Introduction

Over the course of the semester, we've been tasked with designing and implementing a final project that combines all the skills we've learned in class. That means our project can't just be in the cloud- it needs to be physical and interactive. This page is meant to log my thoughts on the final project over the course of the semester in addition to documenting the results.

Brainstorming

While ideating on a final project, I can't help but be drawn to toys and interactive experiences. I love designing puzzles that make people happy and help them learn. So, my guiding principle for the brainstorming phase of this project is to create something that would fit in well at the Exploratorium or Epcot's Innoventions Pavilion. I want to create something that users can physically touch and receive feedback from.

Tracks

For our first week's assignment, we were asked to model an idea for our final project in as many ways as possible. I came up with Tracks. It's a toy aimed at children to teach them the fundementals of music composition in an intuitive, physical way. Similar in appearance to train tracks, the kit would come with tracks of different lengths corresponding to rhythmic values (for example, the longest piece would represent a half note, while a track half that length would represent a quarter note). The user would lay down pieces of track and when the train runs over the course, it would play back the notes realtime. There could be multiple cars to represent instrumentation and LEDs on the track would be used to indicate note value (for example, if the track LED was red, it would play the note "C").

Pepper's Ghost Fish Tank

The other idea I'm looking at is an interactive, off-body augmented reality Pepper's ghost (or some other form of projection) fish tank. I got this idea while walking around the New England Aquarium. The lighting conditions in the building are nearly perfect for reflecting a light sourse into the tank. That could be used to convey information about the residents of the tank, create immersive, generative media to interact with the fish, or create a platform for users to play with the fish. For example, if you track the fish's location/type, you could put a digital bounding box around the fish, displaying information about that fish when a user presses the corresponding button. With the fish's location, you could also have it interact with digital media in the tank. For example, if it swims past the physical volcano prop, digital lava could flow. Lastly, users could draw with the fish. If they press the draw button, a trail could follow the fish around the tank showing how the fish moves accross the space.