Project #2, Final Reflection

This was my first exploration into wearable technologies and as such, I feel that this project was quite successful. Although I wasn’t able to integrate the electronic and material components, the work I did with each allowed me to become a great deal more comfortable with building circuitry and with finishing ABS plastic (something I have been interested in since I began working with 3D printed plastic). Moreover, developing a project with such a relatively narrow conceptual basis was important in honing my skills at editing, as well as allowing greater experimentation with specific design details, such as the form and surface treatment of the pod.

I find that the field of wearable technologies is uniquely suited to my interest in the relationship between jewelry and wearer, as the integration of electronics with a piece of jewelry allows it to become responsive to some aspect of the wearer’s person, and thus promotes such a relationship. At an applied level, this interactivity between jewelry and wearer is useful for other fields in which I am interested, specifically, medical identification jewelry and assistive technologies for children with autism. Currently, however, I envision this project as something that could be productized simply as a unique piece of jewelry, without a specific practical function.

As mentioned in class, I would be interested in taking this project forward to completion. The most important element of this would be the modification of the electronics so that they will fit within the pod. One method of accomplishing this might be the use of surface-mount construction, rather than the through-hole construction I used for this iteration. Another possibility might be the elimination of the 551 timer from the circuit. So far, I have been able to get a simpler circuit to work only when closure of the circuit is achieved through direct contact between the electrodes/leads. I can only assume that the resistance introduced when using a finger to close the circuit is too great, although my attempts to decrease overall resistance by placing resistors from 10K to 300K in parallel with the touch switch have been unsuccessful. According to a simple touch switch design that I have found online, this problem may be resolved through incorporation of a metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor. This circuit design may also be more appropriate, as I am not particularly interested in the frequency modification that is introduced by the 551 timer, but would rather produce a constant, high-amplitude vibration as I feel this will provide an effective one-to-one link between the wearer’s touch and the jewelry’s response. However, incorporation of a transistor may result in the same scale problem as was present with the 551 timer, so ultimately, it may still be necessary to look at using SMD components.

Another design element on which I would like to focus greater attention is the design of the electrodes that will be positioned on the surface of the pod. Because of time constraints, I chose to create two small circular electrodes as I felt these would be easiest to affix to the pod’s surface. However, it would be possible to use strips of metal (ideally silver, as it would best match the neutral palette of the pods, and has connotations of fineness) to patterns on the pod surface.

 

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