Creator Fair Reminder

Just a little fair reminder that tomorrow, Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th September is the Creator Fair at the National Space Centre, Leicester. I'll be showing my work and you can try out the bags! Plus there is TONNES to see, looks to be a  great day out! Full post available with more details. This site is fantastic for tutorials, resources, all help imaginable in fact. They have videos, live shows and amazing products. They create their own components as well as sell others, and all products are tried and tested (and broken apart) before they sell them. Complete idols here for their hard work, passion and dedication.Recently teamed up with to manufacture boards so watch this space too. This is pretty much The One of all the component sites. It is usually where I go to look up components to see their descriptions or for more information and links. They often have tutorials or datasheets and it is a great place to see what components are even available because chances are Sparkfun has it first and then the other distributors get it from them. USA based site so if you're in the UK like me be aware of hefty duty fees! Ouch.


Find a way to succeed project management web based.


This site has very cheap components for sale if you search hard enough.They will take up to a month to be delivered though so you have to plan ahead. Also - if you buy "Arduino" boards from them,it's really cool if you also donate $1 to Arduino to support their making / open source files (as the other Arduino official sites include this in their pricing).

Teensey issue with Teensy

I've been using these super small boards for my latest projects, and one of them I needed to hook up very specific ports. I needed access to data information and you can only use the I/O that is designated for that. The component needed to be hooked up to the SDA and SLC, these are not the same as on other boards, (well whatever board you use you need to check of course), so here are the correct pin information for the Teensy boards...

I keep pulling out these reference cards and misplacing them even though I use them all the time, so this post will hopefully help me remember where the heck I'm keeping it!

Pin Out information for all their boards

I've put this one image here as it is the one I have been using the most recently so to have as a handy reference:

pin out for Arduino etc on 2.0 on teensy

And the link for the PDF for the Arduino pinning to this board.

There is no issue with these amazing little boards it was only that when I initially got one I didn't realise about the pin information so grabbing this great image from the Teensy website was very helpful. I think they now actually send a card out with the board so I've since stuck one of these on my wall too!

If you make some projects with these fun boards I'd love to hear what you make!

SUS System Usability Scale

This is a scale that I wanted to keep a handy reference to, it links to the SUS pdf file so it can be downloaded.

Usability does not exist in any absolute sense; it can only be defined with reference to particular contexts. This, in turn, means that there are no absolute measures of usability, since, if the usability of an artefact is defined by the context in which that artefact is used, measures of usability must of necessity be defined by that context too. Despite this, there is a need for broad general measures which can be used to compare usability across a range of
contexts. In addition, there is a need for “quick and dirty” methods to allow low cost assessments of usability in industrial systems evaluation. This chapter describes the System Usability Scale (SUS) a reliable, low-cost usability scale that can be used for global assessments of systems usability.

SUS File <--- the file to download if you need it.

Five Users....

I came across this article back in 2011 and it was written in 2010, and I saved it on a little forum site I have so that if webpages 'disappear' (as they do) then I would still have a copy. I'm moving this forum site now so I am writing up the posts that I still find useful, and this one has been around so long and I still refer to it - I should memorise it really, so I am writing it up briefly here.

Why you only need to test with five users explained.

The following block of text highlighted from the webpage is one of the important passages,

"As a strategy, pick some percentage of problem occurrence, say 20%, and likelihood of discovery, say 85%, which would mean you'd need to plan on testing 9 users. After testing 9 users, you'd know you've seen most of the problems that affect 20% or more of the users.  If you need to be surer of the findings, then increase the likelihood of discovery, for example, to 95%. Doing so would increase your required sample size to 13.

The best strategy is to bring in some set of users, find the problems they have, fix those problems, then bring in another set of users as part of an iterative design and test strategy. In the end, although you're never testing more than 5 users at a time, in total you might test 15 or 20 users. In fact, this is what Nielsen recommends in his article, not just testing 5 users in total. 

So if you plan on testing with five users, know that you're not likely to see most problems, you are just likely to see most problems that affect 31%-100% of users for this population and set of tasks. You will also pick up some of the problems that affect less than 31% of users-- just not 85% of them.  For example, a sample size of 5 should pick up about 50% of the problems with likelihoods of occurrence of 15%, 75% of the problems with likelihoods of 25%, and so on. Change the tasks or type of users and you'll need a new sample of users. "

I would love to read any comments if you have used this five user testing method, I have tested with 3 and already so many issues and thoughts have cropped up, so I can easily see why this is a great process for eliminating initial problems in your designs / prototypes.

