In this project, I experiment with 2DOF control over a robot with an ordinary smartphone. Through this experiment, I learn a lot about how to better design hardware interactions.
These interactions map rotational movement to linear movement. I was initially concerned that this would be an incompatible pair, but it actually felt very natural, kind of like a dial. Plus, you could use the natural inertia of the rotation as an intuitive intent.
These are the steps I took to arrive at the final form.
After the initial functional prototype, I decided to take it further and make a full pan-tilt system. I decided against using that same servo because of the limited rotational range as well as the heavy limitations with passing many values quickly. I decided to use IQ Motion Module motors.
For these prototypes, I designed the top cover to be removeable and the front to be clear acrylic, so debugging the electricity would be easier. I planned to seal everything later on.
This was the first working prototype. When I actually saw the robot copying my movement, I started to easily see the robot as an extension of my hand, and found myself manipulating its roations extremely intuitively.
Lastly, I created a polished case with translucent white acrylic and covered the front to hide the electronic components.
This interaction exploration allowed me to understand an approach to make robots
more approachable and intuitive to interface with. Although it is not a far reach
to type out angles for these different motors to go to, the physical mainpulation affords
an intuition that allows you to focus exactly on what the robot should be doing,
not how it should do that thing. I started to understand how thoughtful interactions, even
for seemingly intimidating things like robots, can make tasks extremely approachable and
This is just the foundation—there is so much more to be done with different attachments and possibly more degrees of freedom. I hope to find time to continue these explorations!