Bored at work? How about a flirting water cooler to liven things up?!
This summer at Microsoft Research I embarked on a mission to design interactive installations to promote health and wellness in the workplace. The result? Meet Sir Walter Cooler. Sir Walt is determined to engage individuals at work while reinforcing their positive emotions with drinking water. His emotional state is as expressive as that of a person, he gets upset (glows red) when he’s neglected and craves social interaction, will blush and flirt with passersby to garner attention, and rejoice when users approach and dispense water. More can be found on Sir Walt at: http://www.businessinsider.com/like-to-flirt-at-the-office-water-cooler-a-microsoft-intern-built-a-water-cooler-that-flirts-back-2013-8
FLUTTER at ISWC 2012
Feel your surroundings - Flutter was created by Halley Profita, Nicholas Farrow, and Professor Nikolaus Correll at the University of Colorado – Boulder.
An extraordinary fusing of textiles and robotics, Flutter received First Prize for both Best in Show and Most Inclusive and Usable Design at the 2012 International Symposium on Wearable Computer’s Design Exhibition in Newcastle, England.
Inspired to aid individuals with hearing impairments, Flutter gives vibrotactile feedback in the direction of a loud sound or alarm to help those with hearing loss respond more intuitively to their external environment. Common assistive technologies, such as hearing aids or cochlear implants, have a profoundly negative footprint that often results in abandonment of the technology.
Flutter was conceived to overturn the negative personification of assistive technology by producing an ethereal and functional garment that calls attention to the beauty of the device, not the disability.
Flutter’s bodice is constructed using cotton and polyester textiles and an inner framework of embedded microphones that network together to determine frequencies and their amplitude of incoming sounds. The microphones collectively agree on the direction of sound and, in turn, actuate small vibration motors in the leaflets to simulate fluttering in the direction of the auditory cue.
Further information on the implementation of the networked microphones can be found here: http://correll.cs.colorado.edu/?p=2315.
IoCane is a mobility aid for blind cane users that incorporates the use of ultrasonic sensors with the Android mobile operating system to provide a plug-and-play solution for visually impaired users that has potential to enhance mobility and object avoidance with a minimal learning curve.The system operates by reading from three ultrasonic sensors placed along the cane. The sensors are connected to a circuit board that sends the sensor data wirelessly over Bluetooth to an application on the Android phone. The phone determines whether the user is close to hitting an object. If so, the phone vibrates and chimes (indicating proximity and height of an obstacle) to alert the user that an object is present. We designed a lightweight custom enclosure (under 400 grams) that allows the sensors and board to fit directly onto a user’s existing cane. We also present the results of a pilot study, testing the performance of the ioCane with blind cane users, as well as a novel algorithm for dynamic obstacle avoidance warnings based on sensor data. Novelty in the ioCane system lies in the fact that this sensor-based mobility assistance system integrates natively with a mobile phone without any modifications to the phone or the system.
TALK TO THE HAND
Talk To The Hand was created for those avid cell phone users who just hate taking off their gloves in harsh weather. This wearable device uses Bluetooth Technology to pair with your existing phone. A speaker and microphone have been embedded in the glove thumb and pinky finger, respectively, and are wired to the Bluetooth device using conductive thread. The Talk To The Hand Glove draws from the social cue “call me,” serving as an indicator to bystanders that the user is indeed on the phone.
Ever been in an important business meeting or interview when you are interrupted by the shrill of a terribly timed phone call? The Answer-or-Not-to-Answer Scarf is a wearable accessory that pairs with your phone via Bluetooth to inconspicuously notify you of an incoming cell phone call or text message. The length of the scarf is lined with piezoelectric wire which emits a subtle tone of an incoming notification that is only detectable to the user. The electronic components are fully removable for scarf washability and interchangeability. Now you can keep your phone on silent without ever missing a beat!
Mobile Music Touch
Ever have trouble learning to play the piano? The Mobile Music Touch (MMT) is a music instruction system that uses vibrotactile feedback to train one’s fingers to play musical melodies on the piano. Each fingerlet in the glove in instrumented with miniature vibration motors that, when paired with a song, vibrate to indicate which finger is used for the corresponding note. The MMT operates both with a keyboard or as a standalone system. The keyboard has LEDs embedded in each key so that the user can pair the appropriate finger with the correct position on the keyboard. The standalone system has a set number of prerecorded songs that a user can wear on the way to class or during the commute to work to practice a much desired music piece while on-the-go. This system has been proven to train individuals the appropriate sequential notes independent of listening to the song. This work, done at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has also been applied as a method of hand rehabilitation for individuals with quadriplegia. The glove redesign and implementation of the standalone system was done under the advisement of Tanya Markow, Ph.D and in collaboration with Alex Scarlata, Narayanan Ramakrishnan, Matthew Eicholtz, Stephen Garrett, Charles Schooler, and Aneesh Tarun.
Check out this CNN video of the Mobile Music Touch in action!
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