This is a first attempt so its quiet rough, much fun to do tho See Pics and video below
This is a first attempt so its quiet rough, much fun to do tho See Pics and video below
The project is now finally finished, built, actually works and has been very well received by not only the people it was originally built for but also test users at exhibitions including The Science Gallery in Trinity College Dublin where it is on display from the 26th to the 30th of October.
Escapism is just part of my final year project for the Master of Science in the University of Limerick Ireland. It is a stationary bike that hooks up to a computer, which is hooked up to a screen and allows you to pedal through anywhere in the world that Google Streetview is available. You can also look 360º using a programmed Nintendo Wii Remote. Considering I come from an art background and never really so much as touched an LED prior to this year, It was a difficult enough project for me even though it is a very basic idea.
The aim of this project was to explore the development of an interactive guided imagery display to be used initially by both the staff and residents of Milford Care Centre Limerick. Now completed, it can potentially be used by anyone for exercise and recreation.On the 3rd of December 2009, the Interaction Design Centre at the University of Limerick received an email from the head of the art department in Milford hospice asking about the possibility of a student or a number of students to collaborate on an idea for a project to enable residents and visiting patients of Milford Hospice with a sense of escapism in the physiotherapy room, as the room itself has no ground level windows leaving the current palliative and elderly users feeling trapped in their environment as well as their illness. For the purposes of demonstration, the completed project itself features an interactive display, linked to a stationary bike allowing users to cycle through Google Streetview, with 360º navigation using a Nintendo Wii Remote. The set up may also be used to display pre recorded video landscapes and virtual environments.This project has shown how accessible and inexpensive virtual reality rehabilitative environments can be as it was built and programmed using all off the shelf, freely available, open source software and the device itself can be attached to any stationary or assistive bike.
It’s simple enough, making a long build story very short: The stationary bike was opened, 8 Rare Earth magnets were attached to the pedal rotator of the bike where they pass 2 hall sensors. The sensors are connected to an Arduino which is active on a computer, attached to a large screen or projector.
Initial set up diagram, the device has now been built into the stationary bike
Magnets hot glued in place and the 2 Hall sensors ready to be attached to an aluminium bracket.
Arduino device built into the stationary bike.
When you pedal the bike, the magnets activate the sensors. If sensor 2 then 1 activates in that order the arduino is programmed to read ‘forward’, when they are activated in the opposite order, 1 then 2, the arduino reads backwards, then converts the code into simple keystrokes that Google Streetview understands to move forward [Page Up] and back [Page Down] on screen. The arduino wiring was then fixed to a protoboard for sturdiness and built into a project box. As a novel debugging method, two LEDʼs were added to the prototype, Green which would light when pedalling forward and Red which would light when pedalling backward. These LEDʼs allow for understanding that the prototype sensors are active and working when the Processing windows Serial Monitor is not onscreen. The Processing environment where the Arduino code is compiled has a simple display of a serial monitor, when the sensors are activated it indicates a FWD (Page Up) when pedaling forward and a BWD (Page Down) for backward pedaling. It is indicated to print these commands in the code for debugging purposes and is just another way of seeing that the code is working and the sensors are activating.
Serial Monitor reading forward and back.
Before building and tidying into a project box. Test wiring with LED’s.
After tidying, its rough but safer!
Virtual Reality Environments, even as basic enough as this, are notoriously expensive to build and market and usually this is the grounds for companies, that need it most, to refuse to implement it in there working, rehabilitative or recreational environment.
As this project was designed specifically but not limited to a rehabilitative/medical environment, I was determined to make this project as cheaply as possible so that it could be built and readily available at very little cost.
As a result of much research since February 2010, All software used in this project is free to download online and easy to install. Anyone with a stationary bike, a computer and wifi can use this in their own home for exercise and recreation.
The Arduino Programming Platform to read and upload the code to the Arduino.
AAC keys to convert the code from the Arduino into keystrokes so that it is recognised on Google Streetview.
Darwiin Remote to connect the Nintendo Wii remote to the computer so that it is recognised as a wireless mouse. This remote can be then be used to view the maps in 360º while you pedal and can also be keymapped so that the buttons can be used to move forward and back for any individuals with limited dexterity or other difficulties pedaling.
All of the above software is free and available for both Mac and PC, I have added the links to them in the names if you would like to download and try for yourself.
