VisibEL is a tangible map of Sweden modelling the electricity production. There are cities, placeable power plants and factories that can be connected to the power grid. It is an educational game which is based on scenarios. The main users are children between the ages of nine and twelve. By playing this game, children can learn about different types of power plants, how much energy they produce and how much they cost to build and run...
Please visit our website and visit us at the exibition IDXPO at Lindholmen Science Park.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


We have a game that kind of works at 14:45 Tuesday afternoon ;-) so come and see it live!
I(Åke) couldn't come to school yesterday or today, but I've remotely controlled a computer that was hooked up to our project to debug the software with the help of my dear team mates. Thank god for "TeamViewer" we couldn't have managed it without it (this is not a hidden advertisement, it is a totally open one)

Monday, 3 May 2010


On Sunday we were supposed to lay the finishing hands on the physical appearance and the software. The physical part is finished, but the USB to 1-wire controller broke down so we couldn't do any coding. Hopefully we will have a new one on Monday and maybe we'll get some time to get something working at least...

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Thursday, 29 April 2010

Super Busy

It's getting close to exhibition time and we are working hard to get everything ready. Right now we are doing "assembly line production" of all the power plant / factory phicons.

Also we need to get the map ready - attach the circuits for the three gauge meters, lcd display, bus relays and turn button. Also we need decide which attachment points belong to which bus and wire them up. On the top side of the map we need to visualize rivers, add the cities and do some more "beautification".

The software can now handle all the output and input (with the exception of the power grid connection cord that isn't detectable yet). There is still some programming required for the game logic but hopefully it'll be finished in time.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Were getting there

Today we built the power regulator circuit and attached it to a heat sink. We also got the LCD working and finished a program to display text on it.
Now we need to build the bus switching relay circuit and figure out why the demo program for the DS2408 is acting wierd when we try to use with the R/2R DAC connected to the gauge.
And do the main program...

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Gauge meter circuit

In my point of view, pull-up resistors for DS2408 are always needed. I did test on Friday, before I connected them(9 10k resistors), P0~P7 never become high. As long as I connected them as this picture show, I can controll P0~P7 for high or low.
The second photo shows the number of voltage after R/2R DAC and the after Opa.

1111 1111 4.80V -->1.93V
1111 0111 2.98V -->1.21V

Map circuit

Here is a link to a almost finished circuit for the map. The circuit pdf will be updated to reflect the current status of the project.

Notes for the schematic:
  • The OP-AMP has the wrong part nr, we use OPA337 but I couldn't find that one in Eagle.
  • The relays also has a wrong part number.
  • The circuit does not show that the site connectors also should have +5 and GND connected to the (only the 1-wire data cable, OW)
  • The LCD display has the wrong part nr, but it follows the Hitachi HD44780 standard

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Plant / City circuit

This is an updated version of the plant circuit.
The DS2408 data sheet recommend 470 Ohm instead of 220 Ohm in series with the LED Does it matter? Also the plug isn't exactly the one we use. The order on the 3.5 mm plug should be GND - OW - VCC counting from the plastic on the male plug to the tip of it.

And here is an idea of how to do the physical layout:

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Software control

Today we have running lights controlled from a Java program and it works to connect and disconnect both the DS2408 I/O device and the USB-adapter.

I found some documentation about storing device IDs in a XML-file along with classification and we'll probably use this since it's nice to keep that data out of the code. That way it's easy to keep track of what DS2408 is supposed to represent a factory, what is supposed to be a nuclear power plant and so on...

Next on the todo-list is to dwelve further into how to control the bits on the DS2408. Now the code alternates the state but I want to set the state instead. Also have to figure out how to read the input bit connected to the wire that can be connected to the main power grid (+5).

It all seems quite doable right now!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Interesting report

This paper by Nicolas Villar talks about a lot of things, but I was fascinated by the use of a "surface network" for the Dallas 1-wire we use, look especially at pdf page 81-84 (page number 63-66). It's a soft surface that you connect things to by driving "spikes" into the self healing rubbery material.

I don't think we can use this because of time constraints and the fact that we need three wires, not just two as they use, but it would have let us get rid of the 32 slot restriction and would look really cool!

New architecture

We now sucessfully have tried the Dallas 1-wire bus via a USB-adapter (ds9490R). The bus is hotpluggable so one can add and remove components and detect what is connected. Each component has a unique ID-number so everything can be identified. We will use this system to detect what power plants and factories that are connected.

