A Dog toy with Smells and Sounds
This 2014 project includes a prototype dog toy that could emit both sounds and smells, which are usually regarded as a dog’s most receptive and well-developed senses. The aim of this project was to initiate a participatory design experiment in which the designer would develop a dependency on the dogs in terms of sensory and playful preferences. I developed a lo-fi prototype that includes a soft toy inside of which a phone could be hidden that can play pre-recorded sound files of 20/30 seconds that could be recognizable for the dogs (such as a talking family member, soundscapes from a local forest, and a familiar barking dog). Another compartment of the toy contained objects that had specific smells that the dogs could be familiar with (such as a branch from the forest that they played with, a t-shirt of a family member and a blanket of a familiar dog, who both live in other countries). I wanted to create an open-ended toy and leave further ideas about its development up to the way in which the interaction would be played out during the testing sessions. By testing the toy-prototype with my dogs I wanted to explore their responses and their general interest in this type of interface.
A Robotic Dog Toy with Sphero
In order to explore a dog’s reactions to an interactive robotic object, in 2014 I experimented with a device called Sphero, a ball that is connected with a smartphone through Bluetooth and can be moved around by a human through an interface on a smartphone. Over a period of five weeks, I tested the device in different prototype iterations such as with the use of different covers, food incentives, LEGO, and eventually I built a hi-fi prototype with with the laser cutter including four different types of dog puzzles made from MDF that can be mounted on the Sphero.
For the Global Game Jam 2014 me and Alex Camilleri made a digitally augmented variant of hopscotch, called Dogscotch, that can be played together with a dog. In the activity of play, humans can form complex abstractions and embrace structured rules to experience games. We often use our imagination while playing games; dogs just perceive the environment the way it is. These two opposing perceptions come together in this game, created in 48 hours. We interpreted the global theme of this gamejam from the perspective of a dog: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are” (Dog, 2014). More information can be found here, and the game itself can be downloaded here.
Arduino, Buttons, Wires, …and a dog
At Malmö University I followed a course called ‘Embodied Interaction’ in 2012. In this course we learned about physical computing and interaction using the presence of a body in time and space. One of the weekend assignments after a couple of classes in Arduino and Processing was to make a simple game using physical buttons. I got the idea to make a videogame that could be controlled by my dog. To do this, I made the buttons with wood, aluminium foil, and sponge, and I used the Arduino Uno (+ the IDE), a breadboard with some wires, and I coded in Processing. This video shows the result. More information on this project can be found here.