A series of simple interactive objects that makes the web more accessible to people of all ages
In lieu of exploring more sophisticated sensors, our Physical Computing group decided to make use of simple switches and instead, focus on addressing a problem that could really benefit from making something that was not physical, physical. The problem we chose came from our experience teaching older adults about the internet.
The internet is amazing and open to everyone. Or is it? The more services you sign up for, the more login details you have to keep track of. This is especially challenging for older adults and it keeps them from making the most of the internet. We wondered why they had trouble remembering login passwords, but had no trouble remembering which physical keys to use for which doors. As a result, we created A Pig, a Bird, and a Mailbox, a series of simple objects that you interact with to login to your everyday go-to websites.
The objects aim to simplify the login process by giving it a physical form and audible feedback. What once took four frustrating steps can now be accomplished in one delightful step. The pig opens your bank account, the mailbox opens your email, and the bird opens Twitter. We thought of many other functions but settled on these for their frequency of use. Although our inspiration came from older adults, younger people told us they could see themselves using this as well. We made our prototype with this mainstream audience in mind. The objects are made individually, but can be mixed, matched, and grouped together to form a suite — in this case, a farm setting.
This was a 4-week final project for Physical Computing with Rob Faludi. It was done in collaboration with Shanshan Gao, Minnie Choi, and Minseung Song. Materials used include a Teensy 2.0 (thanks to NYC Resistor’s electronics vending machine!), Sculpey, Arduino code, Applescript, 1Password, Quicksilver, and a dash of imagination.