While there are so many fun ideas I want to do, I have chosen to work on the concept of meditation, my long time interest (I am very excited!).
Week 1 – Redirect
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to activate the meditative state – to feel a sense of calm and present. I began by observing myself and when I do feel a sense of calm. A lot of the times I would describe those moments – in terms of its environment e.g. walking in a park, being in a quiet space, playing with sand. However, to manufacture those environments i.e. create sensorial elements and create a feedback loop based on your meditative state seem more stimulating than calming. Therefore, I tried to find another commonality in those moments, which lead to breathing.
Week 2 – Decided
When exploring the concept of breathing, it became apparent to me why calming moments are so obvious – because most of the time I’m not calm! I’ve been told my multiple doctors that I don’t breathe properly, that I don’t inhale/exhale deep enough. Also, I sometimes hold my breath without meaning to. This affects the quality of blood flow in my body as well as the way I speak. Recommendations from doctors have been to take singing lessons, get speech therapy or learn to breathe properly.
Learning to breathe sounds easy but I’ve been breathing this way all my life and I’ve never had to think about it, it is extremely unnatural. It is almost impossible to do it because I never realised that I am doing it wrong.
For this reason,
I want to make a ‘Breathing Trainer’ to train myself how to breathe properly.
WHAT: a wearable which tracks your breathing
WHO: for people who have breathing problems (mostly for me)
WHEN: when you want to train your breathing, it is not to be worn all the time *it does not have to fashionable* but it has to be extremely sturdy. I want to fabricate this very well because I really want to solve this issue!
HOW: put it around your face and turn it on. it will start vibrating when you are breathing too fast or when you hold your breath.
- Pressure sensor MPXV2010GP-ND
- Silicone tubes
- Locks for silicone tubes
- Stretchable bands
- Locks for bands
- Vibrating mini motor
- Micro controller – which one?
- Concept / function
Testing the possibilities:
I also tested the sensor and the vibrating motor.
- gathering materials
- sensor – how to calibrate?
- actuator – what’s the comfortable level of vibration, is vibration the most effective actuator?
- band – how to make it fit + look good + sturdy?
- user testing
- is vibrating when breathing wrong the right action? should there be something when I’m breathing right? an incentive?
- should the data be tracked over time?
I wish to make a few to let others try too.
I was paired with Su He for my midterm project. We agreed to come up with ideas separately first then share them with each other. After a few days we met again. Su He was very clear that she wanted to make a game and was excited to work on the computational media part. However, I had a very vague idea of wanting to make something entertaining, very physical (off-screen) and with familiar interaction.
Su He’s idea:
At first when Su Hu showed me the game I wanted to make the exact same game into a physical game. with motors running in row of the game. This seemed too difficult. I then began sketching various ways for a person to navigate the game i.e. control the game, as well as ways to enhance the experience of the game.
Ideas for controllers:
- dance pad – recommended by Jeff (Jeff said to think of new interactions, use uncommon sensors)
- joy stick
Ideas for experience enhancers:
- use LED to highlight game actions e.g. direction of movement, game state (game begin, level up, game over)
- add special effects such as making the game rain candy using special buttons – Makey Makey keys e.g. pressing on halloween jelly, candies, donuts etc.
By the end of week one I had sketched out the design for the game and began searching for materials.
***add photo here***
I shopped on Adafruit and found the perfect joystick – the small arcade joystick. It looks very sturdy and uncomplicated. Also, LED strips for the experience enhancements.
I began coding before the actual fabrication because I was more confident on the fabrication side.
I got the Neopixels running smoothly quite quickly. However, the joy stick, seemingly simple, took the longest time. The product came with no datasheet. It took me some time to figure out that there were 4 switches inside. It then took me more time figure out how to power 4 switches. In the end, I went to the residents and got some help.
While it was not working I also tried plan B – the potentiometer joystick.
Remark: due to the lack of time I was only able to do the lighting based on the stick input but not p5 input.
I ruined the acrylic I had found on the junk shelf. It felt like the laser cutter was being extra weak and would not cut anything on that day. I ended up using cardboard instead.
I was familiar with the materials I’d chosen (cardboard, acrylic, cork, screws). This part went by fairly quickly.
Soldering!!! I soldered for at least 1.5 hours straight. I think I felt dizzy by the end. But this was a very good practice.
COMBINING ARDUINO & P5
This part also went smoothly, thanks to Su He. I did most of the coding on Arduino. It sends hardcoded values through the serial port to p5. These values act as controllers of the game.
Before the presentation we added music to make the game more alive and tested a few more times to be sure all the switches were working perfectly.
The finished piece:
People knew right away how to play the game.
Jeff pointed out that the LED strips can be slow to load. Arnab said to look up the FastLED library which might solve the problem – this was partly why I couldn’t get the lights to run in the background while no switches were on.
Jeff also mentioned looking up https://retropie.org.uk/.
What I wish:
More time!!! Always. Also I wish I had a better idea for the switches.
Mounting motors! – something I failed doing a few weeks ago. What was I thinking attaching the motor to the white plastic lid … It flew off.
MOUNTING MOTORS PROJECT
–> EARLY DEVELOPMENT
My first instinct was to go to the junk shelf to find what was destined to be mine. I found a functioning turntable, what a perfect object for a motor perfect! I tried taking it apart to see the mechanics inside. However, when I opened it up I was overwhelmed by all the components. After some time of trying to rewire it, I put it back in the junk shelf.
–> SHADOW PATTERNS
Since faith wasn’t going to decide for me, I went back to my interest, optical illusions. I saw a motor sculpture project online where multiple sheets of perforated metals were used to create / animate various patterns according to their rotations.
This reminded me of when I looked through my window, through the wire windows against the sun (in Thailand wire windows are used to filter insects). I wanted to recreate the sculpture based on the experience, as well as recreate that experience in the form of a sculpture.
- x2 Stepper motors – very slow drive
- x2 Patterned acrylic sheetsI tried sourcing available materials but perforated metals were both too expensive and difficult to work with. Also, it would give a negative pattern effects ( holes will be dark). So I went with acrylic.
- x2 Cork base
- x2 Standing sticks (acrylic)
- x4 Screws
- x2 Arduino and jump wires
- x2 Power supply
- x1 Super glue (for acrylic)
- TEST PATTERN
- TEST MATERIAL
Spray glue is better
Always use callipers
Test them holes
OTHER NOTES ON FAB
Generally I feel a lot more confident in making things and trying different materials and tools. This class has been one of the most fun classes and closest to my interests for me. I am inspired by a lot of examples given in class and on the blog and I hope to reach that point in craftsmanship and precision in the future!
The big drill bits can bend the tins
The bid drill bits leave a lot of scraps on the surface
Stick the wiring to the lid! Otherwise the wire will come off
The object itself contains a lot of equity i.e. personality – using something familiar to people can make the thing itself more friendly
Keeping some original parts make the object more familiar – i kept the inside paper of the Altoids
Went on a search for materials in the junk shelf and made a Pacman switch!
The Pacman lights up when it chews sweets.
- Power source
- Arduino Nano
- Copper tape
- Hoop (actually from broken glasses)