Meet Woof! A hyperactive dog you can interact with. It’s a concept of interactive art, combining design and electronics to create a magical experience.
The animal must attract the user before any interaction will take place. The art lies in creating a design which triggers the natural behaviour of the user to pet the dog.
My personal preferences are industrial design and abstract design. I like the simplicity of abstract shapes and the raw/natural look of industrial design. A wooden cube forms the body of Woof. The legs are given a subtle paw-shape and are fitted using nuts and bolts. The front of the cube is cut at a slight angle, letting Woof facing down. This gives the dog a submissive appearance allowing to be petted.
The behaviour must persuade the user to keep interacting and getting to know the animal. I took the Jack Russel breed as reference for the character of Woof. It is a busy dog that likes to be petted. Woof inmideatly responds when a user’s hand comes closer by lighting up. When the user is actually petting Woof, he will get crazy and will love your attention. After a while he has calmed down and relaxes.
The software is written in C++ and can be found on github. It retrieves the proximity of the user’s hand and controls the LEDs.
The electronics gives the product a character. I want to keep te user interaction as natural as possible by hiding the sensor. This way the user is not paying attention to any hardware and therefore can focus on the interaction.
Using capacitive touch, the sensor can be hidden inside the wooden body and still detect nearby human activity. The sensor needs to be very sensitive and therefor be calibrated at every startup. The microcontroller used is an Arduino. Only a sheet of alluinium is needed to create the sensor. No other components are needed when using the Arduino analog pin and the ADCTouch library. The LEDs used in this project is a string of individual addressable RGB LEDs. It allows to create multi-colour patterns to express different emotions.
The behaviour of Woof can be extended to react on different situations and gestures. The colour is set to orange, multi-colour patterns would be an awesome feature to interact with Woof in different ways.
At the hardware side: an Arduino is used. This is overkill since few pins are used. An ATTiny85 might be an interesting option.