Expressive Wearable – Swatch

Concept:

An interactive fidget toy that helps users comfort themselves. Something tactile with buttons, and audio / visual queues for turning on, being in use, and shutting off.
Objective:

I struggled to really find an emotion that I wanted to represent, or felt that I personally needed something to help me with. So I chose the emotion of nervousness and anxiety, the feeling of restlessness – like tapping your foot, or fidgeting with your fingers because you can’t sit still. And thinking about that made me want to make something that users could interact and fidget with, to calm themselves, or at least give their fingers something to toy with while their thoughts gathered. It is quite similar in idea to the Fidget Cubes that came out a few years ago.
Process:

One of the big problems I had was about making it something that is worn on the body. All the fidget toys / interactable objects can be accessed with just your hands, and so there’s no real need to keep it on your body (other than having  it in your pocket or a bag). Since I didn’t want to overcomplicate it, and in doing so hide the essence of the product, I felt like a watch, or a wristband bracelet thing.

The watch itself is acting as the circuit of the product. The CPX is in the center acting as a power and grounding source; and the circuit is formed by the wrist straps of the watch. The straps will have button components on their ends, and once they are snapped together it will act as a switch in the circuit. Closing the watch around your wrist will close the circuit, and taking it off will open both the straps and the switch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6silYc4b974

I managed to get good progress with it at first, but I wasn’t able to patch it up cover exposed conductive parts. It would shock me from time to time and so I tried to remake the project with stitching techniques and more fabric, but I ended up making it more difficult for myself and couldn’t properly finish it up.

The code is relatively simple. It has three functions: one for startup, one for clicking, one for shutdown – the three phases of use of the product.

capture

Depending on the input given, the code will initiate a function. Holding down buttons A & B together will “startup” the product; clicking the A or B buttons initiates the “clicker” function; and shaking the CPX is the input for the “shutdown” function. I experimented with colors and different inputs, but I felt that clicking buttons fit with the theme of the tactile / fidget toy.

My main problem with the code is that I could not stop the Clicker function from repeating itself. Pressing A and B several times would create a queue of Clicker functions that will repeat. I tried to make it so that a Shutdown function will interrupt this queue and turn all the LED’s off, but no matter how I tried it I couldn’t get it to work.
Final Project:

capture

Pressing the A and B input buttons at the same time will start the toy. Pressing either button separately will lighten the LED’s in a pattern. Once the user is finished, they can shake the watch and it will turn off.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78Z5CcFFFb8
Parts List:

  • Copper tape
  • Needle and thread
  • Metal buttons
  • Circuit Playground Express (CPX)
  • Copper tape
  • Conductive fiber
  • Conductive thread
  • Cardboard & paper
  • Black felt

Circuit Diagram:

capture

It is a very simple circuit, because all the LED’s and sounds are part of the CPX – which also acts as the battery in the circuit.

Reflections:

I wasn’t able to present a finished product, instead I got parts of it working, but because it was so delayed and late I never got to finishing it. Initially I got the circuit working but it had open ends that would shock the user / get hot and burn, and when I tried to revise it I ended up getting lost and not sure how to finish it. I definitely didn’t spend as much time as I should have when ideating, and I ended up with something that can be worn, but is more comfortably used when not worn directly on the body (the watch can be taken off for easier fidgeting), so I would have liked to be smarter about the way I wanted users to interact with the wearable.

Knowing this, I would have also made my circuit more complicated, and experimented with LED’s but I shot myself in the foot when designing it.

I also struggled a lot with my code, trying to get everything to run smoothly and not overlap each other, like I talked about earlier.

References & Inspo: 

Fidget cube — https://www.antsylabs.com/collections/fidget/products/fidget-cube

 

Skill Sharing Workshop – Group 3: Conductive Paint

Group Members:
Khushi Jetley – filming tutorial & process video(s)

Michael Sinn – circuit diagrams and testing

Alex Rojas – video editing

Octavian Gherghe – blog post and writing

 

Objective:

The group decided that we wanted to orient the tutorial towards something simple that could be done without having to order anything expensive, or go out of your way to get materials. This was partially due to the pandemic making it harder to order materials, as well as not wanting to railroad students into a complicated project. With this in mind, we decided to do  DIY style workshop focused on the Unusual Materials topic that Olivia suggested.

This workshop a short video on how to make simple and cheap conductive paint from home, that you can use to create unconventional circuits or to spice up your artwork.

Materials & Tools:

  • Alligator clips / Conductive thread / Circuit wiring
  • Paint (acrylic paint was used in our examples)
  • Paintbrush
  • Salt
  • Mixing bowl
  • A medium to spread the paint on: paper, wood, etc
  • LED
  • Battery or CPX with a power cable (3V was used in the video)

Most of these materials should be available at home, but if you need to buy anything it will not be expensive or hard to get, they can be found in local stores or by online distribution. The only exotic item is the CPX if you decide to use it, but most of you will have this due to the course requisite.

