Visit to the office
After a productive kick-off of the project last week, we were able to keep up the good pace by visiting the Canatu offices and facilities on Wednesday, the 8th of February. Our contact gave us a good overview of Canatu and its work and we got to (literally) get our hands on their CNB film as well. They had a variety of concepts and prototypes to show and it helped us to understand what we’re working with.
We got a very detailed explanation of how the CNB film actually works and it is quite fascinating. Therefore, the team is even more excited to work on this project as we began to understand the whole potential of the technology.
A (mostly) happy team visiting the office and facilities
All machinery is custom to Canatu’s preferences
And this is where the magic happens, the nanobuds themselves are printed on film
At the end of the tour, and after a million questions asked and answered, we were provided with samples of the film as well as a simple touch sensitive button, that could be used to test how the material works in practise.
The first crude demonstration!
Once given the sample button, our tech wizard Juha was so enthusiastic that he immediately came up with a simple demo setup, using some wiring, Arduino Nano, and a couple of LEDs. You can see the result below!
As you can see, we are able to process the input of the CNB film and turn it into something useful. The film not only recognizes touch, it can detect pressure and how far away the finger is from the surface. This working demo has given us a boost in motivation and we are now confident, that we can set the scope of this project to include a functional prototype in addition to refined concepts.
What happened on Friday?
In this week’s session we were encouraged to do some brainstorming to make new ideas for our project. We focused on building on last week’s plans, mainly the control glove and the spherical controller. One idea was the possibility to combine these prototypes. If different nanobud touch surfaces can recognise each other while they are in contact, there can be for example interaction between the glove and the sphere. This is related to the idea of using the touch surfaces with different materials (not just bare fingers).
The little demonstration above showed us that the strength of touch can be measured. This could possibly be used for slider solutions. Also we thought about user friendliness in the programming interface. Possibly our most rousing idea was to combine the glove with a motion sensor, possibly a gyroscope, and use the hand movement to move a computer cursor.
Next week we will continue the blog with a project plan. Thanks for reading.