Set Up And Use:
Setting up the working prototype for use is simple but requires opening up all the different applications involved. Firstly attach the sensors to the bike making sure they are correctly spaced apart so that the magnet on the pedal can easily activate them, then open the Arduino processing environment. Plug in the Arduino USB and upload the completed code onto the board. Next open AAC Keys, open preferences making sure the correct USB serial port and Baud rate is activated, for this project it is 9600 Baud, open Google Stretview in a browser, pick your destination by dragging the Streetview man onto the street you would like to explore. Finally, turn on Bluetooth, activate Darwiin Remote and connect the Wii Remote to your computer, personalisation of preferred key controls will have been saved from previous use and does not need to be done every time you connect a remote. It is all now ready for use.
Difficulties Involved in Set Up:
There are a few glitches that need to be highlighted prior to use but are easily solved once they are understood. It was found that all the applications running together may cause problems between programmes, Most notably between AAC keys and Darwiin Remote. When AAC Keys is in use it seems to run the computers processor at a very high rate and on occasion can interfere with the Darwiin Remote programme. Setting up the particular programmes in the order set out above covers the problem the majority of times but there can still be trouble connecting the remote to the computer. The best way around this is as follows:
When connecting the Wii Remote through Darwiin, the first time the remote is seen by the computer it is logged and stored as a device in the Bluetooth Devices menu, should there be difficulty connecting the remote thereafter, delete the Wii remote from the Devices menu and try again, this has proven successful in solving the remoteʼs connection problem.
Everyone who has tested and played with this prototype has responded very positively saying it is an excellent source of exercise and fun and would be great for use before going to a place on holidays to get a look around and familiarise themselves.
Bike being used at the Science Gallery Dublin while on display for the TWISTing Science Exhibition
Originally, video and audio was to play a larger role in the thesis research, to be activated and respond in realtime to the pedaling of the user. An actual functional interactive virtual display was only to be one part of the overall finished piece. However, further detailed research into real time video and audio interaction was dropped to facilitate the speed at which the prototype was developing.
The project and prototype can not only be defined as an interactive display for virtual reality landscapes like that of Google Earth, but the build leaves itself wide open to display any number of items on screen. From video games, photos, movies and websites, this prototype can simply be manipulated to be used with any onscreen software environment.
Initially this project was to entice users back into the physiotherapy gym and provide a distraction to the monotony of their rehabilitation exercises without a particular motivational factor, however through the development cycle and the contribution and feedback from both the physiotherapy staff and the users themselves, this project now provides as both a distraction and a motivational tool enough to entice the users back into the gym in a fun and playful new environment that users have not been privy to in the gym before.
A lot of scope has presented itself for further development with this project. Mainly in the field of further research in video and audio and the possibility of incorporating graphical elements in an interface to make the set up simpler. Also researching possibilities for more options in intuitive methods of haptic control. A lot more attention will need to be given to these extra research areas in order to create a more intuitive and completed immersive interactive experience.
After hearing this song remixed and slowed by Nick Pittsinger of a Justin Bieber song called, U Smile, which blew me away (the slowed version that is, not the original!) I decided to try something for myself in slowing down a piece of music, unfortunatly I did this before seeing this tutorial on how it was exactly done! Try it for yourself its mega fun and makes realy crappy songs, EPIC!! In general mind, not that Moby is crappy! :p
This is Moby’s Guitar, Flute & String slowed to 40 bpm and with a reduced pitch of -5 with a can filter applied to cover the horrible compression as this was done quickly in Garage Band, but here it is none the less with glitchy compression but for some reason I like this slowing down thing! ill give the proper tutorial a go and see what comes of it
This is the first time ever that I tried playing and singing together, its rough but it was fun. I dont play piano but watched a quick ‘how to‘ video while in the lab yesterday then dropped down to the studio to see if I could do it, I think im actually playing it slightly wrong but meh, it was a try
I have started to try my hand at 360º Panoramaic photos and with much Joy I might add, these are actually quiet easy to do and give a lovely ‘Mini World’ result. To see a slide show of all I have created so far please see HERE.
MINI WORLD TUTORIAL FOR PHOTOSHOP OR GIMP
1: To achieve this result just pull your image into Photoshop or Gimp, preferably a landscape but this spiral effect can be done to any image.
2: Make the image the same height and width, squaring the image
3: then flip it vertically (upsidedown)
4: Go to Filters, down to Distort and Hit ‘Polar Coordinates’ and BINGO! you now have your very own 360º Panoramic image =)
Tips: In your landscape to get it to line up perfically either mirror the landscape side by side of itself like this:
When Photoshopped will give you this:
or make sure the landscape is level on both sides of the image so that the circle is continuous when you finish, then its just a matter of cleaning up the image to get rid of the seam line, but be aware, this line can add to the image overall.
Hope you found this useful, please feel free to share your creations, Id love to see what you come up with