Guess what desk is mine:
(yes, it’s the one on the left middle… in fact I’m taking up 2 desks)
So Mark 1 isn’t a single object. There are 3 aspects I choose to look at: the technology and experience prototype, how it’s going to look through renders, sketches and model and finally the story/journey the child goes through.
The experience prototype gives an example of the first test the child has to play through. This test is basically a play on the game ‘Simon Says’, which has meant that I could the code for the Arduino online and change parts of it to make it do what I want. I’m still not entirely happy with the coding, not my strong point though.
Renders will show an overview of the board and placement of land, characters, printer etc. Although, this may change depending on how the story adapts, but for the best part it will remain the same.
Finally the story. The story consists of four character trying to get from point A to point B. Which at this point is woodland animals returning from a picnic and trying to get back to the log cabin home at the end. Each character has a backpack which the child has to pack an item for to picnic into and then place the backpacks on the characters. The child has an initial choice of 4 from 6 characters. By giving the child choices, they feel more apart of the story and it gives the board information to them generate a unique story to print at the end.
The character then set off on their journey. Confronted by a bad guy (phantom test), they have to use rocks to scare them away. Eventually, rocks will help build a path over the first part of the river to the island. The characters must then proceed to the island in the right order given by the book. This is required to test the child’s Auditory-verbal memory. Then, again the character are confronted by another bad guy (same process as before).
The characters eventually make it to the end of the their journey at the cabin. The child then can turn a gear/lever/pulley to raise a flat to complete the quest. This causes the printer to print out the story which is then handed to the child while the printer then prints out a second copy and the results. The results are then tallied and a score out of 100 is marked down. The final outcome is that the child goes home with a story to show their family – creating a link between the child, teacher and parent, so if the child does need support it can to put into place at home and at school and this product helps prepare the parents in a way.
This process only tests visual and auditory-verbal memory, which means it’s not enough to flag dyslexia on it’s own but it does change the way that these types of test are used and the way people think of them, which I think is very important. I would be very interested in continuing this sort of research and work at a higher, say as a postgraduate.
Overall, I think I’ve achieved a lot. I’m currently working with 3 Illustrators to develop the story, character and the format of the book. I’m very excited about working with other people at this stage of the project as it feels like a breath of fresh air. I very well could produce all this myself, I’ve got a keen interest in illustration but, my traits are needed elsewhere and to have a half attempt at producing this stuff now would be a mistake this far into the project.
I know how I’m going to produce a lot of the finished product, I’ve already started tweaking illustrator file and frames. I’m planning on using MDF for the best part of it because I’ve used it before and I think it’ll do the job. I’m not worried about it being an ugly material because I hope to have the characters and board hand painted. Having the product hand painted will help tie the illustrations in the book to the physical object.
Worries? I’m sort of worried about the coding side of things. I’m also worried about the printer size and wether I should remove it form its housing, it’s compact as it is and it could be made to feel more like a part of the build rather than a bought component.
Main parts of the build
Phantom light chamber with frosted glass and alignment pins. When LEDs lit the phantom will show.
Mock-up of one of the phantom lights/reed switch with a magnet on top.
Reed switch activated by magnets, hence the light.
Reed switch and LEDs - Max distance needed for switch to close. discovered reed switch works more accurate vertical.
Reed switch and 4 LEDs to evenly light the phantom silhouette.
Getting the right LEDs were very important, I had experimented with different number of LEDs, different brightness and different LEDs with different values of viewing angle. I needed something that was as bright as possible and had as wide an angle as possible… which was harder than it sounds. For one minute I thought my search was over, but then I realised that they wouldn’t be back in stock for another 2-3 month and I couldn’t find them anywhere else. Eventually I came to a compromise, 4 LEDs with half then viewing angle but almost as strong. This led to me using 80 of them in the ‘light chambers’ alone.
Laser cut MDF for character body ready for sanding.
MDF bodies ready for some more sanding. Will spray paint a matte white and then hand painted.