Thursday, September 24, 2009

Our Delicious Account

Project Summary

After attending the sidekicks event I have come up with some modifications to the design I have for the project. Since the throwing device is designed for use by the members of sidekicks we have to cater to theirneeds. Specifically : the sounds that the throwing device makes, the color that the device is, the color of the buttons, the height of the device, whether it can be used by a left or right handed person, how farthe device throws the ball, the color of the balls it throws, whether the device can aim or not. All of these features are very important to the overall usability of the device. The objective I found is going to be tomeet the requirements as outlined in the class but to also encourage the user to enjoy interaction with his/her peers. If the user enjoys the device then it will be used and may facilitate learning as well. When the distance the device throws is concerned, I believe that there should be a low distance setting for individuals that would benefit for close peer interaction. Therefore maybe a setting that throws a ball only 5 feet would be preferable. As well you could adjust it to throw further.

The color of the device is important. Some color that is not “uncool” is nice, but I am concerned with the user who cannot readily distinguish objects. With this in mind we may want to design a device that is painted a mild, soft, more darker color. This would contrast nicely with a bright colored ball to be thrown. So along with a dark device should be brightly colored balls in order to provide contrast and visual interest in the ball when thrown. This device will throw small balls, anywhere from small squishy therapy balls down to tennis balls.

The user interface with the throwing device is very important. The user must be able o easily use the device. To accommodate a user with limited movement I think the device should have an activation interface that is moveable. This would accommodate someone in a wheel chair or someone who could not reach to the device directly. Such a moveable interface might be a keyboard type interface with a chord that goes to the device. One important aspect of this “keyboard” would be the buttons. The buttons’ color is a concern because users may be confused by too many buttons or options. I propose that the “keyboard” consist of only three buttons, two small buttons and a large button in between them. The color of the keyboard would be darker and the color of the two small buttons would be of similar darkness but a different color. The middle button would be in sharp contrast by being a bright, lighter color. This would provide the following benefit: a user who is easily frustrated by too many buttons can focus on only the large bright button in the middle, but a user who is able to recognize the other two smaller buttons could easily figure out their use through practice. The large center button being to fire the device and the two smaller buttons provide “aiming” capability.

The sounds that the device makes are of great importance. When the device is fired a sound should occur that is both amusing and exciting. This would encourage the user to try the device again and would spark interest. The most important issue is the enjoyment of the user and the continued use of the device.

The technical layout of the device will facilitate a catapult style throwing action. It will have a loading cylinder and a safety feature to not fire unless the loading area lid is shut. The throwing action is operated by an electric motor and the electric motor will run on a 9 or 12 volt battery. I plan to use mechanical advantage to lower the power use needed to throw the ball. I plan on having some switches and sensors to fire the device. Also I would like to have some type of stepping switch to increase volts to the motor at various parts of the catapult swing motion. This would possibly decrease power needed to throw the balls.