Take a flex sensor and use it as your
input & then do whatever you want with it. You have two weeks until Skaperfestival.
Oh and keep it dead simple.
Tangible Interaction Studio, Fall 2018.
Theodore Vange & Dhritiman Chatterjee.
It all started with a flex sensor.
This was a very short project - two weeks from the initial brief to the exhibition. We were divided in teams of two and were assigned a sensor each. We got the flex sensor. Everything else was up to us. I had recently brought a few small dc motors from India and I really wanted to use them.
We started to explore ways that you can bend a flex sensor - from the very simple bend by hand to something like blowing on a plate, in a team. For the output - the motors, we started with a flying machine on vertical rails. This was three days in the process.
By the 6th day, we had realized that out “flying machine” output, no matter how “cool” would not fly. We had to simplify. By this time we had figured out how to control dc motors and a few servos with our flex sensor and Arduino and we started to explore the use of propellers mounted on motors, further mounted on servos.
After a few iterations and failed testing rounds, we decided to use all the components to do what they were meant to and decided to further simplify our concept. We started to make the good old RC car.
That’s all fine, but, where is the
Now, we just had 4 days left and I did not want this project to be one of the - if I just had more time… type of project. So, we buckled up and started to make. After our elaborate 3D model failed to work, we simplified again and came up with this frame. This one worked. Now we had 2 days left. Theodore was already building our racing track and so I focused on the code, the wiring and the car.
We tested the motors on for durability and the structure for strength. The user testing for delight was something we were hoping to do in the exhibition.
The Final Iteration.
At 3 am, the night before the exhibition, we were pretty satisfied with how the final iteration of speed dogs turned out. We were now excited for our full day of real world user test.
When we set up the whole thing up on site, we realized that our wires were too stiff. But what is a project without the last minute rewiring? We opened our exhibition an hour late, but then, to our genuine surprise, the speed dogs lasted the full day!
Kids aged 5 to 65 enjoyed playing with the cars equally. Some kids screamed when someone else touched the controllers while they were playing. Adults used their kids as an excuse to play with it. We realized that it does not take much complexity in your projects to make it enjoyable and delightful.
The speed dogs have now been retired and live peacefully on my locker, under my desk.