Synedoche from Ben Jarrett on Vimeo. This is a short movie made by Nick Gill and myself for a 1st Year Creativity class. We were examining - among other things - whether 1 frame images do have a subconscious effect.  It splices elements of Vincent Ward's The Navigator, Idaho transfer by Peter Fonda and a BBC nature documentary - Planet Earth if I remember correctly....
BK2 Render #2 from Ben Jarrett on Vimeo.   In order to visualise the biokinetic interface I was proposed for my Masters, I simulated the look using the Animation function from within Solidworks + Photoworks.  It's a bad way to animate, in that the model still acts as a Solid, therefore the program needs to calculate the entire model each frame, which is time consuming and computatio[...]
Leveraging some of the work that I completed in my Masters project, I applied for - and got accepted to - the xCoAx journal proceedings in Portugal. From the conference: The “x factor" in xCoAx – that spellbinding glue that holds arts, computation and communication together – is what makes this conference and its participants unique. The global intertwingling of social, economic, political, [...]

Castiglione Stool Redux _01

Today I brought a large ball, with the express intention of using it to create a concrete cast for the base of a tall stool with a bicycle seat.  With a history of having back pain, and having used a sit/stand desk for some years, I have a nascent theory about the need for 'micro-inflections' in muscle use.  Much as a off-road runner is forced to react - and balance - using micro adjustments a[...]
The absolutely delightful Largo from Serse (Xerses) - Ombra Mai Fu - written by Handel and sung by the extraordinary countertenor Andreas Scholl: Ombra mai fu di vegetabile, cara ed amabile, soave più Never was a shade of any plant dearer and more lovely, or more sweet.
Three-Dimensional Mid-Air Acoustic Manipulation (2013-) Yoichi Ochiai (The University of Tokyo) Takayuki Hoshi (Nagoya Institute of Technology) Jun Rekimoto (The University of Tokyo / Sony CSL) contact: The essence of levitation technology is the countervailing of gravity. It is known that an ultrasound standing wave is capable of[...]
Conceptually, this interface (which I should name) is about removing the cool efficiency of current media player interaction, and replacing it with humane efficacy. When we approach this new interface, how can it enable and extend, or deflect, our current emotional state? We listen to music for essentially two reasons: either to heighten our current emotional state, or to change it.  i.e.:  [...]
Those crazy cats at Tangible Media in MIT's Media Lab under the tuition of Hiroshi Iishi have just released their vision of a 3D interface under the the moniker inFORM.   Using linear actuators that are linked via cables to the interface 'pins', the interface is linked to a Kinect. As in my own efforts, the integration of the sensors into the device is a problem, with the Kinect an imposing add[...]
In order to ascertain whether the basic premise of biokinetic languaging is true - namely, that there is a common, subconscious visual language associated with music - I created a series of tests.   In this first test, I asked Danish design students from Designskolen Kolding to draw abstract forms and shapes whilst listening to two pieces of music: Jacqueline du Pré playing Edward E[...]

Memo Akten & MSA Fluid

Although I have often seen examples of his work, I finally identified Memo Akten as the architect of some of the coolest fluid particle systems interactions using his library MSA Fluid.  This library is ported across to many languages, including Processing! Some of his work:     Cascada screen-capture (long version) from Memo Akten on Vimeo.
The 3D Printing company Shapeways, and the music hosting service SoundCloud have joined forces in a great and very modern way called The Vibe: making personalised phone cases that are made by combining your favorite music track and the casing of your music device!  Cool!  The interesting part is that I suggested almost exactly the same thing in my undergraduate project: "Initially the user [...]

