Documentation & Reflection

Journal Week 14

Maria Harris - Sun 14 June 2020, 11:10 pm

Work done for Prototype

I decided this week to add more functionality to the prototype and provide a base for the breadboard with the particle photon and MPU6050. The functionality that was added allowed the user to shake the dice to record the number that was just rolled; this would then allow the user to multiply that number with the other ones they roll until they do the shake action again. Before the exhibit, the functionality was implemented and shown in Unity to keep track of whether the value is correct. The other functionality was multiplying the number when the user throws the dice. I only focused on multiplying the last two rolls as users will start with learning the times tables which are only multiplying two numbers. Unfortunately, I was not able to get it to fully function as the two last rolls don't change when the user rolls the dice again after throwing it upwards. This means the particle photon has to keep being flashed after each throw. Apart from showing the answer in Unity, it is not used for anything else. If the prototype was to continue to be built the answer would be used to know which sounds to compare to the ones the user produces through hand gestures. The comparing of sounds to check similarity was believed to be the most difficult part and, therefore, it was not focused on for the fear it would take too long and not enough functionality would be created for a person to interact with it by the time it came to the exhibit. If I was to do it again, however, I would explore this area a bit more to see if it was possible or feasible rather than decide it could be simulated through the computer. This would have allowed users to currently interact with the prototype more and test the interactions, as well as see how easy it would have been for the target users to answer the question through movement and matching of tunes. The prototype I did create, however, was functional enough and allowed users to roll the dice, with the side lighting up and corresponding audio would play which was another important part for the users to be engaged and interested in multiplication through the visual and hearing representation. The users would also know which sounds respond to which number. For the foundation, balsa wood and the tape were used and stacked to make the sensors sit flat and stay in one position so that the measurements would be within the range of values stipulated in the code. These were the materials and resources I already had. This did make the breadboard with the particle photon and MPU6050 sit better, however, the ranges for the sides had to be changed because the numbers were no longer within range. In hindsight, I should have tried to find a more accurate and better way to determine the side rolled instead of using the raw numbers; however, the side was still detected most of the time, thus, improving it was not focused on because other parts or work needed to be done.

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I was nervous about the exhibit because I had never attended an event like that online or been a part of one. People suddenly coming into the video chat worried me as I am a typically shy person and I find it extremely uncomfortable talking to people I have never met; however, I feel I am getting better compared to my first years as there have been times that a course has pushed me out of my comfort zones and given me more practice to talk to people I don't know. The exhibit, however, was interesting to be a part of and I found that it was a lot more enjoyable than expected as the team was there supporting each other. People who attended were also very nice and seemed generally interested in the prototypes that we created. We got a lot of positive feedback from people and some asked questions to further understand our concept as well as have a good chat with us that made me feel more at ease. The exhibit did allow me to see all my team member’s prototypes and see the complete functionality that they had done. I was very impressed and wished I could interact with them physically. I was also lucky to see another team’s prototypes. It is wonderful to see how much work people have put in and achieved especially given the circumstance.

There were parts of the exhibition that was frustrating as my prototype at different stages would stop working or would only work when the camera was not on. The video feed also kept freezing which meant that sometimes when I was demonstrating to people, they couldn’t see; however, everyone was very patient, and I was able to show them when the video was working again. I decided to try and fix the prototype during the exhibit which had varying degrees of success; however, it did allow some sides to function.

To make the exhibit more of a success I should have planned better for what exact information I would want the users to know to better understand the prototype and when to use the share the screen to allows users to see the different data change when certain interactions are done and, thus more interactions could have been shown; however, the concern there would be people who are not familiar with Unity might miss the change in data. I am happy, however, that I used the web camera to show the prototype instead of using the phone as I prefer to listen to the audio and see other people on the computer. There was also an issue with the other user not being able to hear very well or not always seeing the video when tested before the exhibit.


This week as mentioned before was also spent on finishing the portfolio. I am not completely happy with the styling as it is not responsive enough and, for some pages, the content was too chunky and very minimal styling done. I was able to break up the content by adding images and videos to show the different interactions with the dice; however, further styling would have improved the aesthetics of the layout.

What to do now

Now, I am focussing on finishing the report which I have yet to properly look at because I decided to have a slight break and focus on other courses with closer due dates. This course has been challenging but also very interesting, engaging and fun. I am a lot more confident with using the Arduino and now a particle photon, as well as creating circuits. I hope to continue learning and creating more projects with the different sensors I have used as well as experiment with others. Thank you to the teaching staff who have all been extremely helpful and knowledgeable which has made it a lot less stressful when it came to creating the prototype, making it functional and continuing with the whole course in general.

Journal Week 13

Maria Harris - Sun 7 June 2020, 10:33 pm

This week has been dedicated to working on the portfolio and the audio component of the prototype. At the moment I have created a basic layout for the website and have continued to fix and improve the design as the content is continuously being added to the portfolio. I have opted to go for a minimalistic design as I want to enhance and draw attention to written content, pictures and video without overwhelming the viewers. The main aim was to organise and break up the content to provide a logical way of viewing the different parts for people who haven't seen the brief. The website is still a work in progress with the focus on writing the content and creating videos.

For the prototype, I was able to send data from the particle photon cloud to unity as I am simulating audio playing when the corresponding side is rolled through the computer rather than the dice. I was concerned that this would be difficult as I haven't had prior experience; however, when I was working with Vuforia and trying to send data from Unity to the photon, I found resources which allowed data to be read in Unity. I did use the resource tutorials and code to make the functionality work. Fortunately, it did alter after changing the code and adding the necessary assets. When the dice is rolled, the side will light up and the corresponding sounds will play from Unity. Video below shows each side being rolled and audio playing.

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There have been changes to the sounds used and interactions based on appraisal feedback, research and a user interview. Objects will no longer be used to produce sounds as further investigation shows that although some students have the equipment, not all of them, at a public school where a teacher aide works, did and this, consequently, puts other students, with some of them being vulnerable, at a disadvantage. One of the suggestions was using hands as a way to produce sounds from one of the appraisals. Further research supports this as clapping is a way to teach children multiplication or maths through music and movement. The idea was then expanded on to include 5 gestures: clapping, hitting a surface, hitting your thigh, fist and hand, and two fists. Each gesture is paired with a note and one gesture or multiple will produce the sounds for the numbers. Concerns were about the complexity and the number of hand movements, however, after discussions with a teacher aide, they said children would be able to learn this as they could be able to pick it up by the students as it involves movements and music.

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The work to be done is to finish off the portfolio and try to add extra functionality to the prototype, such as knowing when the dice was thrown or shaken, as well as doing the team report.

