It’s February. We are now starting our third week back at University, and things are looking quite lively, in all three modules, which is a change if you read my thoughts on last year. A post about the design studies module will be written in due course when we have actually started doing the project, and if I feel the need to, I might post one about the Structural Design and Manufacture module, but trying to do only one post a week might mean, those posts take up positions which I could have filled with something else.
What am I writing about this time if it is not about Design Studies or Structural Manufacture and Design, easy, the one I haven’t mentioned yet, the Interaction Design module. Our project is to produce something which ‘creates a meaningful interaction between a digital in put and an analogue output or vice versa’ or to putting it in another, simpler form, indirectly making sounds/music. This will likely be explained a bit better as the project goes on and I show what we are working on.
For the first proper time in the Product Design course (excluding Design Studies and any of the engineering modules), we are working in groups. In part this is because of the sheer amount of technical knowledge required to do the circuit building and programming, but it is probably also because of the amount of work we have to do. Having luckily been put into a group where I had worked with the other two before, one in Design Studies on the Aphasia project, and the other in Software Applications, we were able to hit the ground running as we get along quite well with each other, unlike some of the other groups where from the very start, tensions have been very high.
Thinking of a team name was the next priority on the cards. Many an hour was put into the creation of the name, with my idea of being called the All Day Electric Breakfast being shot down several times. In the end we decided on Electric Aviary, only to be changed the next day to Wood’s Electric Aviary.
A number of insights have been thought of, and now the ideas have started to flow, albeit at a trickle just now until things really kick off. Due to a part of the project being in regards to programming, as the final product will expected to have some sort of programme in it, otherwise it is not really Interaction Design, development is ongoing with this too. Having moved quickly on from the simple code of making an LED flash to selecting different sequences with a potentiometer. An MP3 player was made, and got to work (very basically I should add), there were no functions for volume, pausing, playing stopping etc, but a slight bit of coding later and a track could be selected using the potentiometer. The latest development here, is with a distance sensor and LDR’s. Getting a sound to play when someone walked past. This was rudimentary prototyping for one of our ideas, and so far, it seems to be working. (I may post a video of it in operation later)
Before I give away too much information about what our group is up to, since I’m sure that there are people from the other groups leaving this, I’ll leave it at that. But quickly, what do you get when you cross 1980′s computing with one of the most popular Albums of the 1970′s? A cross between the ZX Spectrum and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon? Electric Aviary, that’s what.
note: the logo and design are still a work in progress…
For more information about Wood’s Electric Aviary, see the sidebar link where there is a descriptor of the project and a link to the groups blog and Twitter (both updated often)