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Focus

Focus tracks your attention span and helps you relax by giving relevant music and reading suggestions. It also includes informative content that involves physical interaction to help keep the body active.

Interactive Installation

I wanted to look into different ways of providing interactive content for the users of Focus. Based on my research it was imperative for people suffering from ADHD to have some form of mental and physical exercise everyday. 

I thought it would be intriguing to involve them in a game that requires them to do simple tasks virtually using their bodies as well as their minds as the controller.

I built a game with two stages which take inputs from Xbox Kinect and the EEG headset. In the first stage the player needs to pick up the carrot crops and take them to the shed. Easy, right? In the second stage, the player has to pick up a bucket, fill it with water and then pour the water onto the crops. After that’s done they have to keep it back as well. Now that’s a little tricky. Oops.

The game has two stages which requires the user to basically pick, hold and drop things with the help of their hands and their concentration. In this demo I show the game can be successfully finished. My friend on the other hand was not able to focus during the game and ended up dropping the bucket.

Why?

As the dependency of people on screen-based devices increases, also increases the level of distraction.

Another factor that affects the efficiency of the human brain is stress and depression. Often, constantly working without taking a break can cause the brain to lose the attention span and lower the productivity. 

The biggest challenge is faced by people suffering from ADHD. I wanted to come up with a solution for this demographic and also spread awareness among them about how important physical and mental exercises are.

How?

If a service could monitor the vitals of the brain frequently and provide the user with relevant information and content, it would make it easier for the user to relax.

This is exactly what Focus aims to do. It monitors the alpha, beta, low gamma, high gamma, low delta and high delta waves emitted by the brain. The Neurosky Mindwave makes the data easier to synthesize as it provides eSense Attention and Meditation values. Focus checks the attention and meditation values and populates the app with relevant articles, song recommendation as well as a focus level.

Prototyping

Try. Fail. Repeat.

First Attempt

I began with trying to use the Particle Photon board as the main micro-controller for my prototype. I struggled a lot in getting the particle to connect to the BlueSMiRF RN42 Bluetooth Sensor. The board I was using in particular also had bugs in connecting to the WiFi sometimes. It was really hard to send the data from the EEG to Arduino to Particle.

Second Attempt

After the failure of the Particle Photon, I tried going back to the Arduino Uno with a WiFi Shield on it. I used the Adafruit WINC1500 but I ended up having so many touchpoints with way too many bugs to solve for this prototype

Final Attempt

I finally ended up using an esp8266 based board called NodeMCU. It also has an on-board ESP-12E WiFi chip which makes it easy to connect to Firebase Arduino Library. I connected the NodeMCU to the EEG Headset by hacking a Bluetooth sensor and making it communicate with the two components. I used CoolTerm to establish a stable connection between the EEG headset and the Bluetooth Sensor. After the hardware was stable, I started building a frontend app using VueJS, Tailwind and Google Firebase.

High Fidelity Mockups

Class

Interaction Design 4: Ecosystem 
Mediatecture

Instructor

Trevor Greenleaf
Miles Mazzie & Eric Santibanez

Tools

Mindwave, Kinect, HTML, VueJS, Tailwind CSS, Firebase, Unity 3D, Mad Mapper