-Given the living room theme, we were tasked with developing an
interactive artifact which would address the needs of a living room.
-We will have 3 phases to this project
1). Needfinding and brainstorming ideas
2). Prototyping concepts/reiterating designs
3). Finalizing a product
We went to the 1st floor lounge of the Student Center to get a better understanding of a living room like environment.
Some things we found were:
-People on phones/electronics
-Tables and chairs were awkward together; people had to hunch over to use the table for its conventional purposes.
-No convenient space to place backpacks
-Sit around tables for group meetings/work
-TV and White board for group viewing
-Napping on Couches
-Backpacks on unused furniture
Observations in the Baker 3rd West lounge
--often has music playing
--occasionally people study
--Hanging out with friends
--Playing games on laptops
--making hot chocolate
--People arguing over music
--not enough white board space
--cords not reaching to outlets
--TV doesn't have a stand--bad angle
--hard to carry out several conversations--too loud
PEOPLE: college students who live in Next - mostly from 3W, with a few people from the nearby wings (e.g. 3E, 4W)
Smart walls--Makes a white board/smart board out of any flat wall. Has a projector that projects what you write on the wall (you write with a soft felt pen so it leaves mark on the wall). The pen records the movements you have been making (records movement when tip is under pressure). It send this information to the projector which then projects it. Notes are also saved and can be uploaded to a computer.
Remote Table: This is a table with a surface that acts like a tablet--can be used as a remote control with other customizable options. Could also serve as a remote to control other electronics like a stereo. Maybe integrate board games?
Music Democracy: This is a way of compromising on music when you have guests or share a living room. The speaker has a "voting system" built in. Using bluetooth, listeners can vote on the song playing and queue songs they want to here. If enough people down-vote the song, the song will change to the next in the queue.
Programmable Lighting: This is an app synced with the lights in the living room. You can change the color, brightness, and angle of the lights in the room.
Cushioned Table- A table that can alternate from a cushioned surface to a hard surface.
Microwave in Furniture- Ready to cook quick meals
Storage in Furniture- For when sticking it in a closet doesn't work anymore
Interactive table- A table connected to all electronics and capable of displaying things from all screens for sharing.
Power strips or extension cords disguised as wall or ceiling decorations:
Sometimes in a living room, there are areas with no outlets. People could route wires and surge protectors on the ground to those areas, but then they become hazardous (people can trip). To prevent this, these cords would allow the extra outlets to be wired along the edges of walls and ceilings. If the cords are made to look decorative (e.g. fairy lights, vines), then they add to the color of the space.
People tend to sleep in larger, shared lounges (like in a dorm). To make them more comfortable blankets can be stored under and attached to couches or tables, and can be drawn out when needed. Later, to reduce clutter, the blankets can be easily shoved back into their storage space.
Smaller, movable whiteboards:
The whiteboards in dorm lounges, for example, are large and against walls, and there are few of them. When a lounge is crowded, it can be difficult to get to a whiteboard, and they may not be usable if they already have writing on them. The movable whiteboards would be anchored to some surface (underside of a table, wall, side of a couch) and could be pulled away for use. This allows them to be used by people in any area of a lounge.
The cushioned table is the future of furniture. It is a hybrid seat and work table.
The table itself is made of a cushioned base with two flat tabletop platforms which can slide along the edges of the table to conform to whatever cushion table pattern the user wants.
The Item Finder is a device that allows the user to "tag" certain items that they feel they misplace often (e.g. TV remote, phone). Those items can later be found easily if lost.
This device consists of one sender and multiple receivers. Each receiver has a unique ID and responds uniquely if called by the sender. These receivers can be stuck to or inserted inside any object. Once a receivers is attached to an item, the sender can trigger a call for that particular receiver.
There are multiple ways that the receiver could respond: we will choose one as we continue to brainstorm and prototype. The receiver could respond by giving off an auditory signal when triggered, thus allowing the user to follow the sound to find the item. Alternatively, the receiver could respond with its distance and direction from the sender, and the user can use the sender as a homing device to find the item. Lastly, the receiver can respond with its GPS location, and the sender would have a display with which it could place the location of the receiver on a map.
Moving Lights Idea 1:
In this design, the light swivels in the ceiling. Each light can move in a different direction independently of one another. Users could also customize the brightness and change the colors of the lights. This system would be controlled by a remote.
Moving Lights Idea 2:
In this design, there are tracks on the ceiling enabling the lights to slide into different positions (again, controlled by a remote). This way, several users can customize the lighting to their needs.
Moving Lights Idea 3:
This iteration is similar to design 2. However, the lights have joints that enable them to move more and be more customizable. A remote would control the sliding on the ceiling, but the light can also be pulled into different positions.
In order to make our first works-like prototype, we decided to show that we could establish a Bluetooth connection between a receiver device and a laptop (our sender device). Then, with that connection, we could tell the receiver to perform a simple action: in this case, we chose to tell it to turn on and off an LED.
BlueSMiRF Silver (2) - https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12577
Arduino Uno + USB cables (2)
220-ohm resistors (2)
The Fritzing diagram for one of our receiver circuits is included in this section. We made two receiver circuits to show that we could connect multiple receivers to one laptop.
Uses bluetooth chips as receivers to actuate LED's wirelessly. Using processing generated UI.
ITERATION 3: PROJECT PLAN
What's left to be implemented:
Parts that need to be obtained:
Where and when will user tests happen?
Once our receivers were built, we had to focus on connecting them to a laptop that would act as a sender. In order to set up the initial connection, we followed the BlueSMiRF tutorial:
When the BlueSMiRF is on, it can be found by any laptop with Bluetooth capabilities. Then, the laptop can pair with the BlueSMiRF. The laptop reserves a COM port for that specific BlueSMiRF, so whenever communications with that COM are opened on the laptop, a data connection will be made between the laptop and the BlueSMiRF.
After we paired our receivers with a laptop and figured out which COMs were in use, we were able to create a Processing file that opened those specific COM ports and was able to turn on and off the LED of each receiver.
This new design was made to look like a business card. We wanted it thinner so it would be less awkward on keyrings and in wallets. The box is laser cut .185" acrylic with thin plastic bottom and .135" acrylic top (that had been hollowed out to an extent.
There were several iterations of this design. Intially the case was 3.5 by 2 inches without the cut for the micro-usb (and key ring). After some laser cutting and putting pieces together, we realized that the case would have to be 3.75" by 2" and have a slit for the micro-usb and a hole for the key ring.
We had a lot of components in our previous receiver design that needed to be changed:
This was the intended UI for the item finder. The red button indicates that the receiver was not detected. The sound change button no longer was viable because our bluetooth chip began to malfunction. The issue was that the buttons sent chars to the board but the board wasn't interpreting the chars correctly. This lead us to edit the code in a way that made the sound change button non functional.
In the future, there are several things we would change/add to our product, Pinpoint.
Improvements to Pinpoint Reciever
Improvements to Pinpoint App