One cannot detect where something is connected though, but we will solve that by dividing the bus into several spokes that can be connected and disconnected by means of a DS2408 that is a 8 port I/O port that drives 6 reed relays (will post a schematic for that later, but the basics is described here - see the switched network section). This way one can loop through the spokes and detect what is connected to each of them.

A new schematic for the powerplants and factories is displayed here. The IC DS2408 drives 5 LEDs and reads if the GRID-pin is connected to Vcc - in the game this is equivalent to connecting the power plant/factory to the main power grid, thereby getting or using power.
(The cities are actually wired the same way, they just don't have a plug, they are hard wired.)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Prototype v 0.1 and usability test no1

We had our first usability test on 18th , 19th March with one kid and three participants in our group. During usability test we needed to test our first version of tangible Swedish map and game rules which is base on scenario.

All plants and factories were made with different shapes, colour, given cost value and producing/costing different amount of energy. We had to change numbers and values several time to figure out what is the best value. Only cities are fixed on map and there are lots of socket on the map where user can build power plants, and factories.

During usability test each participant try to reach to the goal that given by scenario.First usability test was with a kid and he enjoy the physical layer of the map and game. Only one participant reach to the given goal and others lose the game because lack of money.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Plant schematics

The area inside the colored region is in the physical plant. Outside of it is the map (with the plugs)

Iteration II, Ideation - report

Here is our second iteration report

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Many cost for Nuclear plant

Thursday, 4 March 2010

What we want on Swedish MAP - Add your idea on this.

Power Plant -

- Moveable and having a tail
- Different plan produce different amount of energy.
- ON/OFF LED (symbolized that power plan is working)
- Wire with LED from Power plant to transformer. It lights according to how much current produces
- ON/OFF LED light up according to power plant. (light up at the same time / Blinking / Take a time to ON/ no lights (dead power plant)).
- Give a money value for each power plant.

Transformer -

- Need a Gauge meter to measure amount of electricity
- Only X number of connections can have one transformer
- How much energy got in.. show..
- Fix transformer Or moveable.. ????
- having male and female sockets. (connect to city/factory and connect to power plant)


- Fix city
- Small or Big city
- 1-5 LED(1st more lights - 5th less light


- Movable
- Used energy
- Cost money and earn money

On Screen
- how can we show Pollution stuff..
- amount of money left
- some animation about pollution
- dead tree as a summery of pollution that they made. Dead tree depend on how much air pollution.

physical a stuff

- turn meter
-different color for different wire

******Check ******
One transformer to one city
Check how much energy loss with long wire

Monday, 22 February 2010

Summary of different project ideas and suggestions

This is a summary of all ideas and suggestions for our project. This help us to narrow down to specify area that where we would like to work on.

1. Physical Computer
1.1 Build a computer with more interactive functionality
1.2 Make a Robot
1.2.1 Give commands (text)to Robot and Robot will do that
1.2.2. Robot follows after Kids actions

2. New version of Blackboard

3. Globe
3.1 Globe + Screen which show the information about countries
3.2 Moon globe with lots of projector

4. Color and paint

5. Different sounds (inside the shoes)
5.1. Make different sound according to position
5.2. Matching dancer :)

6. Balloon + interactive screen

7. Make shapes and angle (mathematics)by using box/puck

8. Teach how about energy
8.1 model of Sweden
8.2 model of World
8.3 model of village

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

idea for the workshop 18th of feb

how about cutting the foam in different layers?
1 cm thick??

Result from the first meeting

  1. It is possible to leave the final project at school, but it should be robust
  2. The coming task for us is to visualize all ideas and explore them(compare them, combine...)
  3. We should focus on pedogogy term:; piaget(one person)->montisery; epiotemology -> learning. We need to read these papers then frame and understand our project.
  4. learning by doing, socialisation and construction (the concept behine project)
  5. figure out individule interste and do we want to do. We do this when Ake is here
  6. Peter gave us an example of building brige by seveal bolcks which show the invisable informaiton-forcement. (Force clocks-name of the project)
  7. Our goal is to build a physical object embeded computing.
Good luck to us!

Monday, 15 February 2010

First supervisor meeting

We have our first supervisor meeting with Peter Ljungstrand at 11.00 on Wednesday. we meet at the studios and then go to some suitable place meeting.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Some picture from First visit (12/02/2010)

Place - Montessoriskolan Villa Darjeeling
Date and time - 12-02-2009 from 12.30 - 13.30
Contact person - Eva Melin
Representatives - Andreas, Fanny, Yiwen, Yathika and Åke

Mathematics, Electricity, Music, Arts were the main area that we discussed. For the more information will publish near future.

