Something Naughty Something Nice (SNSN) by Jeremy Littler
Prepared for: Kate Hartman:
Course: Body-Centric Technologies, Fall 2013
The concept behind Something Naughty Something Nice was to design a shared “romantic experience” between two individuals. The “Something Nice” element of the project is the ability to give their “significant” other a ring (the activator) that enables that person to demonstrate their love for the other person by wirelessly lighting their partners “heart lamp”. As rings are a token of devotion, they are a perfect as key elements of the interaction.
The lamp is housed in a necklace that each partner wears. The heart lighting process can occur bi-directionally (or not!) and wirelessly at the range of the XBee that located on the Nudgeable board (Kate Hartman).
As the primary object is a necklace it is adapted to a variety of body shapes and size. The actuator ring is currently a single size. Future iterations could include a flexible ring band.
When the lights go down simply showing your devotion by lighting the partners heart may not suffice. At this point, and probably in the privacy of your own home (!) the partners may elect to enable the “Something Naughty” mode. Each partner can connect a vibration element to the heart and, ahem, use this to sooth and relax etc. etc. etc. etc……
How it works:
Jack and Jill each put on the necklace and a ring.
Jack touches his ring (any of the two rings will do) to his necklace.
Jill’s necklace lights up (if Jill touches her necklace Jacks will light up).
If Jills piezo buzzer is connected, then that buzzes as well. The same goes for Jack.
The neightbors start complaining so they get a condo and live happily ever after.
SNSN is a necklace placed around the user’s collar. The rationale for selecting this location is that it is highly likely partners may want to publicly demonstrate their devotion. If that is not the case, then the necklace can be placed underneath an article of clothing. A potential alternate location on the belt was considered but rejected in favor of the necklace. Furthermore, as the electronic elements and housing were fairly bulky (in this version anyway), a necklace was determined to be provide the distribution of the object.
As objects were 3D printed iterations of SNSN could be molded to better fit the wearer’s boy contour. In the prototype the necklace was designed to have rounded edges. The “activator” ring naturally fits the contour of the finger. The vibration element can be placed freely and removed if unwanted.
The necklace was designed to enable the wearer to move freely. Movement tests did not indicate a problem with the device when worn in typical day-to-day activities. The biggest limitation is the size (more) and weight (less so) of the object.
The object (including the ring and vibration element) is situated close the body. Ideally, SNSN would be scaled down considerably which would make the object feel more intimate. The size of the unit is a challenge that could be met in later iterations.
The object will fit all individuals. The actuator rings would need to be custom size or provided with an adjustable ring band.
As SNSN is a prototype there are a significant number of aspects that need improvement. That said, the current design is fairly light, well balanced, cool running, does not require significant tactile skills to operate and is involving at a variety of sensory levels. That said, a significant re-design is required to make the object more robust and easier to use. A more advanced 3D printing platform was tested during the development and the object created on this device was much stronger but considerably heavier. In general, the device size and weight would need to be reduced considerably. In addition, a more robust method of attaching the vibration unit is required.
The vibration element needs to be in a more protected and located in a functional housing. It is currently necessary to remove the primary housing cover to turn the device on. A future iteration might use the actuator ring to turn the device on or possibly and easily accessible switch. The internal components (e.g., the batter) are difficult to access and the components are quite delicate. By reducing the component size (using a smaller Lithium battery and mainboard) it should be possible to reduce the size markedly. Variations could be designed to better fit stylistic trends and norms. Some balance needs to be struck between weight, robustness and uniformity.
The long term effect of the device is at present unknown. One might speculate that extensive use of SNSN might lead to an excessive interest in French wines and soft music! There might be a potential for electrocution, though that could also be a desired side-effect. It’s uncharted territory AFAIK!
Early experiments, Failures and Successes:
Searching for the right “actuator” for SNSN was a major challenge. The initial idea was to use a IR transmitter/detector system. This was abandoned as it ran counter to the wireless capabilities of the XBee unit and was deemed too be complex and of questionable accuracy. I also tested tilt switches, photo-resistors and mechanical micro switches. None of these devices provided the immediacy of experience that I was looking for.
One of the limitation of the current lamp/vibration unit is that it is not very dynamic (on or off only). In the process of tackling this issue I explored the Tiny45 controller.
This low power IC could have provided a more engaging modes (I leave this up to the imagination!), either by controlling RGB LEDS’s or by changing the rate of the light/vibration unit (to match a typical heartbeat for example). Using a Tiny (Sparkfun) programmer I was able to breadboard a lighting controller of sorts (see below).
Time permitting I could, probably would, have added a Tiny45 IC to the project. Getting the Tiny45 to work with Arduino was a major challenge (great effort was expended!), but the testing was very worthwhile. Unfortunately, there simply wasn’t enough time to implement additional circuitry and to generate the programming required. In hindsight the simplicity of the current device is actually quite refreshing.
Tiny45 and Programmer!
Magnets and 3D Printing:
While exploring various actuators I came across magnetic reed (MR) switches. These immediately suggest the use of a magnetic element to actuate the SNSN. Magnets are a fascinating energy source and are well worth exploring for projects that would otherwise require mechanical or electronic switching.
One of the more interesting characteristics of magnetic reed switches is that they can be activated by placing a magnetic element near to them; they do not have to be in direct contact with the magnet. The MR switches were tested and were found to be extremely accurate. Furthermore, by moving the ring in and out of the detection area (approximately 1 inch with a quarter sized magnets) a user can affect the receiver unit in a precise fashion (flash, pulse etc.). Interesting……………………………………………
From the outset I had considered using a fabric for the SNSN housing. However, I felt that this would be an ideal opportunity to explore 3D printing. The process of designing the models was reasonably painless with the Autodesk 123D tools (see below).
Printing the model turned in to an exercise in frustration. The Makerbot Replicator 2 reluctantly printed the objects over a VERY long weekend. Patience required! The results were ok, but the objects are not very robust (except for the rings). Also, the PLA material did not seem to like being painted (it warped). In the future I would print at a higher density setting. I would also ensure the cavity of the element was larger (it was too small).
Outside of the Nudgeable, none, nada. If a Tiny45 was used then the possibilities are wide open. You could program the Tiny45 is so inclined.
2 X Nudgeables Kit
2 X Magentic Reed Switches
2 X Red LED (Large)
2 X LED Holders (Make Sure they Match the Large LEDS)
2 X 1/8” Connectors
3D Printer (Optional)
2 X Medium Sized Circular Magnets
Lots of wire, solder and patience
Red Paint (PLA material did not like my spray paint!)
2 X Tiny45’s if you want to push the envelope (please don’t send me a description of that).
The expectation is that some effort is required to activate the partner’s device. I’m intrigued with both the concept of jewelry objects that interact with each other and the need for active participation by the wearer. I was also deliberately trying to get away from a single device concept for this project. I believe the results, both the failures and the successes, opened up many potential avenues for future exploration.