Brainstorming ideas – Jennifer Weiler

2018-03-03 17.33.28.jpg

Ideas: (since some can be hard to read in picture)

-sensor that dims lights/nightlight when baby/child falls asleep

-sensor that detects when heavy squirrel is on bird feeder and shakes squirrel off

-bracelet that pricks you every time someone else’s heart beats (for enemies & people with grudges)

-food dispenser based on daily heart rate/blood pressure

-pulse used for color-change exercise clothing

-pressure-sensing pencil to indicate/train grip strength

-pressure sensing shoe soles to train correct walking/standing posture

-bioart showing effects of fertilizer runoff on ocean life

-skin bacteria that changes color based on health/exposure to antibiotics

-trees/bamboo genetically designed to grow in certain shapes (for houses) (use anti/probiotics to control growth?)

-using gene therapy, injecting oneself with genes / DNA of deceased love ones

-moss carpet that changes color based on who frequently walks on it

-art display of effects of different anti- & probiotics on healthy bacteria

-petri dish bioart in style of cave paintings of extinct animals using DNA from these animals (approximation)

-mycelium hat as basis for growing other plants

-mycelium playgrounds (mycelium jungle gym) soft mycelium ground

-mycelium as 3D printed material (replace plastic for quick prototyping)

-fabric made out of woven mycelium fiber

-mycelium casts for broken bones

-mycelium outdoor sculpture garden/arboretum

-(assuming mycelium can digest plastic) -giant floating mycelium island that floats around ocean digesting plastic waste

-because mycelium absorbs oxygen (and oxygen long-term exposure can damage books) books with mycelium covers


3D molds for Mycelium

Jennifer Weiler, Gabrielle Nacion, Landon Austill

For molds, we are bringing in several different items to test how they will work with the mycelium.

  1. flexible silicone molds
  2. cardboard tubes
  3. an old iPod (to potentially grow a mycelium protective case around it

2018-02-16 10.12.21.jpg

Pulse Sensor

Jennifer Weiler & Gabby Nacion

For this project, we used the pulse sensor to visualize exercising as a means to keep a plant alive. In our original idea, the pulse sensor could be used to determine whether or not a plant will get watered. In this version, the pulse BPM is used to keep an animated tree (in Processing) green and alive. The user has to continue to keep their BMP raised or the plant will die.


fully alive plant = 180 BPM

minimum plant health = 50BPM

pulse tree.png

Pencil grip analog sensor – Jennifer Weiler

For this project, I created an analog sensor that displays the how much pressure a user applies in their pencil grip.

test p1.jpg

The lower layer is composed of copper tape and paper wrapped around the pencil.

1 copper tape.jpg

Above that, there is a sheet of conductive pressure-sensitive material.

2 pressure sensitive.jpg

And above that, there is a layer of conductive fabric (taped together using copper foil). A future prototype could include the conductive fabric sown together with conductive thread.

3 conductive fabric.jpg

When the user grips the pencil, the compression allows the current to travel through the pressure-sensitive material, connecting the conductive fabric and copper foil layers and completing the circuit.

This pressure is displayed using a LED.

test p2.jpg  2018-01-23 11.52.36.jpg

Both pieces of the circuit can be removed from the pencil and can be attached to measure grip strength on different drawing instruments.


Arduino Soft Switch – J Weiler

For this project, I set up an Ardunio switch and 2 separately functioning LEDs. After insuring that the switch worked as intended, I tried out using a few different materials (salt water, grapefruit, etc), as potential conductors to see if the current could travel through them.

The two LED pins function differently – the green LED turns on and off based on if the switch was on. The red pin is on a blink delay, with the rate of the blink affected by whether the switch was connected. If the switch was connected, the rate of the LED being on would gradually increase until it was only off for .01 seconds at a time. If the switch is not connected, the rate of the LED pin will gradually decrease until it was only on for .01 seconds at a time.



const int buttonPin = 2; // the number of the pushbutton pin
const int ledPin1 = 12; // the number of the LED pin
const int ledPin2 = 11; // the number of the LED pin

int totalTime = 1000;
int timeSpentOn = 500;
int minimumAlternate = 10;

int changeRate = 50;

// variables will change:
int buttonState = 0; // variable for reading the pushbutton status

void setup() {
// initialize the LED pin as an output:
pinMode(ledPin1, OUTPUT); // red pin
pinMode(ledPin2, OUTPUT); // green pin
// initialize the pushbutton pin as an input:
pinMode(buttonPin, INPUT);

void loop() {
// read the state of the pushbutton value:
buttonState = digitalRead(buttonPin);

// check if the pushbutton is pressed.
// if it is, the buttonState is HIGH:
if (buttonState == HIGH) {
// turn LED on:
digitalWrite(ledPin2, HIGH);
digitalWrite(ledPin1, LOW);
delay(totalTime – timeSpentOn);
digitalWrite(ledPin1, HIGH);

timeSpentOn += changeRate;
if(timeSpentOn > totalTime-minimumAlternate){ timeSpentOn = totalTime-minimumAlternate;}
else {
// turn LED off:
digitalWrite(ledPin2, LOW);
digitalWrite(ledPin1, LOW);
delay(totalTime – timeSpentOn);
digitalWrite(ledPin1, HIGH);

timeSpentOn -= changeRate;
if(timeSpentOn < minimumAlternate){ timeSpentOn = minimumAlternate;}


I also decided to test and see if different organic materials would work as conductors.

salt water.jpg  lemon juice.jpg

(above: salt water and concentrated lemon juice successfully conduct current)

grapefruit juice.jpg  grapefrut.jpg

(above: both grapefruit juice and fresh grapefruit do not conduct current)

Introduction – Jennifer Weiler

Hi everyone,

My name is Jennifer Weiler.

I have very little prior experience with electronics (I vaguely remember programming an Arduino to make a light blink three years ago), but I have a lot of experience with programming. I do most of my programming in Processing, but in the past I have also worked with C++, Swift, JavaScript, Python, and Objective C.

As far as materials, I’ve done a lot of work in the past with programmatically generated 3D prints (including 3D printed lithophanes). I also have also done some work with food, metal (casting), and textiles. I do not have any experience with growing organic materials (like bacteria, algae, etc), but I would like to learn.

My favorite Biodesign Challenge project is the Pratt Industrial Design Kichin project, because it focused on making a manipulatable, biodegradable material that can be used both for creative projects and as a replacement for everyday disposable items. I also really like the Fashion Institute of Technology Growapair for combing unique materials with traditional textile approaches, and The School of Art Institute of Chicago’s Dewpoint for focusing on and utilizing the physical shape of an object, even though that shape was a cactus, and I personally feel we need fewer things shaped like cacti, not more of them.