Morgen is based on the idea that while many people hate their alarm clocks, few hate their mothers. Morgen is an interface that uses the connections between people to make waking up a more dynamic and meaningful experience. Read more »
Archive for the 'Networked Objects' Category
|Since our last installment of the Networked alarm, we’ve made a few changed and advancements. (Man that sounded very government scientificy) First, Kacie joined me to make this a group project, which is great. Along with her came a very important concept: social networking. We wanted to make the process of waking up a more meaningful/rewarding experience, and we figured involving your friends/family would do that.
At first, we wanted to have audio messages from your friends/family wake you up in the morning when you got up and turned off the alarm. That turned out to be impractical for the technology we are using. So we turned to written messages instead. In some ways, little text messages are more intimate and cute (especially with the little LCD screens we got). AND, with text messages we can easily connect the system to Facebook and other social-networking platforms.
So this is how there system works:
If you are slow getting out of bed and over to the node, the message is not displayed and you miss it… forever. There is no way to recover your lost messages, so its an incentive to get out of bed.
In the last bit of the process, an email is sent to the person who wrote the message to you, telling them if you got the message or not, and when. If, on a day, no one leaves you a message, a default message is displayed which the owner sets. This could be a reminder or inspiration, whatever.
That is where we conceptually are.
OH, and if you want to know more, see the pdf Presentation.
I have a problem: I like to SNOOZE. I mean, it feels so good to go back to sleep after your alarm wakes you up, especially when its cold in the room, or you don’t really have to get up. I have tried many strategies to overcome this behavior: putting my alarm across the room, so I have to get up and hit snooze, giving myself a rule that I cannot wake up after 10am, jumping out of bed and yelling; but what usually happens is I don’t remember to use these tricks because I’m half asleep, or I get used to them and don’t ever remember walking across the room to hit the snooze button. I am sick of it. For my Networked Objects final project I am going to solve this one.
My plan is to make the alarm last long enough so that I actually wake up, and then hopefully make the more rational and reasonable decision to GET UP. This is how it will work: a little devise will sit next to my alarm, and three to four other devises will be placed throughout my apartment. When my alarm goes off in the morning, and I hit snnoze, the little devise sitting next to it, hears, and tells one of the other devises in the room to go off. So, I have to get up, find which one is going off, and hit it’s snooze button. Once I do that, it tells one of the other devises in the apartment to go off, so I have to find that one. This process continues until all alarms have been deactivated. Its like a like a little game. And because it is random which alarm goes off when, the game is always changing and I can’t learn it. I know it sounds drastic, but I’ve tried everything else (except having a regular sleep schedule I guess).
The great part about the system is that it is scalable. A user can add as many alarm nodes as they want, and the system automatically uses then. So if a person is really bad at waking up, they could have 10, or if a person just needs a little help, 2.
If you want to know more about the technical aspects of how the system would work, you can refer the the System Diagram.
|Wowy wow wow that was tricky!
I just finished my fist excursion into networking… a place I have never really been before. So for Networked Objects, we are using a little devise called the Xport. It converts serial data to the ethernet protocal (what the internet speaks), what that means is: I can now make my pComp projects (sensors, microcontrollers, LEDs, etc) talk to to the internet. Which is good because the internet has a lot to say and many people are listening. This all probably sounds complicated and scary… and it is. Mostly, I think, because there is so much going on I cannot control. In typical pComp projects you can touch the wires, program the chip…. debug all that stuff. But when you start playing around on networks, you often cannot change anything (its in other people’s control) and its invisible-that makes debugging really hard.
BUT, I prevailed, and it wasn’t that bad. I mean, it took a looooong time to get everything running right, but it was a great process.
In week two of our ‘The Thermometer of the Future” group project for Networked Objects we had to come up with an actual proposal. From our research, we decided that the way we currently receive weather data is not practical. What does 86 degrees really mean? Its really abstract. AND it doesn’t tell us information about the things we use it for: clothing decisions. Almost everyone we talked to mostly used the weather to decide in the morning what to wear and take with them. So, we decided to fix that problem.
