Random Inspiration

I thought I’d create this blog post because I come across a lot of random inspiration and I wanted to keep it all in one place for documentation purposes. The idea is to state the time, date, inspiration and source so that I have a record of it and can maybe use it as inspiration for future projects.

3:47am | Tuesday 8th May 2018

Sketching for UX Designers

Sketching is great because:

  • This technique takes into account how our visual perception works
  • Then we look at images, we understand them much faster than we read words
  • It can reveal things we might have not seen before, connections we have not noticed
  • It enables a mutual understanding
  • It supports the fail fast approach
  • It is a quick and cheap way to generate many ideas

Facebook, 2018, Sketching for UX Designers [Online] Available at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sketchingforux/

2:27pm \ Wednesday 16th May 2018

Stitching Morse Code

This is quite random and I came across it whilst on the weird side of YouTube. During World War II Major Alexis Casdagli was held as a prisoner by the Germans in 1941. He passed the time in his prisoner camp by sewing/stitching and created many intricate designs that impressed the Nazi’s and so they would hang them in their offices at the prison. As you can see in the borders of the pieces, they contained secret messages that were written in morse code that read “God save the king” and “F*** Hitler” which, if decoded at the time, would have had Casdagli killed. They weren’t decoded until four years later after the war ended and they now appear in museums in London.



I really like the deceit that the artwork demonstrates. There were controversial messages that were hidden by ‘beautiful’ artwork and so they went unnoticed by most. So, in a weird way, it’s as if the Nazi’s who hung up the artwork were unknowingly agreeing with the messages.

YouTube, 2017, Top 10 Secret Messages Sent By Hostages [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoJ1uLhctRY

1:06am | Friday 18th May 2018


I came across a video shared by GSA’s Sustainability group and it shows people coming across a hopscotch that’s drawn onto the pavement in a busy street and how they interact with it.





I really liked the idea of this because it’s a simple idea and so many people knew what it was and how to interact with it. It didn’t require the users to detour from their path or take any time out of their day so there wasn’t a reason not to. It allowed them to have fun and open up a little on their commute to the shops/work etc. It’s captioned “Don’t ever stop playing” which I think is nice because it suggests that the users, who were primarily adults, were interacting with what would have been labelled as a child’s game yet they were evidently having fun. I thought it was interesting that people had a go in their own way (whether they used two feet or not with the double squares) as this reflected how they would have done it in their own childhood. It’s such a short interaction (unless they decide to have multiple attempts like that one person) yet I imagine it will have made an impact on their day.

4:42pm | Saturday 2nd June 2018








11:06pm | Saturday 4th August 2018

Electrifying Classic Cars


2:08am | Saturday 20th October 2018

Microsoft AI Drives Innovation

AI empowers us to change the world. Innovation doesn’t see the possibility of tomorrow, it creates tomorrow.

The Yield

How do we feed the world without wrecking the planet? The Yield uses Microsoft AI to help farmers create localized predictions, so they know exactly when to plant, when to water, and when to harvest to create more food and less waste.


Historical sites are disappearing every day. The team at Iconem uses Microsoft AI to help preserve ancient architectural sites for future generations.


20:25 | Saturday 20th October 2018

University of Glasgow mental health services in crisis

Al Thomas analyses the current state of the University’s mental health services and how issues with funding and the capacity of those needing help are leaving many people in need on a long, unbearable waiting list.


4:35pm | Monday 22nd October 2018

Should Zoo’s Be Banned?


6:00pm | Tuesday 23rd October 2018

Facebook 3D Posts

How Big Brands are Using Facebook 3D Posts

The world’s most widely-used social network brings AR and VR together with this new feature. Audiences can interact with and explore visual details of 3D images, objects, and videos directly in their News Feeds.

How does it work? Both brands and Facebook users can drag and drop 3D objects and images into their News Feeds by uploading an industry standard glTF 2.0 image (sometimes called the “the JPEG of 3D”) from a 3D camera or a 3D app used by developers.

