Trash Talk

Completed: Spring 2012
Course: Physical IxD | DES 387
Advisor: Dominic Muren
Collaborators: Willie Franklin
Role: Interaction Design and Problem Articulation, Coding and Prototype Construction, Film

 
 

DESIGN PROMPT

"Design something that can sense and respond to change in its environment. Then build it."

Design, prototype, build and code a physical device that can sense and react to a change in its environment, using an Arduino microcomputer. 

ARTICULATING THE PROBLEM

Willie and I spent a lot of time thinking about what we might want to build for this project, with concepts ranging from something photographic, to an abstract control layout for a music player. But what we kept coming back to was the feeling that we just wanted to do something really fun, that encouraged or reinforced positive behaviors. 

 
 
 
We were inspired by the Piano Stairs project from the Fun Theory. People chose the stairs over an escalator, because they were more fun.

We were inspired by the Piano Stairs project from the Fun Theory. People chose the stairs over an escalator, because they were more fun.

 
 
 

We were inspired by the Piano Stairs project from The Fun Theory that uses fun to promote a beneficial habit or choice. In this case, once the Piano Stars system was installed, many more people began to choose stairs over the escalator.

 
 
trash talk hero shot_small.jpg
 
 
 

SOLUTION

A recycling bin that plays NBA Jams sound effects when you make or miss a "basket".

What we created is something we call Trash Talk. It is an Arduino powered recycling bin that, through the use of sensors, some clever code, and a speaker, turns the mundane activity of recycling into something we can get stoked about. 

You can download our sourcecode here

 
 
 
 
 
 
DSC_0770.jpg
 
 
 

PROCESS

Code and soldering irons.

I had to learn a lot for this project. A lot. I learned how to write Arduino code, which is essentially Java, including understanding logic structures (if statements, for and while loops, boolean flags, etc), as well as learning how to communicate with external hardware and use external libraries. Then there was the soldering and construction of the can. Not to mention all of the prototyping along the way. It was really a lot of fun, and gratifying to see it take physical working shape.

 
It's alive!

It's alive!

 
 
 
An early "sketch" of our concept, complete with wii-chuck based motion sensing.

An early "sketch" of our concept, complete with wii-chuck based motion sensing.

 
 
 
The movie making in progress.

The movie making in progress.