Map Enthusiasts tribe: plan for unique retro – humans prefer directions that use observation

Purpose of mobile map prototype

In order to create a social thing that allows members of the tribe to use their observational skills, I have begun to create a mobile version of the map that they can use to plot their own path.

Plan (click on image)

mobile mapssteampunkretro map


While the design of the mobile map based on steam punk technology allows the users to plot their own course, the experience appears unresponsive and would be more suitable to individual use than a social thing that draw other member of the tribe to communicate with on another. It is now that I am reminded of the engagement that people get through obtaining directions from other people and having to use their own observational skills to find locations. I will look into ways that responsive technology can replicate the experience of receiving directions from other humans.


– Look at Digital human research

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Exploration social thing plan: Living ball

Purpose prototyping living ball

In order to express the effects of the social thing am thinking of applying the technology, I am looking at a ball shape that the user can walk with and engage with the same way they do when playing fetch with a dog.

Responsive technology (click image)


Plan (click image)

living ball planliving ball researchliving ball prototype plan


While bringing the ball to life using the interaction plan was an engaging idea, the act of carrying a ball wherever you go seems to discourage various users I have spoken with. Perhaps the ideal form of the social thing should relate to an object that is portable and familiar to navigation such as a map.


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Exploration social thing plan: Living map

Purpose living map prototype

The previous plan to create a the social thing in the shape of a ball was not practical, However I am looking into creating a living map that has the responsive behaviour based on a dog while still retaining the shape of a map.

Technology component (click image)

technology wifi streaming

Plan (click image)

living map


While the concept that the map was engaging, in reality the concept was limited due to the fact that the map would need to have the basic street indications that a map has. Due to the fact that the social thing would be used in a variety of places the map could not have the street layout suitable to the users location. While this may be adaptable, the reality that a map that gives no clear layout of their location would be looked down upon by the map enthusiast tribe that treasure the accuracy of maps. Leading me to realize that the social thing should be mobile while not hindering the user like the ball, while also not being flexible in to be used in a variety of locations so that members of the tribe can explore anywhere.

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Exploration social thing prototype: wearable responsive bracelet

Purpose wearable responsive social thing

From my previous prototype plan I identified that the social thing needed to be mobile and not too accurate to a location that it limits where you can use it (example: can only be used in Brighton). From there I have begun looking into wearable technology taking in the form of a bracelet

Wearable technology plans (click image)

prototypearmband 3D print research

Experiment –hot cold system (click see image)

social thing responds to surroundings

I believe to best demonstrate the behaviour of a dog where they navigate by what we cannot sense, a hot cold system should be put in place so that an actuator will inform you on whether you are close or not. This is similar to the way a dog will tend to tug more on the rope as it gets close to what it is reacting to.

Experiment – 3D modelling (click view video)


Arduino Code

//pin which triggers ultrasonic sound
const int pingPin = 13;
//pin which delivers time to receive echo using pulseIn()
int inPin = 12;
//range in cm which is considered safe to enter, anything
//coming within less than 5 cm triggers red LED
int safeZone = 5;
//LED pin numbers
int greenLed = 3, redLed = 2;
void setup() {
  // initialize serial communication
void loop()
  //raw duration in milliseconds, cm is the
  //converted amount into a distance
  long duration, cm;
  //initializing the pin states
  pinMode(pingPin, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(greenLed, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(redLed, OUTPUT);
  //sending the signal, starting with LOW for a clean signal
  digitalWrite(pingPin, LOW);
  digitalWrite(pingPin, HIGH);
  digitalWrite(pingPin, LOW);
  //setting up the input pin, and receiving the duration in
  //microseconds for the sound to bounce off the object infront
  pinMode(inPin, INPUT);
  duration = pulseIn(inPin, HIGH);
  // convert the time into a distance
  cm = microsecondsToCentimeters(duration);
  //printing the current readings to ther serial display
  //checking if anything is within the safezone, if not, keep
  //green LED on if safezone violated, activate red LED instead
  if (cm > safeZone)
    digitalWrite(greenLed, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(redLed, LOW);
    digitalWrite(redLed, HIGH);
    digitalWrite(greenLed, LOW);
long microsecondsToCentimeters(long microseconds)
  // The speed of sound is 340 m/s or 29 microseconds per centimeter.
  // The ping travels out and back, so to find the distance of the
  // object we take half of the distance travelled.
  return microseconds / 29 / 2;

Experiment – visual actuator (click see image)


Reflection of what went wrong

While in theory the idea of using a sensor to react to your surrounding and use a visual light to identify when you’re close or far away seem engaging there are significant faults. The problem is that the concept of being able to sense through the actuator whether your close or not (hot – cold) does not operate well with the light actuator and responds by blinking and freezing making it a faulty and easy to misunderstand.

