After visiting the Creative Computing Institute (CCI) and receiving advice on how we can make the circuit clearer, I rebuilt the setup implementing the feedback from the technician and following clear colour coding and layout for the Arduino setup which opened more space for more motors.
In the previous iterations, we kept a box to house the Arduino inside. However, the connection between the jumper wires and the breadboard was not stable and when wearing it we experienced a lot of dislocations of cables which required us to take it out of the box troubleshoot and put it back. That was further complicated because we had a hole in the back from where we pushed all the cables.
We decided to go in the direction of detecting the surroundings through ultrasonic sensors to extend the awareness through touch/ vibration sense. I was not so sold on the idea as from my personal experience and as received feedback two available solutions were either using mirrors or turning back and looking.
However, as this was the easiest to build initially I stuck with the direction. I coded the prototype to vibrate the sensors on the side so it detects something, however, I think it needed more powering than one battery, sending me on an exploration of discovering the parallel and chain connection for the power source.
Demo of the working prototype.
To me, the physical computing technician’s very limited availability and not beginner-friendly hardware (micro vibrating motors) increased the development time of our prototype by almost 2 weeks, a time which we could have utilised for other activities.
Making the prototype work after the time and the series of setbacks was really encouraging and needed.
Further Arduino Explorations
As per the (recurring) feedback we got – to ground it into a real-world context, we decided to leave the prototype temporarily to do more research.
Testing Arduino Lilypad designed for wearables.
In the meantime, I experimented with more different Arduino components so that we could push the prototype further.
Specifically, the Lilypad one to make the circuit smaller and better fit for wearable – the plan is to combine it with a small PCB board, as per (video).
Bluetooth was to make two or three vests as once we have one working pattern to replicate it to others and make it much more engaging.
However, the latter one was very hard to work with and consumed a lot of time without any tangible results (not beginner-friendly equipment).