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Visual Lullaby

#1 Interactive Bus | Projects

  • Today, as a group we got lots of work done. We began with writing down our goals for the day, which were finishing the sensors, making a prototype, and beginning the presentation and for the most part we completed all of those things.

    Sammi and I focused on getting the speaker to work which took a very long time because we had to set it up, find different power supplies, get the sounds, find how to upload it to the soundboard, and eventually get the speaker to play the recording.

    While we were working with the speakers, Jules was hard at work on our prototype cutting things out on the laser cutter, sewing it all together and ironing it. As a group I think we are all really enjoying ourselves and looking forward to finishing it up tomorrow and putting it all together.

  • Today we started the day learning how speakers work. Becca showed us using a coil and attaching alligator clips and placing a magnet in the center, but it didn't work so she showed us a video instead.

    We took a neopixel and connected it to the Flora to see if we could get it to work and managed to use the simple code. After we tried another code which got the LEDS to make lots of different colors in a variety of patterns. We decided that the rainbow fading in the pattern was our favorite so we deleted the other parts of the code.

    After we began focusing on what to record for the information about Boston and thought about recording people's stories from different places. We changed our minds numerous times about what the prompt should be, but settled on memories. We also had to get the speaker together and soldered the pieces together and attached it to the breadboard. Jules also laser cut pieces of felt for the actual design and we will need to focus on that tomorrow. I'm really happy with how the project is going and I'm having lots of fun.
     

  • We began the day with Becca giving us the challenge to create a new idea using a neck pillow and not attaching the piece to a chair. As a group we brainstormed new ideas such as having the piece under the chair that you pull it out  and use or going to a store to buy it a bring it on the bus with you. We felt that if we wanted to continue with our idea of making everyone a tourist we would have to keep the headrest/ pillow on the bus. We decided to change the look of the headrest as well making it like a shell for the head and neck and placed the speaker a bit behind the ear instead of on top of it. We wanted to incorporate something that would make the piece Boston and after brainstorming, we decided on sports and made the part that you place your head in the shape of a baseball glove. We made two different prototypes, one out of clay and the other out of cardboard and duck tape. Later on in the day we used Arduino  and learned how to make different sensors using Flora. It was cool to see how they all work and it will be cool to incorporate them into our project.

  • On Friday, we began the day coming up with three ideas and making prototypes of them out of paper. Our ideas were headphones that would tell you about the city while you rode the bus, a helmet that would tell you information about the city and make it more comfortable to lean against the window (we also made a pillow version), and a map of the city that went all around the perimeter of the top of the bus. We ended up choosing the headrest/ pillow because we felt we would be able to apply our new skills like sewing and making sensors. After, we made another prototype out of duck tape because we felt it would be easier to mold. We attached it to the chair to get an idea of how we would attach the pillow in the bus and made another model this time out of clay. We finished the day making pressure sensors with the felt and the fibre-optic thread. I'm looking forward to working even more on the project and see what else will happen. 

     

     

     

     

  • Because the pillow is wrapped around the camera, this video is from the perspective of the user.

  • The Visual Lullaby is a project designed to comfort and welcome commuters and tourists on the #1 MBTA Bus line. Constructed from gauzy white fabrics and enhanced by soft rainbow lights and sensors, the Visual Lullaby redefines "pillow". By resting the pillow on their shoulders, the user receives unique neck support and experiences the bus in a new way. Once the pillow is placed, it can be turned on and play to the stories and memories from the area around you, according to whatever stop on the bus line is closest. The Visual Lullaby is not only for conventional tourists so they can orient themselves and feel comfortable in a new place, but it is also convienent for Boston residents. This product can be utilized to feel even more at home in our own city. The Visual Lullaby is a homey and comfortable way to commute.

  • Riding on the bus can be a very disorienting and uncomfortable experience. We designed the Visual Lullaby to make your bus experience more comfortable, interactive, and help you to know where you are. The Visual Lullaby is a pillow that lights up and changes colors, plays stories from various places on the number one bus route, and serves as a pillow to fall asleep on. This project allows the user to listen to many people's emotional landmarks and connections to the city, watch the lights, and feel cozy on the bus.

    We began this project by focusing on tourists and their frequent ostracization and discomfort on Boston’s public transit. On the first day we wrote down certain words and then came up with ideas inspired by those words that would fix a certain problem of the bus. The flannel helmet was one of our initial ideas and we thought it would be a fun project to make and would be helpful to commuters and tourists on the bus. We also wanted to make a piece that would make them feel physically comfortable on the bus and more connected to the city of Boston. Our project evolved quite a bit from our initial idea of a flannel helmet to the Visual Lullaby. We started moving away from the idea of the flannel helmet once we were challenged to create a piece that also incorporated a neck pillow. As the idea evolved we utilized the new skills that we learned in the studio such as the Flora Arduino for the speakers and the Neopixels. We felt that these parts would make the Visual Lullaby beautiful and different. We spent a lot of time working on the lights to get them to do our current rainbow cycle and had to take parts from various example codes and fix them together. We also put a lot of work into the speakers to get them to play different people’s stories about Boston. We initially thought for the stories that we should have the pillow point out different fun facts for different places in the city, but we felt that it wasn’t personal or unique enough so we changed our idea to people’s individual histories in the city.

    Our project has one speaker—connected to an Arduino and breadboard and a Neopixel LED that is connected to a Flora Arduino. The pillow is constructed out of 12 segmented fabric panels and a base, sewn together and stuffed. For the speakers we began by handmaking a pressure sensor that would work as a button, so when it was pressed the recorded stories would play. The sensor was constructed of conductive thread, felt, and sponge so that the conductive fabric circuit would complete itself when pressed together. Once we recorded the story (we only used one account from Sammi, a team member, due to time constraints) on Garageband, we had to change it to a .wav format in iTunes so that we could use it for the Arduino. Once we made it into a .wav we connected it to the USB so that it could upload to the Arduino. After first playing the recording we felt that it was too loud so we also made a volume sensor. For the NeoPixel LEDs we attached a Flora Arduino with wires and alligator clips. With some experimentation, we were able to change the pattern of the lights and choose what colors were displayed. For the final power supply, we sewed a battery into a slot on the Flora with conductive thread, and then sewed the entire arrangment to the base of the pillow with the same thread.

    We encountered many challenges on this project such as getting the lights and speakers to work and arranging the design for the Visual Pillow. With the lights at points  we weren’t able to get all the lights to come on, the codes wouldn’t work or the power sources wouldn’t work. For the speakers it was hard for us to get the file converted to a .wav, get the pressure sensor to work, and make sure that all the parts were connected. However, our group worked really well together and was able to work through all the challenges with ease.

    We made our first version of the Visual Lullaby out of paper and tape. We based it loosely on the design of the Elizabethan ruffs. We started out with cutting slits in the paper and then overlapped them towards the center. On the side we also had a piece that was similar to blinders that would allow you to cover your eyes if you wanted to sleep or open up if you wanted to sight-see. It also had a speaker in the back to tell you fun facts about the city.

    Our second iteration was made out of cardboard and duct tape. In this version we added different languages for people to choose from and a volume setting. We also made this piece with the shape of the neck pillow as the base.


    The third iteration of the project we made out of felt and sewed it all together. We decided to place the lights and speakers on the inside after making this iteration and used the shape for the final.