We wanted to motivate people to walk and so to enable that we thought of allowing the user to set
his own walking target and monitor his walking activity. To implement this we decided to have
two devices (device A and device B). One device (A) would be worn by the user and would be
used to monitor his/her walking activity. The other (B) can be any device that can be placed at
home or workplace and can be used to set the goals and also for post walk reflection.
The project organized two workshops to teach us basic programming and Arduino. First was the
Processing workshop where we were introduced to the basic Processing language and the
Programming workshop with Tomas Sokoler:
The second workshop was with Tomas Sokoler who taught us to use Arduino. Knowledge of
Processing language helped us to program Arduino boards. By the end of the workshop we made
few crude but working prototyes of our ideas using Arduino boards.
Controlling LEDs using Arduino
Controlling a motor using light, via Arduino
For device A, we came up with the idea of having a band around the ankle as it would
be easier to conceal it and thus would make the process of monitoring personal. After
fixing on the idea of a band, the next step was to come up with a way to monitor the
walk of the user. The initial idea was to have a pulse counting device and a motion
sensor in the band. The pulse rate value can be used to calculate the number of calories
burned. The immediate feedback can be viewed by the user with the help of an
unconventional display system on the band. A small motor in the band will move a rod
attached to it, the rod will push a colour coded rubber strip outwards. The position of
the bulge will give the immediate feedback. Here the problem we encountered was that
the pulse rate can change unexpectedly and quickly due to various reasons like stress,
fear, anger, rigorous physical activity etc.
Relation of pulse rate to various parameters
Brain storming session
For device B, we formulated a concept of using an hourglass. The band can be
connected to the hourglass by using a USB cable and an electronically controlled valve
will allow sand to pass from the top half to the bottom half depending on the amount of
walking done by the person. Care was taken that all device B objects are either
household or of day to day utility.
Initial Form of Device A
Hour Glass concept
To facilitate the counting of the number of steps in device A, we came up with three
technology concepts. In the first method we decided to use piezo-electric technology to
count the steps. In the second concept we decided to have two ankle clips on both the
ankles, one will be a transmitter and the other the receiver. The third concept was to
use a thermographic sensor, the ankle band would have a thermographic sensor that
would sense the other foot via thermal imaging technique.
The paperX concept:
The most crucial outcome of our brainstorming was the ‘paperX’ concept. Here a special
type of paper is used, similar to a thermochromic paper. The paperX changes colour
when it’s heated. The paperX is placed on a slot in the band [called Fibulus Hoop],
which also has a small heating coil. The pedometer technology is used to count the
number of steps. At the end of the day the user can take out the paperX from the slot
and then stick it on to a normal calendar or a diary.
Device A form iterations
Few form iteration were made to check various objects and patterns on which paperX
can be fitted.
paperX Concept with the Fibulus Hoop
FEEDBACK FROM TOMAS
We had our review with Tomas Sokoler [from ITU, Copenhagen] and he asked us to focus on how the
data transfer was taking place. He asked us to explore the area between synchronous and
asynchronous data transfer. Thus we started working towards the final variants in the design space.
The design space can be seen in the video: https://vimeo.com/86704983
Since the prime focus was more on getting interesting and potential concepts, we had less time to
dig out in-depth practicality of these concepts. More ideas can pop out from these concepts,
especially with the paperX and screen interaction concept. PaperX, itself as a medium of data
transfer can acts as a motivation to incorporate more physical data transfer objects in this world of
over-whelming digital equipment. Such physical data transfer objects can play additional roles like
motivation, entertainment or as memorabilia.
One other dimension to carry forward this concept can be of exploring more objects that help in
post walk reflection with other additional roles. It might even push a need for inventing objects that
can be incorporated in daily life as well as for post walk reflection.
Illustrations : Vijay Menon
3D renderings : Kushal Sanghavi