So as promised, I thought I would talk about my first major project since starting at Lush Digital.

As I briefly mentioned in my previous blog, I had been encouraged to investigate Fluid Dynamics. The brief was deliberately kept light, with no expectations to meet. I later figured out why – because Fluid Dynamics isn’t a simple topic! The only real goal was to try and simulate a bath bomb fizzing around in water – if I could achieve something remotely close, it would be a huge victory.

When I look to build anything, I always look to the open source community to see if there are any projects that could assist me in reaching my goal. I quickly came across this awesome project from George Corney

This gave me the fundamentals needed to start my project. However, first I needed to build the thing on a local machine and figure out what the heck Haxe actually was and how it could help me!

Haxe is what George’s fluid simulation is built in – Haxe is an open source toolkit based on a modern, high level, strictly typed programming language, a cross-compiler, a complete cross-platform standard library and ways to access each platform’s native capabilities.

After managing to build the project, I started to dig around in the code to understand what was going on. This was a bit of a steep learning curve as I have no previous experience in Creative Programming or Haxe!

However, as with most passions, its just a matter of desire and willingness to admit you need to keep trying and trying and eventually, things will hopefully fall into place.

After a couple of weeks, I eventually managed to mess around with the calculations enough to simulate a bath bomb, it is a bit rough around the edges, but you can see my first attempt here. **This will only work on a desktop/laptop, also, don’t move the mouse too quickly as I didn’t update the boundary calculation in this version. If you do, the fluid will move outside the screen and you’ll simply need to refresh the page.

I was so excited by my progress, I decided to reach out to George, to see what he thought. George replied showing a huge interest in my version of the digital bath bomb and this really encouraged me to keep going!

Over the next week or two, I began to form a friendship with George as he gave me awesome tips on how to develop the digital bath bomb further. I felt like I might have been pestering him, but I soon realised that he had a genuine interest in helping me to progress my idea.

The final result of my efforts can be seen here. Most of the progress made was done in my spare time, as I found I had a passion for an area of computing that was so unknown to me.

I started to show it to as many people as possible around the office and eventually, it caught the eye of Jack Constantine, the CDO of Lush Digital. He really got behind the idea and so this simple digital bath bomb concept idea blew up!

Lush will be opening a new store soon in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan and the R&D team are responsible for supplying the tech for the store. Based on my demo, I was informed that the theme of the Shinjuku store would be focused on creating moods. I soon heard that this theme was heavily influenced by my digital bath bomb which was a nice, unexpected, surprise!

It made me feel incredibly proud, even more so because this will be the world’s largest Lush store!! There will be a huge three story monitor facing the street with various tech inside the store to encourge certain moods.

However, I knew that the real hero was George for providing me with the base code used and the support he gave me during development. I therefore suggested that we reach out to George to see if he would be interested in collaborating further on this project as a freelancer.

George showed interest and I am happy to say he is now currently involved in the project! The store opens in May 2019 and I am really excited to see what he ends up building! George has given me great feedback on my attempt at a bath bomb fluid simulation and even mentions my fork on his repo!

I have now stepped away from the project, however, I feel extremely grateful to the R&D team for believing in me and allowing me the freedom to explore and create something that has influenced a business decision!

In my next blog, I want to talk about another project I am currently involved in – Lush’s first ever hosted Code Jam!

Thanks for reading!

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