Embedded Aesthetics

In electronic design, efficiency usually drives design. Can we challenge the notion of "form follows function"?

Roles:  Electronic design, electronic programming, circuit fabrication (milling, soldering), photography

 
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In my first semester at MIT, I learned how to design and custom mill circuit boards with embedded programming.  While learning how to engineer these circuits, I became interested in embedding a symbolic layer of design to the PCB in addition to its electronic functions.  This was an intriguing exercise in layering semiotics, as electronics and logic gates have their own symbolic language.

As I learned to mill my own circuit boards, I started making circuits with many custom designs.  One is a portrait of my professor that winks when you touch the "FABrication" part of his brain.  Another is a valve control board for fluidics that has design allusions to a heart.   Another board is designed to detect your pulse through through your finger, and is illustrated by an eye sensing through a hand. 

This set of circuits were part of a course called How to Make (Almost) Anything.  You can look at the rest of the work I made in that class here.

You can see into my process below:

 

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This is a circuit portrait of my professor Neil Gershenfeld.  When you tap the "fab" part of his brain, he gives you a little LED wink.

Other circuits I've designed and programmed:

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