Hootsuite, 27th August 2018, How Big Brands are Using Facebook 3D Posts [Online] Available at: https://blog.hootsuite.com/facebook-3d-posts/?fbclid=IwAR0qDicvfPrnFlShfMEBUQ1H2E87Zs3egtC7jI2gLTtk54SShVg3WBF_x3s

10:50pm | Wednesday 7th November 2018

Aortic Dissections in the Elderly

I’m not sure what to do with this information but I wanted to document it somewhere:

An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc. Object name is 13TT1.jpg

It’s very random but I was researching on aortic dissections and came across this table. It’s discussing the situations in which either to operate or not operate on patients depending on certain factors and I was quite baffled by the entry ‘Jehovah’s Witness’. I asked my flat mate what it could have meant and I ended up googling Jehovah’s Witness’ on surgery. I found out that they in fact don’t receive blood transfusions and so that is why their mortality rate is halved. This intrigued me as it shows some devotion to their religion.

PHYSICIANS face a growing challenge that is a major health issue. There are over half a million Jehovah’s Witnesses in the United States who do not accept blood transfusions.

Members of this faith have deep religious convictions against accepting homologous or autologous whole blood, packed RBCs [red blood cells], WBCs [white blood cells], or platelets.

NCBI, 2012, Aortic Dissections in the Elderly [Online] Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3528246/

Jehovah’s Witness, 1981,  JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES THE SURGICAL/ETHICAL CHALLENGE [Online] Available at: https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/blood/jehovahs-witnesses-the-surgical-ethical-challenge/

11:52pm | Sunday 11th November 2018

Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse

SAN FRANCISCO — The people who called into the help hotlines and domestic violence shelters said they felt as if they were going crazy.

Their stories are part of a new pattern of behavior in domestic abuse cases tied to the rise of smart home technology. Internet-connected locks, speakers, thermostats, lights and cameras that have been marketed as the newest conveniences are now also being used as a means for harassment, monitoring, revenge and control.

At the cinema, feeling out of control is a thrill, but in real life, in our own homes, it is terrifying how easily we might convince ourselves that we are in the wrong, that we are imagining things, when really, someone has simply said, “Alexa, please gaslight my girlfriend.”

Sigee, R. (2018). “Alexa, please gaslight my girlfriend” [Online] the-pool.com Available at: https://www.the-pool.com/news-views/opinion/2018/44/Rachael-Sigee-smart-tech-control-abusive-relationships?fbclid=IwAR3C_lWmkVLY0uMa76JPoMqpVPOWIMzQ_RNXGQRydf9JLVEaB5RVPqhF1Hc [Accessed 11 Nov. 2018].

Bowles, N. (2018). Thermostats, Locks and Lights: Digital Tools of Domestic Abuse. [Online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/23/technology/smart-home-devices-domestic-abuse.html [Accessed 11 Nov. 2018].

2:58pm | Wednesday 21st November 2018

Photography of Music Notes in a Water Bowl

This was shared onto the Interaction Design page and shows the notes of an octave in separate bowls of water. Considering I’ve come across this during my ‘Audio Visuals’ project I find this really interesting as it is an exact representation of the notes.




You could argue that it is somewhat abstract because of the method in which is was represented but what is shown is a direct representation of frequencies.

The CymaScope uses a high definition camera to monitor the effect of an individual sound’s particular vibrations on purified water, revealing for the first time what piano notes look like.

Due to the high surface tension of the water, the harmonics of a particular sound create a unique imprint and just like snowflakes no two sounds are alike.

Daily Mail. (2013). The amazing images that let us ‘see’ music (and could even help us communicate with dolphins) [Online] Available at: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2268654/Music-visible-New-scientific-device-uses-surface-tension-water-picture-individual-piano-notes.html [Accessed 21st Nov. 2018]

4:09pm | Wednesday 21st November 2018

Imagery and Music

My flat mate and I got into talking about the relation between music and art. He introduced me to Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ composed for piano which is about Mussorgsky’s journey around an exhibition, observing ten pieces of art. The suite is comprised of ten movements, including some promenades. Each of the ten movements represents Mussorgsky’s looking at a piece of artwork, and each promenade is him walking in between the pieces. Each promenade throughout the suite is similar and is based on the first promenade, that starts off the suite, which represents him walking into the exhibition.

