Tag Archives: physical

Wearable Remote Control (3)

A wearable remote control.
Project developed for the Dynamic Interfaces Class, in collaboration with Apon Palanuwech and Ayodamola Okunseinde.

Though our last prototype with the wrist band worked, we wanted to make the one with the sock work. The shape seemed to fit better the function.12

We sew a foam to the sock, to prevent the plastic from collapsing like last time. We also tried to isolate the circuit as much as we could.


Even so, the results were different each time. It varied depending on wether we were using the Arduino Uno or the Fio, if it was connected to the computer through USB or Wi-Fly…


…and if we were touching or not the board. That led us to a problem discussed in the Capacitive Sensor tutorial: the board needs to be grounded. The page also explains a lot of problems we had, like the laptop acting as a sensor too when connected to the board.
After that, we gave up on the Fio/Wi-fly and decided to work with the regular Uno, for this prototype.
For the software part, we added calibration and “tap detection.” Now we finally have it controlling a video!


Wearable Remote Control (2)

A wearable remote control.
Project developed for the Dynamic Interfaces Class, in collaboration with Apon Palanuwech and Ayodamola Okunseinde.

Software Development
a) 1st Prototype

After building a relatively stable device to measure conductivity along 2 axys (see previous post), we started working on the software. Though our purpose was to build a simple remote control, we started to test with a sort of trackpad — big mistake, maybe?
For this prototype, we used processing and serial communication.
We first tried to assign an absolute position to the ball, based on the finger position on the trackpad. That proved to be impossible, because people’s charge on the pad changed a lot.
So we made the charge give the ball a direction, like in a joystick — the direction from the pad’s center is translated as a new direction to the ball.

b) 2nd Prototype
After that, we translated the processing sketch to javascript and changed the functions to control a video on the browser.

Hardware Development
a) 5th (?) Prototype

Meanwhile, we replicated the hardware circuit in a non-rigid device, to make it wearable. We sewed the conductive plastic on felt…


…and the on a sock:10

Though it looked great as a super-like thing, the plastic collapsed and became very low conductive:

Hardware Development
b) 6th Prototype

A much simpler and more stable solution was achieved when we simply put the plastic on an E.V.A. wrist band:

Wearable Remote Control (1)

A wearable remote control. Basic simple functions, like rewind, fast-forward, volume up and down, and play/pause.
The concept plays with the idea that we’re always losing our remote controls, then the best place to have them would be in our bodies.
Project developed for the Dynamic Interfaces Class, in collaboration with Apon Palanuwech and Ayodamola Okunseinde.

Hardware Development
a) 1st Prototype
The project started with a different product in mind. We wanted to build a keyboard embedded in our pants. Maybe using Engelbart’s Chorded Keyboard to reduce the number of keys needed.
We began by experimenting with conductive ink and paper.
01 02

That didn’t work out. Maybe because the ink is not that conductive, maybe because it was a complete mess.
But we also started to rethink the concept from an user’s perspective. What device would make sense as a wearable-remote? A five-finger keyboard probably wouldn’t. That’s how we got to the remote control.

b) 2nd Prototype
We started to experiment with a prototype that Ayo has previously developed. It uses aluminum foil and conductive fabric to create a sort of resistive sensor.


We made some tests using conductive fabric too, but it all seemed too unstable and low-conductive.

c) 3rd Prototype
We changed the material to conductive plastic and it worked better. This prototype uses the Arduino Capacitive Sensing Library, and the circuit is mounted pretty much like in the library’s tutorial. However, we put two wires, one in each side of the stripe. By doing so, we could measure an approximate distance from the finger to the wires.04 05

c) 4th Prototype
With the basic functionality solved, we added two more wires to get readings from the two axys (x and y). We also tried to solve some isolation and conductivity problems by using cardboard, cooper tape, conductive plastic and alligator clips.06

Next steps
Software development: serial communication, filter the data.

The Status Box – Final

1. Idea
A box that displays the user status — busy, available, etc. Useful for workings in semi-public spaces. One could tell by looking at the box if a person is focused on work or just checking Facebook, for instance.

