Workshop 4.

Workshop 4 (thermodynamic paint and ambient devices)

In class exercise

screen-shot-2019-02-20-at-1-40-50-pm

We used the dyed pieces of fabric in the thermodynamic paint and and even the thread.

After the material is dry, you can attach three 3v batteries to form 9v to run current through the thread. The other thing you could do is, use your brad board and the 5V on the arduino. This works, but a small length of thread.

screen-shot-2019-02-20-at-1-49-50-pm

screen-shot-2019-02-20-at-1-52-58-pm

Research

 

I conducted research using the worksheet provided in class. While I was going through the sheet I came up with a rough idea on what the ambient device could be. In class our brief was to think of something which is subtle and in the environment. After looking over all the examples of various ambient devices presented in class, I was very drawn to the thermodynamic paint.

Workshop 4 worksheet
Workshop 4 worksheet

 

1.Display information that is critical not important.

 device displays information whenever someone is close to a home. It uses a proximity sensor to change the color of the certain “parts” of the painting informing homeowners if somebody is outside or is approaching their house. It is subtle yet displays important information without being loud or intrusive.

 

  1. Can move from the periphery to the focus of attention and back again

This would be a painting or piece of artwork that homeowners buy to decorate their homes. These painting which are usually seen as decorative items, could also be ambiently informative.

drawing  of ambient device intended use
drawing of ambient device intended use
  1. Focus on the tangible; representations in the environment.

People spend a lot of money purchasing art for their homes. Usually this is used to enhance their environment. I was thinking about making such things more informative.

 

  1. Provide subtle changes to reflect updates in information (should not be distracting)

The paint will will subtle change due to the electric signals being sent when mapped to the proximity sensor readings.

 

5) Aesthetically pleasing and environmentally appropriate.

Most homeowners have art of some kind in their home, whether they purchase high end art or ikea, these pieces are used to decorate homes. Thes pieces apart from being aesthetically pleasing, display a lot of important information.

 

DUE TO NOT BEING ABLE TO UPLOAD MEDIA ON WORDPRESS. MY blogpost can be found here

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1s0W43_YrOZrXlF2g7R7JXKsly0GZB9h4XdoKMeuRA7E/edit?usp=sharing

 

 

 

 

Runners aid (Posture Sensor) workshop #3

The world of sensors and feedback

For this assignment. We were given a choice of making sensors or to try out existing sensors like heart rate monitor, EMG sensors to select and experiment with keeping in mind the idea of self reflection or self expression.

I tried out the the EMG sensor with my class Nick. From my understanding of the sensor  senses muscle activation. You can then use it to connect to the arduino to get value mapped to sensor value by using a simple serialInputOutput code from sketch examples.

Testing out the the emg sensor. The EMG sensors uses a surface which acts like a bandage on the skin. The accuracy of the reading go down for more than a couple uses.
Testing out the the emg sensor. The EMG sensors uses a surface which acts like a bandage on the skin. The accuracy of the reading go down for more than a couple uses.

 

 

Research

Workshop 3 handout
Workshop 3 handout

1)How could your design follow the design recommendations? 1) Instead of representing numbers, represent through materials and aesthetic visuals

 

Thee posture sensor is used for “running in the dark”it not only activates light. This helps the runner maintain a steady speed while keeping them safe. This falls under the idea of biofeedback, using the bodies momentum.

Thee posture sensor is used for “running in the dark”it not only activates light. This helps the runner maintain a steady speed while keeping them safe. This falls under the idea of biofeedback, using the bodies momentum.

2)Instead of designing for affect-as-information, design for affect-as-interaction. Treat the biofeedback as a prompt for social interaction or personal self-reflection.

I see this sensor as being more of an interaction with the surrounding. Night runs are a great time for reflection and solitary activity. Sometimes, due to some areas not having enough light runners are put in harm’s way from vehicles and unlit paths. I can also see the device having two lights. One to illuminate the path, and one which maybe is connected to a heart sensor.

Sketch based on question 1 of Handout. Sketched out idea with emphasis on material and Aesthetic value
Sketch based on question 1 of Handout. Sketched out idea with emphasis on material and Aesthetic value
"runners aid" sensor. The idea is that the metal piece willsway due to the body's forward momentum lighting up the LED and proceeding with ambient light
“runners aid” sensor. The idea is that the metal piece willsway due to the body’s forward momentum lighting up the LED and proceeding with ambient light

3) Have enough ambiguity that the individual must interpret what the visualization means for themselves.

4) When designing, constantly reflect on how you are making meaning for the individual through your designs. Could you be insinuating that something is negative, unhealthy, etc. ?

5) Reflect on the authority you are giving to the biofeedback device. How could you transfer this authority to the individual instead?

6) Instead of focusing on self improvement

Building sensor

Materials needed

gaha

Building the sensor
Building the sensor

Testing 

Testing out to see the sensor worked. For this I powered the two conductive materials and grounded the metal piece to achieve the led to go off and on. This is a way to switch the circuit on and off.

Using the same principle of circuit connections, I then proceeded to light two LEDS.

