Midterm Project (Rudi) – Kennedy

Sip N’ Flip: Reengaging Traditional Social Scenes

2. PROJECT STATEMENT OF PURPOSE                                               

  

The primary objective of our project is to create a social experience that can seamlessly transfer environments and foster friendly engagement.  In an age where interpersonal interactions are dominated by social media feeds, niche forums, and the ever present comments section, social interactions are often confined to the internet and other digital environments. This project works to break the glass case people have created around their interpersonal interactions. We want to bring people back to the traditional forms of social interaction.

While online interactions are not a wholly negative, they can also ironically create an isolating social space. This closed off social sphere has a wide range of negative side-effects; the most significant being the effect of the “one sided story”. This phenomena was referenced by Novelist Chimamanda Adichie and she explains how the “one sided story” is the single perspective one is exposed to; this creates a suffocating social environment for most      people. It results in people acting on preconceived notions and also not knowing or willing to explore other perspectives. Our project works to break people out of their social bubble by providing a playful and engaging environment where people can interact with each other.

 

3.     LITERATURE AND ART, PERSPECTIVES AND CONTEXTS:                                                      

 

The Art of Interactive Design by Crawford and Making Interactive Art: Set the Stage, Then Shut Up and Listen by Tom Igoe set the basic requirements for our project. From these readings we decided to have all of our design choices revolve around simplicity and intuitivity. We wanted to create something that could fit into any social environment without being intrusive but, instead encourage social connection. The aspect of being a chameleon or mutable project for social environments comes from Igoe’s idea of listening to meet the needs of users. This design strategy greatly benefits us as, it focuses on the human element of design. By recognizing what our users want we can create a device that can seamlessly integrate itself into their lives without creating a great hindrance to their natural routine (within the realm of social interaction). Project that inspired our aesthetic design was the wooden laser cut devices as shown at the Maker Faire. These project worked around a single material and their lack of color worked in their favor giving the audience’s attention entirely to the construction of the device. Beam Designs is a great example of this with their wooden laser cut consumer products (ex. clock). They showed us that it is not only possible to have something clean and simple but to also have it integrate into a consumer’s life effortlessly. A personal inspiration for the design of this project comes from the creators at Chibitronics. When developing a suitable way to have our cups react with the board we were introduced to conductive tape. The artists at Chibitronics use this simple tool to create pieces that are aesthetically attractive and intuitive. Mostly using conductive tape and LEDs, they create artwork like this robot where uses are prompted to press on its heart to have it light up. This simple circuit creates something well beyond what I could imagine for a project only consisting of paper, LEDs, and tape. This kind of thinking led us to choose few material and at the same time keep the construction very simple.

4.      PROJECT DESCRIPTION:                                             

Our primary objective was to make a game that fit any college social event without hindering its participants or being obstructed by its immediate environment. We wanted a game that would fuel friendly competition and provide a simple premise for people to engage with together.

We first developed a speed based game that required users to drink as fast as possible. Their only objective was to compete for the best time against the other player. In our initial model we used pressure sensors to register when the cups were picked up and placed back down. The biggest issue with this version was the fact that the sensor were not sensitive enough register the cup. To remedy this I created a small contraption that acted as a pressure point so that when the cup was placed down there was a centralized area of pressure. This solved our primary issue but, the instability and unreliability of our makeshift “coaster” was not quite satisfactory.

We finally worked out our final version of our project called Sip N’ Flip. This game derives from the class game, Flip Cup. We created a table top game that had two teams compete to finish drinking and successfully flip each cup in their row to win. With each successfully flipped cup a light would illuminate and signal that the next teammate can begin. By using conductive tape we created the simple LED circuit and had each cup’s base lined with conductive tape as well. Each time the cup landed correctly the circuit would complete itself and turn on the LED. The game always began with a starting countdown initiated by the start button.

This game worked around the loud environment by using the LEDs to signal progression while only using the buzzer to begin each round. This helped us achieve one of our objectives. While the premise of Flip Club perfectly fit our demographic and solved our issue of creating a simple game that would not hinder participants inclusion.

5.    PROJECT SIGNIFICANCE:                        

To begin our creative process, we started by thinking of social situations where people are genuinely enjoying the company of others. These social situations needed to be interaction heavy where we were not simply sitting together in a dark movie theater. Instead we wanted these situations to be lively and entertaining social interactions. This is where we thought to focus on the interactions surrounding college social life. From there we brainstormed about small issues we run into during these social occasions.

