Showing posts from November, 2013

EW Project 2: Presentation and Conclusion

We brought all the kit in to do the presentation with and did a decent amount of testing beforehand and all seemed to work pretty well.

Here's a link to the presentation:

The demo went okay. I feel as though we didn't communicate well enough the wireless aspect of it. The two Arduinos were messaging each other using MQTT over WiFi and the internet. However as both were plugged into my laptop for power, it wasn't really something that we felt was demonstrates effectively. There was also one hiccup with a portion of the demo, which was when I hit the keyboard I dislodged the sensor from the bottom of the keyboard. Meaning when Jamie went to do his portion of demo - to demonstrate profiles - it didn't detect the hit. It all worked fine when we put it back in place though. Another issue was that because we used the speakers that DAT had, they didn't work immediately when powered they went from off straight to standby, so the music didn't play w…

VC: SWOT analysis

We sat around and discussed in detail what should be included in the SWOT analysis. Over the course of a few hours we established all the key points of the SWOT together on the Google Docs. Chris later cleaned it up when he went home. Click here to download the final PDF. Just to note, the branding on the SWOT was initially the older iteration of the brand, but we changed the PDF with the re-brand.

EW Project 2: Development stage 2 - Bringing it all together

So far we have four individual elements:

Two personalized drink receptacles: one mug, one glassThe coaster that profiles users based on the mug/glass placed upon it.The keyboard with the force sensor that can detect when a user slams their fist on it.The servo-powered remote which can turn up to two mains devices on and off.   Now the next step of development is to link them all together to form the constellation.

So we have two Arduinos, each with their own WiFi shield. Chris ran a workshop on using the MQTT protocol to get devices to talk to each other which was extremely helpful - it's definitely something I'll be using in my final project. So we got the two Arduinos working with WiFi and got them connected up to Chris' message broker. I hooked up the force-sensitive-keyboard to the Arduino. I then hooked up the servo-remote to the Same Arduino. I used the keyboard hit as a switch to call a function which effectively used the servo to hit and hold a button on the remote …

VC: Hanging out

To discuss ideas we thought we'd go on Google Hangouts and talk about the company and develop our ideas further. The meeting went pretty well, we discussed a lot of ideas and and gained some valuable time emulating conference calls. We discovered that Hangouts has comical filters so everything went silly. Pictures credited to Chris.

VC: Reflective Essay

Here's a link to my reflective essay:

EW Project 2: Development stage 1 - The components

The idea was to modify this shared environment to be able to accommodate different people, and do do this we needed to profile different people as they sit and begin their day. We dabbled around using different methods of profiling. A weight-sensor on a chair that was calibrated the users was one of the discarded ideas. We settled on profiling using the individuals' drink receptacles; when working we established that each individual has their own mug/glass. We thought a good way to implement this would be using RFID stickers, or tags stuck to the bottom of each mug/glass. The RFID reader would be disguised inside an object you'd expect to find in an office environment - the coaster. To the user this would, in theory, appear seamless. They take their usual mug, and place it on a coaster. This everyday action would profile the user.

Unfortunately there were no available RFID readers in the DAT supply cupboard. We thought the idea was sound, so we wanted to keep the mug and coast…

VC: The foundations of our company

Chris, Cai & I began developing ideas for what would become known as Bento. Throwing around ideas we began going through the eight point list of stuff we need to to.

We established pretty early on how our company would function logistically. We are to gain client work within our skillset, such as graphic design, web development and digital installations, using some of the excess funds and time to work on personal and research projects helping us to further develop our skills.

We started by talking about the philosophy and values our company's foundation will be set upon.

Our Philosophy: FunSolving ProblemsValue over hireMulti disciplinaryLearning - widening skillsetsChoice - choosing our work - choosing our customers Working in the future - internet of things / advanced web design / etcCollaboratingOur Values: Great designImproving the worldMinimalism - Simplicity Enjoying what we do - pride in what we doDoing what we enjoyProviding a high quality of service to our clients

EW Project 2: Constellations

So here I am catching up on this blog. We were given our project brief. The idea was to create some sort of 'constellation' made up of everyday objects that talk to each other. Gianni showed us loads of examples.

The way I understood the project is to take a bunch of everyday household items that can mean different things to different people, generally in emotional or sentimental value. Using this constellation of objects we needed to create a sort of embedded system that does and means different things for different people depending on your relationship with the objects.
The space we chose for this project was the office/home office environment, specifically a shared desk. We actually came up with the idea rather quickly on this one. We didn't spend as much time as we did in the previous project deliberating on past ideas and projects. 
So anyway, the idea. Now when we're working we all agreed that we all get pretty stressed at certain points and need to back away, or…

VC: The Business Pitches

So everyone pitched their business ides. My one went pretty well. I was pretty casual about it, and managed to answer some question:

There were some really cool ones, i quite liked Will's Cyclesense project as it had pretty significant real-world applications and could genuinely improve the general safety of cycling.

In the end, however, I grouped up with Cai and Chris as they were heading in more of a direction I would be interested in. The idea was to start a studio that gained funding through freelance client work. The work would be anything within our domain and interest range. This was pretty broad as the three of us are pretty technical. We'd spend our downtime doing community and research projects that we're interested in to keep ourselves active and broaden our skillset.

FYP: Usability & Blackboxing

The test of consumer technologies is ‘plug-and-ability’. I need to be able to do things (such as like 3D printing) as easily as I can go on to Drive and write this out now. Basically new technologies need to ‘just work’, without all the hassle of complicated set ups.

One example that springs to mind would be the lightswitch. Until recently, the core concept of how a lightswitch works hadn’t changed since the 1800s. The LIFX bulb is a relatively new product that allows the user to control the lights with their smartphone using a wifi-capable lightbulb. My dissertation will aim to discuss how emerging and existing technologies can and will optimize the way we interact with our environment, focusing primarily on the home.

I feel pseudo-blackboxing is an essential in good UX design - the average consumer really doesn’t need to know the backend goings on of a product, only inputs and outputs. However still retaining the option to remove the blackbox for development. For a product to be succ…

VC: My Business Idea

Bit late on this one. So after much thought I decided to use the FYP house automation idea in the end. Not really because I wanted to, but because it was the best thing I could think of. I began by writing a script, and ended up with this:

Hello all, I’m Sidd! Many a time I’ve found myself coming home from work or lectures after a long, hard day. So I finish for the day looking forward to getting home, all I want to do is sit in front of the telly and getting a good meal in me. only to arrive and realise I still have to prepare my meal! I’m feeling lazy today, so I take my meal for the day out of the fridge and or freezer, stick it in the grill and or oven, which I have to wait to pre-hear, only to wait another twenty or so minutes for the food to be done before I can turn my brain off and relax. Wouldn’t it be great if it was done just in time for when I got home?   Now you might be asking yourself; “But Sidd? How is such a feat possible? How could I magically cook food without even…

FYP: A system that monitors electricity usage of individual appliances around the home

Okay, so this popped up on kickstarter recently:

This seems like a pretty useful tool to monitor everything going on around the house. Using it's API, it could in theory be integrated into my system to further the automation & self-learning aspect of the system.