Archive for the 9. Project Proposals Category

Virtual Garden

Posted in 9. Project Proposals on December 17, 2009 by Maria Freitas

Virtual Garden is an animated visualization for indoor use. The intent of Virtual Garden is to provide an interactive home environment visualization that indicates the home divisions usage and lightning conditions. The visualization consists of a static grass background and sunflowers moving on the foreground. An arduino and two sensors are used to provide the interactivity of the visualization. A new flower is added each time the infrared sensor detects some movement. All flowers are removed from the visualization if the photo sensor detects that the room is too dark.

The intent behind the Virtual Garden is to provide a home ambient display that provides a non obtrusive awareness of two variables: lightning conditions and level of human activity in one or more areas of a home. Virtual Garden remains in the background, out of the focus of the user until noticed. A simple popping up or disappearing of the flowers expresses a change in the home environment. The sense making of the visualization is intended to occur throughout the user(s) interaction and experience with the system. In the process the user is able to know which divisions are more or less used, which of them have more people moving, entering and leaving and if the more used home divisions are the most lighted.

System Demo


The used components were arduino, board, 220 ohm resistor, infrared sensor, photo resistor and wires.

Arduino Sketch

System Model

Two main parts compose the software behind the system: the Arduino program and the Java program. The Arduino program is responsible for receiving and interpreting the values read from the sensors and communicating the results to the Java program, so it can perform changes in the visualization. The infrared sensor detects 1 or 0, respectively if its detecting movement or not. If it detects movement the arduino warns the Java program that a flower needs to be added to the visualization. The photo resistor detects a range of values, minimum to maximum, indicating respectively, the most dark and the most lighted the environment can get. If the environment gets to dark the arduino sends a message to the Java program to clear the visualization.

Technical Report



soft drink · for two

Posted in 10. Build the Hardest Part, 11. Project Final Reports, 9. Project Proposals on December 15, 2009 by ellenwu

For long distant couples who suffer imbalanced conversation due to separation, soft drink · for two is a conversation display that encourages human-human interaction, unlike previous sound visualizers, which focus on individual pattern and human-computer interaction. Soft drink · for two engages couples to build a rich conversation together.

download detailed documentation: Soft drink for two_final report

Light and Motion project proposal

Posted in 9. Project Proposals on December 15, 2009 by mzywica


Interactive Pillbox – Plan

Posted in 9. Project Proposals on December 13, 2009 by aobeidah

The Goal

The goal is to build an interactive pillbox system which can be used as a notification system by the caregivers. Specifically, the idea is to enable caregivers to notify their patients that they have to take the medication for a specific day. To achieve this, the caregiver will send the pillbox an email instructing it to light an LED that corresponds to a certain day that they want their patients to take the medication for. Also, the pillbox must be able to send and email back to caregivers when the patient open a certain box. Finally, the pillbox needs to ad some interaction information such as whether the patient has flipped the pillbox to take their medication or not.

In order to do this, I will need to implement a Java Email server that is able to monitor incoming and outgoing e-mails. Also, I need to mount some electronic components to the actual pillbox in order to make the boxes covers act like switches. Moreover, I will need to add an accelerometer to the whole package in order to capture the flipping effect.

Plan and Timeline:

Week 1:

–       Buy the materials and tools

Week 2:

–       Starting programming the e-mail monitor program and email receiver

–       Build a test bed prototype. This includes a breadboard with a pushbutton connected in a pull-up resistor circuit. The purpose is to test the email monitor and sender programs

Week 3:

–       Start the programming on the Arduino board side and specifically test the wireless communication

–       Program the accelerometer and test it

–       Build the interactive pillbox system

Week 4:

–       Perform test cases on the pillbox and make sure its work (Take screenshots while you are building the box for documentation)

–       Start writing the documentation


Posted in 9. Project Proposals on November 15, 2009 by mehrdadgh

The goal of this project is developing “EMGH band”. EMGH band is a wrist band consists of EMG electrodes that recognize fingers and wrist movements, and, based on those movements animates a parametric model of waves in Grasshopper®. As an illustration rotating fist will rotate an object in Grasshopper®, waving fingers will create a wave motion on screen based on intensity of fingers motion.