This game is intended for college students and young adults whose social lives are stuck within the digital sphere. We want our game to act as a starting point for people to come together and engage. Bars and college dorms seemed to be the prime locations where young people interact with each other. So we focus our game’s design around drinking culture. A drinking game seemed quite natural in each of these spaces and fit our demographic quite well. However, one issue we noticed was that people were not jumping into social scenes alone. Therefore we incorporated the two teams into our game. This gave users a sense of comfort while also introducing them to something new whether it be our game or the other team of people.

We chose our particular demographic partially based on the fact that during the transition from adolescence to adulthood, people are more open to challenging their social circles. Therefore, this game would produce better results among people who are more willing to interact with strangers or unfamiliar people. Our game gives them a plausible excuse or natural grounds to start an interaction with unknown people.

6.      PROJECT DESIGN & PRODUCTION:

 

Our aesthetic choices perfectly reflected our tragic demographic while also giving a glimpse into the game’s premise. The red solo cup is an iconic symbol for college life and American drinking culture. The choice to use cardboard was more of a practical decision. It malleability made it a great candidate for our project given there were many components that had to be integrated within the casing. Initially we would have like to use a laser cut box however, given our late start on our final version we were unable to commit to this idea.

After a round of user testing we found that users wanted a more engaging objective. Pub Quiz was the second version of our project we developed; it required users to answer trivia questions and drink as a penalty for wrong answers. However, we ran into issues integrating this game into a practical social environment. One of our main objective was to have this game seamlessly transition from different social scenes such as a bar or a college dorm. This was a difficult task given the need for the transfer of information between user and the device. For example, the question had to be given to users, answers must be submitted by both users, and the correct answer must be indicated.

One great suggestion made during user testing was to swap our pressure sensors with conductive tape. This remedied the main issue with our interactive component. It also extremely expedited the process of creating multiple circuits. This solution helped our design and assembly process greatly.

 7.     CONCLUSIONS

With more time I’d like to put more work into creating a way for new users to approach the game. During the presentation my initial assumptions were proven wrong by the simple fact that the game flip cup was not as prevalent as I thought. Coming from an American background I completely dismissed the fact that people coming from different countries did not have this game within their realm of popular culture. Additionally, I would like to have all my wires soldered better so that there would be no issue with connecting wires. This would give the portability aspect of this project more weight given you would not have to worry about wires coming loose in transport. Despite these shortcoming, I do believe we created a fun, playful environment that fosters interactivity between users. The board between the teams is only meant to act as a starting point for people to gather. Even when encountering people who do not understand the intended game, I do think this project still invites them to question and converse with other people around (even if it is only to gain a better understanding of what the game objectives are).

Code: 

// led# is the pin that the signal that the button is closed
int led1 = 10;
int led2 = 9;
int led3 = 8;
int led4 = 7;
int led5 = 6;
int led6 = 5;
int buttonPin = 2;

int speed = 90; //higher value, slower notes

int ButtonState = 0;
int LastButtonState;

const int buzzer = 13;

// the setup function runs once when you press reset or power the board
void setup() {
// initialize digital pin LED_BUILTIN as an output.

//yellow leds
Serial.begin(9600);
pinMode(led1, INPUT);
pinMode(led2, INPUT);
pinMode(led3, INPUT);

//red leds
pinMode(led4, INPUT);
pinMode(led5, INPUT);
pinMode(led6, INPUT);

 

//button pin
pinMode(buttonPin, INPUT);

pinMode(buzzer, OUTPUT);

}

// the loop function runs over and over again forever
void loop() {
ButtonState = digitalRead(buttonPin);
Serial.println(ButtonState);
Serial.print(LastButtonState);

if (ButtonState == 1){

noTone(buzzer);
delay(100);

tone(buzzer, 500);
delay(70);

noTone(buzzer);
delay(1000);

tone(buzzer, 500);
delay(70);

noTone(buzzer);
delay(1000);

tone(buzzer, 500);
delay(1000);

ButtonState = 0;
}

if (ButtonState == 0){
noTone(buzzer);
delay(10);
}

}

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