Week 3

Early this week, we decided some inspiration was needed. To took a group field trip out to the Target Open House display in San Francisco. This particular location showcases “smart home” technology in a mock home, complete with visual walkthroughs of use cases that really bring the whole setup together. Many of the devices demonstrated were already familiar to us; we were far more intrigued by their execution of the display itself! However, it did get us thinking more about what kinds of capabilities are actually practical for different objects.

Our small hardware tests and experimental prototypes have continued as well. With the addition of individually addressable LEDs, we have changed our color-selection display into a team competition! The more points a team has, more of that team’s color is on the strip. Initially, points were based on a very simple voting system. Later in the week, the system evolved so that each point had to be earned by correctly guessing which of 2 presented Twitter hashtags is more popular.

We have other tests currently underway including speech translation and NFC tag reading.

Additional brainstorming has been ongoing. Right now, we have 3 ideas that we would like to keep building upon:

  • Physical Weather Visualizations
    • Weather data is easy to just look up, but we are intrigued by the idea of turning it into a physical display. Wind and rain could be signified by actual fans and water. The sun, moon, and clouds could move. “Warmer” and “cooler” lighting can indicate temperature changes.
      We have also discussed the potential to select different weather locations by putting different RFID tagged items onto the display (like a model house).
  • “Everybody’s Pet”
    • This concept is inspired by hitchBOT. Encouraging random strangers to help or care for a robot/creature in a public place is an interesting direction to explore. Perhaps it needs to be taken to certain locations, or “fed” at certain intervals. Maybe it is trying to learn human emotions or expressions. Whatever the interaction may be, we could also take pictures of the kind stranger (with their permission of course) to organize and share in interesting ways.
  • Connected Board Game
    • We like the idea of a game board that can physically changed based on certain data. These changes would also influence gameplay. One version of the board we considered was a grid of squares that could change elevation, along with changing water levels (with actual water).
      This concept still needs more thought into the types of data we could use, what game would be played, and how they would affect each other, but the concept is appealing.

We hope to start prototyping the first 2 ideas in the coming week, while we continue to flesh out the 3rd.

Finally, the first draft of our branding is complete. You can see our latest branding materials on our Media page.