Monday, December 12, 2011

Modified direction

After our presentation on November 4th, we had to adjust the direction of our project a little bit. Since we had the water bottle aspect 90% figured out and just needed a sensor, Orit agreed to help us get a new sensor. We still had to implement the exercise monitor, sleep monitor, food intake monitor and social monitor, though.

After talking to Orit, we decided not to use a heart rate sensor. It was a lot of money for the lab to spend on risky technology and there were definitely ways around what we were trying to achieve with the heart sensor. A simple accelerometer could do most of what we wanted to do. It could register types of movement to see if you're running, and could see the direction you're facing to see if you are lying down. This data, in conjunction with light levels (we'd already ordered a light level sensor), could let us know if the user is sleeping.

We also decided to use phidgets to deal with the food intake and social aspect. In an ideal scenario, we'd be able to install small, powerful RFID readers in every suit, able to register if a friend is nearby. Since these are usually quite expensive, we decided to work the social aspect into the food intake aspect of the project. In our scenario, each dining hall will be outfitted with an RFID reader. When someone enters the dining hall, a beep will go off, letting people within the dining hall know that a new friend has arrived. Ideally, we would also have some sort of communication between the phidgets installed in the dining hall and the suits, so the suit could receive data about how frequently the user has been to the dining hall. This, again, uses expensive and inconsistent technology, so we've decided not to implement this aspect.

As an afterthought, we've also decided to install a button in the suit, allowing the user to turn the feedback off so that it doesn't communicate too much information about their lifestyle in potentially embarrassing situations, like class.

We still have a lot of coding to do, but it's mostly all coming together.

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