Final Project: NapBot

Assignment,Final Project — jbedford @ 4:21 pm

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NapBot. A robotic bed that follows CMU students and asks them to take a nap. This project was inspired by the relevant sleep deprivation habit myself and other CMU students encounter. NapBot offer a portable napping area that you can take around campus. Instead of leaving your bed in the morning why not take it with you.

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Through tele-operation, NapBot can transport students while they sleep.  So student can get to there next class on time while catching some snooze. The head rest dome offer a sense of privacy to the user. It provides shade form the sun, and doubles a a whiteboard for studying, note taking, or free draw.
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NapBot can initialize 5 min and 10 min nap sequences. First, user presses one of the nap buttons, then after the set time period is over, NapBot proceed to wake the user up with an alarm.

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Elements/Tech: Nomad 200 series robot beneath a bed sheet in order to give the appearance of  a night stand. A narrow air mattress rests upon a bike attachable flatbed hook to the robot. The robot is tele-operated via radio control. the dome is fixed to 80/20 upon the flat bed. The dome can lift up for bed mounting. The radio control utilizes an arduino and xbee. The robots voice is established using a Raspberry Pi and small speaker within the robot. the power source in a battery with an AC to DC Inverter and a power supple to maintain the appropriate voltage for the motor controller. A lamp is added to the top, to complete the nightstand appearance.

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Reactions: A Motorized Bed can be intimidating, there were instances where students actively avoided it or were curious but to cautious to interact with it. Hiding the robot I assumed would make the bed more approachable. but it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. NapBot approach startles spectators.   The robot speech gave the bed an extra level of personality. Student clearly understood its purpose.

Improvements: Timing is key, Midday test run from 1-4 on a sunny day did not receive the expected response. Student were too lively and awake to make use of NapBot, and thus proceed to ignore it or ride it like a carnival ride. Also during midday, student s are in a rush and  too busy to interact with the bed. The lateNight test run from 8 to 10, was instantly recognized. At that time people utilized NapBot for rest.

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Clarity is important. At first glance spectators are confused and unsure how to of NapBots purpose. By write the message “Take a Nap?” and by having NapBot vocally introduce itself to people, this problem was resolve. Breakdowns are inevitable. The robot broke down 7 times on the first trial. And twice on the second. Either communication cuts out, vibrations knock electronics lose, wheel threads brake, robot tips over, batteries die (9volts = so little ampHours), nightstand sheet gets lodged in drivetrain, or air mattress pops.


All things considered, NapBot was a successful Urban Intervention

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Final Project: Red or Blue?

Assignment,Final Project — Tags: — scheung3 @ 8:58 pm

IMG_3029   Red or Blue? Was a mobile Carnival-style game I deployed during the weekend of Carnegie Mellon University’s 2014 Spring Carnival to examine how CMU students approach risk taking and decision making in a lighthearted setting. IMG_3045

The Rules

Users made decisions to play for high stakes or low stakes, represented by the red and blue buttons. Probabilities for success for each button were represented by playing cards. photo1 Those who played for high stakes and pushed the red button had a 10% chance of winning a big prize, a personal anecdote from a current CMU professor on a risk they took in college. If they lost, they would be hit with a rubber band fired from a toy gun.  big prizes Those who played for low stakes and pushed the blue button had a 50% chance of winning a small prize, a quote from a famous person on risk taking and decision making. If they lost nothing would happen. small prizes To play, users had to answer a question about their risk taking habits. Questions ranged from how they approached their easy classes to if they had ever been afraid of being arrested. questions

The Electronics

All electronic processes including button press detection, probability calculations, and rubber band firing were controlled by an Arduino Uno. The toy gun was actuated by a solenoid which needed extensive fine tuning in order to fire properly on command. RedOrBlue_bb   The red and blue LEDs were included inside the buttons and came with built-in resistors. The white LEDs on the bottom were white LED strips which lit up the “You Win” and “Sorry Try Again” signs and also came with their own built-in resistors.

The Deployment

When I brought out this project during Carnival I was surprised by how many people were interested in playing. I did not expect many people to come up to me, but I really pleased by the amount of interactions that I got. I was surprised when despite my expectations people tended to pick the red and blue buttons in around equal amounts. They also asked frequently if this was a psychology study and seemed surprised when I told them it was an art project. interaction2 However, not everything went as planned. While this project was geared primarily towards CMU students, a few alumni and children played too. Their answers/data have been kept separate from the data of the CMU students. There were some technical issues too. The tension on the solenoid needed constant adjustment in order for the gun firing to work and people had a hard time seeing the You Win and Try Again lights in the bright sunlight.


Data Visualization on


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