Sketching with Hardware 5/5: Glowworm Love

In March, we celebrated the 5th anniversary of our workshop “Sketching with Hardware”. In 7 days, 12 students learnt to use electronic components, to create new creative user interactions and realized their own physical computing projects. The overarching topic for this course was ”Bionics”. Again, at the final presentation the crowd had the chance to experience five extraordinary experience prototypes. During the following days, all projects will be presented on this blog. Today: Part 5, Glowworm Love!

What is it?

„Glowworm Love“ is an ambient room light, consisting of 4 individually colored artificial glowworms. These worms can be combined by bringing two glowworm bodies together. If they like each other, they will mix their color and produce a new color. They will keep this new color even after splitting them again.

This way the user can produce many different colors and create different moods within the room by playfully combining the glowworm lights.

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Sketching with Hardware 4/5: Blowfish

In March, we celebrated the 5th anniversary of our workshop “Sketching with Hardware”. In 7 days, 12 students learnt to use electronic components, to create new creative user interactions and realized their own physical computing projects. The overarching topic for this course was ”Bionics”. Again, at the final presentation the crowd had the chance to experience five extraordinary experience prototypes. During the following days, all projects will be presented on this blog. Today: Part 4, Blowfish!

What is it?

This years theme in „Sketching with Hardware“ was Bionics. Consequently, the task was to rebuild or reuse a natural and biological method. Our team decided to imitate the behavior of Tetraodontidae – that’s the family of fish with the ability to inflate their body to a ball-like shape in order to defend itself. In an outburst of pure creativity, we named our prototype Blowfish!

Blowfish is designed to puff up when users come too close or are too loud. Somebody clapping hands loudly will find Blowfish doubling its surface. As puffers don’t like people coming too close, Blowfish inflates if one approaches it’s face.

To put it in a nutshell, Blowfish is an ambient display visualizing noise and distance in a striking way. Just put it in one of your room’s corner and you’ll always know whether or not your shouts about an exiting soccer game will disturb your neighbors.

[ Skip to Video-Demonstration ]

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Sketching with Hardware 3/5: FrettyFlytrap

In March, we celebrated the 5th anniversary of our workshop “Sketching with Hardware”. In 7 days, 12 students learnt to use electronic components, to create new creative user interactions and realized their own physical computing projects. The overarching topic for this course was ”Bionics”. Again, at the final presentation the crowd had the chance to experience five extraordinary experience prototypes. During the following days, all projects will be presented on this blog. Today: Part 3, FrettyFlytrap!

by Michael Konrad and Clara Lüling

lueling@cip.ifi.lmu.de

What is FrettyFlytrap?

Natural model for FrettyFlytrap is the venus flytrap, a carnivorous plant that is domiciled in a narrowly restricted spread-area in the USA. It catches and digests animal prey – mostly insects. Its trapping structure is formed by the terminal portion of each of the plant’s leaves and is triggered by tiny hairs on their inner surfaces. When an insect or spider crawling along the leaves contacts a hair, the trap closes if a different hair is contacted within twenty seconds of the first strike.
[Source: Wikipedia]

Natural model: Venus Flytrap
(Source: stock.xchng)

In contrast to the real flytrap, FrettyFlytrap isn’t just a plant that has primitive needs like food, but also has some human-like feelings: it seeks for love and fondness, and if it gets no food or if it is provoked, it probably shows its angry side.

How can FrettyFlytrap express its feelings? For the one thing, LEDs on the top of the plant’s head show its mood. Red LEDs signalize a critical state, green LEDs show that the plant is satisfied. A further indication is given by the plant’s mouth: If it is open, the plant is hungry and thus impatient or was recently provoked by being touched at its teeth. If you want to treat FrettyFlytrap well, you can tickle it under the chin, and you will see that FrettyFlytrap rotates its leaf, which is a sure sign that it enjoys your treatment.

