All posts by enrica

Hello. I am Enrica from Italy. I am a designer and a Fulbright scholar. I have a BFA in industrial design and an MFA in systems design. I am interested in critical design and in how design and technology can modify human behavior in order to make this planet a better place for everyone. I strongly believe that this world is full of trash and needs, and as designers/makers we should think about the impact and the role that our projects could have before actually make it. Ciao! Here is my website.

QUASI : Final project Enrica and Roula




QUASI [kwey-zahy, -sahy, kwah-see, -zee] : a combining form meaning “resembling,” “having some, but not all ofthe features of,” used in the formation of compound words: quasi-definition; quasi-monopoly; quasi-official; quasi-scientific.

Quasi is a Quasi-object and a Quasi-Human. He is so emotionally connected to us that will be lovely and calm when we are around it, but can be very very very pissed if we leave it alone, by itself, like a normal object. If he gets pissed then it will start sending email to show its angry emotions.  The messages he send are directly pulled from Twitter, Quasi wants to speak like a human.

Its body is composed by a hearth and a brain and an eye.

The brain is composed by an Arduino, the eye by a PIR sensor and its heart is a 3d printed heart. He lives in a Jar that can protect him, just like the rose of the Little Prince.




2 3

4 5

Early version
Early version
suicide heart
suicide heart




Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.17.28 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.17.40 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.18.00 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.19.07 PM Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.19.19 PM


Final Proposal Enrica and Roula

For the final proposal me and Roula decided to keep working on the concept we started for Midterm. We are interested in building an object that act like a human and in stopping the idea that machine have to be only assertive and nice to us.

Click on the image, it’s a GIF

.robot 2

So our object will be so emotionally connected to us that will be lovely and calm when we are around it, but can be very very very pissed if we leave it alone, by itself, like a normal object. If he gets pissed then it will start sending email to show its emotions. For Midterm we have been able to make it send pre-coded messages, but the result, even if very funny, was limited. For the Final we want to make it pull messages from Twitter and directly send them to you.


Week 5 motor testing – auto destructive piece

For this homework (because of the lack of materials to use)  I focused on how to control a motor with a potentiometer. I used few tools available and  in the end I made a self destructive robot.  I don’t know why but everything I make tend to the auto-destruction, which is kinda fascinating because this small robot reminded me the human nature.  So I started to do some research about it and I discovered that in the 1966 there has been the first Destruction in Art Symposium, the Symposium brought together many artists engaged in destruction in their work.


Gustav Metzger painting with hydrochloric
acid on nylon. South Bank, London, 1961/1966.

I think that in the ‘Maker” era the concept of “destruction” or “self-destrucion” can have a deep meaning. I am really interested in investigating it. Not only for the interesting outcome in terms of projects, but also for the deep political message that contains and the philosophical implications. the auto-destructive art in fact  is primarily a form of public art for industrial societies.

Auto-Destructive art Manifesto:

Can the auto-destructive behavior make robots more close to humans?


Lesson learned: even a small prototype about servo motors can blow your mind.


// Controlling a servo position using a potentiometer (variable resistor)

#include <Servo.h>

Servo myservo; // create servo object to control a servo

int potpin = 0; // analog pin used to connect the potentiometer
int val; // variable to read the value from the analog pin

void setup()
myservo.attach(9); // attaches the servo on pin 9 to the servo object

void loop()
val = analogRead(potpin); // reads the value of the potentiometer (value between 0 and 1023)
val = map(val, 0, 1023, 0, 179); // scale it to use it with the servo (value between 0 and 180)
myservo.write(val); // sets the servo position according to the scaled value
delay(15); // waits for the servo to get there

week 4 – No, he doesn’t want to be touched

Hi everyone.

for this homework I made a toy that doesn’t want to be touched. This is the early stage of a more complex idea where a toy can give you remote information from your house.

Since to do that require more time and knowledge, for now I connected a Sharp IR sensor to detect proximity connected with an LED and a speaker. at certain distance the puppet start complaining.


I found my father playing with him this morning in the kitchen.



foto 4

foto 1

// Uses a PIR sensor to detect movement, a speaker and an LED

int ledPin = 13; // choose the pin for the LED
int inputPin = 2; // choose the input pin (for PIR sensor)
int pirState = LOW; // we start, assuming no motion detected
int val = 0; // variable for reading the pin status
int pinSpeaker = 10; //Set up a speaker on a PWM pin (digital 9, 10, or 11)

void setup() {
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT); // declare LED as output
pinMode(inputPin, INPUT); // declare sensor as input
pinMode(pinSpeaker, OUTPUT);

void loop(){
val = digitalRead(inputPin); // read input value
if (val == HIGH) { // check if the input is HIGH
digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH); // turn LED ON
playTone(300, 160);
if (pirState == LOW) {
// we have just turned on
Serial.println(“Motion detected!”);
// We only want to print on the output change, not state
pirState = HIGH;

} else {
digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW); // turn LED OFF
playTone(0, 0);
if (pirState == HIGH){
// we have just turned of
Serial.println(“Motion ended!”);
// We only want to print on the output change, not state
pirState = LOW;
// duration in mSecs, frequency in hertz
void playTone(long duration, int freq) {
duration *= 1000;
int period = (1.0 / freq) * 1000000;
long elapsed_time = 0;
while (elapsed_time < duration) {
delayMicroseconds(period / 2);
digitalWrite(pinSpeaker, LOW);
delayMicroseconds(period / 2);
elapsed_time += (period);

Week 2 – Blink

Hi everyone, this is a step by step into my first homework, I started controlling the LED with the potentiometer ..

photo 1

connecting Arduino with the board

photo 2

adding the potentiometer to control an LED

photo 3

adding the LED


const int ledPin = 9; // pin that the LED is attached to
int analogValue = 0; // value read from the pot
int brightness = 0; // PWM pin that the LED is on.

void setup() {
// led pin as an output:
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
analogValue = analogRead(A0);
brightness = analogValue /4;  //divide by 4 to fit in a byte
analogWrite(ledPin, brightness);
Serial.println(brightness); // print the brightness value back to the serial monitor


Then after this exercise I wanted to use a Flex sensor to manipulate the brightness:

photo 4

then I had a problem with resistors. I think. I hope.




Enrica Beccalli – Introduction

308971_2242953106930_938029707_n hello world! I am a designer and an activist from Italy. My background is in Industrial Design and System Design (basically is a design methodology and praxis to deal with complexity) , before moving here in the MFA DT (thanks to the Fulbright Scholarship) I started a Phd in Interaction design in Italy. My main interest is how new technology can modify human behaviors in order to make this world a better place.  Have you ever thought about the fact that technology gave us an incredible amount of possibilities to live our world in a decent way but humans still maintain the cage era behavior?

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.32.42 PM

I suggest to see this documentary about Arduino, it is very interesting especially for the precedents that inspired Massimo Banzi. The attention to the design not only in the aesthetics but also  in the process is very inspiring, the role of ethics in this project is something we should learn from. (eng subtitles are included) Enjoy!