Modern communication systems have become so advanced that we rarely pause to consider how they work: conversing with someone hundreds or even thousands of miles away is, for many, now a daily occurrence.

For this project, I set out to understand a communication system by abstracting its layers, diagramming it, and creating an Internet connected installation.

Goal: Create a display that explores the principles behind a complex communication system

Deliverable: System Diagram, Communication Code, Interactive Prototype


Created for a Behavior course at CCA, taught by Hugh Dubberly.


As the foundation for exploration, we constructed a rudimentary telegraph using a piece of wood, a nail, two batteries, and a wire. My classmate, Danielle Forward and I designed an alternative to Morse code to use with his device.

The code we created is presented as a variation of three-dimensional cube that is using one kind of signal (short tap) and time. Each letter is assigned a unique sequence of between three and nine taps.



Text to Telegraph

For the end of year show I wanted to allow viewers to interact with this telegraph and be able to explore deconstruction and abstraction communication models.

I wanted it to be wireless and seem magical – hiding new (and complex) technology to emphasis the old.

I used an Arduino Yun, and 2 web services - Temboo and Twilio.

Viewers could text a message to the provided phone number, and the Arduino would check the message queue every 10 seconds for new arrivals. When it received a new message, it encoded it into the code, and the viewer could decode and transcribe it based on the key.


Video

You can see the telegraph in action in this video:



Photos