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Sketching with Hardware 2/5: Like a Bird

In March, we celebrated the 5th anniversary of our workshop “Sketching with Hardware”. In 7 days, 12 students learnt to use electronic components, to create new creative user interactions and realized their own physical computing projects. The overarching topic for this course was  ”Bionics”. Again, at the final presentation the crowd had the chance to experience five extraordinary experience prototypes. During the following days, all projects will be presented on this blog. Today: Part 2, Like a Bird!

by Marion Koelle and Marius Hoggenmüller

{lastname}@cip.ifi.lmu.de

The bionic paradigm?

Birds have a sophisticated technique to survive the frigid temperatures of winter. They possess a dense coat of feathers which can be puffed out to trap little pockets of air close to the bird’s body. These airpockets insulate the bird’s body and protect it from excessive heat loss. With this technology birds can sustain their body temperature of approx. 40° C even at extreme frost! At chilly temperatures they therefore often look like small fuzzy featherballs (see figure 1).

sparrow in winter
Figure 1: Sparrow with puffed up feathers

[Daniel Lingehöhl: Vogelwelt im Wandel – Trends und Perspektiven. 2010. Wiley VCH Verlag GmbH.]

[Image source: http://www.sxc.hu]

What is it?

For our project we adopted the birds‘ anti-freezing technique and integrated it in an environment-aware interactive headpiece – at first glance: a simple, every-day bobble hat.

The basic principle is very simple: if the ambient temperature drops below a certain value or the user feels cold the heat-insulating functionality of the hat is activated and the ‚feathers‘ of the hat are puffed out. The hat’s control system involves two modes, one based on the sensing of the ambient temperature and another one which is based on user-input via a touch-slider located at the hat’s brim .  It is possible to switch between modes by turning the hat’s bobble.

How does it work?

Build-up

The skeletal structure of the headpiece consists of two rows of inflatable ‚feathers‘ made from a customary air mattress, which are comprised by a cover made from felt  (see figure 2).  If the compressor is turned on the air takes its way through a system of flexible plastic tubes located at the hat’s back and bloats the inflatable pieces which causes the hat to puff up.

Build-up 1Build-up
Figure 2: Inflatable ‚feathers‘ and felt cover

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Sketching with Hardware 1/5: AmbiLEON

In March, we celebrated the 5th anniversary of our workshop „Sketching with Hardware“. In 7 days, 12 students learnt to use electronic components, to create new creative user interactions and realized their own physical computing projects. The overarching topic for this course was  „Bionics“. Again, at the final presentation the crowd had the chance to experience five extraordinary experience prototypes. During the following days, all projects will be presented on this blog. Today: Part 1, the AmbiLEON!

by Frederick Himperlich und Tanja Neumeyer

{lastname}@cip.ifi.lmu.de

What is it?

When you look at the chameleon in the picture, you see an animal climbing a tree having a green body and a red head.
Chamaeleon
If it’s trying to hide itself, it definitely failed!

During our research in bionics we learned about chameleons that they use their ability to change color not only for hiding but as a reaction to their surroundings. We were ecstatic about this fact and wanted to use this in our project.

Group Ambileon 1

Changing colors is the essential thing about our AmbiLEON-Prototype. Our idea was to develop a kind of lamp which creates ambient light in not static or random colors but in colors which express certain states or happenings.

How does it work?

When we began to build AmbiLEON, we knew the most important things were the RGB-LED-lights.

To create a random color with a RGB-LED you need 1 digital output for every color so three outputs for one LED-Strip. Since we wanted to use many LED lights, more than the ArduinoUNO could handle, we decided to use the Arduino Mega with a total of 14 PWM digital outputs Since the LED-Strips need a 12 V power supply we used transistors to control the 12V LEDs with the 5V digital output.

Now the base was given to let AmbiLEON change its color. The most important ability of our prototype was camouflage. To make that possible we needed the Ambileon to “see” its surroundings. For that we added a Camera to the Ambileon and wrote a little C# app that did the capturing. The captured camera pictures are separated in four columns (one column for each LED-strip), for each coloumn the average color is calculated and send back over serial port to the ArduinoMEGA which changes each LED-strip’s color accordingly.

The Ambileon
Image 1: Camouflage mode

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