My flat mate told me that music was originally composed for events and so it wasn’t until Debussy and Tchaicovsky that music became more expressive. In some cases, such as this one, a composer would try and ‘paint a picture’ through music. I’ve never really thought about music being composed to reflect what a composer has seen, and so I thought that this closely related to artists who work with physical mediums such as paint, sculptures etc. As with Claude Debussy’s ‘Images’ he composed music that he hoped would provoke listeners to imagine.

Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition (1874)

Modest Mussorgsky (1839 – 1881)

Performed by: Sir Georg Solti – Chicago Symphony Orchestra 1980

Claude Debussy ‒ Images

Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918), Images I L105 & Images II L105 (1903 & 1907)

Performed by Pascal Rogé

Times for the above video:

00:00 – No. 1 Reflets dans l’eau

05:02 – No. 2 Hommage à Rameau

11:57 – No. 3 Mouvement

15:16 – No. 4 Cloches à travers les feuilles

20:08 – No. 5 Et la lune descend sur le temple qui fut

25:47 – No. 6 Poissons d’or

Reflets dans l’eau is about water and light reflecting off water, the idea of unstill water. Although there are no images that accompany this music the idea is that the listeners image their own version.

The conversation then moved on to the correlation between music and art movements, such as Impressionism. Both movements were both originally looked down upon by others but then became one of the most important movements to date. Although I have studied music to Advanced Higher and art from Higher to where I’m currently at, the third year of my degree, I’ve never heard anyone talk about the correlation between these two creative outputs. I feel that this is a really interesting area and I wish to explore this at a later date.

11:42pm | Wednesday 21st November 2018

Music From a Tree

Diego Stocco – Music from a Tree

In the garden of my house there’s a tree with lots of randomly grown twigs. It looks odd and nice at the same time. One day I asked myself if I could create a piece of music with it.

Upon showing my flat mate this video he told me of a documentary by Judy Dench called “My Passion for Trees“. I am currently unable to watch it but my flat mate informed me that at one point Judy listens to the inside of a tree and can hear the water travelling up inside it.

This programme, filmed over the course of a year, is a magical study of the changing seasons and their effect on Surrey, the most-wooded county in Britain. Judi has long been fascinated with trees, ever since she was a child.

She meets a designer with a special microphone to hear the trees around her pulsing with life in spring, as water rushes up the trunks to the newly-unfurled leaves. Plus a scientist with 3D scanning technology reveals her favourite oak in a new light, uncovering an astonishing 260,000 leaves and a vast network of branches measuring over 12km.

I live the idea of being able to hear things that aren’t normally audible to the human ear, such as a heartbeat that I’m exploring in my ‘Audio Visual’ project. I also find the idea of 3D scanning the trees fascinating.

BBC. (2018). Judi Dench: My Passion for Trees [Online] Available at:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09jxnv4 [Accessed 21st Nov. 2018]

12:47am | Sunday 2nd December 2018


This is a video from the YouTube channel Dexter Stokes-Mellor that I came across. I thought that it was an interesting idea as they’ve somehow methodologically cut the clip at it’s BPM. It creates a rather distorted sound at first, which made me wonder whether any further effects had been added, but if you know the song then you can still recognise the melody, although the instruments are almost unrecognisable. Although I quite enjoyed the audio at the beginning I noticed that after a while of listening to it the sound became quite grinding and I couldn’t bring myself to listen to the whole video.

I can began to think how they did this, and whether it was done manually or with a piece of software/coding. What if I was to code this myself? I reckon if I was to attempt a similar process myself I would use my knowledge gained from the recent project Audio Visual and use Processing to analyse the audio sample. I wouldn’t be able to use the method where you import the video file as a series of JPEGs because that would exclude the audio and that is the main feature of this video. I would need to research if there is a way I can analyse the audio’s BPM, or maybe as an easier method see if I can find it online and then set the frame-rate to match.