The Sound of Cancer

Gil Alterovitz, a research fellow at Harvard Medical School, translated populations of genes into musical notes. Each constellation (green) represents a key network of interrelated genes (blue). Each network is represented by a musical note. In healthy cells, the notes form music in harmony, indicating a healthy state. In cancer cells, the soundtrack veers out of harmony, signaling a transition fr[...]
 Nacenta, M., Kamber, Y., Qiang, Y., & Kristensson, P. O. (2013) Memorability of Pre-designed & User-defined Gesture Sets.      Proceedings of the 31st ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2013).      Retrieved from  
Daniel Sierra's Masters animation thesis looks, perhaps peripherally, at the some of the areas that I am most interested in: the abstract visual language of music in this great piece.  Although some of the compositions are a little iTunes visualizer for my taste and concern, the parts where he reins in the *exploding particles******! aesthetic have a beautiful tension.   OSCILLATE f[...]
This is an interesting interface designed by Dhairya Dand and Rob Hemsley of MIT Media Lab.  The device is based on a stretched silicon skin and and linear actuators (although the use of the linear actuators is not clear in the video).  Whilst similar to several other devices, Okabe appears to have a good feel, although perhaps not as deep as it might be - there is no history, no marks left..... [...]
I should have posted this some time ago.  I built a larger 5x5 grid using the same Neodymium magnets that I used in an earlier experiment.  The flux is a lot less strong than when they were close coupled.  This tallies with conversations that I have had with electromagnet engineers around the nature of the grid, and how it is linear at any given point.  The most exciting result from this experimen[...]

An older Sketch

This was a sketch that I made a long time ago - but for some reason I still think it is pretty thing. Cursor movement creates the bubbles, and a pad click resets the screen:
Hannes Kalk has created a very interesting interface using non-newtonian fluids actuated by speaker motion.  I had considered this form of interfacing some time ago, but had dismissed it as being too messy to maintain as a consumer device, and difficult to consistently control.  Nonetheless this is a new interface that has some similarities to the issues that I am myself exploring - from the Creat[...]
I have been using the MIRToolbox plugin for MATLAB in order to analyse music.  By using four standard (non DRM, free) tracks over the course of my experiments, I hope to able to make correlations between music, gesture and form by running Self Organised Mapping (Neural networks) over the results.  Here are the graphical outputs from MIRToolbox: [...]
After winding several coils by hand, I wished to eliminate the guesswork and model the coils using Finite Element Analysis with the freeware program FEMM. After talking to design engineers at Buckley Systems and Wellington Drive, I realised that they are striving for focused flux lines with the absolute minimum of stray magnetic flux, which is the opposite of what I am trying to achieve.  The a[...]
In order to power the grid of electromagnets via the low current 5V PWM outputs on the Arduino Duemilanove, I had to design a basic drive circuit with the advice of the Electronics department.  It's really simple: a Darlington stage increases the current output produced by the PWM pinout, this signal in turn is powerful enough to drive the IRF1405 MOSFET which is supplied by a 35V supply. I mod[...]
In order to test my hypothesis regarding the use of PWM controlled electromagnets arrayed within a grid structure I have made a prototype.  The Arduino Duemilanove board that I am using has 6 native Pulse Width Modulation outputs, so that is how many I used.  However a better test would have been with 7 coils - one in the middle, surrounded by six closely placed coils - which would create the maxi[...]
In order to test a Arduino controlled grid of electromagnets I first had to wind some coils after using FEMM to analyse the characteristics of the coils.  Winding 1280 turns by hand is the definition of tedium, so one of the technicians at school very kindly lent me his own coil winding machine as seen here.  Thanks Danny!   High Speed Winding (iPad) from Ben Jarrett on Vimeo. [...]

12 Hour Car - Lego Redux

I have finally managed to get my hands on some Lego Mindstorm over the holidays, and I immediately thought about making a new version of my 12 Hour Car: perhaps I should rename it '2 Day Car'?  It's so much fun that it could be a '1 Week Car' if I have any more spare time.  The catch with Mindstorms is that there is only 3 standard motor outputs and my original design needed at least 5, so I have [...]

Biking Chop Chop

After watching that ridiculous Danny MacAskill video, I decided to make a quick and dirty bike copy, and learn some welding skills. I brought a really cheap mountain bike online and with the excellent help provided by Nick Gill proceeded to chop it up and rebuild and weld it back together.  It rides ok, but the geometry is all wrong and it doesn't pop the front wheel very well at all.... If I c[...]

