Here is a drawing of how we plan to take our midterm "voodoo bear" to the next level. A major component of this is connecting to the web. We plan on using ruby to build an online web database where our users can submit their name prior to interacting with the bear. This will enable all participants to share in a communal voodoo bear experience, where the actions the user takes are put in context with those of other previous Additionally, we are going to use two Xbee radios with break out boards, one connected to the arduino and one located within our bear to communicate with each other. Here is a photo of me soldering the breaker board for one of our two Xbees.
Additionally, in order to reemphasize the voodoo element of the experience, we have begun to fill our bear with steel wool. This conductive material will enable a participant to prick the bear anywhere with a large pin and have a clear negative response sent to the arduino. During the midterm, we had a lot of problems calibrating the flex sensors to work within a range that would enable a positive response if both flex sensors were engaged (a hug) and a solely negative one when only one was engaged (a punch). The ranges that were required to enable our desired reactions were very narrow and difficult to achieve with any kind of regularity. Having a clear negative action (prick) and a clear positive one (hug, via flex sensors) allows us to create an experience that is more intuitive for the user and easier for us to control.
We found with our play testing that the first way that most people begin any kind of experience with our bear was through the hands or the feet. We anticipated the hands being this way (and already had switches built in), but as of the midterm, didn't have any switches in the feet or ears. Since then, we have built new switches that we plan to use in these additional places in order to give the participant a greater variety of ways to begin her experience with our voodoo bear.
Arduino Ethernet Shield/Ruby Web Configuration from Colin Narver on Vimeo. In this video we have Sergio narrating how we plan to use an Arduino ethernet shield and Ruby to build a platform for users to input their names and have them recognized within a database.