autumn scene, Gangwon-do

This year, I’m the adviser of the sophomore students at Digital Media Design Dept so they told me that I need to lead the team of students to their fall M.T. (Membership Training) Trip. What Koreans call, “M.T.” is actually not exactly a Membership Training. It is usually referred to the college kids’ trip during semester. They usually pick a destination and rent a bus and go for an weekend over night trip and there are usually few professors involved. This time around, it was only myself + one administrative T.A then, 48 students. Hmmm…. I felt like a real adult.

However, it turned out that they were more orderly and organized than I was. What kind of college kids are having fun until midnight playing different team games but no alcohols? (They did pack bottles of Soju, beer and others) They started to drink after midnight but, nobody was hung over next morning. They’ve cleaned after themselves with proper recycling bags. Wow! I’m impressed. I need to corrupt these kids a little bit…, note to myself.

Beside the fact I had to give up my weekend, it was pretty good to smell good fresh air and see funny looking sheep and play with youthful students! Half of them are taking my Interactive Communication Theory class so it was nice to play with familiar faces.

About Sheep: They are bigger than the grey sheep I saw in Ireland but very friendly. Their fur is so thick so that when I poke my finger deep into their fur, they didn’t even blink an eye. They are so peculiar but, soooo cute! I did look for a sheep with a star mark on it…. just like in Haruki Murakami’s ‘Wild Sheep Chase’

laughing sheep

(laughing sheep. It was sunny but very very windy in the filed)


(students after BBQ porkbelly + potatoe)


“Hope” a marionette project by Joohyun Jin, Laewoo Kang (Digital Media Design dept. BFA, Hongik University)

This movie is a low resolution with lots of noise (as it was raining cats and dogs during the final presentation in Interaction Design Studio) but, you will get the idea. Below is their project site that has a better presentation. “Hope” by Joohyun Jin & Laewoo Kang

A little description about this project. The marrionette is hand-sewn by Joohyun Jin & the project was a collaboration between two students. The translated abstract is below.

사람과 사람사이의 갈등,
치유할수 없는 상처

슬픔과 악몽의 수확자,
그래서 깨어날수 없는 존재의 슬픔.

Conflict among people

untreatable wounds

Receiver of sadness and nightmares

Tragedy of un-wake-able being

I see that this project can be improved by more dramatic expression in sound on what they are trying express & cleaner mechanical presentation. However, over all it was an interesting project. 🙂

It was frightening to watch it move on late afternoon with pouring rain outside.

Thanks to Jonah Brucker-Cohen & Make, one of the Digital Media Design students’ projects that I wrote about in last entry got some attention & interest.

Here is the Makezine blog:

& Gizmodo:

& Engadget:

Hmmm… How interesting that it didn’t even take more than a day to spread words around!

Let me add my translation of their abstract from their blog site in English:

The idea of this project started with a question,
“What is the first media to communicate my emotion to the others?”

Perhaps it’s facial expression that is being expressed before one communicates his gesture or words.
It’s not that easy to hide feelings on facial expression. However, people don’t show their feelings to the strangers today. I often wonder about other people’s emotion when I am in crowded subway or in downtown street of Jongro, Seoul but, they all just stare at outside of the subway window or stare down at their shoes with emotionless face. Some just scan newspapers. They only look ahead while walking in the crowds. Modern urban people are limiting their emotional communication with others trapped in their own world. The mask is a tool to hide one’s feelings or oneself into. At the same time it is to bring out a communication with others by bringing out emotion loud with emoticons.

The Mask of Emotion is to reinterpret the look of mask in a modern term and to evoke communication with strangers by heighten the facial expression by LED emoticons. It is designed to research if emotion is positively received to the strangers when the wearer walks in the crowded street and interacts with urban citizen.

Some students might have felt like what’s the use for whenever I made them to document their design process as a part of the requirements but, I’m sure they will appreciate it later. Kudos to The Mask of Emotion team from Interaction Design Studio 1, 2007 class!!

