As I couldn’t finish my final Field project and managed to deliver only a basic prototype of my final idea, I wanted to further improve it. This is what this post is all about.
Briefly, what I worked on was a book with electronics interactions included on its pages. An Arduino micro controller was hidden in the base of it to make these interactions possible.
There are a few points that I think need improvements:
1.The book cover
- The material used for the prototype was a lasercut 3mm plywood sheet.
- The lasercut was successful, good opportunities to experiment with strict shapes, that are otherwise impossible to cut precisely by hand.
- The living hinges (as a result of cutting a pattern of simple shapes onto the surface) broke due to the thickness of the material.
- It looked sluggish and inert, not elegant due to the fact that the wood was too thick.
- Wood instead of Acrylic was a good choice, with a more natural look.
- The front of the book cover was plain due to the lack of time
- For an improved version
- I would use thinner wood
- A design fitting the content could be etched in the wood on the front of the book . It could be further colored.
- I would experiment more with the living hinges pattern, a customised shape could be used to fit the chosen content.
- The used Arduino Uno is too space requiring.
- In order to reduce the used space, I would replace Arduino Uno with a more suitable version of Arduino for the case – Lillypad. It is very thin and light and is perfect for this kind of flat thin works.
- An even cooler option is this super super cool Paperduino!!
- In the current prototype, the Arduino is hidden in a box attached to the back of the book, right underneath the book itself. Due to the size of Arduino Uno, batteries and the thickness of the plywood, the box is very space requiring and heavy – it does not look elegant and light.
- For a revised version I would still locate the Arduino Lillypad underneath the book, but it would not require that much space. It could even be put between two thick pages, like in an envelope.
- The even better version would include the Paperduino and in this case, the box would not be needed at all!
- Type of wire
- The huge number of wires made a complete mess, they all tangled up and it was very hard to know which wire has to go where. I used traditional hook up wire.
- Wires made the pages thick and uneven.
- For an improved version, I would use something more flexible and thin. Conductive thread (that can carry current the same way as wires) is suitable for this case. It looks and behaves like the classical sewing thread and it is often used for electronics within textiles. That makes it extremely flexible and delicate, almost invisible if put between the pages, would not add extra volume.
- Another great idea that could also be used to complement the designs on the pages is conductive paint which could also be homemade – here is a tutorial on how to do it. So once the conductive thread has entered the page, the conductive paint could continue on top of the page and could be used imaginatively.
- Conductive ink is another cool and useful thing – youtube tutorial
- “Circuit scribble” is a finished product doing this job, it is pretty amazing! You can draw circuits with it – so useful for Graphi Design, could help create interactive typography
- Entering the pages
- In order to hide the wires I had to include one more box, with holes in it so that they could afterwards enter the pages.
- With conductive thread and ink that would not be necessary because of their subtlety.
- For the prototype I used a very very space consuming variation of an energy source, 6AA Battery holder – but that’s what I had at that time. Extremely big, heavy, unuseful for the job. They were also hidden in the box beneath the book.
- A really small substitute could be used, such as this coin cell battery holder.
In terms of content, my book was very basic because I had to smend moretime on the technical part of the project, since I was a complete beginner. I have many ideas about what could be done. Here are some ideas I came across during my research.
- Paper speakers tutorial
- An idea I have that would make good context is to have a series of books on different senses – for example “The touch book” where each page transforms the tactile interaction into something else. That would narrow down the chaos and structure the ideas. also “The shake book” “The push book” “The light book” and so on. I think this is a good idea for a series of books that would also explore senses and use a wide variety of sensors.
Overall, the idea could be improved further and could produce great results that are also relevant to Graphic Design and will definitely complement my future work!