Field Week 2 Brainstorming Ideas

This Thursday, under the eye of Paul Granjon we had a brainstorming session for ideas for a group project. A variety of ideas were put forward but we quite quickly settled on a theme of making an interactive game. First we considered the small scale with thoughts about a snakes and ladders style board game and a lights sequence memory game also board sized. We then moved on to consider how a whole room could be used for a arduino game, now we are thinking more along the lines of a kinetic environment. Some ideas put on the brainstorming page were laser-maze/tag style games. The suggestions were of fun environments. How could we make people interact with a room in a fun, game like way.

Then I remembered my idea for hacked, cut-and-shut amalgamation toys, sort of like Sid’s creepy monster toys in Toy Story.One of the ideas was that the audience would change the environment in ways that the ‘monster-bots’ sensors could pick up on as they move around within it, they may shy away from the audience perhaps or from bright light and loud noises. There are some other ideas for what these monster-bots could get up to.

We were all pretty happy with this idea, but we continued to explore the theme of sensory objects in simpler terms. Our main aim is to make some objects that interact with the environment they are in, and use all the different types of sensors for arduino that we can, for us the focus is on learning how to make working objects that use arduino and having the skills to take on to future projects. So with the call for simpler objects, we started thinking about how to make simpler objects that are less about hacking and tinkering with existing objects like ‘robot’ toys and more about the skills we are learning with arduino. With simplicity of concept comes simplicity of form, we have decided on simple geometrical forms like cubes, pyramids and spheres made of a variety of materials. These simple objects are just that – simple. Their complexity and interactiveness now comes straight from the arduino board and its sensors and actuators. Through the arduino we want to give personalities to these simple forms, to create distinguishable characters with recognisable behaviours. They may interact with each other, convey data, jostle for space, follow each other around, make sounds, lights and movements that can be identified as happy, angry, sad, curious, hot or cold, shy etc.

So now we have started making some prototypes, Becky made a origami cube and then we started to code and circuit build. The first geo-bot we have decided to work on will have a shy, scared personality. So we are going to make it light up in the dark with concerned squeaks. It will also quiver when approached and perhaps move away from  a hand (possibly) whilst glowing different colours. The coding today proved quite difficult for us – getting multiple LED’s to work off one digital output from the arduino. I have brought it home to work on so hopefully I will crack it tonight.

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For me my main goal with this field module is to see an idea through from start to finish. From idea to finished object that meets all the criteria that the idea puts out.

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