Journal Week 12

Maria Harris - Sun 31 May 2020, 11:06 pm

This week I asked a teacher aide to take one of the 3D dice forms to their school to see how the students would interact with it and whether they were interested enough to want to play with it and explore how they can use it. The constraints with these user tests are that I am unable to be there, in person, and, thus, was unable to note down observations, explain to the teaching staff what the concept was and use body language to determine whether they understand the information or answer their questions. Therefore, the data obtained from the testing was not as accurate as it could be and I have to rely on information from a person who may have missed actions or observations that didn't stand out or was considered normal behaviour. Thus, they may not have taken notice. Information was still gained from the user testing, despite the constraints. Fortunately, this person is very honest and would report back any negative feedback as they understand the importance of it. The children were curious about the dice because they have never seen one like that before and they were not afraid to interact with it. After a conversation with the teacher aide, a possible reason for the children’s’ excitement is because of their background as they can't for various reasons such as finance interact with various technologies other than at school. The first interactions were them trying to open the dice. They, however, were unable to do this. This was viewed as a success because the intention was for them to play with the form; however, not have access to the sensors within it, which could potentially be a safety problem. Other interactions were them rolling the dice on various surfaces and throwing it in the air. These interactions further support how the target users would interact with the dice as it is familiar with them. The teacher aide then talked to other teachers and explained the concept in their own words, through a normal conversation. The teachers thought the concept was good and that it could help with engaging children in learning multiplication as they love using technologies or interacting with a prototype they haven't seen before. This was very positive; however, I am concerned if the students only engage with the prototype for a short time and the excitement and interest would decrease. One of the teachers did say they wanted to test the actual near-finished concept as they were interested in putting it to the test; however, they thought the music was not needed as it would make it complicated and that the lights and form would be enough to make the students play with it. After the teacher aide explained the music was piano notes rather than a proper song, they started to believe that it would work as long as it was simple. More analysis would need to be done and possibly showing the students a video of the prototype functioning to some extent.

Other work done was getting the accelerometer and gyroscope working with the proton and, currently, when the dice rolls on certain two sides, it will light up the colours corresponding to it.

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In the studio, our team became more familiar with discord and one of our team members who has used it before showed us some of the functionality. We are now able to use our phone as well; in case we want to show a close up of our prototype in the exhibition.

What needs to be done

The portfolio needs to be done and completed this week as well as working on the prototype to get all the sides of the dice working when rolled with lights and sound playing. More research and user testing will need to be done as well.

Journal Week 11

Maria Harris - Sun 24 May 2020, 10:19 pm

Work Done

This week, other course assessments have been focused on due to them having closer due dates. Thus, not a lot of work has been done with the concept and the prototype. The balance between the different courses has been something I am struggling with as I tend to find that I spend the day focusing on only one project because I find it hard to leave it and go onto other work. This has meant that I don't spend equal amounts of time on courses. Possible solutions that could remedy this is by having a plan for how I am going to tackle the busy weeks ahead. I find it hard to come up with a plan because I never stick to it and, therefore, it only serves as a reminder of the work I didn't complete as I overestimate what I can accomplish. Thus, I need to work on improving this skill. Some of the work, I have managed to do, focused on further exploring the concept and problem space to find ways to improve the aspects of teaching children multiplication in primary school. How this was achieved was through online research into strategies to teach multiplication and what the recommended order is or different techniques and skills that make learning easier. Other research involved finding resources that children would have access to in the class and could use with the prototype. Some questions were asked to a teacher aide to see how children are taught multiplication. One of the ways they kept mentioning was repetition, to keep the students repeating, saying or writing in worksheets over and over again. This was also supported by online research. Additional Work done was exploring and using the accelerometer and gyroscope. I did have some issues with the sensor and the Arduino as the inputs were not changing or not appearing, even when the sensor was being moved and rotated. This was then found to be due to the lack of connection between the breadboard and sensor. As a result, it will need to be soldered.

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Ideas for the Concept

The idea for the concept was to have the user roll random numbers and then multiply them together. Not enough research and reflection on previous research had been done, however, on how students start learning multiplication as multiplying random numbers is not an effective method for memorisation. The methods were not focused on further, because the purpose was to help students with learning multiplication by having it be flexible and work alongside content or methods the teacher is using to educate them in the classrooms.

From previous research conducted, a specific order for how the times' tables should be taught was found; nevertheless, through further exploration, the same resource was found to be updated and the order was slightly different. Therefore, the current ideas are to facilitate learning multiplication one times table at a time through repetitive learning and aide teaching through the concept. For example, the two’s times tables was suggested as the first one that children should learn as they are at this stage of learning familiar with doubling numbers because they learn addition before multiplication in primary school. How the user would then use the concept is by manually rolling the dice until it landed on a two. They would then do an interaction which has yet to be decided, however, shaking is currently being thought of. This selects the two and thus, all number will be multiplied by two until this process is repeated. The user would then manually roll the number 0, throw the dice and then produce the sound. The process is then repeated until they have completed the 2 times tables and become familiar with it over a reasonable period by continuing to repeat this process and getting the answer correct, as well as understanding why the answer is that number through asking them word questions, as well as using addition resources that will not be incorporated into the dice. The child would then randomly roll the numbers that will be multiplied by two until they are familiar and comfortable with this process. The user can then move on to the next times' tables.

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Plans for Next Week

Further research and user testing will be conducted to understand what changes need to be made to the concept in terms of improving how music is incorporated with the prototype so far. Other work includes getting the sensor working with the photon, soldering it and ensuring the sensor can determine which way is up.

Journal Week 10

Maria Harris - Sun 17 May 2020, 11:10 pm

This week mostly focused on finishing the video, report and writing appraisals for the other teams we were assigned.

For the appraisals, it was difficult to write feedback that would appropriately express what we wanted present to them. All the teams put a lot of effort into their concepts and, therefore, we wanted to include what we found to be positive about their concept whether it was how it engages the users either through the output feedback or the prototype itself, or a clear explanation of how the functionality helps users learn, change or improve their lives. Other feedback given was written because we believed it would be beneficial for them, to help further improve their concepts through actionable critiques.

From there I read the appraisals I was given. This allowed me to see whether I had effectively communicated my concept and be able to identify issues that people have brought up or what parts are working. The feedback then provides me with a stepping-stone to start improving and fixing my prototype for the final delivery. At the moment the main feedback was how my prototype and concept doesn’t solve or help my target users and the problem space I am focusing on. For this stage of the process, I focussed more on trying to build a somewhat functioning prototype in a feasible way that I could then user test with a teacher aide and get feedback from the students they help. Therefore, I did not focus on researching further into the problem space for the previous project delivery. Based on the feedback from other teams and concerns I have had with whether the musical elements will help memorisation and learning multiplication, I will research further with my team and review the research already conducted. Other feedback was about the concept and confusions with the form, how its teachers’ children and concerns about it possibly being too complex for primary school students. I haven't made any changes to the concept or plan so far, based on these feedbacks, because I want to conduct user tests to see if the stakeholders and target users further support these comments.

Suggestions that were given, that I will look into more and see if they would further improve my concept to meet the aim within the problem space, are about using your hands instead of objects to produce sounds. This was an interesting suggestion as then it would allow similar sounds to be produced by any child rather than different objects. The intention was to have parents and teachers help the child connect the object with the digits, however, the suggestion would simplify things and make it easier for children. I have started thinking about how different hand interactions could produce different sounds, however, this would need to be further explored. Other suggestions were about having the multiplication table with the prototype to help them when they first start learning multiplication. Research, user testing and interviews would have to be conducted more to determine if this would help the students or hinder their learning as they can just use the table to find the answer rather than remembering the answer.

There have been changes to the concept as I am planning to no longer use Vuforia, instead, using an accelerometer and gyroscope to determine which number is rolled. One of the tutors in the workshop suggested this would be easier as I am working with a photon rather than an Arduino Uno, therefore, I don’t want it to be plugged into the laptop. I am currently researching how I can use accelerometer and gyroscope sensor as I have never used it before. I will also be doing some activities with the sensor to further understand what code is needed for the project and what changes I need to make to it.

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Journal Week 9 - Work Done

Maria Harris - Sun 10 May 2020, 10:25 pm

What has been done

What has been done since last week, was manipulating the image targets further in photoshop by inverting it from a lighter to a darker colour; then, the colour of the edges of the number was altered to be the same as the one it represented by changing the hue and saturation. These changes made it easier to detect image targets. Afterwards, the targets were printed and added to the corresponding faces of the dice.

