Device of the Week 3: Project Soli – Controlling devices using hand gestures

Project Soli: Controlling devices using hand gestures

It is a gesture sensing technology by Google ATAP (Advanced Technology And Project group) for human-computer interaction. It uses miniature radar technology with sensors that will keep track of gestures made by human hands and fingers. The sensors track these gestures at high speed with detailed accuracy. It allows a rich variety of interaction. For example, the sliding of thumb would indicate the action of scrolling and tapping of thumb would indicate selecting of objects. Such interactive actions can be relevant in areas such as computer gaming and controlling of household appliances. It has the potential to move the users away from physical controllers and allows them to interact with the technological environment using gestures performed by their hands and fingers.

Product Visualisation

Pros and Cons of the Device


1. This technology gives people the ability to move away from the use of controllers or any physical gadgets which could lead to many possibilities. It could have a huge impact on areas such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). It will allow users to have a greater immersive experience as they are free from holding onto any physical inputs.

2. The physical representation of the technology is tiny. (See attached photos as reference.) This makes it potentially relevant to be integrated into technological wearable devices such as smartwatch and smartphone. With its small physical size, it can also be embedded into non-wearables devices or even daily household objects.


1. Gestures made by hands and fingers of different individuals are organically different. It will be a challenge for Soli to determine the intentions of the different gestures made by different individuals. It should also take into consideration users with hand and/or finger disability.

2. The experience of using physical mediums such as controllers for interaction had to be around for a long period of time. The implementation of Soli technology will means the absence of physical means in our interaction with the technological environment. As this is still a new developing technology, its effect on the experience of interaction for the users is still unknown and can only be realized in the long run.

Suggestion for alternate use and/or modification

Though Soli is still at an experimental stage of its development, its size and flexibility of the technology offer plenty of possibilities. I believe as time and technology progress, it will potentially be integrated into our technological environment with its favorable interactive characteristics. With ATAP’s plan of offering development kit for developers, it really will be up to the collective effort of ATAP and the developers to help transform the idea into a finalized product and into our home.

Multimodal Senses: SOS signal hand cover (Fabian & Zhou Yang)

The team (Fabian & Zhou Yang) is inspired by Morse code. It is a type of character encoding system used in telecommunication. It conveys information through two different signal duration called dots and dashes. Through the use of short and long duration of vibration produced from a vibrator which correspond to the dots and dashes of the Morse code, we hope to convey information to our users.

Basic understanding of Morse code. 

Concept sketch


We took references for the code of the vibrator from various sites to aid in our prototyping.

Vibrator motor

We use the following vibrator motor for our prototyping process:


The following are the problems we faced during the prototyping phases:

  1. How do we gauge the complexity of the vibration combinations to not make it too complicated for the users?
  2. Can the users be conditioned to remember the vibration combination over a period of time?

Testing of vibrator motor

Code for the vibrator motor

Final arduino circuit

User testing

We tested out the final prototype.

We managed to condition ourselves to remember the different vibration combinations for the different functions. However, it took sometime for us to remember them. At the beginning, it was confusing to differential between the long and short vibrations. However, after some practice we are fine. 

Problems faced

The following are the challenges we faced while prototyping:

  1. Figuring and setting the delays between the vibrations to imitate the dots and dashes of Morse code.
  2. Adjusting the complexity of the vibration combinations for the user.

Device of the Week 2: Tile Slim – Bluetooth Tracker

Tile Slim: Bluetooth Tracker

The Tile Slime is a device that is slim enough to be slotted into wallets or purses. It is connected to the users’ phones via Bluetooth. The users can make it ring through the complementary application on their phones to recover their belongings.  If it is beyond the Bluetooth range, it will show the last known location on the map through the complementary application. The Tile Slim also has a button in the middle that users can press to make their phone ring even if their phones are in silent mode. The device can also be fixed onto a laptop, tablet, or another device through adhesive means. However, a device with adhesive purpose needs to be purchased separately.

Product Visualisation

Pros and Cons of the Device


1. It is a simple and viable solution for users that tend to misplace their things. Important things such as wallets and headphones are often misplaced by people. Such a device will cut down on the time wasted to find these items.

2. If users are unable to find their belongings with the device, they can tag their devices as lost and they will be registered in the application database. Any user with the application comes within the range of the lost belongings, notifications will be sent to the particular users.


1. It is based on a subscription model and hence users need to renew their plans yearly to enjoy the service of the device.

2. The battery of the device is non-replaceable. Therefore, it is faulty, the users need to get a new device or the device will not work.

Suggestion for alternate use and/or modification

This device can be altered so that younger children can wear them as well. It allows their parents to find them when they get lost in a crowded place. They can be designed with bright colors and children friendly features so children feel that they are wearing accessories instead of a device. Functions such as sending emergency notifications to nearby emergency organizations such as police stations can also be features added to the device to enhance its usability.

