The internet of things (IoT) is the internetworking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data.

In 2013 the Global Standards Initiative on Internet of Things (IoT-GSI) defined the IoT as "the infrastructure of the information society."

The IoT allows objects to be sensed and/or controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration of the physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.

(source: Wikipedia)

 

IoT is strictly related to the human behaviour and his interaction with certain kind of environments.

The most common approach and widely recognised as human-environment interaction consider the user (the interacting subject) as the actor, controlling the change of the surrounding environment (room, house, working place, public area etc.), locally or remote with some kind of tool; Maybe it is a smartphone or something more specific.

We see the Internet of Things as a fast growing technology embracing almost all the places where human live; the biggest player seems to be any kind of home automation, from the door lock to the audio-video media system, the home lighting and many more.

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Thanks to the support and sponsorship of Element14 itself and the GearBest.com company, it was possible to design and develop a significantly different project: a self-adapting environment modelling its behaviour depending on the kind of detected interaction.

The MuZIEum project represents the evolution of the initial idea, the perfect reading place, originally designed for the Element14 PiIoT challenge. It has been created with the cooperation of the MuZIEum in Nijmegen, Netherlands and the MuZIEum itself is the reason of this evolution. Thanks to the support and precious collaboration of Carlijn Nijhof - project manager of the MuZIEum - the idea evolved aiming to create an environment able to self-adapting to the user interaction as a new user is autonomously detected by the environment itself.

The MuZIEum is a particular structure near downtown in Nijmegen, Netherlands, exhibiting ad very special kind of experience offered to the visitors; it aims to remove the prejudice bareer that usually people have towards visually-impaired persons. This is ruled through a series of different experiences, including a one-hour visit in a totally dark recreated real place assisted by a blind person. A totally unexpected and incredible experience for us, used to base most of our life on the reality we can see with our eyes.

 

More details on the MuZIEum experience and their project can be found in the previous posts below:

PiIoT - The perfect reading place #3: Open your eyes, the challenge in the challenge

PiIoT - The perfect reading place #4: first live broadcast report and project design activities

 

In this article we define the components of the project and their functionality and usage; as agreed with the MuZIEum staff next December, 8 this Internet of Things installation will be available to the visitors as a permanent installation in the MuZIEum in Nijmegen together to some other new elements to give to the visitors a unique and unbelievable expericene.

Art-A-Tronic

The name originates by joining the two words Art and Animatronic. Based on an original opera of the digital artist Lorenzo P. Merlo, I have further processed the opera to make it animated. The final goal is to empower the image components of a visual-art image making it a series of solid parts linked together that can be touched as well as viewed.

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The animated opera will be exposed together with the original one; both are sized about 35x35 cm.

The original subject is a one-copy digital printed on Aluminium. Both will be signed by the author(s)

Due the depth size of the Art-a-tronic version of the opera it will be included in a red box (the MuZIEum color) obtained by hacking an Ikea Valje wall cabinet as shown below.

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As already discussed with Carlijn Nijhof the ideal installation for the work seems to wall-mount it; maybe we will provide a movable installation, still to be decided. The Art-a-tronic component will be one of the nodes connected to the rest of the project.

 

Features and interaction

  • When in standby condition (no interaction) the moving surfaces are at the same level of the rest of the opera.
  • A low intensity traversal led light will create visual effects with cyclic colour changing
  • An ultrasonic sensor detect the presence of a visitor that automatically activate the moving parts so that the subject becomes easy to be perceived in its components.
  • A set of predefined text to speech messages invite the visitor to touch it
  • After a number of seconds (maybe a minute) that no presence is detected the system returns in stand-by position

(Note: the text content will be reviews by the MuZIEum team)

 

Aims

Both the visually-impaired and the non-visually impaired visitor can experiment how the same opera can be perceived at different levels by seeing, touching and hearing it.

 

Provided by the MuZIEum

The Art-a-tronic installation - better if wall-mounted in a permanent location - includes in the red box all the circuitry and components that are not accessible to the visitors.

  • A power-plug is needed to power the installation
  • WiFi access to the MuZIEum WiFi

 

Sense Interactive

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We need an interactive user interface supporting some special features: should be usable and ergonomics for any kind of user. No right or left-handed, no buttons, not special motion paths of starting position. Sense interactive is a mouse-sized device easy to be managed with one hand covering the characteristics mentioned above and more. The user - any kind of user - interact with the sense interactive interface and the connected system react. But when the system detect the user presence it is able to notify the user speech where he is and what he can do. This maybe very helpful for a visually-impaired user as well as showing an uncommon perceptive experience to a non-visually impaired user. To do this the common interface and feedback approach has been revised and reinvented.

As the subject is detected the system speaks to him inviting him to interact through a coloured and fast reactive interface. If the subject can't see the device the controller is anyway able to give responses. The user can follow a fast and easy self-learning path based on the suggestions of the system, his actions and his gestures.

 

Sense interactive includes a hands-free Bluetooth device and support the voice recognition. The device and its audio component is part of the adaptive desk and is another Internet of Things node connected to the system.

As a matter of fact every node can be displaced in a separate location but as already discussed with the MuZIEum team manager we aim to organise different devices on a single surface accordingly with the needs of the location

Provided by the MuZIEum

The Art-a-tronic installation - better if wall-mounted in a permanent location - includes in the red box all the circuitry and components that are not accessible to the visitors.

  • A power-plug is needed to power the installation. If the Sense interactive device is connected together with other pars it will be powered by a single power plug.
  • WiFi access to the MuZIEum WiFi

 

Dynamic Surface

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Dynamic surface is another subproject, alias another node of the MuZIEum Internet of Things project. It is an independent moving platform: it is a physical 8x8 matrix built with big (8 cm diameter) moving pixels.

The Dynamic Surface is a series of 81 modular, physical pixels - named m-Pix - assembled in a square matrix creating a flexible and reactive surface.

We can also think to this structure as a Robotics POP modular dimensional display

The Dynamic surface installation has a dimension of about 70x70 cm and a depth of about 25 cm. It can be installed independently on a desk or flat surface or together with the other interactive nodes.

 

Aims

The Dynamics surface aims to show to the visitors how a graphic representation - e.g. an icon, a sign, a character, a colour shade - "converted" to a touch perceptual surface. One of the features of the Dynamics surface is changing the m-Pix heights miming the orientation of the Sense interactive device as well as representing "touchable" imagery elements.

 

Provided by the MuZIEum

The Art-a-tronic installation - better if wall-mounted in a permanent location - includes in the red box all the circuitry and components that are not accessible to the visitors.

  • A power-plug is needed to power the installation. If the Sense interactive device is connected together with other pars it will be powered by a single power plug.
  • WiFi access to the MuZIEum WiFi

 

Main controller and connected nodes

There is a main controller node coordinating the parts explained above and provide a set of common sensors, used to adapt as fast as possible the environment behaviour to the visitor interaction:

  • Presence and movement detection ultrasonic sensor
  • Camera for face recognition and gesture control
  • Generic audio output
  • Data storage
  • Voice controlled and gesture controlled web navigation and e-book reading with test-to-speech

 

The main controller can be installed on the same desk of the other components or as a separate unit.