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Before this week, the Arduino Uno was used with the neo-pixel strips and Vuforia, however, the Arduino itself needs the USB cable to work and it is too large to fit within the dice. Therefore, the photon sensor and battery were borrowed as it can connect to the Wi-Fi and doesn't need to be plugged into the computer. Thus, the sensor would be able to fit inside with the prototype and the dice could close. This week I did some research into trying to send data from unity to the photon, however, this proved to be unsuccessful. I was unable to make the prototype work without being connected to the laptop, causing some frustration. The user, however, was still able to interact with the prototype and do the required interactions, though this was a little more difficult as their movements were limited with the dice. The plan with this is to continue researching as well as moving away from Vuforia and using an accelerometer with a gyroscope for the next prototype. This would mean that the user could interact with the dice through the intended context as they wouldn't have to deal with the web camera and waiting for it to detect the image target. The user would be interacting solely with the dice and most of the sensors would be contained inside it.

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The audio was also focused on this week for the simulated functionality because when the number is rolled the corresponding audio will play. This was originally done by looking at royalty-free music. Some were chosen because it has a cheery mood to it, however, the tune could not be manipulated in a way that would allow it to be broken into different bars, tones and pitches. Therefore, the easiest way was to find a piano piece that was simple to learn and record the different parts for each digit. The tune for the digits 0-4 has the same bars and notes but the tone and pitch change as they are played at different parts of the scales, this is also the case for digits 5-9.

The Indian Dance, a simple tune, was chosen because, based on what the teacher aide said, having no words or classical music was better for children's learning because they can focus on the task rather than the song itself. The teacher aide gave these suggestions based on what they were told by a more qualified teacher in the area of learning through music. The individual scripts in unity were then updated to include playing audio when the image target is detected.


Further work was creating the blocks for the objects. This was done out of balsa wood because the material was available and allowed the blocks to be made quickly as well as be coloured in with permanent markers. This was done instead of using the small circles as originally intended because, through talking with a teacher aide, they suggested children would find it easier to interact with bigger blocks. Other suggestions were that there would be less of a chance that they would lose it. Instead of having two blocks for each object, 1 block was used with two different colours representing the two digits that have a similar pitch or tune for the child to tap to, thus, children would have less equipment to carry or lose. Other work has been creating the video and writing the report.


Week 8 Journal

Maria Harris - Sun 3 May 2020, 10:28 pm

This week focussed on figuring out how to use the neo-pixel strip with Vuforia and getting a 3D 14-sided dice built. I wasn’t able to work with the sensors as much as I would have liked, due to other assessment pieces, however, I was able to make some RGB lights on the strip light up when their corresponding image targets were detected. The neo-pixel strip provides 8 RGB LEDs, thus, leaving 5 sides without LEDs currently.

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Each side on the dice, 0-12, will be given a unique image target. The image targets were obtained from pixels, a website that provides royalty-free images. These images are of numbers created using bike chains and when added to the database in the target manager it was given a 5-star rating. This star rating was desired as it will make tracking and detecting the image easier than the other images that were uploaded as they were given a 2. There were some concerns with using the bike chain numbers because even though I knew that the images had to be unique I still wanted them to have a consistent style. First up I was only able to find numbers 1-3, thus, I considered creating VuMarks, which, similar to image targets, allows certain objects to be tracked and are customisable. Unfortunately, this did not turn out well as the different parts of the VuMark that I was focusing on in illustrator was failing such as the border and I knew it would take longer, then if I used an image online, thus, more time can then be spent on the sensors. From there I continued searching for images and then I found that the bike chain numbers went from 1-10, this then allowed me to use all those image targets for each number, using photoshop to create the numbers 0, 11 and 12 by cropping and cutting the other images.

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On Thursday, I went into to Uni to pick up a photon sensor, thus, this will allow me to have other sensors work without using the Arduino Uno as the photon doesn’t need to stay connected to the computer and it fits within the dice. The sensor will allow the dice to be the main product that the user interacts with because all the required sensors will be contained within it. The computer, however, will still need to be used with the dice to play and record sounds. I was not able to use the photon yet, however, I am planning on using it tomorrow with the neo-pixel strip.

For the dice, I was originally going to make the next prototype form out of balsa wood. Fortunately, one of the tutors helped me out and created a model of a 14-sided dice, that could come apart by screwing the top off and on, for 3D printing. This model will make it easier to put the sensors within the 3D dice. I was then able to pick up the 3D printing of the dice from UQ on Friday. The dice turned out well, and the sensors will not easily be seen within the product, however, the user will be able to see the LED lights shining through which is what I wanted. I am very happy and excited with the form because how I originally was going to create the dice wouldn't have turned out as well. The only problem is that the dice, doesn’t fully close, however, it still functions the way it is supposed to.

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Week 7 - Progress

Maria Harris - Sun 26 April 2020, 11:38 pm

I found that, during the mid-semester and beginning of week 7, I struggled with the prototype because I felt a bit lost and confused with what I was going to create and how to go about making some of the functionality work for the current idea. This was due to the fact that I hadn't spent enough time thinking about the overall project, what parts were the most important to focus on and get finished and if there are better ways or sensors to use to create the functionality. Fortunately, through the workshop, working on my concept mind map and spending time thinking about what I wanted to create by the next deadline, gave me a clearer understanding of what needs to be done and therefore, I felt less overwhelmed and worried that I wouldn't have any functioning part of the prototype working.

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The main issue I had with the prototype was, how to get the side of the dice to light up when rolled and have sounds play that represented the number of that side. The original idea was to use push buttons; thus, requiring users to push down on the dice. Fortuitously, the tutors gave me some suggestions in the workshop on how this could be accomplished. The suggestions were to use an accelerometer with a gyroscope to determine the side facing up or use a web camera and Vuforia to determine the number rolled by using icons/images to represent each side. These ways are far more interesting to explore and make building the prototype easier as I could leave the dice being a solid object that didn’t need to be pushed down and also fewer sensors. These suggestions have made me less overwhelmed as I feel more confident about making the prototype.

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A tutor made an interesting comment about choosing the best approach as it depends on the form of the prototype and whether I want everything contained in the dice or would I be happy with having multiple parts to the prototype. Ideally, as mentioned in the previous post, I would want all the sensors contained within the dice; however, I don’t believe this will be feasible for me to make; therefore, I have explored the Vuforia method as I currently don’t have the accelerometer and gyroscope as it hasn’t been delivered and I have used Vuforia before and, thus, I am more comfortable with it.

What has been done this week including ordering the accelerometer, making a cube appear when the image target was detected in unity, using Vuforia and having a LED light turn on when the image is detected. I would have liked to achieve more this week, such as creating the dice out of balsa wood and having icons for each side of the dice; however, I plan to spend more time on this project next week.

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What needs to be done for the project is to try and fix how the dice rolls, by making it easier for the user, then using balsa wood to make it. Other tasks to finish off involve coming up with questions to ask the users with the team, interview a teacher aide, record sound recordings, get multiple lights working with Unity 3D and Arduino, create icons for each dice side and build an initial foundation for the web camera and dice to fit inside of. Another task would be, to work on a way to get the led light turn on and play sounds, using an accelerometer when it is delivered. When a somewhat functioning prototype is created, then user testing will be completed.

Changes to the idea will be that buttons are no longer going to be used; therefore, the user will not have to push down on the sides.