Device of the Week: Oclean One – Brush Different

Oclean One: Brush Different

Oclean One is a smart electric toothbrush that helps its users to improve their oral health by providing a customized brushing experience. As everyone’s teeth are different, the device helps to implement brushing routine tailored to the oral care needs of each individual using the product. Customized brushing routines are generated by the AI on the brushing device through the data it collected through the users’ brushing habits. Other factors such as age, gender, tooth condition, and diet are also taken into consideration as well. At the same time, users can also customize the brushing plans provided by the device to further customize it to their personal needs. Factors such as duration and brushing intensity are some of the factors that can be adjusted. The function of providing feedback to its users is another feature that I find greatly enhance its usability. After each brush, it will provide a score to indicate how well the users brush their teeth and provide information on the areas they can improve on.

Product Visualisation

Pros and Cons of the Device


1. One of the major positive points about Oclean One is its ability to provide its costumers a customized experience in brushing their teeth. The devices allow the users to customized their brushing routine through their own brushing habits and take their personal data into consideration. This personalized experience allows the users to feel control over their product as their product are cater to their personal needs only. It allows the users to formal a personal bond with their product instead of the generic relationship they have with the one size fits all toothbrush. At the same time, having a customized experience prevents information overload for their users. The device will present relevant information the users need through the personalized process. Users will not need to sort through a massive amount of information but will have a reasonable time to consume the information that is tailored to their personal needs.

2. The ability to provide feedback is another factor that makes Oclean One a positive product. It makes the users feel that the product is “listening” to them. Their actions will cause an effect on the response provided by their devices. It allows a positive bond to be formed between the device and its users. The users will feel they are not merely using the product but interacting with one. Through this positivity, it will motive the users to use the product on a constant basis to enjoy the feedback from the device. It can motivate and improve the performance of the users to allow them to get better at brushing their teeth.

3. In the long run, it will allow the users of the product to have better oral health as they are able to learn from the personalized date provided. With these data, they are able to recognize the areas they can improve upon. For example, a user might have a certain area of the teeth that constantly not brushed in a proper manner. If such information is pass to him/her through the device, he/she will be aware of such issues and rectify the issue during the next time he/she is brushing his/her teeth. This constant cycle of learning about ones oral health state allows people to be equipped with the information to manage their teeth properly.


1. To me, one of the major drawbacks of the product is its price and the need for maintenance. The device cost about SGD84.50 (Information from I am not sure if the price is worth for its ability to enhance the brushing experience of people. At the same time, the device will one day malfunctions as it is, after all, an electronic product. Therefore, the user will need to send it for repair or get it replaced for a new one. The amount of effort involved in rectifying the problem makes me skeptical about getting the product.

2. As the product involved technical aspects such as the usage of an application from a smartphone, the learning curve involved might exchange certain group of people such as people from the older generation who are less technologically savvy. A portion of the people might not have the patience to learn how to use the product in the correct manner that will benefit them. Brushing of teeth is a simple routine for all and the inclusion of technological might prove to be too much for some to manage. They might feel the effort involved is too much to be able to enjoy a better brushing experience.

3. With such a device in the market, it makes us question the necessity to include technology into daily objects that are already doing their job well. Are we including technology into daily objects for the sake of adding because we are able to or are we really adding technology so we can enhance their usability? To me, I feel the inclusion of technology into these daily objects is too much. It complicates the simple notion of brushing one’s teeth even though it provides seemingly relevant information about one’s oral health.

Suggestion for alternate use and/or modification

The product with modification can be used by vets to gain health knowledge of animals they are assessing during medical check-ups. Besides cleaning the pets’ teeth and examining the condition of their teeth, it can serve other important function that can benefit the pets’ health. Through the product, the vets can gain insights on the health condition of the specific pet. If the pet is suffering from any form of illness, the product will be able to alert the vets of such happenings. The vets can also monitor the food the pest are consuming and are able to provide recommendations to their owners to improve the diet of the pets.

Kaboom! Concept development and prototyping (Fabian and Zhou Yang)

Project description:

The idea is inspired by the traditional game catching. The game will consists of two teams preferably equal number of people on both sides. Each side will be wearing slippers with LED lights of different colors to differentiate from the other team. (Red and Blue) The objective of the game is to turn the LED lights of the opposite team into the other color. (Red to blue or vice versa.) They can do it by attempting to position their LED light in front of the light sensors placed at the back of the slippers players are all wearing. The game ends when one side of the team had all their members’ LED light changed color.

