#1 Handheld

The move from building-size to fingernail-size computers remains one of the most dramatic changes in the history of human techonological development. Being able to hold a device, put it in a pocket or bag, or curl up with it in a chair marks a dramatic change in how we can relate to technology, and accordingly, of the types of interactions we can imagine wanting to have with a device.

For this project, you are to create a handheld device of your own purpose, design, and construction. Given what we have learned so far about using LEDs, sound, switches, knobs, and other inputs with the Arduino, imagine how you can use size, touch, and design to create an intersting handheld interactive object. It can be a game, a fidget device, a tool, a prop for a sci-fi film, anything you can imagine. You are encouraged to use narrative to create a world or metaphorize otherwise simple outputs and interactions to tell a story and create a deeper connection to the object.

You can use any enclosure you can come up with, custom laser cut, foamcore, cardboard, or found objects, the only requirement is that your piece consider the enclosure as a key part of the overall interface you are presenting to someone interacting with your object. If part of your narrative is to have the wires and circuits exposed, you need to be prepared to explain how that works with your concept. Keep in mind how these elements are used in games like this and this to make sense of an otherwise odd sequence of blinking lights.

There are a few steps necessary to complete the project:

  1. Create 5 sketches of ideas and objects. Make at least one of them as fantastical as you can, even if it is not technically possible.
  2. Narrow down your ideas to a top 2 and flesh out what is required to create them. Include a list of parts and what is necessary to create the enclosure. Bring all sketches and work to class on Tuesday October, 17th to discuss one-on-one.
  3. Begin collecting your parts. If you want more novel inputs, you may need to journey to All Electronics to find parts, or spend some time online to find what you need.
  4. Make an outline of how the software component of your project is going to work. Be able to tell the story of how your code runs and responds to the user.
  5. Build your first prototype of the circuit. Planning a project that uses both hardware and software takes time, get started!
  6. Iterate and refine your idea based on your prototype, design your enclosure and make sure everything will fit!
  7. Complete the build!

We will have an in-class critique on October, 31st bring your object ad be prepared to present it to the class.