It also raised further questions such as the person’s (artist’s?) reason for doing this, and their visuals. Firstly we notice the song choice of Lithium by Nirvana and the fact that it isn’t a studio recording – they’ve decided to use a concert recording. This adds an authentic level to the work. Is it their recording? A friends? One sourced from online? They have also used effects on the visuals as it appears to repeatedly blink in time to the audio effects to reveal the same visuals but with inverted colours. The last feature that grabs my attention is the way it’s displayed. The video was uploaded this year on June 9th and so instead of the quality being HD 4k the visuals seem relatively poor. This could be because this concert recording is likely to be over two decades old considering Kurt Cobain passed away in 1994 and so the original recording wouldn’t have been that great, although Stokes-Mellor could have used a TV recording which would have been better quality both visually and audibly. Because of the low quality it appears that Stokes-Mellor made the recording small and used a large black border as to not make the recording larger and make the quality appear worse, but maybe this is the style that Stokes-Mellor was going for.

11:03pm | Monday 10th December 2018

Jacob Collier

I’m interested in the way he uses contemporary technology with innovative methods to create music. He’s very experimental in his practice as he modulates by hertz as opposed to notes. At one point he modulates from 420Hz to 440Hz, which doesn’t equate to a note and is actually a G half-sharp.

With this way of thinking he has touched into many categories of music such as choral music, by pressing notes on his keyboard and then singing into it. You get low, dark notes that people can’t sing which creates a pleasing sound but also adds an element of fantasy/futurism to it. I feel that he is kind of merging two worlds by mixing old musical concepts together with new methods that change the original intent of the older music.

Jacob Collier’s visits to the Institute are part of MIT Sounding, an innovative annual performance series that blurs the boundaries between contemporary and world music. Curated by Evan Ziporyn, Faculty Director of the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, the 2016-17 season of MIT Sounding integrates the avant-garde sounds of ancient instruments and traditional practices with cutting-edge composition and technology to present various visions of a new, evolving music that defies genre.

Jacob, who is mostly self-taught, has been creating music for all of his 23 years. In 2012, he began to share some of these creations with the world via YouTube. These self-produced multi-layered multi-tracked audio-visual creations, borne from his family home in London, began to attract ears from all over the world, racking up tens of millions of views.

With the help of MIT PhD student Ben Bloomberg, he designed and built a groundbreaking one-man live performance vehicle which defies the musical laws of nature, featuring a circle of musical instruments, six simultaneous multi-instrumental loopers, a custom-designed vocal harmoniser instrument, a real-time reactive multi-Jacob video screen, and one Jacob in the centre of it all.

June Lee transcribes all of his work.

Arts Mits, 2018, JACOB COLLIER [Online] Available at: https://arts.mit.edu/artists/jacob-collier/#about-the-residency [Last accessed 10/12/18]

Sharp, F (2018)

Links to check out:

About creating shutterstock images:


US Army soldiers will soon wear Microsoft’s HoloLens AR goggles in combat:




11:51pm | Friday 4th January 2019

Pyro Board

What happens when you set music on fire? I present to you the Pyro Board. The evil geniuses at Fysikshow have taken the Rubens’ Tube and raised it to a whole new level. Using a flat metal plane with 2500 holes and lots of flammable gas, their invention shows how the varying pressures of sound waves will affect the flames. In short, the flames dance like 3d waveforms on a sound board. Fast forward to 3:38 on the video to see it in full effect. Truly hypnotic.


12:37pm | Friday 25th January 2019

Grasping the Future of Machine Learning and Cloud Robotics With Ken Goldberg

Autodesk, 2017, Grasping the Future of Machine Learning and Cloud Robotics With Ken Goldberg [Online] Available at: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/ken-goldberg/ [Last accessed 25th Jan. 19]

12:13am | Thursday 31st January 2019

Evelyn Glennie collaboration with Maria Rud ‘Art AniMotion’

Just as my entry for 21st November talks about, I’m really interested in the relationship between sound and imagery. Here Evelyn Glennie collaborates with Maria Rud to create a piece of art live that she felt represents the music.

YouTube, 2012, Evelyn Glennie collaboration with Maria Rud ‘Art AniMotion’ [Online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T124VMVCLoA&fbclid=IwAR1nO8qN2wcQTut2cLzcn3xMO8lTz0Dv4YEyYXKEVJ2Bp3MPxpdn4vyACtc



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