Some picture from today field studies. Check group website for more pictures.

Just one example video.

Energy grid

Since I'm not going to attend the monday meeting I thought I'd share my view of the energy/power idea.
I envision a physical "sim city", but with stuff like power plants of different types(Nuclear, water, solar, wind etc). They have different characteristics and drawbacks like different amount of power produced, different cost of electricity, different amounts of pollution, nuclear waste etc.
The power plants are connected by an electricity grid to houses and industry that uses the electricity. The more electricity is used the more power plants needs to be connected and the more pollution and other bad effects will appear.
This could be made as a model landscape with little powerplants and houses that you can connect to the power grid. There should also be a display or some other solution to indicate pollution and energy use.
The lessoned learned should be a better understanding for how electricity is generated and also what the effects are if we use a lot of it.

Another very different direction would be to explain generators that is the basis for all electricity generation and maybe show the similarity to electric motors. Also powering a generator with "muscle force" could give a sense of how much energy is needed to drive different things.

Sum of angles

I had an idea for visualizing the sum of angles in 2D polygons. My idea is that you have physical "pucks" on a display that can detect the positions of them.
The pucks are connected by drawing lines on the display and the angles is displayed. Also the sum of the angles is calculated and displayed along with the name of the polygon. On the sketch I show four pucks, but you should be able to use any number of them from three to at least nine.
The idea is to visualize that the sum of the angles is the same in polygons with the same number of sides and also to show the sum of the angles for different types of polygons.
Maybe one should add something the student should do, like calculating the sum of angles, or some other better idea...

Another use for this basic platform would be to explore optics. If one used a different set of pucks like "spotlight", "mirror", "prism", "lens" etc one could simulate optics and add labels and explanations on the display.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

What we did today (02/11) - Photos

Åke explains about Swedish class room...

Some drawings on whiteboard..

busy girl....

Having a big discussion with Andreas...

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

First meeting

I've booked a meeting with my sons teacher on friday at 12:30. She's going to be unavailable for two weeks so if we are going to be able to ask her something before our knowledge gathering iteration is over it is now or never...
It's not far from Lindholmen and you are all welcome ;-) We/I just have to prepare something to present to her on Thursday.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Interview (Eric 7y) - About computer

Name : Eric Malalatunga
Age : 7 years
School : one school in Bollnäs (grade 1)
Interview platform : Over the Skype video call
Extra : Eric has a own desktop computer with blue CPU and using it every single hours. I got some help from my cousin Jimutha to motivate him.

One day I called to him and asked what I want from he. So he got around one day to think and draw a picture. Next day when I had a Skype video call with him he explained like this.

The blue box is a computer box (I think he means CPU). It is having lotssss of lights. Specially purple and green. There are four small red boxes inside the computer. Each box has two vertical parallel lights. Still lots of lights See picture. Red line which is cross all red boxes is a power supply wire for all lights. Yellow lines on the picture also power wires. According to him there are lots of power supply wires but it is hard to draw all and it will make his picture ugly.

There is a door, left down on the the picture. According to Eric this door will works like a switch. When three persons, who are working inside the computer, enter in to computer through a the door, all lights will lighted. (So he means that door will work like a switch. When u press the key board or give some input computer will start to work). On the right hand side there will be a computer screen that he forgot to draw. All power wires are connected to screen so he can still see purple and green lights on screen. Persons who are working in computer has a own red box.He will work only in that area. He has a chair with wheel. So he doesn't need to walk. :)

Yesterday he explained about four box. He has four boxes for different applications. He told me he needs more red boxes but paper was too small. So yet another box he has four red box for Bolibompa, SVT Play, Facebook Barnbuddy game and his favourite computer game site.

Eric needs to explain more. But I think he got confuse by him self.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Ideas based on Ultrasonic sensor

Ultrasonic sensor generate high frequency sound waves and evaluate the echo which is received back by the sensor. It can be used for measuring: wind speed and direction.
There are my two ideas:

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Living technology

When reading about this strange natural phenomenon "self-rolling-snow-balls" I got to think about living technology, it's not where you left it last night. So the kids might get interested with something living, that isn't suppose to live. The classroom looks different every day?!

Strange idea?

