It consists of a perspex box in two halves; one half is the base that holds the electronic components and is black, the other half is the top and is frosted with trace paper.
The electronic components are:
9 volt battery
Aluminium Foil - used for the capacity sensor
thermometer - measures the voltage difference which is mathematically converted to degrees
The "Animal" starts to purr as your hand moves closer to it and the pitch of the purr increases as you touch it. This is due to the capsense library that has been programmed into the Arduino. The circuit created between Pin 4 and 2 which goes through the al-foil measures the changes in capacity. These figures are then sent to the speaker which gives the user audio feedback of the capacity change.
The other important function that the "Animal" carries out is feedback on thermal comfort. If the temperature of a room drops below 18 degrees the animal gets cold and turns blue. If the temperature goes about 26 degrees the animal gets hot and turns red. Whilst the temperature is at a desired level the animal will maintain a green glow.
The thinking behind this kind of feedback is to make people aware of there immediate environment. Animals are significantly more a tune with their environments but humans have lost touch. I believe that if people where able to understand the changes in thermal quality of there environment they would be more proactive about self regulating there environments. The Animal also allows the user to test and compare different spaces to one another to assist them in understanding the environments they use and dwell.
The learning experience during this class was amazing. I was exposed to another side of the design process that I have not yet been exposed to - making. This course has helped close the gap between me getting and idea designing it and sending it off to a manufacturer. In future I shall design and now build, the liberation gain by the Design Interaction and Environment unit will help me move forward in my field of Architecture; both in the professional world and experimental research world.