Nudgeables pt 2

Visit the first part for some of the earlier progress.

nudgeables2

Soon after I published the first post I ran into the first major issue with my design: I needed another nudgeables partner to test my input with. As I didn’t have access to my classmates for a few days I settled on doing ‘demo’ testing by lighting up an LED from the Lilypad via my transistor switch circuit.

As that worked I assumed that the transistor circuit had all that it needed to act as the nudgeable switch.

Unfortunately the current that it was attempting to connect was not enough, and I was forced to quickly rethink a new prototype. Here is the last shot of my original:

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My second iteration used a mercury tilt switch. It is a large switch and allowed for a more sensitive read as the mercury bubble had some distance to travel before reaching the connecting pins. The idea behind this nudgeable is to be attached to the upper arm and react when the wearer’s hands are above their head.

I used a wide Velcro strap as the ‘arm adhesive’ and the nudgeable was sown to  via its thru-holes. The motor angles to be in contact with the arm while the sensor hangs down in the off position.

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Field Testing:

My first test was with Katie, and we went out with friends to grab a bite at the Crepe Cafe. The environment provided enough chaos to disguise the nudge motions and the reactions. Although sometimes it became a game of catch your partner by surprise:

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After some adjustments we also gave it a try at an even more noisy pub setting.

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Both of these tests were very successful. Although my motion was a bit hard to execute more than once or twice without looking very silly as evident below:

[Grabbing picture from Katie of me awkwardly scratching the back of my head]

Next I tested with Rickee at the 100 mccaul cafe. This test quickly turned into a hacking session as we were troubleshooting Robert’s nudgeable and fighting a bit with our xBee wireless settings.

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Above is my prototype worn over the shirt to show where it would be positioned. The motor is quite strong and was easily noticed even over the fabric.

Overall this project has been very useful for seeing the range of applications and forms that a simple wirelessly transmitted ‘nudge’ could take on. The nudgeable has been embedded into ties, suspenders and even bras with a lot of success making it clear that there is a lot of room for small embedded electronics on the body.

However there have been some issues with the current iteration of the board design. Particularly the inability to see whether the switch circuit has been closed or not without a second board and the hard to hide on and connected lights that can shine through thinner fabrics. A minor issue arises from the location of the on and off switch, it is hard to design a functional enclosure as the switch is too inaccessible when the board is covered in a sleeve or is wrapped.

In closing I would like to thank Kate Hartman for letting us borrow and play around with these early prototypes! I will definitely pick up the final versions when they are released.

After the project was done I finally managed to pick up the low power relay that I needed in order to create a breakout for micro controller to nudgeable communication. This relay, although with a slight audible click, works really well as a nudge switch and allows for analog sensors to be added into the mix.

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