Week 7 - Journal

Maria Harris - Sat 25 April 2020, 10:26 pm

What is your concept / individual focus / individual responsibility for the project? Include a text-based description and imagery to support (sketches, photos etc).

The individual concept that will be created for the project is a 14-sided dice, to teach multiplication up to the 12 times table as this is what is taught in primary school maths. Each side, except for one, being the blank side, will represent numbers from 0-12. If the blank side is rolled, the student can choose the number. The image of the paper prototype dice can be found below.


Each digit, 0 – 9, is assigned notes or a bar/s of a popular tune. If a 12 is rolled then, the sounds representing 1 and 2 will be played to the user. For the 0 – 4 digits, it would be the same notes and bars played with different tones and pitches. The digit 0 would produce deeper sounds for the particular bars compared to 4, which would be higher. This would be the same for 5 – 9; however, they would be assigned different notes and bars.

The focus is on allowing children to multiply 2 numbers; however, if they wish they can multiply multiple numbers. How the child interacts with the concept is to pick up the dice and roll it. The side that is facing upwards will light up and the sound/s corresponding to that number will play. They will then do the action again until they have rolled the numbers they are going to multiply with. Once this is done, the user will throw it up in the air; this lets the Arduino know that the next sounds, notes or bar/s that is produced from the user’s objects will represent the answer. The sounds produced will then be compared to the sounds stored. If it is similar, the main melody of the popular tune will be played; however, if they are wrong then a different, unpleasant sound will play.

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Each side of the dice will be coloured a different colour to represent the numbers and help users know which object to use to produce a certain pitch or tone required for the answer. The objects will be the user’s own equipment; therefore, they will have to assign the digits to the object.


Each digit will have a set colour. Consequently, the number 10 would be assigned a colour produced from mixing red for 1 and black for 0.

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The interactions that will be required for the user to use the concept involve rolling the dice to pick the numbers, lighting up the chosen sides, playing the corresponding sounds and throwing the dice in the air to let the Arduino know when to check the produced sound with the stored sound.

What is the ideal finished product? (not what you think you can implement, achieve, but what you would like to be if you had all the resources/skills you need?)

What I would like to achieve is to build a solid, unbreakable 14-sided dice that rolls like any proper dice. All sides would be slightly opaque, with different colours, allowing the LED lights to shine through, however, it would not be completely seen. The main form would be the dice, and the user would only interact with that product; therefore, all the sensors such as the accelerometer, microphone and LED lights would be contained within the dice.

How the user would interact with the finished product is by rolling the dice where the side that faces upwards would light up and play the sound/s, note/s and bar/s. Other interactions would be to throw the dice up in the air and then compare the sounds produced from the user’s interaction with their school supplies/stationery to the sounds stored, rather than faking the functionality with the laptop. If they get the answer wrong, then an unpleasant sound would play from the dice or the main part of the popular tune.

Mid Semester Break

Maria Harris - Sun 19 April 2020, 11:03 pm

I didn’t achieve everything I wanted by the end of the break due to spending a small amount of time away from the computer and focusing on other courses with earlier deadlines. The plan was to explore and understand more about the Arduino, build a foundation for the dice, figure out what materials and sensors were needed, and then buy them.

What I have managed to do so far is play around with the Arduino a little bit more by doing a few of the projects supplied in the kit that I was curious and interested about. One of the projects was creating an alarm, the circuit was simple, though I felt I needed to understand the code a bit more. How I plan on doing this is by changing and exploring the code to see how this changes the output. This plan, however, doesn’t just apply to the alarm project. I also decided to do the last project which was the infrared controlled LED matrix, it was interesting to use the remote and LED matrix to show numbers, however, I did find the code somewhat confusing and perhaps if I have time, and find it useful for the prototype, I will explore it more. The LED matrix did get me thinking about how I could use it to show the dice numbers, but this perhaps might make the project confusing and wouldn’t suit the product as the numbers will be constant and not change and will be in multiple areas on the dice.

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For the dice, the idea was to have push buttons where the user pushed on an area of the dice where it will light up and then record or play the sounds. This was explored to some degree when a circuit was created based on a tutorial, showing how to make one push of the button turn the LED light on and another to turn it off. Further exploration will need to be done about how this could be incorporated within the prototype, whether it will stay connected to the Arduino or solder the sensors to a board. I am lucky in that I do have a soldering iron and in the mid-semester break, my father went through some of his tools and showed me to how to use them, what their names were and allowed me to handle them. This was a fun experience and I do hope to use a few tools such as the soldering iron and hacksaw. The other tools will depend on how far I want to take the prototype and how solid to make it, whether glue will be fine or whether nuts, bolts and screws would be better. As the intended target users are children, however, safety will need to be considered.


Other tasks that were planned to be done included figuring out what materials to use. I did look around the house to find ways of repurposing materials, however, I couldn't find any for the dice; therefore, I brought balsa wood, which is typically used for crafting and modelling. The wood will be used for a few of the iterations as it is light and easy to work with. Additional resources, a couple of sensors, were ordered for the project.

Current concerns I have with my project is that I haven’t spent enough time thinking about the feasibility of the product and how I am planning on building it; due to my inexperience of building prototypes, this makes it harder. Consequently, I need to research more and seek advice from others to help me figure out the best way to create the most important parts of the idea.

Changes to the concept were that instead of building a 20-sided dice, a 14-sided dice will be created with one blank side. Over the break, I explored how a 14-sided dice could be built by researching and using paper to have a better understanding of the shape and what smaller shapes will be needed. At the moment the plan is to have 12 pentagons and 2 hexagons to create the dice. The dice was somewhat created using paper and sticky tape. The paper model is now dissembled and was only done to understand whether the pieces would fit together, and the size of the dice. The shapes used were too big; therefore, smaller shapes were created in illustrator and printed. This will be cut out and stuck together to make another temporary model.

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What needs to be done now is building the prototype and figuring out how to interview and user-test the target audience.

Week 6 - Report and Meetings

Maria Harris - Fri 10 April 2020, 9:24 pm

Changes to Idea

The concept has changed from last week. In the last post, I was questioning how to use music to represent numbers because I didn’t want the sounds to be instrumental; however, after conducting research, I discovered popular songs help children memorise multiplications better. Therefore, each times-table will be assigned some sort of note or bar of a popular tune. The user will complete a tune when answering questions as each digit, 0 – 9, will be assigned 1 or multiple bars with different pitches and tones. Objects will still be used to create tunes; however, each item will need to create different sounds. For the digit 0 and 5, they will produce higher pitches and tones whereas 4 and 9 will be deeper. The digits, from 0-4, will have the same tune with different pitches and tones. This is the same for digits between 5-9. Colours will help users associate the objects with the numbers on the dice.

Tuesday Session

In the Tuesday contact class, I learnt new methods for how to conduct observations and interviews with the target audience. This was a major concern I had about the project because I didn't have any access to primary school students, as did many of my team members. For me, it would have been easier to do face-to-face, especially when you need to observe the target audience in their natural space or when they are interacting with the prototype. However, due to the current situation, all of these would have to be done online. These different methods and activities helped me to understand that there are other ways to gain information from users than the traditional ways. These include watching videos of the user interacting with the intended space and interviewing people who are connected to the target audience such as a teacher aide who works in a primary school. I still have concerns about not having children to talk to as they are a difficult user group to interview and user test with, without knowing them and their parents before-hand. I will continue to explore the methods and have a better understanding of how I can use the resources I have around me and continue to discuss these issues with my team to find a solution and share the resources.

