After a week's effort and fixing bugs with the tutor's help, we are able to deliver the final product for the exhibition.
The final product is a mat that contains pressure sensors, when users stand on the mat and start doing fitness exercise, the pressure sensor will start capturing pressure value, these data will be transferred to two components: one is python working with garageband (a music creation studio on Mac with a complete sound library that includes instruments, presets for guitar and voice, and an incredible selection of session drummers and percussionists), this will generate music based on input data because the rhythm and loudness of the music is based on pressure value which refers to user’s movement . The other is Unity, linking pressure value to dynamic patterns. We set up different pressure level to match different dynamic patterns, to showcase users’ exercise status. So, the working interactive code is from Arduino to Python and Arduino to Unity. Overall, when users step on the mat, the music and dynamic patterns will start working collaboratively to provide playful interactions for users.
After the final product was built, I think we have achieved most of the intended concept, mostly by translating the physical variable pressure into music, and users can instantly “hear” the efforts they have put on exercising. The interactions including music and dynamic patterns are fulfilled, and LED strip is included to enhance users’ perception. Though vibration is considered less obvious, so we didn’t include that feature in the final product. What we didn’t achieve, comparing to the ideal concept, is that the mat can only hold one person’s weight rather than multiple people, thus, lower the social interactions. Also, the overall look of the mat is still rough and not flexible enough to carry around, and aesthetic design still needs to be improved to provide a good-looking packaged product. One of the regrets is that we didn’t have time to purchase a larger pressure sensor, so the activated area on the mat is limited and thus, lower the sensitivity. If the time was allowed for shipping, we will overcome this.
Overall, I think our project succeed in bringing joyful experiences in fitness exercise by involving instant gratification and additional playful interactions and thus, promote people to keep fit through exercising. We involved a small scale of users to test our final product and they enjoyed playing with this device and had fun, mostly from the interactions with dynamic music which attract their attentions. Of course, there are still a lot of space for improvements for this product, our team will keep working on that in the future.