Areas of changes/improvements in concept:

Since the start of the development process we had make the following changes /improvements to the prototype:

  1. We had changed the medium from shoes to slippers to create a more comical image of our prototype since it is designed for a game.
  2. Change in the sensors was also made as we realized the player catching another player has the tendency to “kill” himself/herself if he/she stomps his/her feet as it might trigger his/her own LED light. Therefore, light sensors are used instead of the players.
  3. The format of the game is changed as well. Before this, the game consisted of catch, healer and the rest of the players. However, we realized the structure of the game is not workable. For example, what if the catcher catch another player and he/she turns into the catcher. Does that particular person start catching people? If so how does the healer “heal” him/her. The conflict in gameplay caused us to change the gameplay into two teams of players. The two teams will try to change the color of the LED light of the opposite team.
  4. There will be a timing the led lights can be lighted up. It will be triggered preferably by a button the player can operate. It will have a cool down period. Therefore, the player needs to time when he/she wants to light his/her LED light when approaching a player from the opposite team. If time incorrectly, he/she will be at a vulnerable position to be “attacked” by a player(s) from the opposite team.


Testing out the blue and red LED lights.

Fixing the LED lights onto the slippers for testing.

Assembling the arduino set up on the slippers.

Major issues:

We faced the following problems while prototyping:

1. The LED lights were unstable. They were showing random colors and blinking in random manners.

2. The LED lights were not responsive when we interacted with it.

These are some of the issues we faced while building our prototype. After troubleshooting, we realized most of the problems were solved after we change some of the parts as they are aging and thus malfunctioning.

3. Due to time constraints and our lack of knowledge and practice in Arduino we could not get the light sensors to work. In the end, we created a button function for the set up to mimic the triggering of the LED lights when the light sensor is activated.


Our code:

Project testing:

From the video, the LED lights are changing colors through the press of buttons to mimic the triggering of light sensors which will result in color change. However, we are having difficulty to make the LED lights response in a consistent manner.

Kaboom! Concept and further refinement (Fabian and Zhou Yang)


Initial idea and sketch

The idea is inspired by the traditional game catching. The catcher will wear shoes with red LED lights. The healer will wear shoes with yellow LED lights. The rest of the players will wear shoes with orange LED lights. All the shoes will have sound sensors attached to them. The catcher upon getting close to a player will stomp his/her shoes. If the shoes of the catcher and his/her victim are close enough, the sound sensors will be triggered. The LED lights of the victim will change. The healer can change the players that are caught through stomping his/her shoes near the affected players to “save” him/her.

Further development

After discussion, we decided to use slippers instead of shoes. We feel the use of slippers produces a more comical effect as compared to shoes. It adds to the fun in our proposed game. At the same time, we also decided to use light sensors instead of sound sensors to trigger the change in color of the LED lights. We realized if sound sensors are used there is a possibility of the catcher “committing suicide” by stomping his/her slippers near his/her victim. The sound he/she produced with his/her slippers will also trigger his/her own slippers. Therefore, we decided to use light sensors instead.

LED Strips Idea Generation (Fabian and Zhou Yang)

Team members: Zhou Yang and Fabian

We were tasked to generate ideas to explore the possibilities we can create with LED strip.

The following are the ideas we generated:

Idea 1:

The LED strip is used as markers on a table to indicate that a seat is taken by someone. The inspiration comes from people using tissue paper packs to indicate a seat is taken. We feel it will be interesting to use LED strips to indicate instead.

Idea 2:

This is a game concept with players playing tug of war with the heartbeat. There will be sensors recording the player’s heart rate through the pulse and it will be reflected on the LED strip. The higher heart rate, the more LED lights it will occupy to the opposite direction. Both sides will compete who has the higher heart rate. Once either side has his/her LED lights representing the heart rate reaching the other end, he/she is the winner. In order for the heart rate to increase, the pair can perform activities such as watching a horror movie or going for a jog.

Idea 3:

We got inspiration from the magic wands of Harry Potter. The LED strips will be on the magic wands of the players indicating their life points. A library of words will be loaded on the Arduino program and into the LED strip set up on the magic wands. The player can attack another player through shouting words in the working band loaded on the Arduino set up. The set up will consist of sound sensors to detect the sounds produced by the players. The lights on the LED strips will be activated by the sound produced by players. The more difficult a word is the more damage it will “inflict” on other players. A player “dies” once all his/her lights on the LED strip is lighted up.

Idea 4:

The idea consists of installations with flashlight equipped with sensors. Once the sensors detect people walking past them, the flashlight will be activated and produce flashes on the passing people. The idea is inspired by traffic camera catching speeding vehicles.

Idea 5:

The idea is inspired by the traditional game catching. The catcher will wear shoes with red LED lights. The healer will wear shoes with yellow LED lights. The rest of the players will wear shoes with orange LED lights. All the shoes will have sound sensors attached to them. The catcher upon getting close to a player will stomp his/her shoes. If the shoes of the catcher and his/her victim are close enough, the sound sensors will be triggered. The LED lights of the victim will change. The healer can change the players that are caught through stomping his/her shoes near the affected players to “save” him/her.