Making Things Interactive

January 28, 2008

Term Project Ideas: Interactive Indo Board

Filed under: 2: Term Project Idea,Assignments,Thomas Hendrickson — tphendrickson @ 4:57 pm

When we looked in class at the “pouring light” and I was first introduced to using tilt sensors in interactive design, it opened up a lot of ideas. The one idea I have been liking the most, and the one that I think is more original than the others, is making an indo board interactive. For anyone who hasn’t seen one:

it is a wobble board. Although it’s most apparent application is to boardsports, it is very useful in core training that can be very valuable to all athletes.

My idea was to try and use a tilt sensor and have the design react to how much the user tilts the board to either side. The board could have LEDs attached that displayed a different color, or a different tone could be played through speakers, depending on how much the board is tilted. Hopefully soon I can determine if this is actually feasible for me to complete within this semester.


1 Comment »

  1. It’s not difficult to sense tilt, and once you sense it, you can do all the things you mention, (LEDSs, etc.). The simplest way (but perhaps not satisfying) is just with a gravity switch. The “old fashioned” and toxic way to do this is with a mercury switch – basically a glob of mercury in a glass ampule with wires on the ends; when the mercury rests level it conducts electricity from one end to the other. The safer and modern gravity switch operates on the same principle – a ball bearing in a little tube, such that when it’s level it conducts electricity through the ball bearing. Mount two or more of these in different orientations on the board and you could tell when the board is being tilted in different directions. The advantage of using a gravity switch is that it’s really easy to sense – it’s just a switch! The disadvantage is, of course, that you can only tell “yes or no” – tilt or no-tilt. But, this would be drop-dead easy to prototype.

    The more sophisticated way to sense tilt uses an accelerometer. A 3-axis accelerometer costs ~ $35 (from, say Sparkfun). This will tell you any time you move it – it’s not measuring tilt directly, but how much it is accelerated in the three dimensions. Using it isn’t particularly difficult, but it does require a little more than the gravity switches.

    Comment by mdgross — January 29, 2008 @ 7:22 am | Reply

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