Chapters

Glowworm

Coached by Elise van den Hoven

 

"Create a large set of small artifacts or objects that can emit light and that respond to each other and their environment"

The quote above shows our briefing in the beginning of our project. Everyone of my project group was inspired by this briefing and therefore we all choose to get challenged by this project. Furthermore, we also had our own ideas for this project. Therefore our challange was to create something where all of us could lose our their inspiration.
After the first brainstorms we chose a system approach and soon we were at the beginning of many explorations.
We formed our first three concepts and presented them on the mid-term exhibition. After the mid-term exhibition we got many divers feedback. On the basis of this feedback we set our new goals and those goals let to more challanging explorations and finally a final concept.

We all enjoyed the challange of this project and surely learned a lot of new things in different fields.

The Beginning

The kickoff of the project was on Monday, the 6th of February. We introduced us to our coach, Elise van den Hoven, and got the assignment from her to make a good and solid planning. We made an A0 poster - an improved version of my previous planning poster - for all the weeks in the coming semester, taking into account space for lots of post-its. We also got the assignment to choose between the system focus and the user focus approach of the project. We had to brainstorm on this subject later on.

In the afternoon we started with a mindmap, we made the appointment that everyone had an hour to gather their inspiration, and print it out. We placed it on the window.


Inspiration Mindmap

Sources..

System Focus

After this mindmap we had several brainstorm session where everyone had their own thoughts and inputs. While brainstorming about several aspects of our approach we chose to do the system focus

A demo movie of Xander testing the color checker

Now we had chosen for the system focus we did a lot of techniqual explorations. Where our project goal was to do something with light we decided to explore a technique to detect colors. We found out what technique (a flickering RGB LED combined with a light sensor) we should use and with the four of us worked it out in the elab.

After the weekend, Xander worked the concept out in arduino and we were able to test it.

We continued exploring...

After more brainstorm sessions we came up with new explorations. I came up with the idea to make a big interactive lighting system with in that system, different artifacts.

.We divided tasks and subtilely we started doing three different explorations. I came up with an artifact that could indicate the time subtile.

I defined my concept better and focused on the work area (where Pim and Xander's office mappings also were focused on, so we maybe could combine it). I wanted to give people a more intuitive and subtile feeling how many time there was passing by when doing a task.

Together or individual?

I noted that the team was a bit falling apart, therefore I tried to pack the team together by writing a concept description from the perspective of the group where we could work from till the mid-term exhibition. I tried to get the team on one track but I didn't succeeded. The other teammembers didn't agreed with my description. I asked them to write a concept description from out their personal view of the project but using this way we didn't succeeded either to form a more common goal. We chose to continue our own explorations for the midterm. My perceptions of making something for a bigger concept were failed.

first concept perceptionAttempt concept description Glowworm

After a few brainstorms we wanted to create a whole set of lighting artifacts with different roles. We had divided the artifacts in three roles, the Sensor, the Socializer, the Communicator, and the Specialist.
Three of those roles can emit light and the fourth has his own role

The Sensor

  • Reactes on different environmental variables in the available space
    • CO2
    • Light intensity
    • Sound
    • Humidity
    • Weather

The Communicator

  • Directly interacts with input of the user
    • Gestures
    • Color Sniffer

The Socializer

  • Interact with external signals from Sensors and Communicators
    • Reacts on external light with some noise.

The speciliast

A fourth role in the game that is not something with lighting features

  • Fans
  • Motoric sculptures
  • Motoric "Flowers"

Context

As a contextual space where all these interaction shall take place is in a creative workingspace, because those reactions could be inspiring.

Thereafter the other group members continued to their own explorations so I decided to continue and work out my exploration with intuitive time.

intuitive time

Intuitive time

I made the attempt to link time to light patterns, using an array of 4 white flux LED's and 2 red flux LEDs, resulted in a clear final concept. The day is split up in 6 different parts; where every part consisted of four hours. During those four hours warm white light easily fades in. It fills the hours with a lighting experience. To create some more concrete conscious of the full hours passing away a red light was also created that is lighting up every hour to express that an hour has passed by.

I made a clear schedule of the circuit and soldered all of the parts together In a sphere. I tried to still have it clear so I soldered modules first, then connected it to the mainboard and folded the modules around the mainboard.

I made the attempted to do something with real time in arduino so I tried to import a time class. After lots of struggling I didn't succeeded in it in the way I wanted it to be. However I did learned to import a class in arduino as I wanted.

When finishing the arduino work without the time library I used a timer to control the LEDS, I created a good simulation of how the prototype should work.

What did I learn from this explorations?