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Tuesday Meeting

The meeting mainly consisted of creating a mind map on Miro to have a better understanding of our project. The team focussed on parts that we could contribute together, rather than the parts that were about the solution. Team Garfunkel has decided to work on the same context but different solutions.

I found this exercise particular helpful in further understanding the context; we had talked about it as a group but writing it down makes it easier to remember bits of information and know that the whole team is on the same page. This also made it easier to write down the team domain and not miss any important information. Furthermore, I haven’t used this exercise for the part of the solution; however, this would be helpful to visualise the different areas of my idea to continue to go back to it to know what sensors are needed for which parts, problems with the idea and what needs to be done first to have a working prototype by the end of the semester. This is better than just thinking about it and trying to remember these important bits of information, especially for me as I do tend to forget things if I have multiple tasks that need to be done.

Wednesday Meeting

The team had another meeting to find out what each team member had or hadn't done for the report. Then, once we all reported back, we decided to use the same technique from last week’s meetings where we kept zoom open while we worked. We found that this was successful, especially for me because it helped to keep me motivated and on task. I am not a person who enjoys writing and I find that I tend to procrastinate and get distracted more. I am still using the technique Lorna suggested with working for 25 minutes and then resting for 5 minutes. This has worked to some degree as I find that I get more work down, however, I still take longer breaks, whereas when zoom is on I don't take any breaks. This is extremely helpful when tasks need to be completed soon.

By Wednesday night I had most of my individual and team part done, there were some editing and writing that needed to be done for a couple of parts. The aim was to only do editing on Thursday.

Thursday Session

In the Thursday session, we learnt more about Arduino’s and I did complete some of the tutorials. I wanted to do all the tutorials during the workshop, however, I was preoccupied with the Report as it was due that day. I am a person who tends to want to spend all their time working on an assignment due that day until it is finished and submitted, though, I knew this was an important workshop for me to go to as this is where I could receive help if I had a problem with one of the exercises before the mid-semester where I am planning on playing around with Arduino's a bit more. I also had to keep reminding myself that I did have time after the workshop to go through my parts and fix any issues.


When I did the tutorials, I didn’t have any problems except for the RGB LED light which was not turning on. This did confuse me as I didn’t know why it was not working. I knew that if there was a problem that you should ask for help from one of the tutors, however, I wanted to see if I could figure it out first to get in the habit of rechecking the circuit, this would have been harder if I didn’t have the diagram, making sure the wires were in the right place. My circuit was correct, but it still didn’t work. I then used my previous experiences from last year when parts weren’t working as expected by turning it around as this sometimes fixed it. Thankfully, this time it did, and I realised I had it the wrong way round.

Week 5 - Process

Maria Harris - Sun 5 April 2020, 7:24 pm

Sunday Team Meeting

The team decided to complete initial research on the overall concept of teaching children in primary school through music, before the meeting on Sunday. Further research was based on individual interests. Consequently, I focused on understanding whether maths was a problem for students in primary school that needed to be improved. This was my starting point as I wanted to justify why I was focusing on this particular subject. The research conducted proved that this was a problem within the Australian schooling system as many were falling behind the world’s standard. From there, as I mentioned in my previous journal post, I was told that multiplication was a severe issue within mathematics. I knew I needed to back this up with evidence. Fortunately, this issue did have evidence that supported it because it appears that students are having trouble understanding how to multiply as well as memorise the times table. After this, the next step was to focus on whether music could help students learn multiplication. This was essential to understand because the broad theme is musical things, and, therefore, the concept had to incorporate music and exploration of music in an educational context. Not a lot of research was done at this point which made it hard to understand how best to incorporate music in a way that would help children learn their multiplication or times tables.

In the team meeting, each team member discussed what research they had conducted. This gave the team a clear understanding of what topics had been looked out, as well as any similarities or differences in the information.

The team meeting went well, it was interesting to see that everyone focussed on different areas while researching without discussing it beforehand what they were planning on doing. This meant we had more breadth of research on the team concept. However, this did cause a problem in how the team was initially planning on collaborating. Originally, it seemed we would try to work together as much as possible, so that the overall team concept and idea would be the same, except we would focus on different parts of the idea, for example, different users and technology. To have a clearer idea of what people were thinking we put our research and ideas together in a google doc that we all had access to.

Tuesday Team Meeting

The team got a new team member before the Tuesday session. This worked well for us because we, unfortunately, lost two of our members. Garfunkel is very happy to be working with our new team member and the different perspectives they bring and how we can incorporate their theme in our concept which is similar to musical things.

After the report-back, the team then had a meeting on zoom to discuss how the team would collaborate from now on. This was important to get sorted before we started writing the report to have a clear idea of how to move forward together. However, before this was done we welcomed the new team member and she was able to tell us about what theme she was working on and the ideas she had for the concept and report. From there, the team then discussed the concept they were focusing on in terms of the general target audience and context.

After the initial team discussions, we got feedback from the tutor about the report, individual ideas and how to incorporate the new team member's theme within ours.

The idea I pitched to the tutor was about the dice that helps teach children multiplication through music, as I mentioned in my previous post.

This was well-received, and the tutor made some very helpful suggestions on what areas to research more on. They also discussed how maths is a good subject to link with music because of how patterns are used and how the questions only have one answer. Other feedback included determining if natural sounds were the best way to represent digits and help with children’s memories. This particular feedback made me think about the research I had already done. It was clear that the information did not support using natural sounds because there was no evidence so far that showed those sounds were more useful then instrumental notes, pitches, tones, scales or well-known songs. After the tutor’s conversation with us, the team decided the best method of collaboration is by coming up with individual ideas that addressed the concept. This is because it was clear that we all had different areas we were interested in, whether this was different subjects or target audience. The team part of the report was then broken up into parts to make it easier for people to know what to work on.

Thursday Team Meeting

Before the meeting, I did some more research about the correlation between maths and music, how music can be used in general learning and additional research based on the topics I researched for the Sunday meeting.

The Thursday meeting encompassed reporting back to the team what we had done so far and starting to work on individual reports and ideas. We met back every hour and kept zoom opened to allow the team to ask questions. This seemed to help keep the team motivated to work on their parts rather than procrastinating as it gave the impression that we were holding each other accountable, to some extent. The team seemed to like this approach, and this might be a technique that we can continue as we work on our parts through team-based contribution.

Individual Process

So far, I have done background research as mentioned before in the post. I have also started writing the team domain and individual parts for the report.

The changes to the idea have been to utilise a 16-sided dice instead of 12-sided dice, with 0-12 being shown and 3 blank slides. If the user rolls and gets a blank side, they can then decide what number to multiply with. Each digit, 0 – 9, will be assigned some sort of sound; however, this hasn’t been determined as random natural sounds might not be used, based on the research done. Instead, within the research, it suggests the best way to teach maths using music is through allowing students to match beats, pitches, speed, tempo, words or sounds (Church, 2020). These can be done by using objects, instruments, voice and the body (Church, 2020).

The next steps will be to figure out what sounds to use and how they will change with the numbers, whether this is by using patterns, increase the pitch, scale or tune as the number becomes bigger. I am worried about whether sounds should be instrumental, such as a piano, or use the notes that objects make. I want to make sure kids can explore the sounds, and it would be interesting to allow them to use sound around them; however, I haven’t found enough evidence to show it can help students learn. Nevertheless, I do not want to turn objects into instruments as this might distract them from learning multiplication. Although I have found that familiar and popular tunes help students memorise, I might have to think about how students can create these tunes by picking random numbers which could turn out to be quite difficult. Nevertheless, this would ensure the product is not bothersome to the children, or even teachers and parents. These issues will need to be resolved and the plan pertains to reviewing the research, possibly doing more research and spending time thinking about the idea more.

