It has been an interesting semester thus far with my pseudo product the “FireLight.” At first I thought it would be whiz-bang its done… but it turns out things take a long time when you are letting yourself be picky. I mean, I took two weeks to finally decide on a light source, that is unlike me; I usually just grab what is most cheap and available. This time, however, I wanted to be more professional and patient with my design process, and I have to say, I like it. Read more »
Archive for the 'Physical Computing' Category
Its been nice the past two weeks fussing over such a deceptively simple thing: light. Which type of light should I use, halogen, LED, cold cathode, normal incandescent, fluorescent. How much do I need; and at what power? And to complicate matters I have to think about light in the context of exactly what I want to do; namely, glowing through wood. Its all very illusive and tricky. There aren’t any standards by which to judge lighting that are reliable; Read more »
So I have this vision… a beautiful object that is little and wood, and it lights on fire; and with magic, it turns on and controls a larger light source. I also have this class, Physical Computing Studio, where you can pick a project to work on all semester. So I thought, great, seems like a match made in heaven: I get to create this image my mind cannot seem to let go of, and better yet, I have enough time to make it really well and put it in the hands of real users. All sounds good… and it is… theres just one small problem. I am not entirely sure what the ‘point’ of it is (the object). Read more »
Nice to meet you.
Since we are going to be together for a semester, I should tell you a little about myself and what I plan on doing. For starters, the reason I am in pComp Studio is that I get to work on a project in my own way… specifically, seeing what its like to do the ‘distribution’ part of a project. Now I know thats not what ITP is known for… but I’ve had a lot of experience in what ITP is known for and I want to know what it feels like to really finish a project. So, thats where I’m going, and what’s gonna get me there is a really small project: using a flame to control a large light source. Read more »
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 »
|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.
I’m tired of tweezers. Mostly because I have been tying little knots in conductive thread and soldering way to small LEDs. Why? you ask, to make a physical away message. What? is that you ask, you can refer to the PDF or SITE linked at the bottom, but basically, its a way to let the people around you (especially at ITP) that you are either ‘available’ or ‘occupied.’ This is accomplished through a necklace with a user control and LEDs. I worked in a group on this one, Jen Grier and Heather Rasley, and we decided we wanted to make a pretty and elegant object… that worked… so thats hard, esp when it has to be soft, and portable, and robust.
Technically, the Physical Away Message, or PAM, is not complex, two or three simple switches that control an analog circuit; but fabrication wise, it was a difficult little project. We ended up making five prototypes, each approached a little differently, using everything from surface mounted LEDs, lace, two types of conductive thread, latex tubing, zippers, snaps, magnets, tape, wire, batteries (coin and AA), metal jewelry cases, etc… Needless to say we learned a lot about fabrication, specifically small fabrication.
Although our PAM was a daunting and, by the end, aggravating process of: design, prototype, test, re-design, prototype, test, again and again; it was great being able to have multiple revisions of a project. Usually at ITP we have one go at something and are always let saying: “if I could do that again I would…,” but with this midterm we got to try it again.
Working in a group was also helpful, especially near the end when we started multi-threading the project (each making our own prototype). Actually, the team work aspect was really enlightening. I have worked in team many times, but usually with team work the problem is complex and big, so many people can work on it at once. But with our PAM, it was small, so really only one person could work on it at a time, not efficient. Next time, when faced with such a situation, I will try to design the production part to be more multi-threaded.
Overall I am satisfied with this project. I am glad its over though, the world of wearable electronics is tricky.
|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.