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Buddy Watches An Artsy Horror Movie

I watched Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer while holding touch-sensitive stuffed animal.

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Here we have Buddy, the touch-sensitive internet connected stuffed animal.

The conductive yarn woven into Buddy's fur senses tension. The more you pull or stretch it, the higher the value returned by the input pin on the microcontroller. We get high values (>200) when Buddy is squeezed really hard and lower values (25-100) when Buddy is just petted. Holding him stably in your hand can show the level of tension in your body, which is particularly interesting when watching a horror movie.

I asked for scary movie suggestions, and someone told me to watch Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. This movie is visually evocative and conceptually disturbing. Lots of tension and tension building. During these kinds of movies, I usually hug a pillow. This time, I decided to hold Buddy.

The read-out from Buddy's fur throughout the movie shows the changes in the tension of my hand throughout the movie. Mouse over the line to see descriptions of particularly evocative scenes. Click and drag on the navigator below the graph to zoom in on a particular section of the movie timeline and check out the varying tension in times where Buddy wasn't squeezed very hard. I've also highlighted the labeled parts of the timeline in alternating orange and green to make it easier for you to navigate.

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Christine Sunu

You'll notice that the spikes get significantly lower after about 1:30. I think this is because my cat came and sat next to me around then, so I split my tension between Buddy and his feline friend, who was not happy about this.

The movie is beautiful and disturbing. If you watch it, make sure you have a buddy, electronic or not.

Open Lab for Journalism, Technology, and the Arts is a workshop in BuzzFeed’s San Francisco bureau. We offer fellowships to artists and programmers and storytellers to spend a year making new work in a collaborative environment. Read more about the lab.

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