 

 

 

Thinking cap (workshop notes 2)

Testing materials

Figure 1: materials to be tested
Figure 1: materials to be tested

This project was to use material handed to us during class to make a sensor which is in a way related to the body. We started out by testing reading using a multimeter

Figure 1: Readings from Multimeter
Figure 2: Readings from Multimeter
Figure 1: Arduino Reading
Figure 3: Arduino Reading

I tested the sensor out with my classmates Olivia and Mazin. We realized that the materials were highly sensitive and that we did not actually have big enough resistors in terms of resistance which could be used for testing with the arduino. This testing helped with the general understanding of the project and different types of materials available for building soft sensors.

Process

Research

The assignment was to build a sensor that was “body’ centric in a way. My initial understanding was built by testing out the resistive materials. I decided to use the Velostat and Linquustat. I started by trying to understand the idea of something that was “ body centric”. My research included using a design thinking approach to the question of building a sensor.

screen-shot-2019-02-06-at-12-02-13-am

Understand

I used this opportunity to understand the assignments and ask myself some questions. As much as this exercise was the ability to understand materials, I saw it also as an opportunity to understand an explore the body.
what did I build?

Figure 6: brainstorming questions on how I use my body.
Figure 4: brainstorming questions on how I use my body.

During our class, kate had mentioned paying attention to the way we use our bodies. This got me thinking about the way I use my body in particular. Including the kind of things I wear. Which parts of the body do I apply the most pressure to?

The one of the interesting question that arose during my research was about the weather I was designing for One body or two bodies. This was a surprising insight because it showed the subtle ways that we not only interact with our own bodies but also many more bodies.

Kate has bought this really nice mat material which was basically the puzzle mats which usually  was also an interesting material itself to build a sensor.

figure 7: Sensor material
figure 5: Sensor material

I first cut out a triangle shape piece because I started out out by imaging a rough idea of building a napping pad (for the on the move nap).

figure: 9 understanding the materials
figure 6: understanding the materials

Unpack

I used this information I had collected in helping me to formulate what I wanted to build. I was going to the Eonyx Velostat material and the green mat. I decided this would be a great time to do a test with the testing sensor to make sure that the basic functionality is there to scale up to build the actual sensor.

I uploaded the serial input Output code from the examples and I got a good range of numbers for the the sensor value and output value. A good enough range helps with mapping of the sensor value to something else. In my case I had decided to use the a physical output like the LED strip. Through this process I had set myself some constraints in which I should ideate around.

I used the code from https://randomnerdtutorials.com/guide-for-ws2812b-addressable-rgb-led-strip-with-arduino/

as a guiding post to light the Fast led. This also involves downloading the fast.h library to the code.

Ideate

After I had unpacked my initial learnings, I proceeded by getting back to the drawing board to brainstorming sensor ideas.

  1. Hugger (sensor that helps with intimate contact)
  2. Thinking sensor (a sensor which helps you with thinking)
  3. napper (An on the go nap sensor)

After a bit brainstorming, using my constraints I decided to build a “Thinking sensor” . This was a finding I had collected in my initial phase of “understand”. I realised one of the ways in which I use my body is by always leaning on my hands. From this idea I wanted to do kind of a play on the idea of the thinking man.

screen-shot-2019-02-08-at-2-22-37-pm

 

Prototype

I started building out by using the same code as above and then running a test by lighting the LED strip using the test sensor.

Building the sensor

F
Figure 7: Building a sensor

After I built the sensor, due to the high ranges which were affected by the thickness of the sensor did not really help in the coding the sensor to switch the LED on and off. I would recommend using thinner materials

img_4734
Figure 8: Getting unusually high readings

 

Learnings and further iterations:

I used this opportunity to kind of have fun with the exercise. I found it interesting to try out these materials to understand the novel and surprising ways in which we use our bodies. Our bodies are using covered in soft materials, and the potential to integrate these materials into our everyday has great potential.

I would highly recommend using lighter material

Using resistors with values of over 10k.

Using material that pick up pressure well

Trying out different outputs such as sounds or even vibration motors.

 

 

Dreamer-a DIY sleep tracker

Body Centric technology

Setup
The setup for the assignment was to pull three words. 1 word for an accessory, 1 for a verb and 1 adverb. After the quick round of ideation during class, the idea that I settled on was BRACELET SLEEP THOROUGHLY. This seemed like a hard combination but one I could tackle using inspiration from current sleep trackers in the market.

After the round of ideation, I began sketching out my initial thoughts. I decided to build a band with an attached face similar to that of a watch. After going through the list of sensors that make sense for the project. I decided to build the band using the french knit and the tracker using the circular loom to weave a tilt sensor which would be able to track moments of sleep.

Figure 1: Initial sketch of idea
Figure 1: Initial sketch of idea

Strategy

Most sleep apps or devices like the Fitbit use the motion sensor in the devices. The idea of creating that using completely soft material was interesting. The strategy to start building out my sensor was first to start with the band and then continue on to the weave for the tilt sensor. The one thing I was a bit confused about was how these two would connect. The idea of the french twist as a wire helped me understand the circuitry.

After I had built the band my idea was to tackle the tilt sensor using the circular weaving technique.