Soldering Conductive Ribbon

I came across this fab little quick and easy tutorial about soldering conductive ribbon. I love trying new components and ways to connect things, but sometimes stuff arrives and I'm clueless how the heck it works - thanks to the Internet, I can find great tutorials that saves me a lot of time! This one is clear and easy from

Soldering Ribbon

It's worth checking out some of their other tutorials, many more on wearables things and how to put some patterns together. There is a great one on a small battery holder for a coin cell battery.

screen grab from their tutorial

It's always worth making a note when you find good tutorials because sometimes I buy components that look super interesting or fun to play and experiment with but then I can get stuck as to how to use the darn things!

Additional Information: Conductive Ribbon can be a great way to connect up super fast with your wearable components. Using it for areas where there is some 'bend' such as in sleeves works well if you place more of the ribbon than you need so that it will not 'pull' when the elbow is moved. It's also a great way to connect components that aren't explicitly created for wearable connections.


Super fun for folks with an old pizza box lying around and who want a cheaper version Oculus Rift!

Cardboard is a project from Google, to help you make your own! Read about it here, more information taken from Laughing Squid: Cardboard is a simple experimental project by Google that transforms an Android smartphone into a basic virtual reality headset using what amounts to a little cardboard, a couple lenses, and some magnets. The project has uploaded design files for the physical headset and some documentation to help developers code software to use with the device.

Cardboard Detail

Here is the official site for the projcet: with an animation to show you how to construct the box. Have fun!

Note that you do need a phone that will fit so do check.

The Fashion of Jean Paul Gaultier

I went to visit the Jean Paul Gaultier show at The Barbican in London this month (June 2014) which has over 165 of his couture and ready-to-wear garments and from a huge time frame of 40 years of his work. It was a view of his powerful fashion in one place. Just brilliant!

I was hoping it would be a great experience to see the clothes but it was beyond what I was expecting.

The way the show was put together was really great- there was a runway section where they had a moving platform with some of the clothes, as well as the information on how long these garments take to make, some of them have an incredible 300 hours put into them by various specialists in their fields - lace makers etc. It really put into perspective this idea of rushing to do things or get things done, sometimes at a cost of less than perfection but it has made me think that taking more time for the details are clearly worth it. Some of these clothes on display were epic.


It has really inspired me to be more mindful of detail and those elements that really make something more 'wow', there was a dress made from silk ties, and each tie was connected with a perfect hand stitched piece of thread with a single bead in the exact center, being able to see the care and precision that goes into these creations really transforms them into spectacular artworks. I really felt privileged to be looking at them.


The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is organised by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier. Loving this site for all those little odds and ends. They have a great selection for the smaller stuff - screws, wires, nuts, electronics, resistors, solder etc, I save up the things I need and then order a bunch of stuff on here. Really great prices and not all the typical items.

Smart Activity Bag

This paper has a lot of great information into studying what people would like in a smart activity bag, who may potentially use or buy such a bag and some important concepts to be built upon. This post is just to highlight some things that I found useful, it is just pulled quotes from the paper so I can refer back to it.

Investigating the opportunity for a smart activity bag. (ACM)

Abstract: As long as people have traveled, they have constructed bags to help them carry more items than their hands will hold. While quite effective at keeping things together, bags do a poor job of communicating when something is missing. We propose that there exists an opportunity for the HCI community to improve the quality of people’s lives by creating bags that have knowledge of people’s schedules and equipment needs, can sense their contents, and can communicate when something has been forgotten. To investigate this opportunity, we conducted a field study with six dual-income families. Through interviews and observations we investigated their experiences using bags to organize equipment needed for children’s enrichment activities. Based on the findings we generated 100 concepts and conducted a needs validation session to better understand the best opportunity to improve people’s lives with technical intervention. This paper reports on our field study and needs validation session, and shares insights on the opportunities and implications of a smart activity bag.

Some important notes / concepts / quotes from the paper:

While bags work well at keeping needed items together, people often experience breakdowns; forgetting an important item.

It is often hard to tell from looking at the outside if a bag contains all the needed items. In addition, people can look into a bag and see what items it contains, but it is difficult to see what is missing.

From a usability perspective, bags require people to “recall” all the items they need in order to see what is missing; and as Nielsen’s heuristics for usability show, interactive products should rely on “recognition over recall” to reduce the load on the user’s memory [23]. (Nielsen, J. Heuristic Evaluation. In Usability Inspection Methods. J. Nielsen and R. L. Mack (eds). John Wiley & Sons, 1994.)

Imagine a bag that (i) can sense the objects within, the current time, and its current location; (ii) knows what items are needed for various activities; (iii) knows the time and place of these activities; and (iv) has the ability to communicate when everything is “OK” or when items are missing. This kind of “smart” activity bag can become a more active participant in people’s lives, helping them to transport the right equipment to the right place.

