Habitat of Mind
This pink creature “Pinky” is an electronic pet which is made as a habitat of lonely minds. This device is created as an alive artificial animal for the purpose of consolation to lonely people.
produced by: So-hyun An
Nowadays, families are smaller than they used to be and more and more people live alone for various reasons. Inevitably, as social animals, many people are suffering from mental health problems caused by LONELINESS. This project explores the meaning of the home for lonely modern people and materialises the alternative habitat of their mind as a form of an electronic pet.
What is HOME?
There is a good old phrase, “Home is where the heart is.” From ancient days, most people place more emotional value than the material value on their home. Sharing warmth and reducing the fear of isolation namely loneliness is the fundamental function of the home. In other words, the home is “the place being with someone or something makes a person feel less lonely”. It can be family, friends, a partner or a pet, even in the form of an electronic device.
To make an electronic pet
There are three types of interaction between a person and a pet : Active interactions, Passive interaction and Warmth exchange. In particular, this project focused on the active interaction, which is the reaction from the device reflecting the user’s direct action.
This device senses the user’s touch through 5 custom-made capacitive sensors, which are made with conductive thread. Depending on the part(s) the user touches, it expresses its emotion through its LCD face and Piezo voice. Some sensors can be multi-touched to show different expression from when it touched separately. Also, it makes the sound in a bit of random pitch and duration, so the user can hear its unique tone every time even though they touch the same part. This two method make this creature feel more being alive.
This device might not deliver the exact feeling of a pet. There is, however, one clear thing that at least this artificial pet’s bright and dynamic reactions make its testers smile. As a result of this, it can be said that this project accomplished a part of its purpose.
1. Capacitive Sensor
- Arduino starter kit projects book - Project 13 - Touchy-Feely Lamp
- Arduino CapacitiveSensor Library / Example (CapacitiveSensorSketch)
- Arduino Project Hub - Paper Controller
- Sensor study and example (Korean)
2. LCD (LiquidCrystal)
- Arduino starter kit projects book - Project 11 - Crystal Ball
- Arduino LiquidCrystal Library Reference
3. Piezo tone
- Arduino Digital Example (toneMelody)
- Arduino Reference : tone()
4. Other Arduino projects about robots
- PET - An Emotional Robot : https://youtu.be/6iXUCvdh1Q0
- Tamagotchi - Electronic Pet : https://youtu.be/y4bqtCVz0B4