Ash at CIID

Ashwin Rajan's blog while at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design.

Posts Tagged ‘arduino

Frontline gloves – Tech Testing

leave a comment »

Critical technological components for demonstrating the value of the Frontline gloves concept were 1. the proximity sensor for sensing distances in smoky/darr/low visibility environments, and 2. basic communication between firefighters made possible by gesture recognition, using bend sensing technology. Putting together quick and dirty prototypes of these two components helped us test their viability early. Here are a couple of videos of the tests.

Testing Bend Sensors

Testing Proximity Sensors (Ultrasound)

Advertisements

Written by Ashwin Rajan

February 2, 2009 at 12:45 am

Frontline gloves – an attempt at miniaturization

leave a comment »

In our initials ideas, the Frontline gloves product concept consisted of two distinct parts connected by wires: 1. the upper hand area of the glove with proximity sensing and signalling capabilities and 2. the brain and software nestled into a pouch further up the arm (maybe integrated into the end of  the long arm of the glove). The latter would consist essentially of an Arduino, a Xbee shied for wireless communication with the paired glove, and a battery pack for powering the whole setup.

But before long we found ourselves exploring ideas around miniaturizing the product (encouraged by teacher Vinay.V) by combining both parts in one – within the box on the hand of the glove itself (photo above). This, we learnt, would be possible if we got rid of the Arduino board by detaching its chip, clock and a few other components and mounting them on to a much smaller custom made board.

The integrated single-piece set up of components.

The integrated single-piece set up of components.

The Tradeoff

Going further, we decided to go with using the complete Xbee shield setup as is, including its board, for this prototype. As a result, we traded off using two seperate components connected by wires for a larger but single component fully integrated into the hand of the glove, including the battery pack.

The increasing size of the housing for components as prototyping progressed.

The increasing size of the housing for components as prototyping progressed.

Testing how the box would fit and feel on the glove.

Testing how the box would fit and feel on the glove.

How the setup would fit together.

How the setup would fit together.


Rock is the new swivel

leave a comment »

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. 🙂

Rock is the new swivel -  The completed prototype

Rock is the new swivel - The completed prototype

How does it work?

The rocking chair has an Arduino microcontroller and a Xbee wireless communications device attached under its seat. Also attached is a small MP3 player with some preloaded music, and a small mobile phone speaker. The coffee machine is controlled through a hacked power box, which contains a second Xbee . The two Xbees are in communication with each other. An accelerometer is attached under the chair. When the chair is rocked, the Arduino sends a message via the Xbees to turn on power flow to the coffee machine, thus starting the brewing process. The MP3 player is simultaneously turned on. The result is – soothing music and a merry brew in the making, while the person rocks on!

Mimi enjoys a rock accompanied by some soothing music, while making herself an afternoon coffee.

Mimi enjoys a rock accompanied by some soothing music, while making herself an afternoon coffee.

Early prototype of the rocking chair setup

Early prototype of the rocking chair setup

Written by Ashwin Rajan

December 15, 2008 at 11:32 pm

Tap is the new click – Dan Saffer

with one comment

 

Designing Gestural Interfaces 01

Designing Gestural Interfaces 01

Dan Saffer’s talk at CIID some weeks ago was about his new book on designing for gestural interaction. His detailed and convincing talk clearly indicated that we have a new paradigm of  interaction challenge on our hands, one hastened by the radical increase in networks of sensors and other technologies with the potential to create context-aware ‘ecosystems’, fast emerging in advanced urban environments around the world. Why, there are even DIY (prosumer?) versions of these things! 

Dan’s enlightening presentation highlighted the various subtleties of the domain as well as some of the first thumb rules for gestural interface design. Issues highlighted included limitations of current interaction modes, the (under-explored) importance of ergonomics, types of interactive gestures, the preponderance of sensors, an overview of notation, prototyping for … phew! immersive stuff, literally. But I will let you find the real thing for yourself in his soon-to-be-released book. There’s also Dan’s exclusive wiki on the subject.

We had our own shot at tinkering around with the delightful Ardunio micro-controller some days later, and took the opportunity to develop our own gestural interfaces. My favorite was this one – RubberBots – for its degree of sensitivity and emotional subtlety in response to interaction.

Written by Ashwin Rajan

December 3, 2008 at 8:29 pm