My PhD program is focused on wearable technology. I am taking a class right now that is all about design and making: Methods, Modeling & Prototyping. Our first project revolves around using the SparkFun Inventor’s Kit: an electrical engineering kit & guidebook that help explain basic principles in a fun and straightforward way.
The Digital Pet Project uses this kit to create a customized input and output system that resembles a “pet.” For example, you push a button (input) and a light turns on (output). For the project, we need to each think about what kind of inputs and outputs we want for our pet that engage the user. Do you touch something to get a response? Do you speak to it? What does the pet do?
For my project prototype, I decided I wanted to have a touch sensitive sensor and I wanted the pet to speak. I used the soft membrane potentiometer in the kit for the touch input:
The concept is that I rub my pet “Sparky’s” ears (the top of the potentiometer) and he makes a happy sound (high frequency tones) and when I touch his tail (the base of the potentiometer) he makes a sad sound (low frequency tones).