Week 4 - Ideas

Maria Harris - Sun 29 March 2020, 6:53 pm
Modified: Sun 29 March 2020, 6:58 pm

As I mentioned before in my previous post, I was interested in exploring natural sounds to help students learn at school, more specifically in primary schools. Therefore, the first steps I did was to start investigating what the purpose of the idea will be in terms of what it could help teach. How I did this was to first ask someone who is a teacher's aide. I asked them about what students were struggling with regarding their education that could be helped using music. They responded with multiplication and how students are finding it difficult to learn and memorize. This surprised and interested me as I enjoyed learning the times table when I was a kid. However, I wasn’t inspired enough to start coming up with an idea. Sometimes when this happens, I like to look or walk the space to try and get some inspiration. Three dices were what got my attention and started to make me think about how I could use them to help students learn multiplication.


The Original Idea:

  • To use three blocks or die as the main object. The focus was on teaching students to multiply by 2 numbers. One block or dice would represent one number and the third would represent the second number. The second block would represent multiplication; however, apart from that, there are no other users for this object.

Original Interactions

  • The user would roll the first and third die to choose the objects they would multiply.
  • Each number on the dice would then be assigned a natural sound, the user records the sound that was produced when they interacted with an object that they had on them. These would most likely be school supplies/stationery as they would use this product at school and home.
  • The user would need to create the natural sound that represented the answer to answer the question

Issue with Idea

  • The second dice needed more uses.

Changes to the idea incorporated the object helping students with simple mathematical problems such as adding, subtracting, dividing and multiplying, where the user rolls the second object to choose an operation. The other two die are still choosing the numbers involved in simple math problems. Two sides of the second dice will be blank, the user can decide which operation they will do. Each operation will be assigned a mini percussion tune by the user.


Issues with the idea:

  • Times table include 1 to 12, however, the dice is 1 – 6
  • Focus on 4 operations instead of one.

Current Iteration on the idea

  • Use 1 x 12-sided dice.
  • Allow the dice to record natural sounds from the user’s objects.
  • Each number, from 1 – 12, is assigned a natural sound.
  • Check if the natural sound being recorded is the same as the recording that is stored for the answer.
  • Focus is on multiplying two numbers; however, users can multiply using multiple numbers.


  • Throwing - this will allow the dice to know that the next sound represents the answers and needs to be checked.
  • Pushing down on the specific point of the dice will allow the natural sound to be recorded for a certain number.
  • Rolling the dice to get a random number.
  • Interactions with the object to get it to produce sounds.



  • Answers are higher than 12. A way to solve this is to have each digit, from 0 – 9, have a particularly natural sound. Therefore, 12 would have the sounds for digit 1 and digit 2. A 16-sided dice will need to be used with 3 blank sides where the user can decide.

Other Ideas

  • Instead of using dice, an object such as a rubber, pencil or flexible ruler could be used. However, this might have been difficult to get children to understand the correlation between multiplication and interacting with these objects.
  • Have the dice made up of 12 smaller objects that fit together, however, the problem with this is that it will have a larger amount of equipment and mess, as well as more potential to lose parts.
  • Another idea was to have shapes within shapes to represent the number and to have the user learn and explore the natural sounds using the objects.


We have had two meetings; one on Tuesday where we discussed what parts of the concepts we could explore, such as the different contexts and individual objects. We also decided that we would continue to collaborate as a team by picking similar areas rather than going in very different directions. The team also read the comments and summaries and grouped information such as the positives, negatives and questions to have a clearer idea of similar critiques and feedback that stood out. From there we decided to have a meeting on Friday night where we needed to have read the ECP and come up with ideas about what individual paths we wanted to take, contexts and specific users we want to focus on.

After Friday’s meeting, we came up with different concepts such as:

  • School
  • Public Transport
  • Bus stops and Train stations
  • Home – different rooms focused on specifically
  • Visually Impaired

We narrowed it down to school and visually impaired as we were interested in creating a product that would help teach a part of a subject other than music that could be accessible for those who are visually impaired. We decided that we would have another meeting on Sunday to discuss the research we have done, such as:

  • Research more about the subjects that students struggle with.
  • Can music help students learn other subjects?
  • Existing products.

Week 4 - Critiques

Maria Harris - Sun 29 March 2020, 3:07 pm
Modified: Sun 29 March 2020, 10:03 pm

Critiques about Team Garfunkel’s Idea

The overall feedback, about how the idea of exploring sounds through everyday objects, was positive; however, people were confused with our concept.

These included:

  • What are natural sounds?
  • Will natural sounds be used or instrumental notes, when a user interacts with the object?

These questions stemmed from a lack of clarity with parts of the video. I had edited it to play piano notes when the user interacted with the object. At the time I was thinking that the piano notes would be used as an example for when and what type of sound will be produced. I should have also explained that when a person first interacts with the object, the natural sound the object produces will be used and manipulated, using other interactions, to change it into an instrumental note that is similar to the natural sound. From there, the person can create a tune. This was not effectively communicated and there were still errors, such as not being able to record the natural sound and use it later to create a tune.

All the feedback received has been useful in being able to build upon and improve the idea. They also allowed me to figure out what the next steps will be. The feedback given gives a clearer understanding of how people viewed the concept. This gives you different perspectives, to keep in mind when you’re continuing to expand and explore the idea.

The majority of the feedback focussed on making the context and target audience more specific as the initial idea was too broad and general. Originally, the focus was on allowing anyone, who was not a musician, to be able to create music anywhere. The main objects would be those that could be found or placed on a table. This made it hard to come up with a concept that was broad enough, because of the potential that users wouldn't share enough similarities to create a successful product, therefore, narrowing the user base will provide a clear idea of what important functions and purposes should be focused on when creating the concept.

Issues that people found with the broad concept were:

  • The concept could become bothersome after a while;
  • Making every object musical will take away the novelty;
  • Possibly irritating for those around the user.

These issues will be taken into consideration when further exploring my pathway as I want to create a product that users will continue to use, find playful, enjoyable, interesting and motivates them to use it without becoming bored and irritated by the sounds that are produced or even the interactions themselves.

People did give suggestions about what type of context to focus on and whether to use natural sounds or tunes. The ones that stood out to me were about using the concept for educational purposes. This got me thinking about schools and what area do students have trouble with and where the exploration of natural sounds could be useful. I wanted to have a way to incorporate these sounds as a lot of people were interested, particularly in regard to the natural sounds of objects and how the interactions and size would affect the sound.

Critiques about the Presentations

It was a different experience from what I had done before when viewing presentations and critiquing them. I was curious about how this would be accomplished before the contacts; fortunately, the technology and tools used made critiquing easier than I thought it would be because of how we got to watch the video together, hear discussion on Zoom and write the critiques in slack. I have always found it hard to write critiques, whether this is on paper or online, as I normally prefer a face-to-face conversation because then you can use facial and body expression to determine how the person is taking the critique and whether you need to clarify. This is a skill I need to improve on, as well as working on techniques such as writing quick notes on what to include in the critique or the idea itself, rather than long sentences or paragraphs, as my critiques start to become generic rather than specific and useful over time because I miss or forget information. Overall, I found the presentations had aspects in all of them that would be interesting to explore and investigate whether this is teaching people certain tasks through simulation. Other interesting aspects were interactions with materials, objects, familiar concepts or spaces in a new way. Teams could explore their idea in a new context, situation or place. They can also look at specific features of the idea or different focus groups.