If you have been following what I’ve been doing, you must have noticed that I’ve been designing fashionable computing projects, integrating circuit boards into fabrics, light emitting parts, sewing clothings and etc. I’ve been also teaching Interaction Design Studio which is a 4 hour studio class that is made of mainly a short lecture, discussion & workshop or presentation. Although this class isn’t about wearable computing, I guess my background does influence some students’ works. There have been so far two wearable computing projects in my class last year.

One was final project in Spring semester – first semester I taught there.

The first one is titled, “Mask of Emotion” by Chisong Ryu, Changhee Kim and Jiyoun Kim. it’s an Emoticon Mask basically – it’s documented well at (sorry it’s in Korean)

I think this project really reflects today’s culture of emotional communication. It was a 5, 6 week assignment during first semester, 2007.

The second project I want to introduce is a more technically elaborated project called, “HearT-shirt” by Hyunsoo Hong & Jinyoung Lee- created during the fall semester in 2007. Here is also a nice documentation (sorry it’s in Korean again)

They integrated tiny surface mounting LEDs into plastic pearl buttons to attach on the T-shirts, which made me speechless as I could imagine all the work that went to solder hair thin legs. Hyunsoo later made DMDuino (Arduino clone for DMD students – limited edition) with Jinhwan Kim. (Those were hand soldered.)

Anyway, here is the photo. It uses Xbee Wireless communication to detect if they are located within 50 meter range . When they do, their shirts light up in a heart shape! The couple can find each other surprisingly when they are near with each other if they went to public places without planning to meet. It’s a fun concept. This was a 9 weeks assignment.

So here is another guerilla exhibition of Physical Computing Workshop group made of Juniors and Seniors at Digital Media Design Dept. Now, they got the name. It’s called, “Team Electrical Effect” This Flowall intallation was made possible by 21 students. They built 24 flowers that rotates by music and reflects projected visuals to the wall. They have used DMDuino that was made by last years’ graduates, Hyunsoo Hong & Jinhwan Kim – based on Arduino board along with other electrical parts & motors.

Below is their abstract that was posted at class blog;

Whenever electrical current of 1mA flows, an art project becomes unique in the world. – Electrical Effect.

Hmm… what exactly this meaning?

Anyway, it’s obviously further developed conceptual installation from Leo’s Stupid Pet Trick project during Interaction Design Studio class. (Well, it’s obviously far from stupid!)

Well, enjoy it. Below is what a student captured my awkward interaction with the installation during my break. (Mom & Dad, why didn’t you teach me how to play piano?) Feel free to laugh at video of me trying to pretend to play a piano.

I heard there will be the final one at the end of semester – which is next week!

I’ve been thinking about showcasing some of my students’ work at my blog… as we are running multiple community blogs as they are documenting their design process for requirement.

This afternoon, I’ve gotten a delightful email from a student of mine which starting as, “how’s your weekend? ….” He is graduating this semester and he is running a weekly physical computing workshop among students at Digital Media Design department. I’m aware that they also started a weekly discussion meetings. Good kids. All they needed was a little motivation. 🙂

Anyway, I was delightfully happy to see the first result. After introducing arduino workshop last semester (thanks, David & Tom for your support!) students got really excited for different possibilities. Now, from sophomores to seniors are gathering on their own to create something at their physical computing workshop. For design school where students mostly depended on their visual art abilities, this is a significant change and for interaction designers who design for 5 senses, it’s a good direction to go.

Their first group project is called, “Happier Tears” A simple group portrait. <see above movie> It was hung in 4th floor hallway of our building without any approval ahead of time – a guerrilla exhibition. Go students! I told to Leo(leader of this group) that he can throw a guerrilla exhibition in front of my office. 🙂

* Note about “Happier Tears” – I think, this title is based on Happy Tears” by Roy Lichtenstein which has become a scandalously famous art piece in Korea by Roy Lichtenstein because of recent incident regarding Samsung Group’s Executive’s wife’s purchase of “Happy Tears” which raised a suspicion of money laundering. Read this article if you are not sure what this is about.