Looking Outwards-Bluetooth Car, Wearable Compass, & Radio Garden.(Will Knowlton)

Bluetooth Mini Car

mini-car

This project takes the know-how of arduinos, breadboards, circuitry, coding, cars, and soldering and puts them all together to make a Bluetooth controlled “car.” This project greatly interests me because of my interest in anything automotive. It also inspires me to make this as a potential class project because it involves a little bit of everything, and touches on key points we will learn and discover in Physical Computing.

I think that car is rather naked and unfinished in its operating state. I understand the whole point of the project is not to worry about how it looks, but focus on how all the pieces of the project come together to form one moving object. The car chassis with a front caster acting as a balance is clever, especially because of how the car needs to turn, (one motor power forward, the other power back). I would like to see how this could work with four wheels instead of a balancing swivel ball up front. But that may cost extra, and involve a separate more complicated steering system.

The inspiration and influences for this project are unknown, and the description for its assembly is vague, and hard to follow. With that, I know I would like to reproduce this project, or something close to it. I admire its involvement with all the different electronics, it seems like a great project for physical computing.

 

Compass – A wearable that senses the magnetic north

This futuristic looking compass is a wearable piece of technology that will flap up when pointed to magnetic north. It’s composed of 400 meters of copper wire, an Arduino, sensors, magnets and lots of other crazy electronics and software bits. The wearable compass wraps around your leg, hip, torso and shoulder to produce a rather extra-terrestrial/ dystopian aesthetic. The diamond shaped flaps will open and close when facing north. For example, if your back is oriented towards magnetic north the flaps will open and close signaling which way is north. “The actuators work using static and electromagnets and they create a perfect loop with the sensor embedded in the suit; they sense magnetic north, and the magnets display this information,” (Filip).

I find the shape choice of the flaps to be interesting, I thought to myself, “Why diamond shaped flaps?” But I couldn’t really think of any better shape myself. I think the placement of the tech on the body is spot on, and the look of it appears very professional. It was created by Jelle Reith, who has also created other unique pieces of technology, the angular shapes used in this wearable piece of tech are present on her website, and part of her design language.

 

radio.garden

This is by far the coolest thing I found. It’s called Radio Garden. You are presented with a Google Earth like visual of the earth, and you can navigate around the globe and “tune” into various radio stations by placing the cursor on the green dots. I find the concept of using a globe as appealing and would entertain the thought of doing a mapping project such as this one myself.

I think the website though is still in sort of an alpha mode. I can’t type in a city and have the globe spin around to my hometown and tune me into the local station. Searching for it myself isn’t difficult I think a search bar would be a nice touch. The naked blue background could use improvement, but these are easy fixes on such a great platform. What’s neat is the “Jingles” feature, where you can listen to all sorts of past jingles that radio stations used for their introductions/news announcements. There are no stations in Antarctica or Greenland.

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