Week N/A - Project Meeting and Development

Maria Harris - Sun 22 March 2020, 10:00 pm

On Monday, the team meet up for 2 hours at Uni, despite the uncertainty of when the pitch will be done and having a one week pause. This allowed us to discuss the concept in more depth, to have a better understanding, using the ideas and notes from the discussion the night before. The meeting went well as we were able to finalise our concept and decide who would be in charge of what parts. The concept we came up with involved allowing users to create music by interacting with flat objects with a large surface area, such as a placemat. Users will then be able to interact with the objects to create sounds or tunes through manipulating natural sounds. After Monday, I worked on the introduction and aim of the concept for the pitch and started creating a draft for the presentation.


The team decided to have another meeting on Friday via zoom rather than face to face, this allowed me to learn how to use this tool as the majority of my subjects will be using it. This meeting was longer than the one on Monday as we went through the script and each person’s part. We then discussed what changes and additional information needed to be added. After this, we talked about what tasks needed to be done for the PowerPoint presentation and what was going to be on each slide. From there, it was decided that all of us would each record our parts of the pitch. The part that I was assigned to was editing the video.

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What I have done, so far, is record my part and have started adding sound recordings, clips and images to the video pitch, using Adobe Premiere Pro.

Week 3 - Wednesday Session and Team Progress

Maria Harris - Sat 14 March 2020, 11:38 pm

For the first part of the contact, we got to hear from a UX designer living in London named Bash. He was insightful about what companies might want and being true to yourself. I haven’t stopped to think about what kind of company I would like to work at or what type of environment I would prefer as I have been too focused on wanting to apply for as many jobs as possible. This made me realise that it would be beneficial to me if I researched more into the companies I am applying for. It was also good of Bash not to sugar-coat the fact that finding a job will not be easy, as many people are applying for the same positions; this puts things into perspective and allows us to be prepared to not always get the position. Bash also talked about how to improve your chances by having good relationships with recruiters and focusing on what makes you unique. Bash got us to do an exercise to find out what makes us unique. This exercise was very difficult for me as I found it hard to think of something that makes me unique and would help with getting a job. However, I was able to come up with three words: UX, positive and Laugh. The word I chose was laugh because I enjoy laughing with other people, such as family, friends and co-workers. Sometimes it is nice just to laugh, though this doesn’t mean that work shouldn’t be taken seriously. Instead, it is about creating a positive environment where you can enjoy each other’s company.

Team Formation

Last part of the contact session was where we finally found out our teams and the theme we are meant to be focusing on. I was surprised about getting musical things as it was not one of my preferences; however, it would be interesting to see what ideas our team comes up with. I was a little concerned as I am not musically gifted; however, I have realised that this could be useful especially if we go down the path of allowing people who don’t know how to play an instrument, to be able to create music. This would be exciting to explore as I would love a product that enabled me to play certain music pieces. As a team, we discussed potential ideas and constraints for the concept. These included having ideas that either manipulated the natural sound the object made, having different objects represent different instruments or having different sounds/notes depending on how the user interacts with the object. One constraint that we came up with is to use only one everyday object. The target audience is aimed at people who are not musical but want to be able to play music.

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Team Progress

Currently, we as a team are focusing on completing the team agreement and coming up with a concept for the pitch. The plan was to have everyone come up with a potential idea, ways to interact and how to create music or sound. The idea that I have come up with is explained below.

Possible Everyday Objects: Bin, Kitchen utensils.

Interactions: Types of interactions are manipulating the natural sound of the objects or creating music notes through different interactions with the object.

Bin Interaction: Bins are something that is all around us every day. Different materials used for bins make differing sounds. Ways the person could interact with the bin is by hitting it to make a sound recording. Then the user could manipulate the bin by stroking to change the pitch and the speed of the tapping could change the tempo. Problem with this is the hygiene as many people will not be comfortable interacting with the bin; therefore, it will probably be an office bin that is in the study or bedroom. Another issue is that there will be limitations on the different sounds they could create, and it would not be stimulating enough to use every day.

Kitchen Utensils: Most people use some sort of kitchen utensil every day. For me, it is mostly a metal fork. Two forks could be used to tap each other and use the top parts to scrap one another. Another way to interact with the objects is to use one fork to hit various parts of the other fork as it creates different sounds. These different sounds could produce different music notes and when the differing interactions are done consecutively and in a certain amount of time, it will be able to create music. One fork could also be used instead. The fork would have to be clean to interact with it as this could be problematic, especially if kids are interacting with this object.

Another way would be to have a fork, knife and spoon each represent a different instrument.

Week 3 - Tuesday Session

Maria Harris - Sat 14 March 2020, 10:53 pm

In the Tuesday session, the majority of the time was spent participating in World Café. Three sessions were conducted.

In the first session, the theme that I was a part of was Music Metrics. The team focussed on understanding the theme and finding communities with the different projects, such as the project being in a public space where multiple users can use it at once, how music was being displayed and what data was being inputted or used. No solid ideas were created due to it being the first part of the round. In the next part, I was the host. For the first few minutes, I summarised what took place in our discussions, then encouraged the other people in the team to discuss their thoughts about the idea, questions or what they had discussed in the idea.

The second round, themes that were explored were Emotion Totem, Emotional Intelligence and Change through discomfort. In this round, the focus was on the audience and the situation that the concept will be used in. For emotion totem, one of the ideas I came up with, based on other people’s ideas, was to create a product for parents, allowing them to know what emotions their child is feeling when they are at school. The purpose of this was to keep parents informed about their child’s wellbeing and if they are having negative experiences at school, or if they are enjoying or having a normal day. Other ideas were to have a product that helps show emotions to people who aren’t good at reading body language. Another idea that the team came up with was to have something similar to an emotion diary where a person keeps track of their emotions throughout the day, week, month, year or longer and they can know what occurred when they were feeling a particular emotion.

The themes that were looked at in the third round was Sassy Tech and Altered Landscapes. The third round was where we were expected to refine the ideas of others. This was particularly difficult for Sassy Tech as we had no host, and from what we could see, no ideas were given other than the posters. As a team, we discussed how each poster fit within the theme, such as having a personality because it shows emotion and being sassy because of the way it cheekily communicated to the user. One idea that some of the team members came up with was to expand on the poster with the hand lock door, where a user has to unlock the door by shaking the hand. They refined this by having the users remember different secret handshakes to enter. One constraint that was discussed with this idea was the location. For example, it couldn’t be a door that had a lot of traffic or a place where people needed to enter quickly, like a hospital. Other refinements were to have the door say cheeky comments. This theme was one of the ones I did not want to do as I wasn’t inspired and able to come with ideas as I did with other themes.

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The last was Altered Landscapes, I was on this table twice, and was the host for the last part of the round. One idea that I came up with, that was inspired by the poster, allowed users to perceive the room the way toys would have if they were alive, like in toy story. This was an interesting concept and a way that I refined it was to have a small model of the room and have a doll or toy be the controller where you manipulate to walk around the room through the VR. This theme, however, wasn’t something I was particularly interested in exploring as I couldn’t think of other novel ways to create a product that wouldn’t use VR or AR, as these were not something I wanted to use because I would be worried that it wouldn’t provide enough physical interaction every day.

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The last part of the contact was to choose three themes that you wanted to work on. The three that I chose was emotion totem, emotional intelligence and change through positive reinforcement. They are the ones I thought I could help come up with an interesting and exciting product.

