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The Project

This final project is meant to be a culmination of the concepts that were learned throughout this Wearable Computing class. I had two main goals:

1. Make something useful. (It solves a problem in the world)

2. Make something finished. (It’s more product than project)


I began looking for problems to be solved. The first and most stressful problem that comes to mind is money. I have problems saving money! It’s so easy to tap a credit card and get what you want. It’s no wonder that everyone is drowning in credit card debt!

Just watch the following video, our society is encouraging people to spend money with a quick (and fun) tap.

So how do I solve the problem of over-spending? Make it harder to spend! I began designing ways to make it hurt when you spend.

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Initially I thought the wallet would bite you or bleed when you spend.
My next design involved a spinning blade. Pain-Wallet I also considered a little pocket poker.
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Ultimately I decided to go with a hand shocker! Classic negative reinforcement.

So it was decided, I would electrocute the user when they pulled out their credit card… but how do you give somebody a little shock without really injuring them?

Building Wallet v.1 The Pain Wallet

Parts List:

1. Three 1.5v batteries in series 2. Transistor 3. Heat + Voltage regulator

Shocking User: I found this tutorial online for making a hand shocker but instead of risking injury with a home made shocker, I went to a prank shop and purchased an electric pen.

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I used the shocking pen and, surprise surprise it hurt. I opened it up to see how it works:

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 6.59.50 PMOn the left are the elements of the shocker and on the right is a diagram of what is inside including power, a transistor and conductive elements to be touched by the user. It’s quite a simple circuit but it took time for me to learn what each part does.

Detecting Wallet Use: I started to build the shocker into the wallet and sewed a switch with conductive thread. Initially the shock would happen using a complex Temboo chain of events that went like this:

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Talking to Connor Campbell about simplifying the project, we realized that when the user removes the card, the circuit could be completed and the shocker would be powered! I sewed this switch with conductive thread into my first wallet.

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A cross stitch of conductive thread on either side of the pocket.
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When the card is removed, the circuit completes and the shocker is powered!

After building the Pain Wallet, I had some time left so I tried building a second version of the wallet with a slightly different concept.

Building Wallet v.2 The Shame Wallet

Parts list:

1. Lilypad Arduino 2. Two TMB-12 Buzzers  3. One ROB-08449 Vibe Motor 4. Conductive thread, wires and solder

The Idea: Wallet v.2 is less about personal pain and more about public embarrassment. In our society, debt isn’t just easy to acquire… it’s encouraged! Check out this video:

Without using electric shocks, how could a wallet stop people from wanting to use their credit card? Something that is more realistic for a user to keep in their pockets.

I decided to use an embarrassing and stressful device – the buzzer! I also added a vibration motor to add to the tactile feel of the wallet.

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The vibe motor is sewn in with conductive thread.
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A shot of the final circuit soldered, taped and sewn in.

Here is a video of the project in it’s early stages:

Once again, I made a circuit that closes when the credit card is removed, this time hooking it up to a Lilypad Arduino. When the switch closes the Lilypad activates a buzzer/vibe sequence which is quite stressful.

Here is the final use video:

The Code:

The code for this project is pretty simple, I referenced this helpful instruction guide for using switches with Lilypad.

Find the code on Github here.

Final Reflections

I’m truly proud of these two wallets. Yes, I made something pretty simple but I think the best designs are simple. They reflect my current push towards being a serious designer of problem-solving artifacts. I want to make more items which make a statement or directly solve problems.

I do not plan to take these projects apart! For once I will leave them soldered and stitched together and simply buy another Lilypad for my next project. After some modifications I will be able to present these wallets as concept prototypes at public shows.

Thank you for your guidance in this course Jackson, I look forward to more designing for the body.