Electromyography (EMG) is a technique for evaluating and recording the activation signal of muscles.

Grasshopper® is a graphical algorithm editor tightly integrated with Rhino’s 3-D modeling tools.

In order to achieve this goal, developing two frameworks is essential:

1- Hardware Framework

2 – Software Framework

Details of each framework and points that should be considered can be found below:

1- Hardware Framework

–  User movement

–  User muscles related to the movement react.

(Which muscle related to which movement?)

– EMG sensor reads the muscle impulse and output a signal not stronger than  miliVolt.

– Amplifiers amplify EMG sensor signal as an input for Arduino.

– Filters filter signal noises.

(How to filter different noises of different muscles and different movements?)

– Arduino reads amplified and infiltrated signals as analog inputs.

– Arduino sends read data to Digital Computer.

(Send data using cable connection or a wireless module?)

2 – Software Framework

– Arduino software store data in a text file.

– Grasshopper® reads values from text file.

– Grasshopper® animates the parametric model based on read values.

– Parametric model evolves on the screen in front of user based on Grasshopper output.

(Signal values should be processed in order to have meaningful information for parametric model. In which step data should be processed?)

The hardest part is improving and analyzing weak EMG signals and deriving information for parametric model from that data.

– Where the data should processed?

– What is the relation between separate EMG signals?

– How can separate information combined to simulate a movement like wrist rotation?

Here is the shopping list:

– Reusable EMG sensors (5 – 10)

– EMG sensors connection wires (same as sensors)

– Amplifiers (same as sensors)

– Arduino Board

– USB Connection for Arduino or Xbee Module

– Wires

– Wrist Band

Here is the project schedule:

Week 1

– Ordering sensors

– Developing the framework for transferring data from Arduino board to grasshopper

– Working on amplifiers and sensors

Week 2

– Working with EMG Sensor

– Working on amplifiers and sensors

– Interpreting EMG signals

Week 3

– Working on amplifiers and sensors

– Interpreting infiltrated amplified signals

– Finishing the software framework


– Assembling components

– Testing the product

– Enhancing signal interpretation

– Developing and enhancing parametric model

– (If there is a spare time) Adding wireless module

You can find in class presentation here:

Ergonomic Tote Bag

Posted in 9. Project Proposals on November 7, 2009 by Mark Leung

My project is a weight sensing tote bag. It aims to help people avoid carrying excessive loads on their shoulders. I changed the bag type from a backpack to a tote for several reasons. There is much more flexibility in placing an interface on a tote’s entire surface as opposed to a backpack where only the straps are practical. Tote bags, being one shouldered bags, are more damaging to the body than a backpack of the same weight.
Furthermore, there has been a boom in cloth totes recently with the banning of plastic bags in supermarkets for environmental reasons in several countries such as Hong Kong. Tote bags have begun turning into fashion statements as they become more common, and it is not inconceivable that people would be willing to spend money on a bag with integrated electronics.
A key usage for this tote is shopping, whether for groceries or other tasks. Shopping for groceries creates a heavy load on the shoulder, and there is uncertainty with respect to the weight of goods you purchase, making it easy to buy too many goods. This device would be useful for reminding shoppers not to buy too much at once.
In my design, there would be a force sensitive resistor in the shoulder strap of the bag, connected to the Arduino with conductive thread. The Arduino would sit in the bag with its power supply and a vibration motor. It would also be connected to LEDs and switches that would be sewn on the exterior of the bag. The switches would be used to select the threshold of weight, and the LEDs would show the threshold, either by showing the colour, or by using a pattern of LEDs. This way people with different sensitivities to shoulder strain could adjust their weight limit accordingly.
When the pressure on the shoulder strap exceeds the specified amount, the vibration motor would activate for a certain period, to alert the wearer, but would eventually stop. After that, the LEDs would be activated, to provide a less annoying means of feedback to the wearer.

