Under Pressure

The team dived into the theme of how people cope with stress and anxiety. Some people join art therapy classes and paint to distract their mind; others cope better relieving stress with physical exercises. The aim of the installation is to connect both these stress relieving techniques to maximise a unique meditative experience.

A custom-made velostat (conductive sheet) pressure sensor detects every punch on the bag and translates it to the mandala drawing machine. The rate at which the drawing arm on the machine moves depends on the pressure with which one punches the bag. A sound sensor on the bag detects the punches and renders it into a visual output on the drawing machine in form of changing LED lights.

To put this idea into praxis the team had to overcome several challenges. These involved exploring a large variety of sensors best suited for the installation. Another challenge was to build a 3D printed drawing arm and calibrate it with the custom-made pressure sensor. Connecting all the components – the pressure sensor, lights, drawing arm and the rotating canvas together with multiple Arduinos and code, was the biggest challenge to overcome. Handling these complex variety of elements meant there had to be a structured process in place to troubleshoot the very different elements of this project.