What is it?
A device to show the distance to another person in a funny way. You can wear it like a watch, or it can be included in clothing.
What is the goal:
To make people aware that they have to find the right distance in every relation, and that, if they come too close to another...then even the best friendships can come to a miserable end....give each person the space and the air she or he needs!

This is a very easy interactive device to make (because all the difficult parts are in the hardware - but ... you have to buy this hardware to make life easy...). The device indicates the right distance to another person, not too far away and not too close. It shows the right distance with an 8x8 representation of a heart. You have to find this heart! (Which might be a different distance for each person.)
Well that is the game!

by-wire and contrechoc.com presented this micro RGB-LED screen at the PICNIC festival in Amsterdam 2011.

In discussions with women about this idea, they told us that they know this distance intuitively
and they were offended to leave this "human distance sensing" to electronic devices!!!

But men, more insensitive to body language and small hints found it very useful.

You can easily change the icons and even the concept. You could change the sensor (an LDR would be great to add, making this device function at night and not in the bright sun!)

Playing around with an RGB led matrix, even a small one like this, 8x8 is very nice, and a totally different experience from a one color LED block.

The Arduino doesn't change the icons too fast, reflecting that humans take time to adapt, you can make it react faster in the software.

Our goal was to make this a bracelet for your arm or leg. Of course the Arduino has to be powered so you stay connected, or you have to use a battery pack.

Step 1: Components

Needed components:


Some sort of distance sensor: SRF02 (in this case I2C communication) 15 euro's
Arduino, 25 euro's
Color shield (www.iteadstudio.com) 15 dollar
RGB 8x8 ledblock (www.iteadstudio.com) 15 dollar
(USB connection)
some electric wires

the Arduino sketch
the colorduino library

some textile to put the stack of hardware in

Step 2: Tools

Needed tools:

soldering device
pincher for the electric wires

extra, if you use textiles, sewing machine, scissors, needles, thread

extra, for the logo's in the textile, a laser cutter

Step 3: Hardware

The hardware is extremely simple!

Because of the shields you don't have to do much soldering, just stack the shield on the Arduino and the LED matrix on top of the shield.

connect the distance sensor to the A4 and the A5 of the Arduino (using the pins of the shield)
SDA of SRF02 to analog 5 SCL (clock line)
SCL of SRF02 to analog 4 SDA (data line)

the mode pin of this particular distance sensor has to be at VCC (5V)

also solder the VCC and the GND wires.

so you have four wires to the SRF02.

Step 4: Software

Download the Colorduino library (for in the folder libraries of the arduino folder)

Download the arduino sketch for the comfort zone device:

Try out the Colorduino plasma example first, to check if the library works and then the comfort zone sketch from this instructable.

You can change the images shown easily yourself in the first tab of the sketch.

We have put the images in a simple binary array format:


the nulls after the 0B mean no color, so this one is empty , black


you see the 1's form a cross. The ones means color and the color r g b values are given in the parameters of the function. In our sketch we had a random choice for the colors, changing all the time.

Step 5: Textile

Making the textile casing.

We are very demanding! Only technical stuff is fun (when it works) but it does not look very nice :-)

So we always search for an expression, and we like softening the technical stuff. Textile is a nice material to work with and we have the illusion that electronics in clothing will be the future. Nothing to withhold us from dreaming!

Back to reality:

The technical stuff stack of shields and matrix  is 3.5 centimeters high so we have to do some filling in the textile wrapper. We used for that the fluffy cloth. This can be cut with scissors.
Then for the covering (hiding the hardware in the textile) we used elastic cloth.
Because we just played with a lasercutter we have burnt our logo's into the cloth.

Step 6: Display

Finished and on display!

Here you see the comfort zone sensor in action. Our device of 70 euro's had to compete with other LED displays of more than several thousands of euro's. But the biggest problem proved to be it being displayed outside in the bright light of the first (and only) blazing sun of the whole summer of our rainy Holland!

Step 7: Making Pictures

It proved very difficult to take pictures of the LED RGB matrix. Either it was too bright, or you got a single line on the LED block.
You can adapt the refreshing speed in the Colorduino library: Colorduino.cpp line 66: TCNT1 = 0x64; if you change this to TCNT1 = 0x16; and take a bright +2.0 EV for your digital camera it just shows the whole picture. In an editor you can lower the brightness and the colors return.

Step 8: Conclusion

Even if clothing and textiles become electronic, intelligent and expressive... the sun might ruin all our nice expressions, making projections of clothing, color change and all other nice futuristic ideas just invisible outside!

These pictures are from the PICNIC festival in Amsterdam 2011, outside, where the effect is nearly invisible. Contrechoc.com and http://by-wire.net presented there together.

As mentioned in the intro, adding an LDR for not wasting energy in bright daylight will improve the energy consumption. It will only show up in darker environments, rooms.

Then about the competition with the super big and super bright RGB screens at PICNIC. Of course these screens are bigger, even very big. But what do these screens show really? Only publicity nobody looks at. Are these screens interactive, reacting on passers by? No, not at all. So comparing the budgets and the interactivity of our micro RGB screen it did quite well, and it provoked more fun.

But we will change plan anyway and try out a totally different way of expressing this idea of comfort zone. Maybe something like the wedding butterfly? (See this instructable:  https://www.instructables.com/id/Wedding-Butterfly/   )

Sorry, but you've missed two vital pieces of information from this Instructable:<br> <ul> <li> What is it for? </ul> <ul> <li> What does it do? </ul> <br>
Quite right, so I have added what it is and even a goal! Thx!
Dear contrechoc,<br><br>Another extraordinary project, and even exposed it on Picnic!<br>Nice this comfort-zone-warning-system. But also something that could make people even less using their natural and authentic qualities for social behavior and fitting etiquette.<br>In this context indeed, the wedding butterfly is more positive, I guess. Lets try to make a next, most positive, expression tool the next time! Nice goal, isn't it?<br><br>Yours sincerely,<br>by-wire.neta

About This Instructable




Bio: Trying not to produce, what will happen?
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