Interactive Jacket
A smart jacket that makes giving presentation much easier
Project Brief:

From my schools days, during my presentations, I had always felt bad about the moments of awkward pause, to change slides or to adjust audio levels because these pauses not only obstruct the continuum of story telling but also distract listener’s attention. I have had witnessed many presenters, faculties and speakers suffering from this problem including me too, but never bothered enough to do something about it, till one day, while attending a physical computing workshop, I decided to do something about this problem.

Solution:

While there can be many ways to look at this situation and suggest solution, but there are a very few which truly address the problem at its core, let’s see-

  • Should carry a device in hand: takes a pause to complete the action of pressing buttons, hands not free
  • Should hire someone to help with slides operation: takes pause to ask
  • Should have a wearable device on hand: hands not free, takes a pause to operate buttons
  • Should time slides and act/practice as per auto play timelines: disaster happens if interrupted in middle
  • Should have a wearable device within fingers-reach to conceal interaction, must be operable with only one hand, simple to operate and easy to navigate


  • Process:

    Designing the Jacket


    The designing process started with conceptualisation of the idea via rough sketches, verifying the usability scenarios of placing the control buttons on the jacket. Once the placement of buttons was fixed, the next challenge was to start designing patterns for a Formal Jacket, the patterns for this Jacket were a little different than a traditional one, customising spaces and creating special seams that would accommodate connecting wires and the main circuitry were an arduous challenges that I had to face. Once this part was over, I moved onto designing the circuitry with an objective to keep it as small as possible, I had to design custom buttons for mounting on the fabric without loosing their durability.

    Planning the Interaction


    To design the circuitry for the Jacket to function in the desired way, I had to study the working of a keyboard and a presenters device, most of them operated with RF transmission for communication in between the device and the computer on a USB connection. Understanding this architecture helped me to override the pre-connected keyboard with the system and enable my device to function in order to control the course of a presentation. I used a wireless keyboard, some switches, resistors, wires, batteries, an Arduino microcontroller, capacitors, RF modules to make this circuit work for controlling a presentation. This circuit was later minimised to a simpler one to make it suitable for wearable applications.

    Choosing Materials


    Using a raw denim fabric for this Jacket was an experiment, to test the application of denim fabric in Formal Wears. After sourcing, the materials required for making this garment, jacket patterns were traced on the fabric and the garment was fitted with custom-designed buttons on the sleeve ends. After rigorous testing and making sure the connections were sturdy, the entire circuitry was carefully packed in an acrylic transparent casing and fitted into a custom-designed concealed pocket of the denim jacket. Accommodating all the electronic components resulted in draping issues, which were corrected in the finishing stages.

    Finalising the Prototype


    After testing various scenarios of using the Jacket for presentation, the garment was corrected for its drape and fits. The final circuitry was made stable with glue gun and connections were tested for wear n tear.

    How it Works


    This wearable Smart Jacket is plug n play, the wearer is required to plug the USB receiver in an USB port of a laptop or a computer, the device is detected and gets ready to use. The Jacket is embedded with a small circuit mounted in an acrylic casing box, kept inside a concealed pocket on the bottom left panel, with easily mountable two AAA battery brackets that power the circuit. The circuit gets triggered once any of the four buttons connected to it are pressed by the user and sends signal to the computer to conduct an event. The four buttons are assigned with four specific tasks -

  • Increase the volume level of the computer
  • Decrease the volume levels of the computer
  • Change slides to next slide
  • Go back to previous slide in MS Power-point
  • However, in case of using this Jacket with any other format of presentation like Flash etc., the presentation has to be scripted with key action functions with upward and downward arrow keys to make it compatible with the Jacket.

    Video:

    For further details on this project and documentations, please contact- hello@himanshu.de