not as enthusiastic when simply stepping or "dancing". Even though the result of hearing the sounds generated was the same. So we decided to switch modes and in a sense, reward people for participating with whatever their skill set for Pogoing happens to be. The result is a mode of play we're calling POGO D.J., where you actuate serial connections for (Charles')lighting and (Adam and Langdon's)programed loops through MAX when you sucessfully Pogo on the color surfaces. We are anticipating more gratifying user experiences and a greater socially interactive environment surrounding the game. The Pogo Simon concept of being cued with a sequence to follow and when done correctly, being rewarded sonically or simply by the completion of the challenge needs to be reserved for a group with more accomplished Pogoing skills. Our project has that flexibility available to it. We can accomodate any level of ability for users who are able to access the POGO D.J. / POGO Simon Game Surface. Next.......................the presentation ! ............

Post Presentation Coments:

I am most thankful to the concerted efforts of our group. Our ideas came into being and the results were most gratifying. We could/might make the presentable form more elaborate or on the fly changable but the important thing is that the concept was brought into a physical form and one that we were moving toward.
The user experience was was in a range of not really able to manipulate the Pogo (which was much harder to do than anyone thought) to seeming ease. The observed results though, were that people enjoyed the experience of being on the Pogo and Pogo/DJ. suface and observing the occasion of others doing the same. Thanks to Langdon, Charles and Adam, a great group to work with!

For Additional Info about the different areas of hard work in the Project, check out Our Group's Sites, They all like it so, when company comes a callin' :

Langdon's Site

Charles' Site

Adam's Site