Tangible interface - Project guidance

Hi to all, I'm studying in detail this project, I would like to experiment a bit and try out some other ideas:


After some research, I think to reproduce a similar object someone would need: - an IR mouse to detect translation; - an accelerometer form a Nunchuck to be used as a tilt sensor; - a simple switch to detect "clicks"; - Arduino to manage them all...

The problem comes with graphics! I think data coming from Arduino sensors is sent to a PC via USB serial communication, then Processing elaborates and sends back a video signal to the LCD screen. How could you do that? (with a relatively inexpensive technology) I've seen hacks of PsOne LCD and I noticed from the shape and size of the device that it's something they might have employed. What do you think? Any other possible solution? :P

PS: before someone asks :) I've tried to contact Georg Reil to have some more information, but unfortunately I had no reply.

I didn't see where the accelerometer would come in. To me it looked like a mouse to detect translation, possible a second mouse (differentially) to detect rotation, and four digital or analogue sensors to detect tilt. (I'm not clear whether tilt sensing is proportional or not.) For the display I'd see a small USB display, and a small form factor USB hub to connect all this lot to a single USB port. I'd imagine the USB was connected to an application which interpreted all these sensor inputs and drove the display. It would be possible to do all this without any clever electronics within the device and without involving Arduino.

Thank you PeterH! An accelerometer is needed I think, you would attach it below the top surface to detect precisely the tilt angles; having just four tilt sensors it would make it less sensitive. What do you think? Regarding the USB monitor instead, there are a few online but they are quite expensive (at least 150£) have you ever used one of them? Thanks! ;)

While you could use a tilt sensor, that would likely not work well on a moving platform since they typically rely on measuring minute lateral components of gravity. I'd guess that the original you saw there was mashed together from a couple of cheap 2-button optical mice, a small USB screen and a hub. The clever part is the PC software to make sense of the two movement inputs and four switch inputs, and generate the display image.

If you've watched the video, you've probably noticed a circular menu with 12 selections: how would you do that mashing together a couple of optical mice? :P If you can explain it to me I would be pretty happy! ;)

have you considered pressure sensors?

i think i know someone who would be able to answer all these questions and even provide a guide on the actual hardware software on that but she may be a bit hard to get a hold of shes 17 but has one of the sharpest minds out there shes the intern CEO of virtual Diva Data Systems inc and ive known her mother whose also sharp as a tack on this kind of thing since high school yu can find her on facebook at facebook.com/lmitutoyo you must be logged in to see the profile though shes a bit anal about who see what

@fkeel yes it's possible to use pressure sensors, but you would need at least a dozen of them.

tmmm: If you've watched the video, you've probably noticed a circular menu with 12 selections: how would you do that mashing together a couple of optical mice? :P If you can explain it to me I would be pretty happy! ;)

Actually, I wasn't clear just what input methods it provides. Is the tilt input proportional, or binary? Are there touch sensors around the rim or was that menu being driven by tilting?

Nothing there looks particularly difficult, but exactly what you need to provide it will depend on exactly what you're trying to provide.

no - I am pretty sure you could do it with 4 preassure sensors. Also from the style of interaction. Its more a "pressing" and "pushing" than a tilting - watch the interaction at 0:29 ... its unlikely that this is done with an accelerometer.

As PeterH said - its not obvious how the menu is controlled - but I believe you could use the pressure sensors in combination with some smart coding for those as well.

Thank you guys for directing me to a less complicate solution! Thinking in terms of usb peripherals instead of just Arduino + sensors, I thought that the system simply acts as a joystick: with a potentiometer that detects the angle at which you are tilting the plane, you can precisely control the menu and the interaction! I still have to find a decent USB monitor however...

many of those weird "digital picture frame" thingies also act as USB monitor. ... they are dodgy with video - the unit I was playing with sort of supported video, but not consistently ... you could try a couple of brands and return them if it doesn't work for you.

4dsystems has some real nice screens, I've been drooling over buying one but the price is steep for something I really don't need but a 4.3" capacitive touch screen that can be controlled by an arduino seems like it would serve your purpose well

A little update on the project:

Now I move to Processing, I'll post pictures and videos if something interesting comes out. Thank you for the help!