Entries - Tag = physical

Week 8-9 Prototype is Fine

Ryan O'Shea - Sun 7 June 2020, 2:58 pm
Modified: Sun 7 June 2020, 2:58 pm

Prototype Work

Physical Building

Using the created cardboard hand, building the prototype was fairly straight forward once all the servos i ordered arrived. These will be used to create the movement in the wrist and all five fingers in order to move the hand. Other electronics needed include the distance sensor and a battery to power all the servos, all of which connect to a breadboard of wires operated by an Arduino kit. The first and most important servo located in the wrist was placed inside the hollow cardboard using Styrofoam to keep it in place, with the wires running through the hollow wrist to end up with the other wires in the servo base created out of more Styrofoam. The wrist join and base can be seen in the two images below.

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Once all the initial servos were in place the wiring was all threaded through to the same place at the bottom of the base, while the attached strings were threaded up through the arm to be attached to the fingers. Once the strings were in place they were slotted into the fingers seen on the bottom right, and then taped down firmly so they would not be pulled out by the twisting servos.

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With the hand complete, a casing for all the electronics was made using a box, where the wiring was placed with the Arduino and breadboard to make it all easy to move and store while being in a safer place than out in the open. This also gave a place to put the distance sensor in order to operate the hand by detecting different distances others are from the box.


This is the finished physical element of the prototype and was quite impressive in terms of how solid and sturdy the box felt when the hand was moving around so much.

Coding the Prototype

Two Arduino guides were referenced for this code, the two introductions to servo motors and to the distance sensor from the Arduino library were used as guides to create the following code which operated the hand. This was more of a proof of concept, where different distances would create different gestures, when in the final version the distances would have more complicated logic rather than 'do gesture x' but rather depending on the setting, how fast they are approaching or how long they have been near the person the hand might do more or less offensive gestures to get the other person to leave or come closer depending on the setting.

This initial code is used to create the servo variables and tell the Arduino what servos are attached to the pins on the board, along with the pins the distance sensor is attached to.


Below this the looping code that runs to check how far people are from the distance sensor is shown, which results in functions being called depending on the distance from the box. These functions can be seen on the right, as they tell which servos to move to certain angles in order to pull the string as far or close as possible from the hand, pulling the fingers down or letting them rise back up due to the tension in the cardboard. This logic is very straight forward and was done manually for each function in a bare-bones approach, while in the final product I hope to have different functions called to to an entire gesture, for instance a thumbs up might be:

wrist-left, pinky-down, ring-down, middle-down, index-down, thumb-up.

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Overall this all created a prototype that I am happy with, the wrist moved quite well while the fingers could have been a bit better, however the servos only can spin 180 degrees and the size of the attached heads was quite small, so a rotation didn't pull the fingers down as much as I would have liked. This is something to work on, making the fingers more agile so they can be pulled easier, and increasing the range of the servos pulling on the string so they move further, pulling it across a longer distance. Despite this I think this shows the goal of this concept and was a successful prototype, shown in the video here:

prototype physical coding

Project Ideas & Inspirations

Jianing Jin - Mon 2 March 2020, 10:58 pm
Modified: Tue 3 March 2020, 2:15 am

Melo Catcher – A music box that can DIY your own melody

Music is long be regarded as a way to relieve stress and make people happy (Myriam, 2013). Nowadays, many designers try to integrate the element of music into daily life using various interesting forms of interaction.


Interactive sound exhibition

Playing three novel music instruments by touching lines on the wall, floor, or hanging on the ceiling.



A specially designed coat that can produce different sound according to different body movement.


What is Melo Catcher:


Melo Catcher is an interactive music box that provides users with a new form of musical interaction. Users can enjoy the beauty of music and DIY their own melody regardless of their musical experiences.

How to use it:

Each handle represents a different piece of music, people can start generating their own melody simply by rotating different handles on the box. The speed of the music will change in accordance with the speed of the rotation. Once the device is triggered, the screen will generate a different wave pattern based on the selected music and shaking speed. The music will stop when people stop rotating the handles.

Who I am designing for:

Anyone who loves music and enjoys creating.

The sparkling point:

  • Easy to use

Inspired by the design of a music box, the interactive device looks more like a large music box with many switches, users are more likely to be comfortable with this device.

  • No background restriction.

People don't need to be proficient with a certain instrument, anyone who is interested in music can use this installation for music creation.

  • Unique experience for musical interaction.

Users can feel different rhythms by shaking different handles and trying different speeds, at the same time, they can also gather multiple people to create unique melody.


[1] Thoma, M. V., Marca, R. L., Brönnimann, R., Finkel, L., Ehlert, U., & Nater, U. M. (2013). The Effect of Music on the Human Stress Response. PLoS ONE, 8(8).

[2] LINES - an Interactive Sound Art Exhibition. (2016). Retrieved 2 March 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hP36xoPXDnM

[3] Music box. (2020). Retrieved 2 March 2020, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Music_box



#interactive musical installation #physical engagement #cooperation

Project Inspiration idea - Baby Smoke

Seamus Nash - Mon 2 March 2020, 2:04 pm
Modified: Mon 2 March 2020, 2:05 pm

The idea posed from the brief outlined is a physical device called the Smoker Baby.

The main concept is that when in a crowd setting, If if they are about to smoke a baby will erode. On the other hand, if the person doesn’t smoke for a period of time (2 hours), the baby will develop and after two weeks if the smoker hasn’t smoked, the baby will grow to its absolute peak.

It could a cube with LEDS with red and green to represent body parts that have been affected. So the baby would either become really red or really green. This can be further explored.

This was inspired by two things, the smoker shock bracelet, shown in the poster which shocks people before they smoke; and the fact that smoking still is prevalent around 16% of Australian people aged 18-24.

The poster developed is below.


The baby will be given with a few deformities to begin with, so that the smoker has an incentive to quit. This can make it playful as it can look very weird and humorous.

This sketch could represent a person who has quit for the two weeks


This sketch could represent someone who has struggled to stop smoking or it could be what someone may get as a starting point.


However, this can be changed to something else as the concept progresses however as long as it has a positive impact as smokers need this to release dopamine.

babysmoke quitsmoking inspiration physical smoking