Since I had a lot of trouble with my previous circuits in my last project this were good exercises for me to rapid prototype circuits.I also wanted to do an assignment in this competency so when chosing my assignments the DG220 assignment "Introducing Electronics" was main priority for me. Unfortunatly, the assignment was already full, therefore I chose another "Intergrating Technology" assignment. This was DG200. I also asked an e-lab employee for the DG200 assignment hand out, so I could pick up stuff out of that.

I also learned to work in arduino to work with libraries, when making the Intuitive Time arduino code.

Other aspects I learned from those explorations is to brainstorm using widening and narrowing techniques, or using a mindmap.

poster midterm

Pitching our products on the midterm

We pitched all our explorations on Friday and we got positive as well as negative feedback. The overall feedback was that the audience had the idea that we mainly worked as a individuals instead of a team. We also didn't showed enough visual.

The feedback on my exploration was that the idea was nice and could stimulate people to get a more subtile feeling of how many time was passed by doing a task. However they missed some analyse or research behind it.

After the midterm.

The midterm was an interesting and educative experience where we got a lot of feedback and new motivation towards our upcoming goals. We also raise awareness for the depending and right factors.

One of the main comments received was the fact that all of the concepts didn't have a clear goal. That's why it was decided to choose a goal and to form the concept towards that.

Choosing a context/location

In order to be able to make a decision, we did have to choose a context to design in. After a few brainstorms a list of locations was made. Each project member was asked to score these locations. This created a top 3 of most preferable locations.

The context location I had to investigate was the park. Therefore I spoke a landscape architect, my dad, and I asked him what we could do with our project in the park context. He mentioned that there were many rules within the boundaries of the park taking into account the amount of light. He said we maybe could do something with that because people often feel unsafe in the park.

After discussing all the locations with the group the park was eventually chosen.

Field research

Field research

We decided to do a field research and brainstorm on location. We looked if we could solve something in the park and how our ideas would fit into the park. At the end of this process we came up with the following goal.

Enhancing the experience people have while walking or cycling through the henri dunantpark at night.

Lighting communication

Meanwhile we started to explore new techniques that could contribute to our final concept. We, Camiel and I, explored, were Xander and Pim explored the possibilites with communicating using moving objects. Looking at some little lightning communicating insects, we got inspired to make something like that and explore the possibilities within light communication. Normally communication trough wires or Infrared is not visible and the team was interested in seeing what would happen if this communication was made visual. We first tried infrared led's and sensors.

There after we tried the same with FLUX led. We (Camiel and I) wanted to create a kind of binary communication between Arduino's, using LED's and light sensors. I wrote a self-calibrating protocol that first measures the light intensity without the lights being switched on and after that light intensity with the communication LED's switched on. The idea behind this was that the communication could be made visual.

Unfortunately, there's only one video of the expiriment left...

Analyse

After setting the goal we wanted to analyse how we would enhance the experience people have while walking through the park

Therefore we interviewed a landscape architect, my farther, and spread a survey with questions about feelings at night, and how people would solve those feelings. Thereafter we could conclude our final concept.

Final Concept

From the results of our analyse we could conclude that people don't felt at ease while being at the park at night. This is mostly caused by the fact that people don't have an overview on the surroundings due a lack of light. and don't know who's there more. They also feel alone and therefore uncomfortable. Putting all the conclusions and brainstorms togehter we ended up with the following final concept.

The lamp is a part of a bigger system, containing a lot more lights. These light artefacts respond to movement and are curious towards what's happening in the park. Just like the nocturnal human visitors the lamp is constantly looking for movement or activity in the park. A perception of liveliness and social behaviour is created that can make the visitors of the park feel more at ease. Apart from that it also creates a nice distraction for the visitors at night, which makes them, according to our survey and analysis, more comfortable.

Solidworks iterations

The first two solidwork iterations

I and Camiel together worked out a first solidwork iteration. Due the fact Camiel is far more expirienced in Solidworks, we laser-cut the model of Camiel.
However the model was to heavy to work with our servo's and we were looking for a new iteration of the solidwork model.

While the other group members where busy in Vertigo I was busy with a second iteration, I tried to balance the arm with a kind of contra weight.

The feedback of the group was that the aesthetics of our concept weren't showed enough.

Camiel iterated another model and we laser-cut that model again.

The third iteration approaching other mechanics

I continued with Solidworks and focussed myself on the form and on a third iteration of our prototype with a whole other mechinical system, inspired by desk lamps.

Flower iterations

Another assignment of me within the project was too explore the posibilities of a flower on top of the robotarm.

After prototyping my idea of the flower, it wasn't as aesthetical as it was ment to be. This was because the tin was very hard to work with.

The final flower would also be too heavy to put on the robotarm. Therefore we decided to put a bowl on it we already had.

Product showcase

thank you!