IAT 320 – Human are like Flowers

Huggable was a success! Yay 🙂 It was huggable and definitely something I’ve enjoyed doing for the last two weeks.

Wait, wait, do you know what Huggable is? My bad! Huggable is an interactive flower badge that responds to hugs. I came up with the concept based on the idea that flowers need water to stay alive and so do human. We need to be hugged, loved, and taken care of in order for us to be emotionally stable.It’s a really simple concept really, I’m sure many has thought of this. In fact, many has done research on this and it has been proven that hugs are definitely healthy. Just by hugging,our blood pressure is lowered naturally and of course, it reduces stress which cuts the risk of heart disease. As proven by us every day, hugs improve overall mood, increase nerve activity, and has an immediate anti-stress effect.

What other gesture can have all of these? Maybe holding hands, but that’s not enough. If you’re feeling lonely, would you want someone to hug you or just hold your hand? What about when you’re scared? Extremely happy? Lost? Hugs can be translated in so many different acts- celebration, loss, sympathy, friendly, welcoming, missing someone, and many many more.

Where did I get this inspiration from? Free Hugs Campaign of course! I’ve actually been on one free hugs campaign before, I think it was 3 years ago in Kitsilano along with 8+ other people. It was definitely a fun experience. At the end of the two hours, I felt so happy that I have brought smiles to strangers whose name I didn’t know (and never got to know), nor did I know where their t-shirts were. Ey, it was a super hot summer day, I don’t blame em. So yeah, I just got the inspiration while looking at my old pictures on Facebook and thought – hey, flowers need to be watered and so do we!

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Hugs never cease to make me happy but my family and friends might not know how much I needed a hug at a given time. What if we can do a tshirt that can represent this?

It’s not shown in the pictures below, but we actually made a homemade pressure sensor just by stitching conductive thread and separate them with a thin sponge. This sensor actually works quite well and I have to say I was surprised! The reason why we are putting the sensor at the back is because we realized, through a lot off hugging, that is the most common area that someone would put a pressure on. Sure the shoulders meet, but they don’t actually put so much pressure on each other. The other thing we also considered is my height. The shirt was designed for me and with my height (5′ 1″), it is more natural to hug diagonally around my waist and the other hand across my shoulder. Whereas, if I were to hug Ashley who’s much taller than me, I can easily hug her waist. Our other concern about putting on the back was, however, if the user sits down. When s/he lean, would that turn on the flower? The answer is yes. However, we have put the sensor higher than convetional chair and therefore, avoid the back of the chair all together! Awesome!

We’ve sewn 12 LEDs onto this flower badge (that is totally detachable btw) and they were grouped into five different sections. Why is this? Well, when the person hasn’t been hugged for awhile, all the LEDs would turn off. Once that person is hugged, slowly the LEDs on the stem will blink for about five seconds until it stays steady. We then moved on to the next grouping/section which will again blink and stay steady after a few seconds. The Arduino has been programmed to react to how long has the person been hugged for (quality of a hug = how long that hug was given) and it will slowly light up the LEDs from the bottom up (stem and leaves #1, stem and leaves #2, outer petal, inner petal, bulb). 

We had some issues in the morning of the presentation as expected, but we were able to manage it through. I’m so excited! Shane and Ashley also really excited. 

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