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project no.1: analog communication device

This group project endeavored to explore communication methods by creating a box encasing a machine and language for two-person correspondence. Working to analyze the ways in which people use technology to communicate and the ways in which this can serve to both expediate the process of connection and complicate it. In order to get at these questions of how technology can both aid and take value away from communication, this project aims to complicate a two-person interaction to the level of inconvenience - utilizing tech to do so. 

This machine is largely comprised of five levers, which, when tapped, each complete a circuit. These circuits correspond to five lights that, when lit in a certain pattern, are associated with a letter of the Roman alphabet. Therefore, when held down with a certain number of fingers, the levers light up certain bulbs which allow one to read a letter off of them. This process of spelling out words one-by-one and having to constantly consult the language guide adjacent to the lights, makes the entire procedure arduous and borderline useless. Nowhere as convenient, sensical, or universal as Braille or Morse code, and of almost no purpose to two speaking and hearing individuals in close enough proximity, the machine questions our overuse of technology and when it actually begins to become a hindrance. 

While theoretically it could be useful on a larger scale, between individuals far away or in separate rooms, the invention of a new language makes the whole process more complicated than necessary and, while engaging for the mind, feels more grueling than interesting. The idea behind the project was exactly this: to overcomplicate technological communication to the point of interference. Is there still a use or enjoyment in communicating with another when the procedure of doing so is so convoluted? At what point does technology begin to hinder the ease of conversation? Is it necessary to invent new modes of communication when the ones in place make do?

Wood, conducting tape, soldering, wires, screws, batteries, plastic suitcase, paper, etc.

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