As final year draws to a close, it’s time to look back and reflect on what exactly has happened over this period of time.
When we started this all the way back in September, none of us really knew what we wanted to do. I was no exception, though I knew I wanted it to involve controlling the TV. I didn’t really know why, and it didn’t really have much of a purpose. This has always been one of my weak points as a designer. In a lot of ways, I’d class myself as more of a developer: taking someone else’s ideas which had a clear purpose, and making them work. After having Ideas Day, and speaking to some amazing people, it became clear to me which way I should be going: the gestural TV control interface route. However, at this point, it was just a gestural TV control interface project without much of a purpose. After all, I wasn’t studying Applied Computing, but I am studying Digital Interaction Design.
What I was doing had to have purpose. As I started thinking about TV and how programming is consumed, the content became more of a prevalent topic for me. It then occurred to me that the British are quite ignorant of different cultures.
Knowing I wanted to investigate different cultures, I needed a method to do this. After brainstorming a few ideas, I chose to use little stickmen to send out. It took a long time to get these packs made up due to the custom packaging and actually making the stickmen. However, the results were great! I was very pleased with the results and then had to start looking at how to implement the results. I realised a needed a more powerful computer and I received a more powerful computer! I managed to program one culture’s gesture set and send commands to the TV depending on the gestures performed. This was big news and I was felt confident.
With so much of the heavy programming being completed in Phase 1, I could now spend Phase 2 working on the phone app. As this was the primary part of the project where any type of visual design language could be implemented, I had to make sure that the visual aesthetic was perfect. I chose to use the same font and general design language which I have used all throughout this project, but also kept within the Windows Phone UI Design Guidelines. I chose to represent different cultures by the countries which are generally associated with these cultures. Since I was slightly ahead, I also spent a lot of this time helping others with their coding and electronics. I am now proficient in RFID technologies, SOMO modules, AppleScript, current sensors, basic Xcode, Arduino code and general determination!
When it came to integrating the Kinect sensor and the Windows Phone app together, there was a steep learning curve. I had to tell the computer side of the code to send a message containing the culture of the day to all the registered phones, once a user was detected by the Kinect. Once I overcame this battle, I had managed to successfully implement push notifications on the handset and have a full backend system ready to accept more Windows Phones’ subscriptions to these notifications. This means that at the Degree Show, other people with Windows Phones can download the app and receive the push notifications on their own handsets. I was very proud of that achievement and I just hope Windows Phone users attend the Degree Show!
The project is almost completely over. It is a sad time. Am I glad to see the back of it? No. I will hopefully continue to develop the application. I wouldn’t mind commercialising the project, but in the same way, I’m not going to actively seek funding. I’m very thankful for all of the things that this project has taught me. The ethnography, the research, the technology, the presentation skills. It’s been a wonderful time.