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Halfway point

My residency is halfway completed!  I took a break last week to celebrate my birthday with friends in Berlin, and now I’m back and in full swing on Live Game Code: Stable Build, but wishing time would slow down!  Here’s a little update on my in-progress third “visualization” – the Action Olofactorizer, which I’m working on with Mitch Heinrich.

Basic interface design for the Action Olofactorizer

Basic interface design for the Action Olofactorizer

Last week I designed a plan for how my game development behavior (both responsible and ir-) will be represented using scent.  Based on my productivity or slack, the hallway at Quartier21 will smell more or less like a dirty stable, or an open grassfield.  Our hope is to do this real time using a direct feed from my RescueTime account, but to get things going quickly we are starting with the easy-to-manage Comma Separated Value format, which I can generate from the RescueTime dashboard.  Once I’ve created a CSV file, I can load it into the application Mitch is developing, and this will drive the hardware to create the appropriate blend of scents, via Arduino.

Yesterday we made a shopping trip to Margarethen to get supplies for our hardware.  First stop was Neuber GesmbH.  What an amazing place, straight out of the last century, when druggists mixed your salves bespoke.  A chemical wonderland stocking everything from aromatherapy oils to bug spray.  Paint.  Cleaning solvents. Organic fruit juice.  Hydrochloric acid.  Rum flavoring. Adhesives.  Plus the various containers you’d need to safely store all of these compounds.  We were there just to pick up a beaker and test tube for the smell device, but with requisite ogling, it took us a full 45 minutes.

Next stop was the posh and miniscule shop of the Lampe Berger – a brand of French home-freshening wick lamps.  A friend pointed it out to me late one night (thanks, Lauren!) and I saw they carried scents like wood and leather that could be useful in re-creating an equine environment.  Mitch wanted to check out the chemical composition to know if they’d be useful for the project.  90% isopropyl alcohol, mixed with esters – so, basically exactly what he was already using for the smell graffiti.  Of course home fresheners are not naturalistic as far as smells go, but they are as close as you’re going to find in a Vienna storefront.  After smelling about half the products in the store I settled on Leather.

This week we’ll start putting it all together, and hooking up an arduino to an application that Mitch is writing to convert the Action data into servo movement to control the lids.  More as this progresses!

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