Category Archives: MEDA102

Analog Coding Exercise – The Human Fax Machine


Using images of a banana and a stiletto by American artist Andy Warhol we were given an exercise in which we were to recreate the image on another piece of paper only through the use of sounds and noises – we were essentially told to be a human fax machine.

Our process started with folding up the piece of paper into a 12 square area – 3 columns and 4 rows. In each of the 12 squares we created a number plane (only dealing with positive numbers, quadrant one) 10 by 10, 1 to 10 horizontally (x-axis) and 1 to 10 vertically (y-axis) – so we had a set of co-ordinates for each point that was chosen from the pictures we had to ‘fax’. The 12 square set-up and 10 by 10 plane is also used on the banana and stiletto so we could co-ordinate the points on the images and thus create a co-ordinate to share with the receivers of the message. Each co-ordinate sent would connect from the last one to form the image sent.

Using the following sounds and the way we used them we are able to co-ordinate points:
– a number of claps would indicate which of the 12 squares the point/dot was to be placed (1-12)
– Using a drum beat we made out the horizontal number (0-10)
– Banging a harmonica on a table we made out the vertical number (0-10)
For example: 4 claps would be the 4th square, hearing 3 drum beats and 6 harmonica bangs would be point (3,6) – so point (3,6) in the 4th square we would make a point.
This method was repeated for every point, however for the line between the points.

We used a number of open-hand bangs on the table to indicate if the line joining the points would be straight, curved upwards or curved downwards:
– 1 open-hand bang would mean it is a straight line connecting the points
– 2 open-hand bangs would mean the line would curve upwards
– 3 open-hand bangs would mean the line would curve downwards

Starting with example of point (3,6) in the 4th square, if the next set of sounds the receiver hears are 2 claps, 4 drums and 3 harmonica bangs then the point would be in the 2nd square on (4,3) – then hearing 1 open-hand bang on the table would mean these two points – (3,6) in the 4th square and (4,3) in the 2nd square, are connected by a straight line.

All of these sounds are initiated by the sender of the message.

If the receiver of the message had a problem they would signal with a bang on the table to indicate a ‘re-do’ of the last point transmitted. The receiver of the message was able to know when the message was finished by the last point sent would be the 1st point repeated – indicating that the points connected.

This method of transmitting the images worked well – only major challenge I found was the speed in which the message was sent – we needed more time to decipher the sounds to the corresponding place, so a more steady pace of sounds with distinction between the ending of one sound to the start of the next sound would be allow time to understand where the points were.

Overall the exercise was deemed successful.

Created, produced and executed by MEDA102 students Jo, Lydia, Christine, Dan, Matt and James.

Analog Coding Exercise – Clockwise Clapping


“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

A simple sentence to communicate – just have to say it. However, when limited to getting the sentence across only through using visual communication, it leads to creativity, and problem solving skills are tested.

It is understandable to use pre-existing visual communications such as semaphore flags or Morse code but that would mean to learn what each position of the flag means or what each dash and dot sequence meant, so there has to be an easier way?

Through collective speculation of what we could do, we came up with putting a number to each letter in the alphabet – pretty much the position in-which the alphabet is said: A is 1, B is 2, C is 3… Z is 26. We then took the number and made it a visual gesture – a clap of the hands: A is 1 clap, B is 2 claps… Z is 26 claps. However clapping 26 times to get to the letter Z was inefficient and bothersome, the receiver of the message could easily lose count of the claps so something had to be added.

A suggestion was made to add a sequence of gestures that would also separate the alphabet into smaller groups, 5 groups of letters – a clockwise series of claps, above, right, down, left and patting the chest/stomach (clockwise motion/sequence from sender of message).

Clapping above represents letters A, B, C, D and E
Clapping right represents letters F, G, H, I and J
Clapping down represents letters K, L, M, N and O
Clapping left represents letters P, Q, R, S and T
Patting chest/stomach represents letters U, V, W, X, Y and Z

Clockwise ClappingWith the grouping of letters alongside different gestures of clapping this allowed for a more efficient visual communication. With different groups of letters then we only need to clap to 5/6 to understand what letter is trying to be received.

The clockwise motion is meant for the sender of the message. It was understood that the receiver of the message would see it counter-clockwise so we came to an agreement to have the sender of the message dictate how the message was to be presented. This issue wasn’t a big problem as with the help of a key it was easy to decipher the letters being communicated.

For example with the word “hello”, the sequence of gestures/claps would be:

– 3 claps to the right (H)
– 5 claps above (E)
– 2 claps down (L)
– 2 claps down (L)
– 5 claps down (O)

With the gestures understood for the letters, we then needed to create gestures for spaces and a full stop. We found a space would be easily noticed by have the sender of the message stretch out their arms as if about to do a star jump, a full stop and thus completion of the sentence was more so seen from a sign of glee from the sender of the message but would also be seen as something that would be different from gestures previously used.

This exercise was completed successfully.

Created, produced and executed by MEDA102 students Rhiannen, Jo, Lauren, John ‘Zema’, Ralphie and James.