Almost finished with school

By Bojhan on 3 May, 2012

In the last few months, I have had a lot of questions about this final school year. I am now only 3 months of thesis work away, from hopefully completing my M.A. in Interaction Design at the Utrecht School of Art & Technology.

While I am obviously still very involved in a few of the major Drupal UX initiatives around mobile, layout & blocks and content creation much of my attention has been on my thesis project which has been quite exciting.

My thesis is focused on designing haptic feedback, from vibration, motion to mechanical forms. Most of my work is in researching how designers can make use of patterns (slow ticking of a vibration motor, variable resistance on a handle) in these actuators to communicate meaning.

Showing the inside of my Arduino setup, with jumper wires and sensors
Experiment using rotary encoder and potentiometer.

In the next two months I will be on expanding on the actuators that I am experimenting with, so far I researched and tested patterns for vibration motors and servos, I am intending to do the same for solenoids and a number of different mechanical options. At the end of these two months the intent is to have a model, that shows how people experience different patterns and what they mean.

For this project I am working with the following tools:

  • Arduino which is a open source electronics prototyping platform is used for controlling the actuators, and where needed to read sensory data.
  • OpenFrameworks, is a open source C++ toolkit that I use in combination with Arduino for when I need to calculate more complex patterns, that make use of several actuators and/or sensors.
  • Most of my components come from Sparkfun and Floris.cc, who have been extremely helpful in finding a few rare components.

It’s been quite a challenge getting all these parts working together, but I now have a good set of small tools that allow me to quickly prototype patterns on different actuators. I hope to continue experimenting and share my final work with you soon.

Looking for a job

It’s also time to start looking around for interesting jobs, while in school I have done a lot of freelance work as interaction designer at UX agencies. I hope to find a job where I can combine my passion for UX and Drupal community work.

I've already been in contact with several companies, since there are a lot more interesting challenges - I am open for other opportunities. Feel free to contact me at bojhan.nl/contact.

I am excited for the end sprint of my school years, and ready for new challenges!

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