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After setting the goals for the project, we brainstormed the possible solutions and the intention of wanting to transfer two kinds of emotions between couples was established. There are multiple ways to express anger or stress, we thought about a concept of a volcano where the “lava” reflected aggression and anger. In order to simulate the motion of “lava,” we thought about using a fan to blow out orange confetti. In addition to that we wanted to pop-up hearts/roses for love. However, we could not move the servo motor vertically, unless we used the rack and pinion mechanism. We then felt that the volcano failed to reflect love and truce effectively. Drawn from the stress ball concept, we then moved to the idea of expressing anger or stress by squeezing something and we decided to communicate the emotion of love through petting/stroking. Thus, we landed on our final solution for the problem statement: an ambient device that indicates both the message of anger and truce to strengthen the communication between couples separated by distance.

Components and User Experiences

Building from the solution we proposed, we wanted the material of the device to be soft enough to be squeezed and transparent enough to reflect the colored lights. To find the suitable material, we tried different containers to test their softness and transparency. The containers had to be big enough to enclose all the possible components and at the same time had to be aesthetically pleasing. The baby feeding bottles seemed to fit all our criteria perfectly.

Additionally, we felt that couples needed to express their emotion of anger and conflict at the right time to be able to resolve it. People usually refrain from expressing such emotions to avoid discomfort. This leads to them bottling up their feelings which then pent up gradually over time.

Building the Prototype

We first determined that it would be intuitive to express the message of anger by squeezing something which can be identified using a distance sensor. The material we found for containers are two bottles with soft silicone that would be squeezed. After the building the final prototype and the circuit, the code was implemented. For the final model, we realized that when the distance in the container (Device-1) changed while squeezing, the sensor published an event named “DIOT2018-DARAGH-TEAMNINE-SQUEEZE” with its own UUID in the database. Device-2 subscribed to the same event and the Neopixel inside the device flashed orange lights to indicate anger. For instances where the emotions of love or truce are reciprocated, the touch sensor, when touched, triggered the Neopixel inside Device-1 which then flashed breathing pink light to indicate love/truce. 

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