Mark One Feedback & Mark Two Developments

After presenting our prototype to Kate and Graham on Tuesday and then the class on Friday, a number of points were raised for us to think about:

Does the symbolism & abstractness of water make sense?

We need to get more insights from our Chinese contacts.

Is the bank card interaction relevant/appropriate? Should we change it or can we do without?

Who’s bank account is the device connected to?

These points will affect how we go about our Mark Two prototype. The idea of using water to represent money went down well but the general consensus was that it wasn’t being used to its full potential. Flowing water would be much more exciting and rich so we decided we should try to show the bank balance using varying speeds of water flow.

Luckily, our course-mates James Rice, Eilidh Price and Callum Potter are developing a “Rain-in-a-box” type concept and were able to give us some tips on working with water using Arduino. However, once they get their water flowing at the optimum speed they don’t need to change it, where as we want the speed to vary depending on the data. For this we spoke to Ali Napier who told us that water pumps used in caravans are very small yet powerful, completely submergible in water and work similarly to a d/c motor. Theoretically, we should be able to vary the speed of flow if we vary the voltage going into the pump. Until we have a pump to play with we got to work on the code.

It was a bit of a struggle but with some help we finally got the motor running at different speeds and also managed to get it working with our processing code so we can vary these speeds simply by sending an email with either a high, low or average bank balance (these levels can be set to any value the user wishes). The water pump is due to arrive later this week so hopefully it’s simply a case of swapping it with the motor and we’ll have varying levels of flowing water roughly proportionate to the users varying bank balance.

As for the bank card interaction, we’ve decided to scrap it completely. Money tends to be a personal thing to people so having no requirement for the user to activate the device means it can remain discrete. To guests it will seem like a decorative water feature, but to the user it’s a source of information, albeit quite abstract, keeping their personal finances private.

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