For my final project I decided I will make an interactive book that has parts in it that are sensitive to touch/light/…/. Why I liked this idea is because it is achievable with my current knowledge in electronics/lasercutting, but it is also relevant to my practise as a Graphic Designer. Initially when I started thinking about what my final project would be, I got really scared due to the limited amount of knowledge I have in the area. When I looked at other projects completed in the FabLab they seemed impossible to me. At the same time I did not want to settle for less, and that made the situation a bit stressful. The idea of making a book sounds great and full of opportunities to me. Not only will I be able to practice what I have learnt in the FabLab, but also relate it to what I usually do – which I think is pretty interesting because I have not seen many works of graphic design with electronics included – this is something I believe I will start doing more in the future.
When I started planning, the first important decisions that had to be made were:
- how to hide the Arduino inside of the book yet maintaining a compact size
- how to have wires and boards within the pages without them being visible, but reaching the Arduino as well
- how to provide enough space between the pages so that they don’t interact with each other (if you press one page, a button on the page underneath might get pressed thus causing unwanted interaction)
- what content should I choose for the book
Here are the initial sketches that I produced while wondering what format I should choose. My first idea was to have the pages boxlike, so that I can hide components within them, but then I realized that this would make the book hard to open.
The sensors that I thought could be used were the light sensor(covered with paper so that the reader can let the light in), touch sensor, button, motion sensor and temperature sensor.
I took a long time thinking about the content of the book. My idea in the beginning was to involve the reader in the story so he/she can change it by interacting with the sensors. But I had to give up on that due to the limited amount of time. Another possible option I thought about was scanning a book I have already made and attaching electronic components, but I thought it would be too easy – I would rather do something different. So after I wondered for a while, I decided to make the book similar to a quiz – each page contains a question and 3 possible answers. The bullet points before the answers would be LED-s and when you want to see the right answer, you press the button/touch the sensor(do whatever the sensor requires) and the only LED that lights up as a result is the one sitting in front of the right answer. What would the questions be then? To extend my Graphics knowledge a bit I thought it would be a good idea to find some interesting fun facts in the area and use them as questions.
- Nike’s tick-mark style design was made by Carolyn Davidson in 1971. She was a student of Portland State University. She was paid $35. (found here)
- The word “graphic” means “to give a clear picture”.
- Yellow+red=hunger (found here)
Code for the button https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/Button
Really useful box generator: http://boxmaker.connectionlab.org/
Before starting the actual work I wanted to plan everything so that it all works well. The last few days were for the actual production, but as expected, most of the things that could have gone wrong , did go wrong, so my piece was not completely finished and as well executed as I wanted it to be. I am quite happy with the result though, because it was the result of a lot of effort and research. I could confidently say that I learned a lot through it and am capable of achieving something much more finished if I try again because I learned a lot by making mistakes. Mistakes are a good thing – they are a confirmation of the fact that you didn’t stay in your comfort zone.
So the main things that I would change in my project are:
– If I decide to make a book with a similar content, arduino is not that necessary, It would be better to just use basic circuits to complete it – and space efficient. Arduino is much more intelligent and offers a far wider range of opportunities. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to play around and experiment with content more due to the limited amount of time.
-I would reduce space by using smaller versions of Arduino that do the same thing. For example Lillypad. I would think about reducing the number of wires as well. The batteries are also something that could be smaller.
-Paper is crucial, thick paper is something absolutely necessary.
I will upload pictures of the process of making and finished prototype on Monday when I have the photos.