The Interactive Sculpture

The interactive book sculpture consists of twelve glass jars lined on the outer wall with copper foil that in turn has been covered with gold leaf. [Gold unlike copper is not susceptible to oxidation.] To read a poem, touch a jar with your bare finger. when you remove your finger, a poem will play.


the Leyden Jar Project on a decorative shelf


How does it work? In the bottom of the sculpture, behind the panel, are a set of Arduino circuit boards. The Arduino Uno is a microprocessor that can be programmed to sense various changes in the environment and respond to these changes. In the case of the Leyden Jar Project, the Arduino is connected to a capacitance touch circuit board that measures changes in capacitance levels. Your smart phone also uses capacitance touch sense [see capacitors today page.] The MPR121 capacitance touch integrated circuit chip (which is connected by conductive wires to the twelve jars) senses when you've touched a jar and sends that information to the Arduino. I programmed the Arduino to interpret this information, gauge not only which jar you have touched, but also how long you were touching the jar before you released it. The Arduino uses these variables (time-held and which particular jar was touched) to choose which of thirty-six wav files to play.


various arduino boards
The large rectangular board in the upper right corner is an Arduino Uno. The others are the Flora, the Gemma, and the Trinket (all three manufactured by Adafruit). 


The wav file recordings of Cole’s voice are stored on a tiny SD card no bigger than your thumb nail. This 4 GB digital storage chip is inserted into a circuit board that uses a VS1053B integrated circuit chip to play sound files.