Improvement to system

While the visual actuator proved faulty, the sensation of being mobile with a social thing that reacts to your surroundings similar to a dog, allowed me to use the device anywhere allowing me to use the device to explore anywhere I am.

I felt however that the use of ultrasonic distance sensors should be temporary as the ideal sensor should be able to react to circumstances in the environment that we cannot. This would be similar to how dogs can hear and smell things that we cannot.


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Exploration social thing prototype: magnetic wave responsive sensor

Purpose of magnetic wave sensor

In my pursuit to identify a sensor that would react to what humans cannot feel, hear or smell, I began looking into what technology could sense and nothing else could. I found that some technology sensors are able to react to the magnetic waves given off by technology and can convert the magnetic ways into a sound that humans can hear.

Plan for experiment functioning of magnetic sensors devices (click image)

technology responding to magnetic waves


Sound Induction Loop




The sound induction device uses sound projection to convert magnetic waves into sound that can be transmitted to hearing aids, allowing people with hearing disabilities to directly hear the sounds. These devices are often used at train stations and offices where the people visiting can easily be informed of information.


Tele Pick up




The Tele pick up is a basic device that when pressed up against an electronic device the user is able to faintly hear the magnetic waves of the device. These devices were more suited to being placed on telephone devices as the pick up could hear the sounds transmitted by the phone through the magnetic waves.

Prototype plan (click image to see plan)

I aim to look into ways to expand the range of the magnetic waves and make it mobile through wearable applications similar to the previous prototype that can make use of the same reactions to the surrounding brought by Psycho geography.

IMG_0214 (1)

Prototype modeling 

Following the development of a social thing that is mobile and can be used by the tribe at anytime and place, I made use of a induction receiver and constructed a wrist strap that can be worn on the users arm. I then assembled a range of audio accessories for feedback, ranging between headsets for easier access, earphones for outside mobility and speakers that allows others to hear the experience.

Prototype – Wearable Sound induction receiver 




The sound induction receiver is a much more responsive device that allows the user to hear the magnetic waves converted into audio. Unlike the tele pick this device has an ambient effect were it has a larger range and therefore can receive more magnetic waves within the surroundings.



After experimenting with the various types of sensors sensitive to magnetic waves, I believe that the sound induction receiver in the ideal form of technology to act as the sensor behind my social thing. This is because the way that the magnetic wave sensor reacts to waves is similar to the way that a dog reacts to smell. Relating to the fact that a dog does not project its smell and it does not nee to press its nose to react, but rather the dog takes in the various smells that we cannot react to and it chooses to follow the strongest smell.


Improvement to social thing

To adapt this response to my social thing, the sound induction receiver will react to the environment and will lead the user by either the coldest or hottest reaction based on the choice the user makes. This however posses the question of what actuator is needed to allow the user to identify when the reaction of the device is cold or hot.


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Exploration social thing prototype: Vibration responsive actuator

Purpose responsive vibrations

In order to create a social thing that guides the user by the coldest or hot test reaction to magnetic waves, an actuator is needed to act as an indicator just as the tug on the rope acts as the actuator to know a the dogs reaction. Given that the reaction of a dog tugging a rope is a physical response, I will look into physical actuators such as vibration motors that will allow the users t physically feel the reaction to the surroundings.

Initial technology components influence

technology playful technology setup

The Interactive components (see research influence)

Plan Influence

inital technology plan

The Interactive armband plan (see research influence)

Interactive vibration actuator armband (click to see plan)


3D Modeling



Arduino set up


Arduino vibration code
int echoPin = 12;
int vibratorPin = 9;
int triggerPin = 13;
int maxDistance = 15000;
#include <NewPing.h>
NewPing sonar(triggerPin, echoPin, 100);
void setup(){
  pinMode(echoPin, INPUT);
void loop(){
  int cms = / US_ROUNDTRIP_CM;
  int pulseWidth = map(cms, 1, 100, 255, 0);
  analogWrite(vibratorPin, pulseWidth);

Prototype – Interactive Armband



Experiment – Vibration motor experience

I am substituting the magnetic wave sensor with the ultrasonic sensor, as the sound induction receiver is not yet compatible with the arduino system.



Compared to my previous prototype that made use of light as an actuator, the vibration motor is far more responsive and makes for an ideal representation of hot cold reaction. The low vibrations being cold and high vibrations being hot and due to the act of vibration the user can feel the gradual or sudden change. With the individual sensor and actuator sensor I aim to look into what the merging of these components would feel like while exploring.


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Exploration social thing prototype: Feel what cannot be seen

Purpose merging sensor and actuator

With the merging of the actuator and the sensor the social thing will be able to react to what cannot be seen while also giving a hot-cold reaction and for this reason I intent to wear the sensor and actuator and sensor at once and record the sensation of wearing a social thing that reacts to what cannot be seen, while having a physical response from the vibration motor.

