Tanaka Thoughts

September 2013 Previous month Next month

Ever thought plants could make music? Well, they most certainly can. An audio production company created what is called the "Data Garden". The company's goal?

"To research the heritage of primitive electronic art and explore the synthesis of biological and digital technologies as a channel of human expression."


Data Garden decided to create a motion-sensitive plant-controlled audio installation. Sensors attach large tropical plants to a computer, which transforms the living specimen into data-controlled audio composers. Participants of this audio production method were encouraged to move around and to touch the plants. This movement affects the plants' composition and produces a sound that is continuously unique.


Check out the link below for more information!

Data Garden

I just found this video and it's the coolest thing ever. Someone took the raw binary data from their computer and rendered the data as an image to create a textile design. You must watch.


Fragmented Memory Process (Edited for Wired 2013) on Vimeo

Many engineers are musicians. But not many people wouldn't think to put an engineer and a musician in the same room to bounce ideas off each other. To have an engineer and musician team up to create their work is a great opportunity for creativity. In the article "Engineers and Musicians Share a Common Interest" a professor teaches a class called “Signals, Systems, and Music” with both musicians and engineers enrolled. This course was designed so that all of the majors involved can communicate their language in a very different way from the norm. For their projects, the students have to compose music using circuit boards and various circuit components. This weaves together the disciplines of music and engineering while creating a wonderful masterpiece.


We all know that engineers can be great musicians. But what we fail to realize is that musicians can be great engineers as well.

Nancy Tanaka

Creative Brains

Posted by Nancy Tanaka Sep 12, 2013


Creative Brains Imagine a Smarter Tomorrow - Video Dailymotion


The graduate students at New York's Interactive Telecommunications Program is on a mission to explore the use of today's communications technologies - and how they might augment, improve and bring art into people's
lives tomorrow.

Nancy Tanaka

The Arts and Smarts

Posted by Nancy Tanaka Sep 6, 2013

Many engineers say that they are not artistic. This is for sure a falsehood. Art does not just begin and end with paper and crayons, watercolors and novels. It encompases an ability to be creative. To be creative is to "transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, etc"....and to create new ones. Every single person is creative. You are creating your own life pattern, life choices, life influences at this very moment. Just by living you have already attributed to your creativity and artistic nature by beginning to paint your life's picture.


This artistic ability that each person owns can be magnified by his or her skill set. When you look into the mind of an engineer, you can see lines, patterns, shapes, design. A dancer uses angles to spot a landing without injury, and a painter scales a landscape onto a canvas. To be an artist is to not be good at math. To be good at math is to not be an artist. False. This is a mentality that should not be engraved into the generations to come. It is something that many schools are beginning to change. We are all engineering the world one creative thought at a time. Look around you, and you shall find living proof.


So next time someone asks if you're artisic, say yes because you'll only be speaking the truth.


In the Allegheny Valley School District, students are using robots to interpret poetry. A visual image is created using LEDs, sensors, and motors. When the student speaks a poem, the image comes to life. It is just one example of breaking the barriers that have been built in between the arts and smarts.
Combining Robotics With Poetry? Art and Engineering Can Co-Exist | MindShift



Nancy Tanaka

Balancing Life & Work

Posted by Nancy Tanaka Sep 5, 2013

Sometimes college students don't think about how they need to balance work & life activities. We need jobs, internships, etc; but we also need to remember to slow down every once in a while. SWE's Region H section posted a very good article on this. Everyone balances these two areas of their life very differently, so we just have to take the first steps and try to find the sweet spot in order to acheive great life balance.



Work-Life Balance | What's Happening in the Heartland...


“A true balance between work and life

comes with knowing that your life

activities are integrated, not separated.” 

―  Michael Thomas Sunnarborg