We propose a weather data system that would be much more practical to your life. All of this is eloquently (and beautifully) described in THIS PDF of our presentation… but the basic premise is that your computer recommends what you should wear that day, and then looks out for you when you forget umbrella or whatever.
I liked our final proposal because it could actually be implemented… and with the right application/customization, be useful I think. Who know… maybe a prototype in the future?
Weather weather weather. Why are we humans so obsessed with weather? For my second assignment in Networked Objects, I am working in a group of three to re-think the thermometer in the dawning age of ubiquitous computing.
Instead of ‘weather’ it might be more accurate to say we are obsessed with climate. The climate of our world, climate of our homes and offices. It seems that so much of our comfort is wrapped up in climate. The way we typically interact with climate is by either memorizing data about exterior climate or controlling (or trying to control) interior climate through typically abstract medium. Little happy suns, rainy clouds, digital numbers, knobs, and clicks are our only, and usually futile, hope at relating to the huge machine that is our climate… aside from our good ‘ole senses of course.
Its interesting to me that we datatize all of our weather info so much. Not only do we have to know how warm its going to be, but to the DEGREE; can we even tell the difference between 69 and 70 degrees? If so, does it matter? That said, I still find myself caring about the accuracy of those forecasted numbers, how they compare to averages, and if any records are being broken.
When I spoke to some peers about their experiences/relation with the weather I found most people simply used weather data as a tool to help them decide what to wear that day. About half of the people I talked to got their weather ‘data’ from the windows in their apartment. They typically didn’t check any sort of online or ‘objective’ weather data source throughout the day, and only would when outside looked especially menacing. Other people had scientific weather data worked into their daily routine. Most had favorite online services and could tell me about them with a decent level of detail and excitement.
Some of the people I interviewed also used the weather to relate to friends and family that lived far away. I assume in a ‘I can imagine what its like to be there’ sort of way. No one I talked to though expressed a need for more information about the weather. Most who went out and checked a website for weather info just looked at some of the data (usually the hi-lo range), and did not care about the more detailed barometric pressure or dew point. People also said they would never install an application like Weather Bug or a notifier because they do not want to be updated all day about the weather, just when they are making decisions about clothing.
It seems to me that people care about the weather insofar that it is useful to them. They look at the weather out the window or on the net to make decisions that are important to their comfort, not really out of interest. In the age of ubiquitous computing, people will expect information grabbing to be effortless, you shouldn’t have to ‘go’ anywhere… it should all be ‘here.’ Or at least near when you need it, at home, in the morning. Weather information should also be practical, relatable… its not about the data, but the use of the data.
|Amazing things are possible in this city… like stores that only sell feathers. Resources like that make rapid prototyping possible, which is good because I am going to be doing a lot of that in ‘Networked Objects.’ Our first assignment was to make an reactive object that included an action, thing, and response from a provided list. I chose stroking, feathers, and color… not sure why really, just appealed to me. For awhile I had lentils instead of feathers, but the organic look of the feathers eventually tipped the bucket.
Anyhoo, the trickiest part of this project eventually became finding the ingredients-nice looking feathers, decent LEDs (which are still not found), and diffusers (also still MIA). Because of the LED problem I could not create the color ‘response’ I really wanted, but c’est la vie, I think it still turned out beautiful. There is something nice about combining a really organic object like a feather, with a crisp electronic component; its like ‘wow, those aren’t supposed to go together’… but they do, and you like it. Well, organics and plastics don’t go together easily, but with enough finageling I got them to stick.
Overall I am satisfied with my physical computing improv. I do feel a bit guilty over the hodgepodgeness of the LEDs and the overall ‘wires stuffed in a box’ approach; but I did learn a lot about combining electronic components with fabrication materials. The whole process seems messy (physically and academically) and makes me wonder if I will get tired of simply stuffing boxes with parts. I feel like there is a better way… there needs to be one.