Process:

https://youtu.be/EUWt3ZcG4Go

  1. Pour some paint in a mixing bowl and add a generous amount of salt.
  2. Mix it until it reaches a thick oily like texture.
  3. Use the mixture as a conductive pathway in your circuit, and spread it however you like on your materials.
  4. Complete your circuit and test it to see if the paint works.

We used a basic circuit to test out the paint: pasted-image-0

But the paint can be applied to a few other situations as well:

circuits

Result:

The result should leave you with a spreadable paste that can replace conductive thread or other methods you have been using for circuit creation. Though it might not be the most effective method, the group thought that it was a creative and interesting way to give students more freedom when it came to their projects. Not only can this be used in circuitry and wearables, it can be used in paintings or art installations for light shows or other electrical surprises.

Reflections:

Initially, we wanted to make the paint with graphite, but it was less reliable and not as conductive as the salt paint when it was tested. The goal of our tutorial was to create a quick DIY that everyone is able to create and use, and we think that we did that successfully.

 

References:

https://www.instructables.com/Conductive-Glue-And-Conductive-Thread-Make-an-LED/

 

DIGF 2016 – Assignment 1 – Speculative Wearable

Concept:

img_20210118_161531

The wearable I thought about for this project is a headband that is worn to soothe headaches and similar pains. It is relatively simple with two routes for tackling the problem of head pain: a massaging mode that targets two pressure points on the head (the Third Eye and Drilling Bamboo) that are known to alleviate headaches and eye strain; and a second method of diffusing essential oils like lavender oil and peppermint oil. The headband is to be kept simple because it’s not aiming to be a cure-all, more of just an aid for headaches, similar to Advil.

I was thinking of pairing the device with a smartphone / desktop app that would let you control the wearable, as well as offer other remedies and information for headaches that can’t be achieved through the device – like suggested exercise and sleep schedules, water intake, foods / drinks to avoid (like alcohol or meals high in histamine) but I’m not sure how complicated I want it to be, since it’s hard to really nail down an exact science when it comes to curing headaches. I also don’t know anything when it comes to neuroscience, biology, or why body make head hurty.

Objective:

Personally I’ve always struggled with headaches, when I was younger and more so during high school. I really don’t enjoy them and always struggled to get rid of them when they came around. Nowadays I get them when I spend too much time inside or staring at a screen. I also asked my mom for her opinion and she agreed that headaches are a pain (aha) to deal with when working on a computer all day.

I wanted to make a small health-aid that made use of common / accessible remedies without getting too complicated, accessible at convenience stores or drugstores for anyone to grab and use. Originally I also wanted to have a third mode that simulated a cold compress on the user’s head but:

A) it’s really complicated to create a device capable of cooling itself like that, and the alternative to tape a fridge to your head isn’t very useful….                 B) its a lot simpler to just use an actual cold compress! So I cut that out entirely and kept it simple.

I thought about two main designs, one would be a more sleek headband that looks athletic, it would only be bulky in the front where the most electronics would be located: the oil diffuser and the 3 massaging knobs, and there could be several buttons to turn the device on / off and to choose what function of the device you want to use. The second design was closer to a winter head warmer, where it was larger and fully covered the back of the head. I thought about making it a hat at first, but a lot of the material was unused and it would be a waste in my opinion. Similar to the headband, the meat of the wearable would be at the front, but a control panel could be placed on either side of the head to -again- turn it on and off.

2021_01_18-3_27-p-m-office-lens

(the quality for this is really bad and I don’t know how to change that so you can look at it closer on this imgur link: https://imgur.com/a/VgYkBwl )

Mood Board:

img_20210118_143218 img_20210118_143138 img_20210118_143238 img_20210118_143256

Related works:

  1. PeryTong Sleep Headphones – This idea was what I was aiming to create in terms of looks and wearability.

PeryTong Bluetooth Headphones. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://www.amazon.ca/Sleep-Headphones-Perytong-Ultra-Thin-Meditation/dp/B07SHBQY7Z/ref=asc_df_B07SHBQY7Z/?tag=googleshopc0c-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=389969793254&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2731883748321814330&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9000786&hvtargid=pla-782477182467&psc=1

2. Muse 2 headband – I looked at this for aesthetics and a similar idea in a band that aids a body problem. In this case I was comparing headaches to meditation but I was looking at the design and not the science.

Muse 2: Brain Sensing Headband. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://choosemuse.com/muse-2/

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