Experiment – Merging magnetic wave sensor with vibration actuator (click image)

 merging sensor and actuator

When using the actuator together the actuators reactions were not fully in synch with the magnetic wave sensor, however in certain circumstances when the sensor drew me to electronic monitors, the actuator would vibrate create a the sensation that I could feel the magnetic waves of the electronic displays.


Function for tribe 1 – Feel physical while hearing the invisible

Function for tribe 2 – Feel what cannot be seen (magnetic waves)


Magnetic wave sensor

Vibration actuator

While the actuator and the sensor are not connected to each other and instead act independently, the social thing allows me to hear what cannot be seen while being conscious of the physical world due to the vibrations that the actuator.


While I feel that there is room for improvement by which the sensor and actuator merge, I am fascinated by this unique sensation to be guided by a force you cannot see. I feel as if there is further potential in giving a visual representation of the random directions and locations that this social thing can take you have how to use it when engaging with the environment.


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Exploration social thing prototype: Personal exploration map – api

Purpose personal exploration map

Inspired by the experience of being guided by the exploration social thing, I aim to create a visual representation of the journey and in the process identify the ideal methods of using the social thing to explore.


Experiment personal map

Map created by exploration of London as I responded to the social thing, allowing it to guide me through random paths and locations.

exploration formed map

Functional use of device

Ambient feedback

Passive use of the sensor creates an ambient effect where you hear the waves around you.

Focused feedback

By focusing the sensor through moving your arm closer to the electronic devices you can find where the strongest waves are being picked up.



Going away or towards the signal

There are groups of people that are fascinated by the pull of and invisible wave and likewise there are people that believe that these waves are harmful. The social thing depending on how you use will steer you towards or away from these locations suiting the needs of the members of the tribe.


API – personal map database

technology playful technology setup

By uploading the geographic location of the tribe members exploring a digital database of locations and exploration routes can be created for other members of the tribe based on how they responded to the environment. If the members of the tribe were drawn to the signal then a map of areas where large amounts of technology will be created and likewise for people who find technologies magnetic waves harmful


Reflection of creating your own map

I was surprised to see how the visual map revealed how the effect of the surroundings altered the behaviour of the social thing, and by doing so lead my on a series of random paths that I otherwise would not have thought to go. I am curious to how other people would react to this device and if they would be drawn to join the tribe.


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Exploration social thing prototype: Inspires people to join tribe

Purpose inspiring people to join tribe

With the joy I had in exploring and being guided by the social thing, I have become curious to how other people would respond. I aim to test the reaction that other people outside of the tribe would have to demonstrate the social things potential to draw people together in a shared interest in unique exploration

Experiment – People using social thing

To look into the potential of inspiring people to join the tribe I have taken a video of a fellow student and recorded his experience as responses as he found his way around, guided by the social thing.



Reflectionfaulty technology is refreshing  

The map enthusiast tribe though interesting is rather small, however I believe that a social thing such as this would draw people who enjoy exploring to join the tribe and create a larger community. I believe that the fact that the technology reacts to what we cannot see with no set direction can be seen as faulty when compared to GPS systems, however I feel that this faulty nature is refreshing and opens people up to what else technology can do to provide us with memorable experiences. From these memorable experiences created from their use of the social thing, the tribes community can grow as they share their thoughts and exploration through their personal maps. In order to improve this experience I will look into what could be done, to improve the the merging between the magnetic way sensor and the feeling of surrounding through of vibration motor actuator.


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Exploration social thing prototype: improvement Merging sensor and actuator using FFT

Purpose using the FFT as an improvement

While the experience given by the device is unique and engaging, I feel that the merging of the vibration actuator and magnetic wave sensor would complete the experience that allows you to physically feel what humans cannot touch, smell or hear. I will look into the means of how I can merge these parts to make the prototype whole in the future.


Analysis FFT (Fast Fourier Transform)

FFT sound frequency display


FFT Fundamentals influence (Click to see influence)

Sound and Vibration measurment 


FFT Fundamentals with physical vibrations influence (Click to see influence)


Application of knowledge 

The FFT will allow the arduino system to measure the energy used to generate the various sounds of the receiver. This would essentially allow me to take the sounds generated by the magnetic waves and convert them into energy that can be measured and sent to the vibration actuator. By doing this vibrations would get stronger as the audio generated by the receiver get stronger, merging the sensor with an actuator.

Application of exploration social thing (click to see image)


future possible functions

Once the vibration actuator and the magnetic wave sensor is merged, the application of this technology can be reduced and expanded on into small bracelets and clothing for more mobility. Once the Social thing has been reduced, additional sensors can be placed inside to expand the variety of factors in the surroundings that the social thing can react to such as temperature.



Though I feel regretful that I have not been able to test FFT systems to merge these components, I aim to do so soon and to complete this device. I believe that the completed device can then be adapted for a variety of functions, such as helping the disabled and allowing them to explore when they thought they could not.


See beginning of development