Wednesday, 30 November 2011


session notes:

My first session with the arduino units led to an outcome where the user would cover a light sensor to poke the eye of an individual on-screen, imitating a real-life eye. The basics principles of the circuits are that they are adaptable, and based on open-source software or 'firmata.' The circuit worked in a basic way, and was easily put together if the task was approached methodically. As a raw form of technology, the arduino circuits could appear not to be a very user-friendly device, but the core traits of the systems are actually more simple than they seem.


Originally our ideas were centred around a farmyard or animal experience for children. We felt that children would respond well to output based around buttons, as they're immediate, tactile, and simply understood. In the end though, we found it difficult to come up with an outcome that wouldn't seem dated or simplistic in comparison to modern gaming.

After our initial session with arduinos, our group has arrived at the idea of an arduino "couch cam," a pressure-sensitive arduino circuit housed within the cushion of a chair. As the arduino is only responding to a set of behaviours that are already in place, i.e. the steady use of a chair, we felt the outcome would probably come across as more natural as a result.

Our ideas for potential uses of the arduino chair are:

  • Thought bubbles - the pressure-sensor arduino projects randomly-selected thought bubble graphics behind the chair.
  • Sound - the arduino triggers sound output from nearby speakers, which could be concealed. The audio could be the sound of a busy room that increases the longer the user sits in the chair, or perhaps a  voice that would seem to come from within the chair itself
  • Timer - a timer graphic would record how long the user had sat in the chair, perhaps suggesting alternative ways to spend similar amounts of time
  • Hungry monsters - in a canteen setting, a hungry monster graphic would seem to be lurking behind the user. This could also work as part of a "monster hunt" in a museum or learning space
  • Propaganda - more of a fine art outcome, we imagined an arduino that would activate a camera opposite the chair. The video feed could then be processed in a graphic, "propaganda" style, and then projected in a pertinent location. We felt that having individual projected in an almost cult-like, aspirational way, whilst the actual individual remains totally unaware, had quite a playful, subversive quality to it, although as an whole it could have came across as slightly obtuse
  • Counter - a simple counter graphic showing how many people have sat in the seat. Although obviously very simplistic, we thought that there could be an appealing mystery around why the number was rising.

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