Hi, I'm Jesse! I work with artists and entrepreneurs to create rapid prototypes, interactive experiences, and products that bridge the digital and physical realms.
I'm an engineer by training, with a background in mechatronics.
Here are a few projects that I'm proud to have been a part of:
Older articles and project blogs:
Games and animation:
If you have a product you'd like to prototype, or a neat project you'd like to bring to reality, I offer electronics design and basic fabrication services. I'm based in New York City, USA.
Examples of some of my work are below.
Submit a design file, a sketch, or just say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org
At the core of the instrument are six gallium phosphate crystals — quartz-like structures which do not occur in nature. When playing the instrument, the crystals are made to resonate at different ultrasonic frequencies, and their interference patterns create audible tones.
I was brought on to develop both analog and digital circuitry for the Irvine, Cavatorta's first electronic musical instrument. As part of this effort, I designed and fabricated the electronic circuits that produce sound from the vibrations of gallium phosphate crystals. I also developed interfaces for many of the sensors embedded in the instrument.
Tardigrades are micro-animals that live in extreme environments. They've been discovered in the ocean abyss (thousands of meters below sea level), the highest slopes of the Himalayas, and many habitats in between. Some species can survive both cosmic radiation and the vacuum of space. They are also know as water bears.
Project Ara was a smartphone by Google, which users could customize by attaching modules into the phone's empty shell. One of these modules — designed by Midnight Commercial — held a tiny aquarium with a state-of-the-art digital microscope. Adding this module would insert a community of tardigrades into the body of the phone, and make them visible onscreen.
As an engineer on the Midnight Commercial team, I prototyped electronics and built test equipment at multiple stages of the module's development. I also devised experiments to quantify both lighting and thermal effects on the tardigrade biome.
Read more about the project on VentureBeat.
During the prototyping process for a Samsung product at Midnight Commercial, I created a series of camera modules with microsuction backing. These cameras were later involved in a proof-of-concept for a more complex Samsung appliance.
Some of the modules were wifi-enabled, and periodically sent images to a central server for post-processing. Other variations communicated via USB. Captures could be triggered with an external, physical button. All enclosures were 3D-printed using SLA techniques, and finished by hand.
I worked under Dr. Elisabeth Smela to fabricate and characterize dielectric elastomer actuators, for potential future use in robot locomotion.
Dielectric elastomer actuators (DEAs) consist of an elastomer sandwiched between two compliant electrodes. When an external voltage is applied, electrostatic forces will cause the electrodes to attract, squeezing and elongating the elastomer in between. If one electrode is more stiff than the other, we can achieve a bending motion due to the asymmetry.
Read more about the research on the Laboratory for Microtechnologies website.
More pictures coming soon!
This is the LED Sensing Matrix — an interactive display I built that responds to light and shadow. Check out the graphic to the right for one example application of the technology. The moving dot on the matrix seems to "bounce" off a solid object placed on the display.
It's a bit of a hack, because this effect is accomplished without using any dedicated photosensors. Instead, with some clever circuitry, the same LEDS that we use to emit light are configured to detect light as well! No extra components needed.
I wrote an article that explains the physics behind the process, and walks through an example implementation. Read more here.
Tapslide is a spatial relations puzzle that I made for iPhone and Android devices. The player is presented with a pattern, and is tasked with mirroring that pattern across a horizontal or vertical axis before a timer expires. As the player progresses, the patterns become more complex, and the time allotted for each puzzle decreases.
This started as an exercise in interface design — I wanted to create an experience that used familar gestures in an unfamilar context. The process of tapping on squares and swiping a bar is reminiscent of older smartphone lock screens, and hopefully taps into some existing muscle memory.
In the summer of 2015, I came across Professor Michael Collins's collection of lectures on statistical natural language processing. Inspired by his first couple chapters, I put together a simple part-of-speech tagger that incorporates many of the concepts covered.
Explore the iPython notebook here.
© 2017 Jesse T. Gonzalez | Finest Bean