For the second week the assignment was to make a creative switch. Since we learned in class how to create one with a pushbutton the idea of the homework was to come up with creative ways to “cut” the power supply and reconnect it in an interesting way by exploring different conductors.
I decided to focus on human behaviors in order to create an interactive switch that would mix both the physical and emotional components. The main idea was to create an animal that would blush or his eyes would change colors when two persons in the class are holding hands. During the ideation process I decided to first replicate the switch that we created during the class and then move forward from there. Once I was finished with the already known switch I decided to create a draw of a circuit in parallel since I wanted the animal to have two changing color lights.
After being able to put together the switch with a pushbutton I wanted to now start experimenting with different conductos, I decided to use the cooper tape and try to incorporate it into two different rings that I would provide to two different students in my class to make the contact. In order to do that I had to solder the wires to the cooper tape and I was able to do so with the help of one of the residents.
Once I did that I was able to start testing how the behavior was going to be. I wanted to test if the position of the fingers when holding hands was going to create enough surface to do the contact between the two rings. I also decided to incorporate two more lights (not connected to the switch) that would create the illusion that the animal has always the eyes illuminated, but when there is a contact of the conductors, the color of the eyes would change to red.
Once the circuit and the switch were working I decided to focus on the human interaction that activates my lights, I wanted to incorporate an animal so I started testing different shapes and faces and I decided to choose a Sloth, an animal that is very representative from Costa Rica and they are commonly seen around the beaches in the Caribbean. Incorporating human interaction and emotions was a crucial component of my project especially because of how simple my circuit is and also because I wanted to communicate and somehow create an engaging experience for the students in the class. I decided to use the laser cut machine with help of one of the residents who thought me how to use it in order to cut the pieces myself after I designed them in Illustrator.
I tried the dimensions in cardboard and after I tested the Physical User Interface and I tested it I decided to develop the final design and laser cut it in wood. As an Industrial Design Engineer I appreciate the fact that in this class it is easy and fast to prototype ideas and iterate based on that testing in order to have better results.
The last process was refining my circuit and putting order to the internal components so that the cables would be short enough to not tangle with the ring accessories that the students are going to use during the class. The design of the rings was also part of my process because I wanted to create something easy to test in class and I wanted to avoid using gloves or other insulating materials.
The final result is an interactive sloth that changes the color of the eye when a couple of people hold hands while wearing the coper tape covered rings.