Phantom Physicalizations was featured on MEDEA Collaborative Media Initiative.

Phantom Physicalizations, Vincent’s master thesis in Interaction Design, assesses the aesthetic qualities of dreams and investigates how dreams can amplify our waking experience. The project is an exploration of the ways in which we value dreams and the way they influence our lives. The word ‘phantom’, defined as ‘something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence’, describes both the incorporeal experientiallity of dreams and the elevated modes of sensory perception they afford.

Through a cognitive and an ethnographical study of dream experience two objects were designed to make dreams physical and sensible. During REM sleep the most vivid dreams occur and body signals like heart rate, respiration rate, body movement and body temperature become irregular. Using a custom made sensor waistband these signals were picked up, recorded and wirelessly transmitted to the devices that represent them in physical form.

The sensor waistband comprised a heart rate monitor, a digital thermometer, an accelerometer for detecting motion and a custom knitted variable resistor made of yarn and conductive thread which was used to detect breathing. A small Arduino based microcontroller collected the data from these sensors and using a wireless XBEE chip the data was transmitted to the devices that transformed the dream data into physical output.

The two devices which make the dream physical address different senses and qualities identified in the empirical research. The Coffee Grinder embodies smell and taste by preparing a unique blend of coffee every time the user has dreamt. It demarks a transition between sleep and wakefulness and integrates into the morning ritual of drinking coffee at breakfast. The Phantoliquefier embodies sight and sound. By oscillating a subwoofer speaker at frequencies based on the recorded dream data, a liquid can be set in motion to adopt visual patterns. In addition the dream data is used to create an abstract electronic sound scheme from the device. Colored lights tint the liquid and turn the device into an ambient display for dream interpretation and self-reflection. The audiovisual output is abstract, engaging and discrete, enabling dream interpretation to become a social activity.

The project was supervised by David Cuartielles (co-founder of the Arduino prototyping platform) and examined by Susan Kozel. The thesis text can be accessed here.

 

Phantom Physicalizations</br>Making Dreams Physical
Phantom Physicalizations</br>Making Dreams Physical
Phantom Physicalizations</br>Making Dreams Physical
Phantom Physicalizations</br>Making Dreams Physical
Phantom Physicalizations</br>Making Dreams Physical

Phantom Physicalizations
Making Dreams Physical

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