Previous research shows that dual-income families are a particularly good target audience for UbiComp technology. Unlike elders—another popular target for UbiComp systems—dual-income families aggressively adopt and experiment with new technology to increase their flexibility and to better react to dynamic situations [7, 11]. They desire systems that can give them a feeling of control over their chaotic lives, and parents particularly want technology that can help them effortlessly manage the “busyness” of their many activities [8, 9]. (Darrah, C., Jan English-Lueck and Freeman, J. Families and Work: An Ethnography of Dual Career Families. Final Report to Sloan Foundation grant # 95192-0113, San Jose State University, Department of Anthropology, San Jose, 2001.

Important References:

Davidoff, S., Lee, M.K., Yiu, C.M., Zimmerman, J. & Dey, A.K. Principles of smart home control. In Proc. of UbiComp, (2006) Springer, 19-34.

Davidoff,S.,Lee,M.K.,Dey,A.K.andZimmerman,J. Rapidly Exploring Application Design through Speed Dating. In Proc. of UbiComp, (2007) Springer, 429-446.

Dey, A. K. and Abowd, G. D. Cybreminder: A Context- Aware System for Supporting Reminders. In Proc. of HUC, (2000) Springer, 172-186.

Frissen, V. A. Icts in the Rush Hour of Life. The Information Society, 16 (March 1999), 65-75.)

Finally, the CybreMinder system works by recognizing a “situation” and triggering an appropriate reminder based on the situation at hand [10].

Students at Simon Fraser developed the LadyBag; a series of concepts for lady’s handbags that use LEDs [18]. Like the Torch Bag, one use of the bag is for self-expression. However, their designs also indicated the use of an RFID system so the LEDs could work to communicate when an item is missing. An article from New Scientist magazine describes a speculative project from MIT to build a bag using smart textiles that could prevent users from forgetting their umbrella and wallet [5]. (Biever, C. Smart Fabrics Make for Enhanced Living. In New Scientist, (2004), Accessed: September 2, 2009: fabrics-make-for-enhanced-living.html.

LadyBag Project:

Forgetting a non routine item seemed to be one of the biggest factors for forgetting an item.

Some of the insights highlighted are very complex to be able to create in a smart bag, but it would make it a very useful bag to have. from their paper:

Insights: A well-designed smart bag would need to have different rules for what is missing at different times and touchpoints. A challenge is both for the system to know and for the user to be able to explicitly state an approximate time before a touch-point that something should be considered missing. For example, non-activity items should not be considered missing until the last minute, but serviced and used items, like uniforms and baseball mitts, might be considered “missing” the night before an event during initial packing. Additionally, the smart bag would need to know which items needed to be removed at any of the various touch-points. Things like wet bathing suits remaining in a bag for a whole week have the potential to damage other items stored in the bag as well as the bag itself. Ideally, the bag should be able to sense its location as well as the location of users both to infer the current touch- point and to infer if the bag has been left behind. This also indicates the need for the bag to communicate with people who are not nearby, perhaps via text messaging. Finally, the need to create reminders when the rules change…

Last minute items - families often placed a note on top of the bag etc…

In terms of communicative form, our strongest hunch coming out of the sessions is that smart bags should use light patterns integrated into the bags physical/visual design to gain the user’s attention, but that the bag should also have some means, such as a screen with text, to indicate precisely what is wrong.

Read Zimmerman, J., Forlizzi, J. and Evenson, S. Research through Design as a Method for Interaction Design Research in HCI. In Proc. CHI, (2007) ACM Press, 493-502.


Sun Young Park
Donald Bren School of Information and
Computer Science
University of California, Irvine

John Zimmerman
HCI Institute, School of Design
Carnegie Mellon University

From: CHI 2010: Going to the Mall: Shopping and Product Design April 10–15, 2010, Atlanta, GA, USA

1Sheeld - Arduino & Android

1Sheeld Arduino shieldThis is a nice project that came up on Kickstarter and I supported - I can't wait to get this shield (1Sheeld). The idea is that it gives you easy access to all the capabilities on your Android device, all through the one shield, so you now wouldn't have to connect loads of separate shields or sensors to have control.

At a glance it seems to be a great way to make easier connections, especially if you want to test something out and not pay for a shield / sensor etc to try something.

I haven't tried it yet but anticipate to have it here around May 2014, so hope to post an update with information then. You can purchase these from their site now too.

Watch their video here or read more on their kickstarter page...

Charging a bag with the USB board

Here is a video clip showing how to charge your LED bag.

It also is a good way to see how it looks when the LEDs are blinking, rather than just in the static images.

This post is to demonstrate how to charge your bag using the USB charger. It is an easy thing to do and most of you will already be familiar with using a USB to charge products you already have.

Ring, turn your finger into a wand...

Interesting wearable tech device in the works for a few years to simplify and make smaller, and now they are on kickstarter to sell their device. It will use gestures to communicate with your other devices.