Week 2 - Exercises and Presentations

Maria Harris - Thu 5 March 2020, 8:49 pm

In week 2, on Tuesday, after all the presentations for session 1 and 2 were completed, the posters were laid out on the table. Everyone then had to come up with themes to group ideas together. This was put on post-it notes and placed on another table. Once everyone had exhausted ideas for themes, similar themes were grouped together. Different themes were Emotion, Health, Learning, Change, Stress, Game, Music, Accessibility, Fitness Physical, Negative Reinforcement, Sustainability, Smart and Social. Common themes included Health, Fitness and Smart. This exercise was interesting to see what people in the contact were focused on or interested in that would improve people’s lives.

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The next day, the same exercise was done again with all posters. Some of the same themes were used while new ones were created. In the second attempt of the exercise, there were more themes that were common such as Music, Smart, Emotion, Behavioural Change, Environment and Learning. New themes that emerged were Memories, Learning, Colour, Kids, Wearables and Physical.

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The next exercise was to make the themes more specific; where similar ideas were grouped based on the concept itself rather then the technology used or general themes. These themes were put on the whiteboard with the ideas that related to them.

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Next week, ideas will be created and explored that relate to the final themes.

Comments and Critiques were given about each presentation. They are useful tools as it allows people to be informed about what could be improved or expanded on, what works, how people view each other’s ideas and whether they are interested in the concept. Some of the comments were interesting, confirming or indicating if the idea was to be further explored. These comments were on issues with privacy. Not everyone would want to document good moments every-day and people who are suffering a mental illness might feel pressure to fake good memories. These comments would be useful to help improve the idea by making it more appealing to a larger group of people or explore how this idea could benefit but not cure people suffering from mental health. One of the comments was interesting as it focused on privacy. This particular critique would encourage me to think about how my idea could be used negatively rather then the way I expect it to be used if it were to be further explored. As the person who created the idea, it is not always easy to think about how it could impact people because, typically, we come up with, and create, concepts to improve people’s lives. There are no current privacy controls in place, however, it would be interesting to think about what information people would have access to and whether that would affect the user greatly, out-way the positives.

Week 1 Exercises

Maria Harris - Mon 2 March 2020, 11:41 pm
Modified: Mon 2 March 2020, 11:53 pm

In Week 1 we did a couple of exercises with different teams. The first exercise was to talk about what we wanted to learn, rumours, questions, fears and aspirations we had about DECO3850. This was interesting as it showed that we weren’t alone in our thoughts about the course, for example, the fear that we wouldn’t have the skills to do the course or that we didn’t know how to use the equipment.


The second exercise was to read Human Experience Interaction (HEI) section in the Seven HCI Grand Challenges. Everyone in the team talked about how they interpreted the reading and what they got from it. We then each wrote down the individual interpretations and challenges we discussed. It was interesting to see people's different viewpoints and similar opinions about the section.

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The third exercise was to come up with ideas using cards and lists of words to create a sentence. This encouraged people to think outside the box. The sentence provided some constraints which helped with the creation of the idea.


The third exercise was used to create initial ideas for the concept. This helped in coming up with the interaction and the purpose of the concept, wellbeing.

From there I started thinking about puzzle pieces as I love doing puzzles and had been working on one recently. Other inspirations came from a cloth that manipulates sound and light. This got me thinking about having a cloth on the top and bottom of the puzzle, however, this was not explored more. I also kept thinking about the artificial skin phone cover and how you could pinch it which I found interesting and further inspired the interaction mode. Other inspirations for the interaction mode was how the trainman used to punch holes in tickets. At one point a hole puncher was going to be used, however, this was not added to the final concept idea. From there I worked on creating an idea.

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Week 2 - Explanation Post (Concept Idea)

Maria Harris - Mon 2 March 2020, 10:18 pm

Good Mem Box


Description Of Concept

The lives of many adults can be stressful and busy. People tend to forsake their wellbeing; they do not take the time to reflect on their day or week. When people do reflect; however, it is much easier to think of the negatives rather than the positives.

Consequently, the Good Mem Box was created for young adults, allowing them to take time each day and think of one good thing that happened that day, or to reflect on all of them at the end of the week.

How the users interact with the concept is through a three-stage process. In the first stage, a theme that their memory falls under is selected from 9 options by pinching a certain area of the puzzle piece. The next stage involves coming up with a word that summarises the good memory. From there, the user can input the first letter by pinching multiple spots on the piece. Each letter has a unique area to be pinched. The last stage comprises the displaying of a list of drawings/symbols which relate to the theme and first letter. How the users will select the option is by tracing the drawing on the puzzle piece. They also have an option to pick ‘Other’, allowing them to trace their own drawing by pushing their finger down on the puzzle piece and moving it.

Once done, each puzzle piece will be placed, face-up, in the box. At the end of the week, the display will show the drawings once all pieces have been connected and are in the box. This will not only allow the user to reflect and remember the things that happened, but also allow their family and friends to see them too and, perhaps, encourage them to share their good memories.


Hole Punching Tickets:

Artificial Skin Phone Case:


#memory box #puzzle pieces #pinch interaction #daily well-being #memory diary

Week 2 - Explanation Post (Concept Idea)

Maria Harris - Mon 2 March 2020, 10:17 pm
Modified: Mon 2 March 2020, 10:37 pm

Good Mem Box


The lives of many adults can be stressful and busy. People tend to forsake their wellbeing; they do not take the time to reflect on their day or week. When people do reflect; however, it is much easier to think of the negatives rather than the positives.

Consequently, the Good Mem Box was created for young adults, allowing them to take time each day and think of one good thing that happened that day, or to reflect on all of them at the end of the week.

How the users interact with the concept is through a three-stage process. In the first stage, a theme that their memory falls under is selected from 9 options by pinching a certain area of the puzzle piece. The next stage involves coming up with a word that summarises the good memory. From there, the user can input the first letter by pinching multiple spots on the piece. Each letter has a unique area to be pinched. The last stage comprises the displaying of a list of drawings/symbols which relate to the theme and first letter. How the users will select the option is by tracing the drawing on the puzzle piece. They also have an option to pick ‘Other’, allowing them to trace their own drawing by pushing their finger down on the puzzle piece and moving it.

Once done, each puzzle piece will be placed, face-up, in the box. At the end of the week, the display will show the drawings once all pieces have been connected and are in the box. This will not only allow the user to reflect and remember the things that happened, but also allow their family and friends to see them too and, perhaps, encourage them to share their good memories.


Hole Punching Tickets:

Artificial Skin Phone Case:


#memory box #puzzle pieces #pinch interaction #daily well-being #memory diary

Week 1 Journal - Introduction

Maria Harris - Tue 25 February 2020, 9:52 pm

Hello everyone, my name is Maria and I am currently in my third year of studying a Bachelor of Information Technology.

I enjoy UX design as I find it challenging and interesting because I get to work on different projects that allow multiple iterations, as an idea can always be better. I am an organised and hardworking person who wants to contribute fairly to my team; I want to be a part of the creation of the project.

I don’t have a lot of expectations for this course other than that I expect that I will learn to use the equipment effectively to create a physical project which will incorporate technology. This means the project will need to be programmed, designed and built.

I am looking forward to using my hands and being creative with physical materials. In this course, I want to learn new skills that will allow me and my team to create an object with or through technology. I want to be a part of the journey starting with the creation of ideas, iterating them and then eventually creating a final prototype that will be shown at the exhibition.

In DECO3850 I am concerned that I don’t have enough skills to contribute more than just one role such as a designer. However, I want to push myself to be a bit more experienced in programming and using equipment to build a physical project.