For our final project we made an interactive dollhouse. From our final project proposal we made a few changes to the interaction for the house.
For each room in our house, we wanted a functionality and a type of interaction.
We initially wanted to have multiple interactions for every room as well as have virtual tasks that one could complete in processing. However, given the time constraints, this was not very feasible. As such we decided to pivot.
Currently, the user can interact with the dollhouse by placing a doll at the front of the room. When the doll is placed in front of the room the lights in the room turn on and the display [currently a computer screen] will display wallpaper and play one form of media, either a video, audio, or both depending on the room. Each room consists of three LEDs connected in series to avoid running multiple long wires to the breadboard.
The first steps were to create a physical dollhouse, which was made out of cardboard and measured to fit exactly on a laptop, to make the background the screen of it. For the coding, we worked on being able to separately trigger each part on the screen that corresponds to the room, and we did this with buttons.
Next, the dollhouse was fit with LEDs and pressure sensors. To do this, we needed longer wires — from Aayush’s Circuit Breakers class– and to solder the wires together to connect them to the breadboard. We also used pressure sensors from Suzan’s Sensors Body and Motion class, which was perfect for the main room trigger. We wanted to have some additional functionalities, such as a button for the doorbell, a physical game room, and a button to switch between sceneries on the balcony, however were limited with equipment, so settled for that. At this point, there was also time spent on creating the furniture for the dollhouse, like couches, chairs, tables, and beds.
Next, we had to put it all together. Once we met more and discussed, we decided to let go of the idea of a physical game, and instead created a bathroom, where the sensor triggers a flush. At this point, we worked on the software functionalities of each room; such as playing the sounds or movies, as well as software design and illustrations, and physical refinements like the wallpaper, wall decor, and tidying up the wires.
We placed all the wires and Arduino in the attic of the house and covered the attic from the front. We also decorated the house more and cleaned it up.
When triggered, music is played on loop because of the piano, and the view is a moving scenery. This was created by layering the hand-drawn png illustration with an animated scenery found on youtube, creating the window look.
The bathroom plays a flushing noise once when you enter.
Same as the balcony room, the illustration is a png layer on top of the video found on youtube, with the dimensions of the window being empty.
This room plays a TV in the background, the video of choice being Happy, by pharell williams
This is playing a small gif, (which we converted to a movie), of the smoke on the pot moving, just to show that there is a movement happening.
Each room was paired with 3 LED’s that light up upon entry.
Thankfully, we didn’t encounter any big obstacles, but some things that were not the smoothest.
- Running the wires was a bit difficult to manage
- We had a soldering accident when trying to connect a sensor to a wire, and burnt the sensor
- Some of the furniture (like the toilet or the piano) was difficult to figure out how to create
- Adding the video to processing
- We initially had a 15 second long flush, and couldn’t shorten it on processing, so we had to find another flush audio
We are really happy with how this finally turned out, and even joke about creating a start up. We wish we could have added more interactions and functionalities, and also a doll, but are happy with it anyway.