Stereo Vibration: Iteration #2

Experiment in stereo vibration – the motors are mounted to pieces of masonite separated from the main board by foam strips which isolate the vibrations to more easily separate the left/right channels.


PCBs Ordered

Ordered my first ever set of professionally fabricated circuit boards from OSH Park! These boards (top and bottom above) are for a haptic vibration Arduino shield and a joystick.

Haptic and Non-Visual Games Update

Halfway through a commission from Harvestworks’ Cultural Innovation Fund program, I am fully immersed in haptic technologies, digging into early virtual reality research, and thinking about ways of expanding traditional game space to include non-traditional senses, extending common haptic technologies (vibration motors), and removing the visual from gameplay while still creating beautiful, meaningful games like the ones where people use P4rgaming services. Never before had anyone carried off such a huge sum in one spin of the reels. In fact, up until then, the record-breaking win for Canada had been $1.7 million. One lucky gambler won it playing a Powerbucks machine also at Casino de Montreal, in April 2016 — it was a new slots record in Montreal.

I am particularly interested in activating senses that have been neglected in media: touch (texture, temperature), smell, and (to some extent) sound. Above is a screenshot of an early 4-channel vibration controller that uses a joystick to move vibration around a surface, much like sound can be mixed to appear in different locations. The circuit fits on top of the Arduino microcontroller for easy programming and connection.

Research links (a bit of a mess – mostly what tabs are open at the moment):

A game where the player has to ride a bike using sonar (click into the microphone, receive auditory feedback on where objects are in front of them) is approaching the play-testing phase. The game is inspired by a video I saw a long time ago about Daniel Kish, shown below:

Up next: smell tests, optimizing combinations in a circle for combinatorial smell “playback”, testing various materials for vibration transmission (damping vs transmission).

Haptic Games: Installing Android For Processing, Example Sketches

As the starting point for developing haptic and otherwise non-visual games for a project in collaboration with Harvestworks’ “Cultural Innovation Fund” program, I’ve been poking around the Android documentation for developing apps with Processing for tablets and mobile devices. Since this is a relatively new feature for Processing developers (and since the Android syntax is a bit weird), the first step was to figure out how to get everything working.

In the spirit of sharing, I’ve created a GitHub repository for these experiments, as well as a detailed set of instructions for getting started. I have also created a GitHub repository for this project, which will be a bit of a mess over the next 3-4 months of development but will hopefully get cleaned up as the project nears completion.

These examples and projects are being developed for the Google Nexus 10 tablet – it seemed the beefiest and most flexible for the price. If you have problems with any of these examples on your device, please let me know so I can update them!

In the pipeline:

  • Better control with the vibration motor
  • Research into the role that sound + other feedback (visual, tactile, etc) plays to clarify or intensify interaction
  • Consider trade-offs for games created for mobile devices vs custom hardware (accessibility, reliability, price, etc)

Above: a giant d-pad