I decided to revisit my coffee mug project for the final. I feel I could spend a lot more time exploring this idea of using an integrated microcontroller in a mug coaster. I left off with the circuit making noise when the mug is down too long. Since time was short, I committed myself to programming the Circuit Playground Express with no additional sensors again.
My revised idea is to have a visual indicator giving you a sense of how long you have been holding or drinking your coffee. Before I go further into the project describe what I’ve programmed the microcontroller to do.
When it is turned on, it begins to count and the neopixels on board turn from green to orange to red. Once it turns red it will stay that way until the user intervenes. Also note that I only enabled half the pixels because it would otherwise interfere with my light sensor.
So the pixels are red, so what? The only way to reset back to the initial state with the lights off is to either make a loud enough noise or block enough light from reaching the device.
What does this have to do with my coffee?
I’ve run into a lot of articles about how Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, has been adapting to royal etiquette. Also in general living in an international city, I’ve seen a lot of students unsure about some social norms here. I thought it would be fun to explore this concept with devices. Being that drinking beverages in a social setting is a universal norm.
This training device encourages your sips to be purposeful and quick. You don’t want to offend your companion with blinding red lights when they are mid-sentence. Enter the Flow Pause. The Flow Pause is a device that not only controls the speed of your beverage consumption to a polite level, but it also makes sure your free to talk when you are expected to.
For the third class we moved in the realm of kinetic body extensions. To begin or journey into this world we started by folding patterns into paper to make 3 dimensional surfaces. These patterns allow the paper to be manipulated with certain behaviors.
I enjoy working with paper. As a child I remember making ninja stars, guns, footballs and fortune telling devices with them. It’s also a cheap and readily available medium for prototyping.
While in a cafe helping my friend with a project, I found that I had a hard time managing my coffee sip intervals. The pacing was also weird because I would have to interrupt the conversation to pick up and drink the coffee.
What if there was a way to adjust my behavior by having an impartial timer indicate when it’s been too long between sips. I used a Circuit Playground Express to prototype my idea. I used a light sensor and the on-board buzzer to indicate when the coffee cup has been in the coaster for over 5 seconds. The buzzer resets once I remove the coffee to drink.
What happens when you mix a secret office romance with nudgeable technology? You get 2 fashionable but inconspicuous nudging devices on your waist.
The user story is about two coworkers who work for two rival factions in an ad agency. Their offices are on the same floor, but they are forbidden to have romantic relationships, let alone even converse with each other.
Enter the Belt of Nudgliness. This belt allows both coworkers to send discrete communications to each other while avoiding nosey looks from other employees. You can let your partner know that you are thinking about them without directly seeing them or leaving any physical evidence.
Both parties secure the Belt of Nudgliness to their waists. Within the belt their is a button to send a radio transmission as well as buzzer that will vibrate when it is received.
My team had several ideas about hidden communications that can happen in a work environment, but felt going the secret romance route would be an easy sell.
Intro to making social wearables. For the first in class assignment we were tasked with making high five gloves. The purpose of this assignment was to get familiar with working with soft circuits.
My design is based on the example Kate showed us. For the conductive pads I decided to use polygons because I liked the idea of adding sharp edges to pliable materials. I have some sewing experience in the form of patching holes in fabric. It’s definitely a useful skill to have in life.
I created a cross design so the circuit could be closed easily from many angles. I didn’t want to use a big square as a switch and a part of the fun is playing with shapes while still getting the gloves to work.
My stitching was messier than I would have liked and one of the threads broke. But otherwise I thought it was successful.
The group project to create a social wearable for a different object was also engaging. We came up with a fist bump knuckles. The function is essentially the same, but the interaction involved connecting fists. I felt these required more attention as fists are more easily rotated so the conductive pads needs to account for that.