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Right after we arrived at Madeira island, we headed off to the TEI2011 venue and got busy setting up Hug@ree for the Art Explorations showcase next Tuesday.

Just a couple of days before we left Lisbon, we had a setback. Our friend Tiago’s professionally built multitouch display had to be used for an unexpected theater play, so being unavailable for the exhibition, we had to improvise fast.

We scavenged a flexible diffuse plastic sheet out of Nuno’s IMG lab and bought some lightweight metal profiles along with some nuts and bolts. Maurício lent us a couple of infrared LED emitters and Guilherme lent us his modded PS3 camera.
In the end we had a DI multitouch setup that would fit on a small plastic tube, normally used to carry posters.

Assembling the frame took about twenty minutes and fixing the diffuse plastic sheet onto it took about an hour and lots of gorilla tape :)

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We then setup the surveillance camera lent by the the UT Austin-Portugal Program already used at Popup and went outside to scout the best tree we could find that was visible from our exhibition room. We hugged a lot of very nice trees but had to choose only one :)

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By then it was time to go back inside and setup the enclosure that would house our improvised multitouch projection screen. After a quick trip to the local hardware store we repurposed some PVC sheets normally used for wall proofing and once again abused the powers of the gorilla tape to hold everything together as securely as possible.

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Next up ws the task of instrumenting our tree. Back outside we measured the XBee radio’s range and signal strength and hooked up the capacitive sensor wires and their controller box to the tree.

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… then the outdoor caption:
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… followed by hug tests:IMG_1621

And that was it. After a super busy day, our installation setup was ready. Tomorrow we’ll start with the lighting and multitouch calibration and install the final version of the software that will run our exhibit.

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If you’re attending TEI2011, come see us on Tuesday afternoon and don’t miss the Madness session first thing in the morning.

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