Entries - Tag = prototyping

Week 7

Marie Thoresen - Sun 26 April 2020, 8:12 pm

This week has been focusing on the physical interaction of my prototype. My team decided to divide the prototype into different parts and I was distributed the part where the user throws the ball into the air to send the audio recording previously made and stored within the ball. As mentioned in a previous post, I was also distributed with making the server and client that would make communication between the balls possible, but this was a separate part of my tasks.

The part in the process that I was building comes right after the ball has been shaken and the user has chosen a colour. When the user is satisfied with both the message and the colour to represent it, the user throws the balls upwards and catches it, which tells the code to send the message to the connected user on the other end.


My team and I purchased some components ourselves which was delivered to us last week, among the components we ordered was an accelerometer which was bought especially for my part of the prototype. The first challenge that I came across was the fact that I needed to solder the accelerometer to the pin thing(the one that you need to fasten it to the breadboard) as it wasn't able to get enough contact without and therefore didn't work. After talking to the tutors they were able to provide me with one that was already soldered so I met up with a tutor and got a different one.


Second challenge was the sensitivity of the accelerometer on its own. I used a tutorial which showed me the raw data the chip made but as it turned out it even registered gravity and the reading that was displayed varied constantly even when not touched. Aften finding a tutorial that showed me a library that made more sens of the reading I could code it to react when exceeding a specific number (when I threw the ball up). As I'm inexperienced in this tech I might have understood it or explained it a bit wrong, but as far as I gathered that was the initial problem I experienced.

Since I'm basically done with my part of the concept I'm looking at other ways of interaction and how to make the experience more complex. It is also something that I will discuss with my team in the nearby future.

week7 #prototyping

[Midsem & Week 7 - Post 1] - Prototyping

Sigurd Soerensen - Sun 26 April 2020, 9:56 am
Modified: Sat 30 May 2020, 2:01 pm


I didn't get to do a whole lot over midsem as I had to focus on my master thesis. However, during the first weekend, Thomas and I went into the city to find some suitable spheres to work with. The most optimal ball we found was plastic Christmas decorations, as they were both transparent which would let us use lights inside and somewhat squishy to allow for a squish interaction. These balls weren't ideal, but definitely enough for us to get our first prototype up and running given that we aren't going to focus on form and feel for the first prototype. Towards the end of midsem we received our parts in the mail, which at this point had been delayed for about six days. Thomas and I, given that we live in the same household and that we are working on two sides of the same interaction, started to test the parts (SD card reader, microphone, speaker and lights). I had some progress working out a solution with pulsating lights for a notification feature by sending in RBG values through the serial port, simulating the data transferred from another Arduino.

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Week 7

As for the weekend leading up to week seven and until Thursday's workshop, except for the regular stand-up at Tuesday's studio, I spent all my time trying to work out an issue with the SD card reader. Both Thomas and I was working with SD card readers, but none of us was able to make them work. We received some help from Steven and Ben after the workshop which led to us figuring out that the SD card readers had a fault in them so we had to give up on trying to make it work. Steven and Ben suggested that we could look into streaming over serial, make use of a raspberry pi instead or use a computer to simulate the interaction of voice recording and playing the recording. Having looked into the complexity of streaming audio over serial, and not having time to learn a new tool we chose to pursue the option of using JavaScript to record and play audio from the computer-based on input from the Arduino. I tried to look up how I could use JavaScript to record and play audio files, but soon after ended up stuck again not being able to get this to work either. By this point, since I hadn't had a day off in weeks I chose to take a couple of days to rest.


My team chose to work on the same concept and divide it into smaller prototypes that together make a whole concept. The overall concept (E-mories) consists of a basket full of spheres that will double up as an emotional sharing platform and a decoration in the house. Each sphere is capable of recording and playing audio for people to send each other messages. When a user wishes to send a friend a message, they simply pick up a sphere and squeeze it to start recording. When done recording he or she can then shake the sphere to choose a colour corresponding to the mood of the message they are sending. When the user is happy with their combination of message and colour they can throw it up in the air to send the message. On the receiving end in another household, there is an identical basket of spheres. When a message is received a sphere will start to glow in the colour the sender chose to notify the receiver of an incoming message. The receiver can then pick up the sphere to listen to the message. The concept tries to facilitate and encourage positive emotional sharing for people that are unable to meet face-to-face and give them a sense of being closer to each other through a physical platform.

We divided this concept into four parts, where mine revolves around the receiving end of the concept, where I'm looking into how to show a notification of incoming messages and play the audio recording.

In an ideal world, I would say that this concept included more than two senses, as in not only audio or lights. I would like the concept to include deep meaningful memories that people wish to share with one and each other consisting of smell, video, images, sound, touch and more. My personal idea of the concept is for it to contain complex combinations of memories consisting of the above-mentioned factors and for users to be able to build upon old memories with new memories and reflect on their memories together. However, given that we have yet to prototype test our current solution it is difficult to say if this is the correct path to pursue.

midsemester week7 prototyping

Week 6 & Mid-semester break

Marie Thoresen - Tue 21 April 2020, 10:07 am

Finishing the proposal

The last week before the break, my team and I manage to finish the proposal. The week before we had finished the team part of the writing so this week I wrote my individual part. It was much harder than writing the team part because of all the uncertainty and lack of knowledge on what you are doing exactly and what you need/expect to happen.

Starting on the project

My team decided to go for the first option on how to divide the project which was working on the one concept just divide the different part between us. The part that I was allocated was creating a server to which the devices will upload and download the content on the balls and also develop the upwards trow which indicate the sending of the information currently stored on the ball. During the mid-semester break I managed to create a server on UQCloud which was more challenging that I anticipated. I have made zones before, but this time I only needed a server and not a webpage so I decided to install an image (Ubuntu) instead of the regular one, but what I didn't know was that neither npm or node was install on this one so it had to be done manually through the terminal. There was also some concern on whether or not a vpn had to be used every time one accessed the server but this was later revealed to not be necessary. To create the server I used socket.io which was a request by one of the team members who had some previous knowledge on it.

The next following weeks I plan on finishing the prototype and developing the throwing motion with Arduino and also conduct some user research and maybe starting on the video for the presentation.

week6 #mid-semesterbreak #midsem #prototyping