SixthSense Device

Submitted by mschiff on Mon, 04/08/2013 - 23:08
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Group Members: Brian McRae, Michael Schiff, Zach Wasson


Final Proposal:

1. Problem:

Much effort has gone into attempting to integrate information from the digital world, in order to aid and supplement our navigation of our physical environments. Traditional mapping systems like Google Maps and less traditional systems like Foursquare have both been highly successful at providing us information that we may not necessarily be able to intuit from our immediate surroundings. However, both of these systems suffer from the same crucial flaw. In order to access the information that they provide, we must compromise our awareness of our physical environments in order to focus on a cell-phone screen.


Recently Google has released video of their product “Glass” which attempts to alleviate this tension between our physical and digital worlds. To use Google Glass, one must be wearing their glasses, a highly visible and not necessarily desirable feature.  What if one could interact with the digital world, in a way that did not require they focus on their cell-phones, yet was invisible, instead of sitting on their nose?


2. Solution:

The SixthSense enables a user to interact with information in the digital world while simultaneously being engaged in the analog world. It allows information relevant to the current environment such as navigation directions to flow to the user, where it is received in a tactile manner. These haptic signals can subtly and unobtrusively inform the user of information commonly gleaned on the screen of a cell phone without requiring the user to sacrifice his or her attention on the surrounding environment.

In addition to receiving information, the user can also use gestures to interact and send signals with the device. Gestures such as a tap or a stomp of the foot allow the user to command the device without needing to divert a substantial amount of attention to it, and these controls are meant to so minimally invasive that one could perform the actions while maintaining an engaged conversation with another individual.

By creating a means of communication where users can receive and send data in a way that does not detract focus from experiencing the surrounding environment, many applications become possible. An individual can navigate through an unfamiliar, busy city on foot without looking at a cell phone when wearing the device. A parent can be aware of how close his or her child is in a department store without constantly looking around. A driver who forgot where he parked his car can find his way back to it easily. The SixthSense device gives you information while letting you experience your environment in its entirety.

For our final project, we will focus on a specific application that we call the “Location Memory Journal.” This is a simple and unobtrusive way to drop geolocation markers onto a digital map with a double-tapping foot gesture. When a user wants to mark a location to remember a moment or an experience, he or she can make this gesture to capture the physical spot on a digital map. Later, when the user is on a computer, he or she can upload photos, video, or commentary connected with that location to enhance the memory captured. When the user is a near a tagged location, the device will buzz and remind the user of the memory. We see this as a tool to let you capture and relive memories without having to interrupt them with a cell phone.

3. Design:

Our design involves a small band with a microcontroller, various input sensors, multiple vibrating motors, a Bluetooth 4.0 module, and a battery. The band itself will be thin and stylish. When worn with long pants, it will not be noticeable, yet it will be fashionable when worn with shorter pants. The goal is to stay away from a bulky box on the ankle that reminds users of an ankle monitor. Ideally, a bystander would not be able to tell the anklet even has electronics embedded in it.

Vibrating motors will be placed around the band in order to provide tactile feedback to the user. We plan to explore the tradeoffs of using more or less motors based on the user’s ability to sense vibration in the ankle. We also plan to explore various types of vibration patterns, from directional vibration to all-around vibration with varying intensity. Since the anklet is intended to be left on for long periods of time, we cannot handle the power-drain of a standalone GPS module. Thus a Bluetooth 4.0 low energy module will be used to connect the anklet to a user’s phone in order to get GPS data.

In order to accurately detect gestures, we plan to use a 3-axis accelerometer and a 3-axis gyroscope. These two sensors will allow to accurately track various movements of the leg, such as stomps, twists, or kicks. We also plan to include a 3-axis magnetometer in order to detect the direction of north. This sensor helps determine the direction the user is facing for various navigation applications, but it could also be used as additional input for gesture recognition.


4. Bill of Materials:

- 9V battery holder with 2.1mm plug

- Arduino

- 3-axis accelerometer

- 3-axis gyroscope

- 3-axis magnetometer

- Vibrating motors

- Bluetooth 4.0 module

- Band

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