Social Things_08 ↓ Final Crit

We had the Project Final Crit this morning, in the presence of Rania Svaronou and Riccie Janus from IBM again. We organized it as a 2P2 feedback, as you can see it below. Pretty cool to see everyone’s project coming through their last iterations!

Here is my (5th) prototype ↓↓↓

(I wish I took a self-explanatory picture before I glued everything, instead of that long paragraph coming 😅)

I made up a very DIY case to ensure the foil was secured: plastic sheet for the touch and colored paper sheet to hide it. I’m considering to simply use colored plastic sheet for the last version, as I don’t need to see the BTS that much anymore.

Compared to the 4th prototype, I didn’t use copper tapes but simply switched back to foil to have bigger strips. I cut around 3 cm compared to 5 mm for the tapes. I also left around 3 cm space between each strip, while the tapes were dispatched too closely and created confusion for the MPR121. I also only used 3 strips compared to the 6 I previously had. I think it’s plenty enough considering the interactions I actually need from them – not that much.

Pretty simple, as instructed: the person has to hold on to the first strip, then slide through the two others strips. I noticed the foil strips sometimes went “off” or were confused between one and another despite the space between them – forcing me to re-start the circuit. It didn’t happen before, not sure if because foil has less stability than copper or it might be simply thank to the tape format? Well, need: bigger tapes!

The technical part didn’t change much from the 4th prototype: I used the same wiring + code for the Arduino part, and I simplified the MAX/MSP patch. Note: the first strip is wired to the 0 pin, the second strip is wired to the 6 pin, and the third strip to 11 pin.

Social Things_08 ↓ Final Crit 4

While the 0 pin didn’t change, I used select to bang each time it detects the 6 pin plus counter to bang each time it effectively counted 6 to 11. Both select and counter are linked to timer to know how many milliseconds has passed since the finger passes the second strip (aka first bang) through the third strip (aka second bang). Then I linked it to a gain function: the more the gesture is fast, the more there wouldn’t be much volume.

Social Things_08 ↓ Final Crit 1

(Here is Pipe interacting with my prototype, you can also see the title I’m settling on: LET’S DO IT RIGHT, LET’S DO IT SLOW.)

I wrote down the main feedbacks I got + my thoughts on that:

  • Audrey: “When moving fast, not aware of the reaction or the idea ‘slow down’.”

Agreed, the sound effects definitely need to be more obvious instead of gain, else it looks like it’s broken. I re-linked that to a feedback function right away, so it distorted the sound instead.

  • Rania: “Loves the idea. Thinking from an UX perspective, better to use vertical scroll instead. Match the speed of the gesture to the content and that’s all it needs more.

It was great to see the idea understood rapidly with straightforward advices. Plus, it seems the vertical scroll definitely comes off as more familiar and match the infinite scrolling we are doing on our social apps.

  • Gareth: “Loves the concept, definitely getting through: it’s the most important, technical part come later. Mention of psychological studies to the scroll gesture, and the insatisfaction we get from it through our never-ending feeds. Doesn’t think the scroll needs to be vertical.

Interesting thoughts – and also related to what I’m looking for my FMP. Maybe the gesture could work in both cases, depending on how people want to handle the object depending on their own preferences – siding horizontal and vertical?

  • Stephanie: “Advised a strong reminder for the context of the Slow Movement – a more high-tech approach with the phone, and the use of fabrics to tone down that approach.

Not into the phone direction, but I got where she came from and it actually gave me an idea: maybe I can ask people to put their smartphones besides my touch pad so that action acts like they are substituting their smartphones for my device?

  • Nicolas: “Something is happening: trust relationship with the object. Need an evolution of the content now: for example, if you scroll right enough to reach a good volume, the next step would be to maintain a good sound effect? The gesture is good as it is now: the hand rests while holding while the other hand scrolls? Last step is the object design, also think about where I want this object to be used? About the question of the fabrics, it could be filled up with cottons and such: take inspiration from toy stores, and look up at kinetic sound.

Digging that “evolution” idea. Definitely a home object, acting as a substitute for the smartphone as I just ideated. To be honest, I don’t think I will use any fabrics except silky ones: 1/ I want a slick touch to remind the screen. 2/ I don’t want my object’s design to be playful. Since I view it as therapy from the infinite scrolling gesture ≠ aka won’t be a toy, my aim is definitely an adult (teenagers included) audience.

The object’s design will also definitely shape the gesture I mentioned the wave idea to Nicolas. In my previous blog post, I previously mentioned that I ordered a plastic ball in order to prototype with its wavy shape, well I don’t know where my package is – hence the flat prototype…

Now looking into kinetic sound, my prototyping process is taking me more into the sound part – which it’s why I think I might let down the light part, I don’t think it’ll add anything much to the interaction. I will still consider it for my final sketches, more as a bonus aesthetic part. I’m still thinking about how you have these flashes when you close your eyes after seeing lights. Well, it’ll depend on the shape but it’ll need to be transparent at least on that part for the light to come through and hiding the strips would be extra work – and make caution that the MPR121 would still be reliable with the distance I’d need.

Though I got my concept across – which I’m feeling pretty relieved about, I still have then few mostly technical steps left: the object design, and the sound part of the MAX/MSP patch.

It might be better to hand over the sketches for the PE, and aim for an actual delivery with the objective of Ars Electronica (I didn’t mention it before but the class is going to Ars this September, and I’m bringing that Social Things project in my suitcase).

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