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Simulate sound

This is a "sound" project. Pressure sensors to create self induced sound and simulate walking on
different kinds of surfaces walking on grass, snow, glass.... Inpute sound will transmit to an Arduino controler(in a bag on shoulder) which simulate the sound.
There's a wireless technic called XBee. maybe we can think not only for this sound simulation. If you know the project been done in Ubiquitous computing - the Ikea light, they used XBee for changing lights remotely.

I like to create a project base on other projects' function which means that is possible to work with and fast to implement.

A new idea - Colour & Painting

short introduction:
Inspiration from Sifting and the Pillow from Fardshid(assistant). Like reality, By mixing RGB to create new color. Here, we can pour "colour"s to the big plate, all of plates have display and direction sensors (implementable). There's one thing can not be done in reality, but probable could be done here in digital world: absorb one of the basic colour from the big plate. Touching the surface of the big plate by a "cube" could be one way, the longer time for touching the more absorbed. For getting colore, a "pen" can just touch the big plate. A "paper" is need too. One more thing, to empty the big plate, "pouring" the colour inside to anywhere.

Waiting for your opinions...

An interesting material maybe we can...

Polymorph (Polycaprolactone) material, also
known as “Shapelock” or “Friendly Plastic”, will be used
to sculpt the shape of the right-hand controller around the
completed electronics for The Fingers.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Teaching kids about computers

Hiccup is a method of using kids to build a computer - and let them learn about how it works...

enviromentally concious

It is just a tought...maybe some way we can teach children to be enviromentally concious.
Not sure how to present the idea physically.

Sunday, 31 January 2010

A link for projects

one more quick thought - Interactive Globe

Y'day night I was dreaming about Globe. :)
So I got some funny idea about making some interesting thing for kids. Can't we make some interactive globe for kids. Like when they touch one country they can see detail of selected country on a screen. This just quick thought. May be we can have more function. Kids can play and learn at the same time...

Friday, 29 January 2010

Quick thought

Interactive "black boards" are seeing their way into schools. Maybe we could find an interesting use for them.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

What are we interested in?

We today worked and finished our Process Proposal. We also discussed what we are interested with the goal to find a more specific question to work with. We ended up with these different things:

* Using an artifact with out help. (Åke)
* Education (Yathika)
* Play (Yathika)
* Challenge (Andreas)
* Complex concept explained to kids (Åke)

This lead me(Andreas) to think back on a discussion with a friend about the general knowledge of people. That in the future, all people should know how a computer works, what components it has etc. The concept of the computer. And that it should be taught to kids at an early age.

This got an discussion going, we ended up with a project idea:
"Teach how a computer works, what components build up the computer and how math is used in it, to kids."

This is one idea, we should not invest to much in to it, but it is something work with.

Invisible Project Schedule

Invisible Project Schedule

Time line



Week 4-5

(25/1 - 05/2)

Iteration - 0

· Planing

· Project process

· Project process presentation

· Identifying user group

Week 6 -7

(08/2 - 19/2)

Iteration – I

(Knowledge building)

· Collecting information

· Reaseach / field studies

· Idendifying problems areas

Week 8-9

(22/2 - 05/3)

Iteration - II


· Idea building

· Testing ideas

· Prototype

Week 10 – 12

(08/3 - 26/3)

Iteration – III


· Prototype.....

· Usability test

Week 13

(29/3 – 02/4)

Easter Holiday

Easter Holiday

Week 14 – 15

(05/4 – 16/4)

Iteration – IV


· Implentation...

· Physical , Hardware, Software

· Usability test

Week 16 – 17

(19/4 – 30/4)

Iteration - V


· Bug fixing

· Usability test

Week 18

(03/5 – 07/5)

Exhibition week

Exhibition week

Week 19 – 20

(10/5- 21/05)


· Debriefing

· Project report

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

process and iterations

We have today discussed our process proposal and the making of a iterative work process for the whole project. We have agreed on three entries on the priority list for the first iteration, these are: relationship with stakeholders, user group and artifact.

Our iterative work model will be split up into five iterations with different themes: Knowledge Building, Ideation, Prototype, Implementation and Evaluation.
Each iteration will have a duration of two weeks.

A iteration will start with a kick-off meeting on the first Monday, where the priority list will be constructed, the near future is planed, work and responsibilities are divided on the group.

Intermediate meeting on the second Monday of the iteration. Where the progress is discussed and the last week of the iteration is planed.

Evaluation meeting will be done on the last Friday of the two weeks. What have we done, what is our result? On this meeting we will produce an iteration rapport.

Every Thursday will have a work meeting, just to have a certain day you know everyone of the group is gathered just for the project.

Yathika will soon post the schedule for the iterations.