Experimental Projects

Basic Design

“Rolling Ball” and “Light me up!” are part of my experimental projects to prepare for thesis at UIC. As my interest in physical computing environment, these prototypes used microcontroller (Parallax BasicStamp2) and various sensors.

“Rolling ball” is a project to develop a wireless user interface to control balance of virtual environment via small microcontroller circuit. With accelerometer sensor and RF modules, a user can interact with virtual objects to control a traditional rolling ball toy.

“Light me up” is an interface to translate user hand motion into visual presence. A tiny physical interface represents one of instances of the composition of virtual building blocks. By moving your hand over the sculpture, one can create various height and color schemes for these blocks.

Above images shows main microcontroller (Parallax BasicStamp2 OEM board) and radio communication module to talk to cordless remote controller.

Besides main block, there are two more digital circuits. One (above left image) is remote controller that uses 2 axis accelerometer sensor and LEDs indicating current angular value. This module is used as handheld interface to control balance of virtual object (rolling ball plate) in test environment. User can have sense of balance via LED indicator and visual correspondence in application. The other (right image) is basic circuit to interact with user’s hand motion. It has a ultra sonic sensor to detect distance from bottom to user’s hand and multiple LEDs to give user sense of interaction together with visuals.

Above two images are the interface of “Light me up!”, which mimics virtual environment and is a instance of the result of user’s interaction in application. With this interface, user is supposed to create building blocks in virtual environment in various height and color. As a future work, I plan to plant touch sensors in acrylic rod to give better tactical manipulation of object.

Rolling Ball

Light me up!