 

Band construction

Materials

1 x Yarn

1 x conductive thread

1 small needle

1 french bobin or self made bobin.

Figure 2: Material needed for french knitting
Figure 2: Material needed for french knitting

For this part of the process I went through a couple rounds of interactions. I did quite a few rounds of construction to understand the french knit. I used the video tutorial provided in class as a reference. At first I just used yarn before the getting to adding the conductive material.

 

Step 1

First I would recommend doing a practice round to make sure the basics of the knit are understood.

Run the yarn underneath the french bobin and twist it around from outside in on one peg and continue on to the next peg.

Figure 3: French Knitting in progress
Figure 3: French Knitting in progress
Figure 4: sourcehttps://www.womansweekly.com/knitting/how-to-do-french-knitting-15375/
Figure 4: sourcehttps://www.womansweekly.com/knitting/how-to-do-french-knitting-15375/
Figure 5: Practice Knits
Figure 5: Practice Knits

Step 2

Proceeded till you have the hang of it. I did a couple rounds before I added the conductive thread. The way I knitted the conductive thread was to make the yarn and the conductive thread act as one. When knitting make sure the conductive thread and yarn are together. This can prove difficult when using the needle too loop one stitch over the other, be careful and make sure to get a hold of the conductive thread with your yarn before looping.

Figure 6: Conductive thread should be one with yarn
Figure 6: Conductive thread should be one with yarn

Then proceed to french knit till you get a long enough loop.

 

My final version looked like this:

Figure 7: My final version
Figure 7: My final version

I then used the testing tool we had built in class to test out the bed to see if the electricity flowed. This is done when the led lights up and completes the circuit.

Figure 8: Testing out sensor
Figure 8: Testing out sensor

Tilt sensor construction

Materials needed

1 x embroidery loom

1 x conductive thread

1x cotton string

1 x yarn

 

Loom building failure.

I did not have cotton string and tried to make a loom out of the yarn that I had. After failing to get the loom like structure I decided to forfeit to the loom and went back to the drawing board.

Figure 9: Loom building failure
Figure 9: Loom building failure

I decided to build a square tilt sensor. I looked for more techniques and came across this homemade cardboard weave technique. I used https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWLIy-Um7_0 this Youtube video as a guiding post.

Figure 10: back to the drawing board. Building a square sensor
Figure 10: back to the drawing board. Building a square sensor

Materials needed

1 x  cardboard piece

1 x small needle

1x yarn

1 x conductive thread

Figure 11: Materials needed to build square tilt sensor
Figure 11: Materials needed to build square tilt sensor

Step 1

Find cardboard pieces of about 3 by 6 inch piece. I used a slightly smaller one. It was harder so I would recommend using a slightly bigger piece for the ease of the needle to go through.

 

Draw out lines around the card space them out to about 0.2 inches apart. Use a scissor to cut vertically

Figure 12: starting out the warp for square loom
Figure 12: starting out the warp for square loom

Loop the yarn around until you have a warp structure which will be used for the weave.

Mark a side as front and back. Run the yarn across to the back and paste that side with tape.

Step 2

 

I threaded half way through until I got to the middle and then I attached the conductive thread to the yarn and knitted it through the middle.

Figure 14: weaving in conductive thread in the middle
Figure 13: weaving in conductive thread in the middle
Figure 14: weaving in conductive thread
Figure 14: weaving in conductive thread

Then I proceeded to test the non conductive. This would highlight the fact that the project is on the right track. For the tilt sensor to work, some of it needs to be conductive while the rest shouldn’t light up the LED on the testing tool.

Figure 15: testing out conductive area
Figure 15: testing out conductive area
Figure 16. testing out non-conductive area
Figure 16. testing out non-conductive area

I continued till I got a nice pattern with the conductive piece sandwiched between the non conductive yarn.

Figure 17: completed piece on the loom
Figure 17: completed piece on the loom

 

Figure 18: Completed piece off the loom
Figure 18: Completed piece off the loom
Figure 19:Completed piece with metal piece to create tilt sensor
Figure 19:Completed piece with metal piece to create tilt sensor

Tilt sensor considerations

when I seemed to test it out it lit . I wasn’t sure if the design actually worked. I did not have enough time to built a new one to test it. This is something I will do in my next few steps of this first prototype

Insights

  1. Conductive thread definitely is a great resource in building sensors.
  2. Using traditional techniques of knitting and weaving could be a powerful tool to build sensors.
  3. I had a hard time with the creating the circular loom, there are many resources out there that can help especially on sources like Youtube where many techniques can be found.
  4. Kobakant.com is great resource to understand how soft sensors work.

 

Next steps

The next steps that I think I would like to tackle are definitely take another crack at building the circular weave using the small embroidery loom. Another idea I had while I was building these two sensors was maybe making a pillowcase. We’ve seen a ton of sleep trackers that come in the shape of bands, because of the use of soft materials, I realized we could actually use it in things like sheets and pillowcases, into soft materials which we use in the everyday to sleep on. If I were to build a pillowcase I would definitely like to use the felting technique and even try out the bigger weaving pattern.

Sources used:

  1. Building a Cardboard loom: METkidshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AWLIy-Um7_0 t