MSc Product Design - Creative Technology (4)

With the technology for the interaction working - sending out the notification to the household - I decided to begin experimenting with the form. On the Monday and drawing from the various inspirations over the weeks, I began creating cardboard models to to get an idea of the kind of shape I’d like to take further. I played around with geometric boxes and octagon shaped boxes to try and find a shape that would look interesting but also could sit discreetly in the home. I also played around with the idea of creating an object based on old PA systems and radios.

On the Tuesday, I’d book out a laser cutter to experiment with different shapes in wood for a nicer finish than cardboard. With a few samples cut, I cobbled together a wooden octagon shaped box to act as a prop as well as a very basic experience prototype with initial branding and conductive materials to explain my thinking for a tutorial with Martin later in the idea. It was at this tutorial that Martin reminded me that I’d neglecting the more important interaction - setting a time to gather up the household in place. He sent me code to experiment with using a potentiometer and the neopixels and this is what I did on the Wednesday.

I got the potentiometer working with the neopixels easily enough but I was very dubious about mashing up my two codes together and expecting it to work. I was pleasantly surprised when the two codes worked perfectly together first time, and exactly how I needed them too. With that headache solved, it was time to get back to creating a housing for the technology.

Going back to the laser cutter, I cut several attempts at a net to play about with it - I tried vertical, horizontal, creating weird oblong shapes. In the end, frustrated that it wasn’t working and after having several attempts snap on me, I ended up creating a form that resembled a mash up of a radio and an alarm clock. Disgruntled by this point, I taped it all together roughly and slotted an offcut in the middle as a support to hold the shape and glued a base onto it to give it more support. 

Taping another off cut from earlier onto the side, I created a wooden aerial that housed the neopixels in it. I then slotted in the breadboard and potentiometer on one side and the arduino in the other, carefully to ensure the wires still connected inside. I took one of the crocodile clips needed to ensure the capacitative sensor worked and taped it to the top of the box, using a post it note I’d used last week with conductive paint on it as the button for sending the notification to the household. While it wasn’t prettiest prototype, I was fairly pleased with my Frankenstein’s monster.

Satisfied with my prototype, I created my concept video for the project - I took rough, unedited shots of my product to show it working, as I wanted to experiment with a new way of shooting film that I’d never tried before.