Monitor

Mike Gisi, Matt Conlen, Lauren Korany

Context

This project is meant to explore an aspect of surveillance in modern society. The subject, a single person viewing the piece, enters a room with 3 TVs mounted on adjacent walls. The center TV will be displaying a video feed of the subject from a security camera, while the outer two TVs will have be displaying close up footage of eyes. Any TV that the subject looks at will automatically be set to display static, obscuring the content previously being displayed. The subject will only be able to see video being in his periphery, adding to the sensation that he is being watched. The room reacts to the subject’s actions in a way that is meant to maintain his ignorance of the content being displayed.

Technical

This project used a combination of Processing and Arduino code. The OpenCV library was used in conjunction with three webcams to detect when a person was looking at a particular TV. This was simply done by mounting a webcam under each of the three TVs and running three simultaneous face detections. If a face was detected in front of a particular tv, then a message would be sent to the arduino instructing it to kill the signal going to that TV.

The signal was switched on and off using transistor switches. By applying a small voltage from the arduino, one can control whether the switch is opened or closed. We originally did this with coaxial cables, but these proved to be too unstable. When a coaxiale cable is unshielded it actually acts as an antenna, and so any unshielded portion of the circuit would pick up and display superflous signals. Eventually we decided to use RCA cables which suffered from the same problem, but to a lesser extent.

Because of problems with the OpenCV library, the program would periodically run out of memory. Because of this, we wrote a script to check to see if the program was still running, and would restart it if not.

#!/bin/sh

ps ax | grep p3 | grep -v grep
if [ $? != 0 ]
	then
		open ~/Desktop/p3.app
fi

Exhibition

The piece was successful in drawing spectators. Its presence was pronounced. The setup of the space worked well in peering down on the subjects. An issue that came with the project was that viewers didn’t understand what the content meant.

Code
p3.pde

References


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