2. Development
2.1. Technology
The box doesn’t have any internet connection. The status is changed by physically turning it. Also, it should be as inexpensive as possible. Instead of detecting the angle with an accelerometer, it uses 4 tilt switches — 2 for each axis, x and y.  It works as in the following sketch.

2.2. 1st Prototype
I’ve programmed all functions and assembled the circuit on the breadboard before putting anything inside the enclosure:

2.3. Enclosure
The box is made out of plexiglass and assembled with bolts and nuts only. I drew its plan based on the model found here.
Once again, a huge thank you to Brendan Byrne for the tip!
I had no experience with laser cutting plexiglass, so I ended up melting it. Anyway, it was useful to check if the box plan was right.

2.4. 2nd Prototype
With everything working on the breadboard, I simply stuck it into my enclosure — along with the battery and the Arduino board.
The switches are a little bit unstable. That made the colors flicker while I moved the box. But the main function seemed to work fine.

2.5. Final Circuit and Board Assembling
Once again, this was the hardest part. I used solder AND hot glue, because working with the tape in the previous project was a pain. It didn’t make things easier, though. I build an x and y axis with toothpicks, for the switches.final
Also, I had a little less space. Because of that, I ended up glueing the battery to my Arduino.

Final Project – Proposals

1. Smart Bop Bag
a) Role

An interactive souvenir. Something to keep in a shelf and play with kids — but not really a toy.
b) Behavior
This bop bag would behave like a regular one, with a twist: it would go up and down by itself, sensing the user presence.
c) Look and feel
Like a regular bop bag, with a smiling face and minimal visuals.

2. Mood Box
a) Role
A box that displays the user mood and status — busy, available etc. Particularly useful for work and D12-like environments. One could tell by looking at the box if a person is focused on work or just checking Facebook, for instance.
b) Behavior
3 tilt sensors detect the changes in the x, y and z axys. By doing so, it is possible to track which is the “current” face. That triggers a different color animation of an RGB LED inside of the box.
c) Look and Feel
A regular cube, made out of semi opaque acrylic.

3. Battleship Game
a) Role
A battleship game for one user.
b) Behavior
Two potentiometers control the x and y position of the target. A push button shoots. 3 different feedbacks: red explosion (success); green waves (water); yellow line (missed, but there’s a target either on the same line or the same column).
c) Look and Feel
Like a classic wooden board game, except for the LEDs and knobs.

4. Wacky Building
a) Role
An interactive souvenir. Seemingly static, it will surprisingly respond to the user presence!
b) Behavior
3 sensors may trigger the interaction: sound, lightness and tilt. By turning the ambient lights off, the window-LEDs will start to turn on. Shaking the building triggers an alert sound and animation. Loud sounds trigger a song (played using the buzzer) and an antenna animation (servo).
c) Look and Feel
Like an old wooden toy, with minimal visual and shapes.

Original post: http://makingtoys.net/2013/12/01/final-project-proposals-2/

Wildcat Thaumatrope

Make a thaumatrope using Arduino and a DC motor.

a) I began by checking if the speed rotation was enough to make it possible:

b) Then I tested a 3-faced version. But it didn’t work.cat_00

c) I decided to test one that would animate the image, instead of just mixing it. It didn’t work out as I planned, though:

d) So I stick to the idea of mixing two images. I draw this cat in an iPad, transfer it to paper and then to the final boards.

Original post: http://makingtoys.net/2013/11/21/wildcat-thaumatrope/

Physical Display for Weather Data

A physical display for weather data.

How it works
The push buttons send a number from 0 to 3 to a Node.js application. The app connects to the Weather Underground API, requesting data from one of the four different cities — depending on the button pressed.
The data is sent to an html page and also back to arduino. The temperature is then mapped to an angle, which is assigned to the servo motor.

The scale has a very short range on purpose. The intention was to highlight the difference between the Brazilian cities and New York.

Original post: http://makingtoys.net/2013/11/21/physical-display-for-weather-data/