W12 Engine

A quick investigation into how a true W12 engine might work.   W12 from Ben Jarrett on Vimeo. 3.0 Liter BMW S1000RR headers Flatplane crank 72 + 72 degree block 12,000 RPM Redline
CLIENT:                     Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2011-2013   This is a component of my current Masters project.  The project seeks to remove dennotative symbol based communication with an abstract interface that uses movement to convey interface logic. The magnetic grid is made of PWM controlled electromagnets arrayed in a hexagonal structure.  These coils are located under [...]
CLIENT:                     Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2011 - 2013 COLLABORATION:   Dr Nigel Yee   This is a component of my current Masters project.  The project seeks to remove dennotative symbol based communication with an abstract interface that uses movement to convey interface logic. The neural network that I am proposing acts as the structure on which the UI is based upon.[...]
CLIENT:                     Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2012 COLLABORATION:   Noel Zeng & Peter Koraca As a core concern of my current project I have tried to understand what are people’s natural gestures, rather than the learnt behaviours that we currently employ with touchscreen based devices.  Obviously, some of these gestures are themselves now natural, but after processing the outpu[...]
CLIENT:                     Designskolen Kolding PROJECT DATE:       2011 COLLABORATION:   Christopher Helm-Hansen, Laura Locher, Lisa Fee Paura, Tuomas Sahramaa & Jeppe Jeppesen   In late 2011 I was nominated to attend the Design Camp run by the Designskolen Kolding in Denmark.  It was a fantastic opportunity to meet and work with some of the very best design students from un[...]


Reeflex from Ben Jarrett on Vimeo. CLIENT:                     Designskolen Kolding PROJECT DATE:       2012 COLLABORATION:   Anja Debelo, Sanja Radakovic & Sona Flajžíková Reeflex physically consists of a large interactive screen that is connected to a set of cameras controlled by software; the cameras record people walking past. It is part of the cityscape and aims to positivel[...]

12 Hour Car

CLIENT:                     Internet Car Design Competition PROJECT DATE:       2012   When I first got to Designskolen Kolding for a semester exchange I was broke, so I decided to look for a design competition with weak entries and an imminent closing deadline.  Additionally I only gave myself 12 hours to work on the project, so I found a 'Future Car for Amsterdam' competition o[...]
CLIENT:                     Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2011   This machine is designed to allow insight into user’s natural mappings regarding media devices. I hacked a piece of security software, and used it to both play an instructional movie and record the viewer’s hands as they reacted to the instructions (Play, Next, etc.).  The movie consisted of initial instructions and the[...]
CLIENT:                              Audiosine Ltd PROJECT DATE:       2009 This amplifier is a self-directed project investigating high power Class D stereo amplification. Utilizing Hypex UcD700 HRX modules that output 700W into a 4 ohm load this amplifier can power any domestic loudspeaker with ease.  The balanced XLR inputs are transformer coupled for passive ultrasonic and DC filtering [...]
CLIENT:                     The Complete Package Ltd., Rugby Tourism & Hospitality Ltd. PROJECT DATE:       2011   I was asked to provide a presentation to a mix of interests that were involved in delivering the 2010 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, which is the 4th largest sporting event in the world.  Against many competing companies, we were selected to provide a suite of touch[...]
CLIENT:                     Japanese Collector PROJECT DATE:       2011 The Garrard 401 plinth was a self-initiated project that was aimed at creating a small business supplying the perfectionist Japanese market.  Using the later, 1970s styled Garrard, and recognizing the more conservative aesthetic as desired by the Far East Asian market, I designed a wooden framed platter. Extending les[...]
Piccolo Amp Animation from Ben Jarrett on Vimeo. CLIENT:                     Unitec & Audiosine Ltd. PROJECT DATE:       2010 The Ovid amplifier comprises half of my final undergraduate project.  The form-changing device arises from research that I completed, that seek to eliminate standard audio controls and user feedback loops such as LEDs and alphanumeric displays.  Rather, I s[...]
CLIENT:                      Audiosine Ltd, Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2010 The companion piece of the Ovid Amplifier, this loudspeaker was submitted as my final undergraduate project. Underlying the loudspeaker was the intention to really examine the loudspeaker in terms of materiality, and the ability to have each and every piece unique, while maintaining production manufacturability.  [...]
CLIENT:                      Highwic, Historic Places Trust & Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2010 COLLABORATION:   Guy McLean, Shauvon Quin, Thomas Yee, Alexey Efimov & Bruce Bonnar   This was the first major project of the last year of our undergraduate degree.  It also was the first interdisciplinary project engaged with at Unitec involving Product, Graphic Design, Photograp[...]
CLIENT:                     Highwic, Historic Places Trust & Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2010 My personal response to the Highwic project was to engage in the first ‘formal’ interaction design that I had pursued.  I found this project fascinating and spent many hours working on it above my Highwic project management duties. Essentially we made a series of design interventions at points[...]