1 Lilypad vibration motor
1 Lilypad arduino
1 Lilypad breakout box
1 Lilypad power supply
2 Lilypad button switches
1 Lilypad tri-color LED
1 spool Conductive Thread
1 spool Regular Thread
1 Needle
2 Force sensitive resistors
I think the hardest part would be learning to create fabric based circuits. It’s totally different from using wires to create circuits, and would probably require more forethought in terms of how to run the threads since modification will be more difficult than with a regular breadboard. I will probably mock it up on a regular
Also, dealing with the FSR might be demanding. This usage only requires an approximate indicator of weight (within say 2 or 3 pounds), so precision is not a huge issue, but walking creates a fluctuating force on the strap, so it will be necessary to measure the average of force over several seconds to smooth out the input signal. This will require some tinkering with the programming.
Things I can add: Make the LEDs function outside of as a weight indicator. They could fluctuate as you walked, or other interesting patterns related to the FSR. This would enhance the fashion statement element of the bag in addition to the ergonomic element.
Week 1: test and calibrate force sensor, solve fluctuations in sensor readings with code. Begin prototype with regular arduino.
Week 2: Finish prototype with regular arduino. Design and begin learning fabric circuits.
Week 3: Prototype fabric circuit to match regular Arduino’s, begin documentation, begin extra features if there is time
Week 4: Refine fabric circuit, finish extra features if there is time, finish documentation


Posted in 9. Project Proposals on November 5, 2009 by melloko

Final Project Proposal

Project Statement
Ever dream of getting a massage anywhere and anytime? At the library, during a class lecture or in bed? That is my dream and I want to make it happen. I will design “Massage-Me,” a portable massager that consists of multiple vibration pads and a remote. When you stick these pads to any surface and apply pressure, vibrations will be triggered. Control the strength of the vibrations with a small remote. With “Massage-Me,” you control when and how you are massaged.

Scenarios to Consider
Here are possible scenarios that I will consider in the design and development of “Massage-Me”:
☺    My shoulder blades ache while I work at my desk.
o    Consider possible attachments to clothing + furniture.
o    Change vibration levels to only one or a few pads.
☺    I’m at lecture and I want a massage.
o    Quiet vibrations
o    Quiet commands to the massager
☺    Carrying the massager from home to school.
o    Pads must be small and portable

Implementation Concerns
☺    Remote: How to control the vibrations for each pad separately with a remote
☺    Materials: What materials should I use that are lightweight, durable, soft and protects the electronics built in the pad?
☺    Size: How big are the pads and how does its size connect with different parts of the body?
☺    Attachment: How to attach “Massage-Me” often without wear and without destroying the surface material
☺    Packaging: How to condense all the pads, batteries and remote so it is easy to carry and without damaging the electronics

Parts List (Subject to change)
☺    Attachments: adhesives and fasteners
☺    Cloth: neoprene, flat but flexible backing like vinyl

☺    Plastic or acrylic
☺    Fabric overlay

☺    LilyPad vibe board
☺    Vibration motors
☺    Infrared sensors
☺    External power source

Week 1
☺    Build two pad prototypes and a remote prototype
☺    Explore and finalize the materials
☺    Explore pad form, remote form and packaging
☺    Get materials + parts

Week 2
☺    Finalize the forms for pads, remote, and packaging
☺    Build a working prototype for two pads
o    Pads vibrate to human contact
☺    Have a remote prototype communicate to the two pads
o    Send commands to both
o    Send commands to only one

Week 3
☺ Build multiple pads, remote

☺ Finish coding and electronics

Week 4
☺    Finish the construction of the pads, remote and packaging
☺    Create presentation materials

Minimal Goals
☺    Have at least two pads that respond to the body and are controlled by a remote

Ideal Goal
☺    Have multiple pads whose form corresponds to the muscles of a human’s back
☺    Have these pads be individually and collectively controlled by a remote
☺    Pads, remote and power consolidates and fits into a backpack front pocket