My first shot of a bare conductive pen led to a card celebrating a camp site in Montrose where I spent happy times with my girlfriend. As part of my PhD research I’m developing a workshop for older people, which encourages them to reflect on places that hold meaning to them. It’s going to include a combination of craft and prototypes I’ve developed (i.e. this). Hopefully these will get people chatting and sharing anecdotes and experiences around place. My plan is to have lot’s of maps at hand and perhaps a printer to get places on demand. I’m keen to introduce them to electronics in craft and hopefully get them excited about the novelty of lighting an LED. If all goes well I think it would be amazing to hold more workshops like this.Read More
I’ve been working on a prototype that easily and cheaply locates a marker on a paper map. The following video demonstrates a method of measuring distance with a pulley (basically a cheap string pot). It makes use of a retracting key chain, a multi-turn pot that’s connected to the .NET gadgeteer and laser cut wheels.
I’m surprised how accurate it is even with a wonky wheel. The end game is to have two of these on either corner of a map allowing the triangulation of a markers exact position on a map. More to follow. In the video each ruler is 30cm long.
Another two day .NET Gadgeteer workshop took place on the 12th and 13th February, this time at Northumbria University. Attendees included a diverse mix of 3rd year students from 3D, Design for Industry (DFI) and Media Design courses. This was hosted principally by Tim Regan, with myself and James Thomas helping out. On the fist day Tim gave an introduction and presented a series of follow along tutorials with design inspirations introducing each. The result was an entertaining mix of craft, design and technology. The tutorials included the coding and building of a digital camera, complete with a specially designed cardboard case that you fold and slot the Gadgeteer modules into (shown above).
On the second day students separated into groups and built experience prototypes. Again, it was impressive how much the students achieved in such a short space of time and we were able to have a show and tell at the end. The protoypes ranged from a modern game of tag that tweets and takes photo’s through to an automatic toilet roll holder.Read More
For more info the images below include descriptions of selected students projects.
Two lots of .NET Gadgeteer workshops for Product Design students were held at the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) on the 21st, 22nd, 27th and 28th of January. Attendees included 3rd and 4th year undergraduate and master’s students with little or no prior experience of programming. Hosting the workshops were myself and Tim Regan from Microsoft Research Cambridge. The workshops were sponsored by Microsoft Research Connections in Cambridge.
.NET Gadgeteer is a rapid-prototyping platform that is ideal for quickly testing design ideas. Throughout the workshops, GHI’s FEZ Spider starter kits and a host of extra sensors and outputs were used. The aim was to introduce students to the use of physical computing in product design. Being able to test and experience ideas first hand through working prototypes can provide designers with a clearer understanding of how a user might interact with a product, allow them to iterate and test ideas with users and can spark new ideas through play.
The first day of the workshops involved an introduction to the prototyping platform, the installation of software, and tutorials that familiarised students with the basic knowledge required to get started. Among other tutorials, students were shown how to detect black lines or markings using a light sensor and made a simple digital camera.
On day two students used their imaginations to build lo-fi experience prototypes using the .NET Gadgeteer and materials they had found lying around. The day was then concluded with a show and tell. With less than 8 hours to get from an idea, to a working prototype, was no easy task. However, students rose to the challenge! Given the quality of all the projects, we have picked a few examples that show the scope and diversity of the prototypes built.
The .NET Gadgeteer platform proved ideal for exploring ideas through experience prototypes and suited the fast-paced workshop format. Students were able to see their ideas turn into working and wireless prototypes (using the battery packs) with no soldering or in depth knowledge of electronics. The platform also suited the use of lo-fi materials such as cardboard and the mounting of components using craft materials such as sellotape and Blu-Tack. By the end of both days there appeared great enthusiasm to learn more and possibly use the kit as part of their working process.Read More
I’ve been working on a prototype that allows you to explore parts of a larger image. It uses the .net gadgeteer and a mouse that’s connected via the USBHost. When the mouse moves the oringal image is cropped to show a small section of a larger image.
The basic premise is that exploring and moving around a space, rather than just looking, results in a more immersive and meaningful experience. While it’s fun for everyone, I’m currently exploring the possibility of a series of devices for care homes that could become curiosities and points of interest for residents, staff and visitors. Artifacts such as this might allow older people to explore different places, either past or present.
The form is designed to tempt you to look inside. When you do look inside an intimate space is created by excluding the outside world. Only a small section of the space is projected inside, by moving the device around a flat surface you can explore different aspects of it. From personal experience things are often seen that you had missed while looking at the entire image, the experience of moving around an old street is more poignant as you look and remember the details of a space.Read More
Miwa Ikemiya is currently working with Tim Regan from Microsoft Research. Her project explores the material qualities of ceramics in order to create digital objects that are more precious and have greater longevity. It builds on aspects of my own project with Tim last year (Interactive Teaware).
Miwa and myself spent two days exploring ideas and building sketch prototypes. Our inspiration was the stories that are represented by the objects we keep and cherish. Rather than attaching stories by tagging and viewing them on a phone we wanted to create a more meaningful interaction that was tactile and intimate.
The result of this speedy collaboration was a plate that allows you to run your fingers along it’s surface pattern in order to access digital content. When you place your hand on the silver circle you are able to run a finger along the cracks and access different photo’s, snippets of text and eventually audio. The use of cracks builds on Miwa’s work as discussed here.
The prototype uses bare conductive paint and the bodies conductivity to generate a different resistance depending on where your finger is placed on the cracks. This resistance is then associated with specific areas and therefore photo’s. We will continue to develop this prototype so I’ll be posting more on this later.Read More
photoBot will be at a really interesting symposium and exhibition taking place in Edinburgh on the 25th and 26th October.
“The I Am Seeing Things symposium takes another look at what we mean by the term ‘things’. How do everyday, analogue objects change when connected to the World Wide Web? Referring to an Internet of Things, the symposium anticipates the technical and cultural shifts as society moves to a state in which every object is connected, or ‘wired’.”Read More
For those that don’t have WIFI for the gadgeteer and have a router some were else, then you can share you PC’s internet connect easily through it’s Ethernet port. This is also useful as some universities only allow you to connect PC’s due to security. I’ve found this has saved me a lot of hassle while building prototypes that need a connection. Here’s a useful description of how to do this: http://techtips.salon.com/share-internet-through-ethernet-cable-pc-mac-3948.html.Read More