I apologize for not being able to be in class this week. I have a final review, but here is the progress I've made on the final project so far!
MONKEY SEE, MONKEY I MISS YOU
I have a 18 month old niece back in Chicago that I really miss. Since I'm not able to be there to see her grow up, I thought a great project could be to make a pair of dolls that can talk to each other to say how much I miss her. When I hug my doll, her doll's heart lights up. When I squeeze my doll's hand, her doll's cheeks blush. The same works in return. This way she can know when I'm thinking about her.
I found a tutorial on how to make sock monkeys. I have the ability to make my own arduino, pressure sensors, and LED outputs. I found a make-your-own arduino wifi sheild tutorial. Now it's time to start making!
MAKING THE SOCK MONKIES
1. Two different threads to match the muted colors of the socks. This will be used to sew the sock monkies together.
2. Two black 3/8" butons for each doll (4 total).
3. White felt to act as the backdrop for the eyes.
4. An erasable fabric marker to map out the cuts and stitches that can be washed off of the final product.
5. Two pairs of crew socks. I picked out complimentary colors for the dolls. Each one requires a full pair to construct.
6. Embroidery floss. The purple floss will be used to outline the orange monkey's mouth and eyes, the orange floss will be used for the purple monkey. They'll be a matching set!
7. Pillow stuffing, used to stuff the final dolls.
Not picture here is the sewing needles (one embroidery, one hemming), A pair of scissors, A sewing machine, An iron, Sewing pins.
2. HEAD AND TORSO
6. THE MOUTH
First, flip the socks inside out and iron. One should be ironed folded so that the heel is on the edge. The other sock should be folded so that the toe is flat.
Draw the pattern onto the inside-out socks with the washable fabric marker. Sew along the lines drawn. Cut out the pieces, allowing for roughly 1/8" tolerance. Flip individual pieces inside out.
INTEGRATING THE PRESSURE SENSORS INTO THE HANDS AND BELLY
I found a great resource for soft sensors (which is key considering it will be for a child!) from another class taught at the media lab called New Textiles. From there, Hannah Perner-Wilson had put together an excellent resource on how to make these soft sensors. I think that the crochet squeeze sensor can be adapted to for both the hand and the belly. They are created using conductive thread that changes its resistive properties when it's squeezed. I plan on making a small one for the hand and a large one for the belly. I have ordered the conductive yarn and it should be arriving on Thursday.
CONECTING TO WIFI
In order to make this project work, it's essential that it connects through wifi as the dolls will need to communicate across distances much farther than 500 feet. I got a recommendation from Matt Edwards that he was experimenting with the WiFly chip. He said that it was able to connect to any of the microcontrollers that we have worked with this semester and that the coding is much more accessible that some of the cheaper wireless chips. It should be arriving in the next day or so at which time things will really get going!
DESIGNING THE MICROCONTROLLER
I'm hoping to use some of the input output devices that I have been experimenting with this semester. My biggest concern is how to connect it to wireless. I have heard that it can become extremely rough getting these chips configured to connect.
I'd like to have the pressure sensors constructed on Thursday and the design for the rest of the circuitry started the same day. If time allows, I'd like to incorporate an interface for the product that displays the message through a website or email so if one is away from the doll, you still get the message. This might not be possible because of time.
When looking into how to make soft sensors, I came across a project called Talking Bunnies that is nearly identicalto what I'm proposing. This is quite disheartening as I was hoping to produce something new. Her project, however, uses different sensors and she has used a store-bought arduino as the heart of her electronics. I'm hoping that with the interface and different approach to the input and output devices, it will still be unique. I would love any suggestions as to how to push this further or in a different direction so that I can test something new.