Catobel & Ultimate Lightswitch

We were introduced to “The Plank”, an augmented hard-disk chassis stripped to include only the arms of the read heads and their voice-coil motor drive. The Plank allows for fast prototyping of haptic feedback devices using just an Arduino and some simple code.

Fun interactions were prototyped which capitalised on the haptic feedback provided by the Plank. The simplest of these ideas, a simulated light switch, resists your movement past the centre or fulcrum of the switch. It then snaps into the opposite position once that centre point is passed. Connected to a Processing sketch, the metaphor was complete. “Ultimate Lightswitch” is featured at the end of the associated video clip.

Further work yielded “Catobel” – a musical catapult, simulated by basic physics in on screen software and haptic “elastic” feedback provided by the Plank. As expected, the instrument was difficult to play – you need to pull back the “catapult” to propel small balls across the screen, they then must “ring” the appropriate note, wherever they fall.

We believe the success of the project was that the instrument was vastly more difficult to play with the haptic feedback switched off.