The project on Kickstarter

More information!/15643/one-ring-rule-shortcut-everything/

Example code for Xcode seems straightforward, you create the gesture and they tell it the action to perform.

function onReceive(event){

    var gesture_id = event.gesture_id;
    if(gesture_id === 'YOUR GESTURE'){
        href.location = '';

[As read at]

Update: August 2015 the ring has since gone through several changes both to the materials as well as the design and many people who invested in the kickstarter campaign were not happy as they felt this was changing the product from what they signed up for.  Some material changes were things like going from polished steel to plastic and having small embedded LEDs to none, and smooth surface to having a physical button sticking up on the surface. I am not aware if they were ultimately made or abandoned so there may be an opening here for a potential product. Was it ahead of it's time? Is it not yet feasible to create such an interactive device? I really like this site for their large amount of wearables components. They have a super collection of items that are harder to find on other sites. I typically go to them for wearable / sewable stuff. Also - if you are buying more than one of a component, it can sometimes be worth emailing them first as they do offer discounts which is great. Quick delivery too.

CogSci Launch Event

The research group at QMUL, Cognitive Science, is having a launch that includes previewing some of the amazing work that this group does and a panel to discuss "Cognitive Science; What is it good for?". Details taken from the CogSci website is below...

Cognitive Science Research Group Launch

Wednesday 27th November 2013, 3.00pm Skeel Lecture Theatre

We invite you to the launch of the Cognitive Science Research Group during the afternoon and evening of Wednesday 27th November. The event starts with a panel discussion by four of the UK’s leading researchers on the value of Cognitive Science. This will be followed by a reception with magic, poetry, handbags, jokes, chat and other demonstrations of current research projects. The evening ends with a performance by Haskell; the only Country and Blues band named after a functional programming language.

Distinguished Panel “Cognitive Science: What is it good for?”

3:00pm-4:45 pm Skeel Lecture Theatre

Panel Members:

• Prof. Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science, Warwick Business School, Warwick.
• Prof. Sophie Scott, Deputy Director of Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL.
• Prof. Ulrike Hahn, Department of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London.
• Prof. Shalom Lappin FBA, Professor of Computational Linguistics, Department of Philosophy, Kings College London.

Welcome and Introduction to Research Demonstrations

5pm-6pm Media and Arts Technology Studios (ground floor, Engineering)

Food and Refreshments

6pm-7pm Food and Refreshments, Media and Arts Technology Studios (Ground Floor, Engineering)

Haskell in the Performance Lab

8pm-9pm: Live music from Haskell.


Demonstrations from:

  • Matthew Purver: London Twitter Emotion Map[1]
  • Claude Heath: Drawing from conversations
  • Chris Howes: Asking for trouble...
  • Nicola Plant: Surface Tension
  • Xinyue Wang: Adaptive Crawler Demo
  • Toby Harris: Comedy Lab: A series of live performance experiments researching performer-audience-audience interaction.
  • Kleomenis Katevas: Poetry Confessional
  • Christine Farion: Message Bag
  • Jeni Maleshkova: Presentation of Visual Art in an Interactive 3D Environment
  • Kavin Preethi Narasimhan: 'Look Who's Talking in Groups'
  • Louis McCallum: Friend Me Your Ears: Social Relationships and Musical Robots
  • Howard Williams: Perception and Performance in Conjuring and Magic
  • Paolo Masci: Rapid prototyping of medical device user interfaces
  • Davy Smith: "They Shoot Asteroids, Don't They?"
  • Sam Duffy: Student-Tutor Organisation of Interaction During One-to-One Instrumental Music Lessons
  • Agata Ryterska: The effect of environment on effort-based decision-making in humans
  • Jieyu LV: The impact of empathy on cooperation (Demo of Public Goods Game)
  • Stephen McGregor: A Phonemic Approach to Sonnet Discovery
  • Vincent Akkermans: Mice in the Blender
  • Pat Healey, Rose McCabe and Mary Lavelle: The Choreography of Conversation: Analysing Non-Verbal Interaction using Motion Capture.
  • Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh: What is the vector space content of what we say?

Testers Needed!

Details: MyMessageBag

Testers Needed! Hey, we are currently looking for a tester for a pilot study we are looking to run around Monday 2nd December for a period of three days, then the following week another 3 day period. You would be given a Message Bag and you just need to self report through an online questionnaire when you use it for a journey, that's it!

If you are interested, there is a lot more information and a short initial questionnaire on a dedicated site which still has some posts coming about the bag functionality and to reply to any questions you may have.

There is now a dedicated site for Message Bag trials / study / testing.

If you are already a tester then all the information you need to get up to speed is there (or email me with any questions). If you aren’t currently a tester and you are interested then please let me know! Have a look over at and see if it’s something you think you’d like to participate in!

<img class="size-medium wp-image-2763" src="http://i0.wp web project management" alt="image of used for testers to access information" srcset=" 300w, 1024w, 1130w, 948w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-recalc-dims="1" />

image of used for testers to access information


tinker tailor