Making a call could be the hottest thing again.
The project is a refined/redialized version for the recently famous project of Durex’s Fundaware. With the same function, it is a cloth/fabric with tiny vibration motors, which can be triggered remotely. The project stimulates touches from others for people who wear it and therefore partners can play through a far distance. However, what different between Asterisqué and Durex’s experimental product is that people can simple call and trigger the motors with the plain keypad on a regular phone, instead of an app. It also allows people to get rid of parsing the app and the product. Plus, with what I learnt from “Redial,” the motors can also be triggered by audio level. That gives Asterisqué a more interesting input by blowing to the microphone on the phone, which I call it the “Whispering Mode.”
As of now, I have completed a prototype for testing and presentation. The case is a long strip with double sides. One side is with five pink dots on it, which imply where the motors are so people can interact with them. On the other side, there are five square windows, which allow users to see how the motors work. The color palette is pink and black, trying to give a cool and trendy image.
Via conducting thread inside the case, the motors are connected to an Arduino UNO and a bluethooth mate. The Bluetooth is connected to Processing, communicating with serial port. Tinyphone lies between Processing and Asterisk, sending the digits from Asterisk to Proecessing. With different digits, Processing will tell Arduino to trigger different motors.
The flow is as this:
Call-> Asterisk-> Tinyphone -> Processing ->(via Bluetooth) ->Arduino
Challenges and Solutions
The first idea is to stimulate the “real” pattern of touch. Press the pad and the motor vibrates; leave it and the motor stops. Unfortunately, it could be done due to the hardware mechanism of the phones. There is no way to know when the pad is pressed. Furthermore, the pad will only send one digit one time, which means I cannot trigger multiple motors.
The solution right now is I set the motors will vibrate only for four seconds and it will stop unless the digit matching it to be press again. Now the motors won’t be vibrate forever with only one pressing and if users press the pad fast enough, it is possible to have multiple motors vibrating at the same time.
It was a great chance to test in the class this Tuesday. The result was exciting. First thing was it’s more interesting than I thought. I was kind of not confident of my project before the presentation, but it turned out to be good. I think I probably did something right about presentation. The other thing is about situation of the multiple players. I was afraid that ten more people calling it will ruin my server but it is quite smooth after all.
One of points I learnt from the presentation was that I should let the project talking from itself. Just let people try and they will find the way to play around with it. The other point was the way my motors vibrating is not like human touching. It generally feels like something caused by machine (well… it is after all). Therefore, an advise from the class is I can make it like a massage products rather than a teledildonics product. In my point, I think maybe the how the vibration feels like may not be the most important part, while how the interaction pattern should be. But it is still good to know some other applications of my project.
1) Completing different mode
2) Fashion the design to wearable clothes