I came up with the main interaction concept of Lango is based on building and automatic breaking down interaction of the blocks. This piling and unpiling interaction was inspired by the mythological structure Babel Tower, which created numerous languages when it broke down I wanted to create a fun, cognitive, emotional interaction with the user through a physical reaction rather than simple visual, sound transition. Also, I wanted to examine whether this seemingly negative ‘collapse’ movement not be destructive, but can be helpful for the users.
1) When a user turns on the blocks, each block will display one letter of the alphabet which can be combined as the 3-letter word. The user vertically lines up blocks to create a word.
2) When the user completes the word, the servo motors of the blocks are activated and the accumulated blocks are collapsed.
3) The display of each block shows the English word, Korean word, and an image corresponding to the completed word. After a certain period of time, another alphabet appears again on each display.
Circuit design is based on connection between Arduino Fio board, Xbee, 1.8 inch TFT LCD display, pressure sensor, mini servomotor. In the first prototyping, The board and the jumper wire were used to complete the circuit. The circuit was completed with breadboard and jumper wire without housing.
The pressure sensor is installed to recognize the order in which the blocks are aligned. It was small in size, had a easily distinguishable range of sensed values, was easy to install. We also considered other options such as a toggle switch, but decided to go with sensors for more seamless interaction.
The servo motor is attached to the each block to implement the collapse of the blocks. We attempted using a vibrator-too weak to break the block-and a DC motor-needed convoluted mechanism.
The Arduino Fio board, which was used as a mainboard, was already well-equipped with the Xbee wireless connection port, making it ideal for creating connection between the blocks. In addition, pressure sensors and servo motors were designed to be as small as possible to make children easy to play with the blocks.
In the second prototyping, the circuit was housed in a laser-cut wood. The initial design was a parallelepiped block with a short vertical length, but it was changed to a cube so that children could easily build it up. For the second prototype, we implemented:
With the concept of building and breaking down interaction with blocks, we implemented prototyping iteration twice, and the second prototype was exhibited in Kids section, HCI Korea 2015. Through the design process with team members, I acquired the knowledge about concept making, physical computing skill such as circuit design, laser cutting, and 3D printing, and most importantly, the quality of persistence for one working prototype through numerous micro failures.