Archive for the ‘Physical Computing’ Category

Physical Computing notes…..

November 6, 2008

To keep track of my work process as well as the project outcomes i will use my blog to take notes on processes, challenges, likes/dislikes etc. It is mainly for my own personal record but please feel free to comment!

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Process

1. Coming up with the initial topic of ‘Guerilla free time – how can technology, which has been designed to heighten our efficiency and productivity facilitate break time, helpful laziness, etc.’

2. Brainstorm, Brainstorm, Brainstorm-We spent a day developing an idea around this concept. The ideas built on top of each other and progressed. During this time we always referred back to the brief to ensure we were meeting the key requirements. The idea we decided on was:

ROCK IS THE NEW SWIVEL”

The swivel chair is a classic ‘efficiency technology’ that has left aching backs and stress in its wake. In this prototype, we seek to introduce a powerful antidote into the domain dominated by the swivel. We emphasize how ‘rock’, an interaction that all but disappeared from the modern ‘sitting’ context, can be a mantra to soothe frayed nerves, and at the same time serve up a widely appreciated need, thanks to networked digital technology. Via our prototype, the everyday mundane act of fetching coffee during a hectic schedule is transformed into an act of relaxation, a forced ‘quiet time’ that encourages you to use every coffee drinking opportunity to take a break, listen to some music, and simply chill. 🙂

3.When we reached a point where we were excited about the idea and thought it fitted the brief we started to think about the technicalities of it….How would it work?What technology would we use?would it be engaging for the user? What existing physical products would be need?

4. Think about……DESIGN, TECHNOLOGY, PEOPLE

5. We collected, bought and ordered everything we would need for the project

6. Created Prototype (see stages below)

-get accelerometer detecting motion and creating a reading

-Using the detection of motion to trigger  switching something on

-Built relay into plug board to allow for turning on the coffee maker

-Test turning on a desk lamp when the accelerometer detects motion (with the relay in place)

-This worked so replaced the lamp with the coffee maker

-Make the two Arduino’s communicate wireless with the zigbee

-Incorporate music as an output when the accelerometer detects motion

-Work out timings for turning system on/off, turning music on/off etc.

-Connect electronics/sensors/Arduino to the rocking chair and coffee maker

-test the the system with ourselves

-refine timings in the code

-user test with others

-refine aesthetics and plan/prepare exhibition space

-Chill out and present out idea!

Challenges

  • finding an idea that we were equally excited about,was do-able yet challenging enough and fitted the brief in a limited time frame.
  • Creating a system that would work even if people interacted with it differently.
  • Even though we only had 3 main variables within the system, numerous complexities on how someone would interact with it emerged.
  • When our necessary parts we needed to progress didn’t arrive it became frustrating as we felt very unproductive.

What worked well….

  • The ‘rocking chair’ gesture was very intuitive so the user would very easily know or learn what do as soon as they sat on the rocking chair and the experience began.
  • The simplicity of the overall concept allowed us to created a well round experience that worked well and looked good. I think the concept of ‘Less is more’ applied to this concept and execution.
  • The addition or music being played through the chair enhanced the user experience.
  • The rocking chair and coffee maker looked completely un-hacked, they appeared as 2 stand alone artifacts. Only when the user interacted with them you realized that they were connected and could communicate together. They used the technology to create a little magic!

Overall i loved the whole project, my favourite part was probally seeing everything come together at the end to create not only two products that worked together but also created a whole experience for the user.

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Physical Computing

November 4, 2008

For the last two weeks we have been doing a physical computing course taught by Massimo Banzi, Dave Mellis and Gwendolyn Floyd. During the first week were predominantly taught by Massimo on how to use Arduino

“Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments”

For our last week of physical computing we were set a week long brief to put into practice all we had learned from our exercises taught on the Arduino platform. The brief was set by Gwendolyn Floyd who was also teaching us alongside Massimo and Dave.

The brief was as follows:

Home automation and the internet of things enable our intelligent objects to silently communicate
amongst themselves at faster and higher degrees of autonomy. This requires less and less interaction
and relationship with the user. These trends also create and depend on cycles of replacement and
upgrading, leading to the rapid discarding of old objects. Our project will challenge these behaviors of
passivity and obsolescence by exploring and adapting the cultural, physical, and psychological user
interfaces that reside in the objects we have given up on or replaced. How can new interactions with
and between our old objects create more meaningful, engaging, and thoughtful relationships with
contemporary situations, needs, and desires?

As more and more behaviors and interactions get packed into smaller and smarter objects, what are
the physical gestures and interactions we threw away with “outdated” technology that could add logic,
humanity, and meaning to our daily lives or specific situations.

Please find old objects and re-imagine their functionality: the way they interact with either another object, other objects, people, or the computer in new and relevant ways

For the week we worked in groups to come up with a solution to the brief and make a working prototype of our ideas to exhibit.  I personally loved the week and was hugely inspired by the brief and by the people that i was working with in my group.

Our idea was…….

‘Rock is the new Swivel’

instructions

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mimi

photos by Ashwin and Tobias

One of the chief goals of technology has been to make tasks more efficient and as a result save time. But this has only meant an increased pace of life, as we try harder to pack more into less time and effort.
The swivel chair is a classic ‘efficiency technology’ that has left aching backs and stress in its wake. In this prototype, we seek to introduce a powerful antidote into the domain dominated by the swivel. We emphasize how ‘rock’, an interaction thats all but disappeared from the modern ‘sitting’ context, can be a mantra to soothe frayed nerves, and at the same time serve up a widely appreciated need, thanks to networked digital technology.

The theme we worked with is: ‘Guerilla free time – how can technology, which has been designed to heighten our efficiency and productivity facilitate break time, helpful laziness, etc.

Via this prototype, the everyday mundane act of fetching coffee during a hectic schedule is transformed into an act of relaxation, a forced ‘quiet time’ that encourages you to use every coffee drinking opportunity to take a break, listen to some music, and simply chill. 🙂

Over all the mini exhibition we had was really brilliant. It was amazing to see what everyone had achieved in such a short space of time as well as getting some really productive feedback from our external visitors one of whom was Bill Verplank and of course our wonderful CIID staff!

Some links to more photos of the exhibition…….

Tobias’s and Alie’s flickr!!

Tinkering with Physical Computing

October 20, 2008

Arduino Board

Today we started our physical computing module! It was great. We are using the Arduino platform and are being taught by Massimo Banzi (Tinker), Gwendolyn Floyd (Regional) and David Mellis(CIID). I have so much to say about our first day because it was awesom, but im currenlty falling asleep so it will have to wait till tommorow!