Oracle Touchscreen

CLIENT:                     Oracle Racing / The Complete Package PROJECT DATE:       2009   In 2010 I was asked to provide a design for the engineers from Oracle Racing Yachts.  They desired a large mobile touchscreen that they could use to bring up engineering drawings and data 'live' as they were building their racing yachts now being raced in the Americas Cup.  In the end, the sys[...]

Lowrance HDF

CLIENT:  Navico/Lowrance & Unitec PROJECT DATE:   3rd Quarter 2009 The Lowrance/Navico system was a ‘live’ collaboration which was our third project in the second year of my degree.  The brief was to create a possible future view of where Navico could position the Lowrance subsidiary, and gain market share. The design calls for a combination of hardware and software that can be used tog[...]


CLIENT:                       Da Kun Ltd / Audiosine Ltd / Self Directed PROJECT DATE:       2009 COLLABORATION:  Joshua Stewart Computer Engineered Lattice Loudspeaker System CELLS is a self directed project that investigates the potential of computer algorithms and Selective Laser Sintering.  Josh already had done some work on computer generated modelling for his Architectural degree[...]
CLIENT:                     Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2009 The Nelumbo light was the final project from the second year of my undergraduate degree. The Nelumbo light responds to the Circadian rhythm of the Earth and is primarily designed for city children’s bedrooms as an aid to get to sleep; a biological reminder of nature’s patterns.  The light is activated by GPS and maps itself to th[...]
CLIENT:                     Well Tempered Labs PROJECT DATE:       2009   In late 2009, Frank Denson, part owner of Well Tempered Labs, asked me to provide a styling exercise for a new higher end alternative to the existing Amadeus turntable.   I have always admired Bill Firebaugh's original design and very nearly brought one some years ago (I brought a Linn LP12 instead, a mistake i[...]

Staedtler Stapler

CLIENT:                    Staedtler NZ / Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2009 The Staedtler brief was our first ‘live’ project.  Students could choose either a tape dispenser, or stapler, and were asked to anticipate future product offerings on behalf of the German company. I attempted to engage with a new mechanism and form factor for the stapler that echoed some of the brand imagery already[...]
CLIENT:                     Derek Gehring PROJECT DATE:       2009 COLLABORATION:   Derek Gehring The Garrard 301 project was initiated by a friend of mine; Derek Gehring.  Originally found in old one piece stereo sideboards, the idler wheel driven 301 was formerly considered a very good turntable and has excellent manufacturing tolerances.  However, with the rise of sprung suspension tur[...]

Kondo Niwashi

CLIENT:                     Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2008   Kondo Niwashi is the result of an undergraduate second year project based on ergonomics research.  We had previously completed paper on ergonomics and design research methodology that introduced us to user testing and usability issues. Following this paper we had to integrate this newfound knowledge into a finished gard[...]

Cardboard Stools

CLIENT:                     Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2008 The cardboard stool project was among my favourites in the first year of my degree. It is a common project among Design Schools and there were many previous examples on the web: some of our less scrupulous members made good use of the resource! The brief required that the only material was cardboard with no glues or tape to be used. A[...]
CLIENT:                     Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2008   This was a fun little project that I enjoyed very much for Modelmaking in the first year of my undergraduate degree. The brief was to create a wine opener for capped bottles with the intention of bring back some theatre to the opening process that has arguably been relegated with the move from corked bottles for cheaper[...]
CLIENT:                     Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2008 The toaster project was an extension of an earlier brief - ‘In the Style Of’ where we were allotted two designers to study and create a moodboard for (it felt very interior design!).  I was lucky enough to get Peter Haythornthwaite, perhaps New Zealand’s best working designer, and the God of Functionalism:  Dieter Rams.  It was a re[...]

Ping Pong Box

CLIENT:                      Unitec PROJECT DATE:       2008 The Ping Pong Box was an early brief from my degree.  Ostensibly a very simple brief, it created many different responses from everyone involved.  The brief stated that a ping pong ball must be produced from a white, foamcore, cube in an interesting way.  I made many models to test various methods and came up with three models that[...]