iBeacons and WayFinding

iBeacons and WayFinding

Managed to get my hands on the Estimote development kit this week, and very exciting it is too. iBeacon is one of the lesser known additions that made it’s way into Apples iOS 7 release.

Basically, Estimote Beacons are small, beautifully designed sensors that could be placed anywhere in the physical world. Once installed, e.g. next to an entry door or on product shelves, they start broadcasting tiny radio signals.

These signals can be picked up by consumers’ smartphones, at which point the compatible app triggers different actions, such as welcoming consumers to the store, displaying coupons or helping to navigate the store layout very precisely.

Apologies to my work colleagues who have watched me, seemingly, wander aimlessly around the studio, eyes glued to my iPad waiting for media to be triggered by these funny looking rocks.

The great thing about Estimote is not just their SDK on GitHub but the fact that their Virtual Beacon App allows any iOS device to become a Beacon (for development).

Talking about: UX Hacking


I’ll talk about what interests me at the drop of the proverbial, and luckily at work I get the opportunity, as we often have ‘Breakfast Epiphanies’ – an agency-wide gettogether to discuss projects, influences, and the New!


The latest subject was UX, and I was asked to contribute. Given my recent experience on the InkHack day, I wanted to disrupt the ‘digital’ definition of UX and move it into the Physical. So there were slides like this:




With that out of the way, it was all about shifting User Experience into the real world. So there were examples of bad UX , for instance, taps that need explanation; a pet hate that I spent too long documenting a few years ago. This led nicely into Physical UX experience and how agencys and individuals are hacking these to create their own.



This obviously led to my own experiences on InkHack…



And from there into forays into Experience triggered via Capacitive Sensing. Below is a example of some of the Electric Paint interfaces I created for talk on circuits at my son’s school.


The Audience Participation round!

All too aware that these talks can become stale, I wanted to allow people to create their own UX interface, inspired by the Smooch Booth.

A photo was taken whenever a circuit was completed – this invited some creative solutions!


Below are some of the images captured on the day.

tumblr_mxovkzOkkq1t73gjzo1_500 tumblr_mxovmtgHgO1t73gjzo1_500 tumblr_mxovpktoGq1t73gjzo1_500 tumblr_mxowerAVKJ1t73gjzo1_500

* Capacitive sensing using an Arduino Uno, Electric Paint and a TouchKey USB shield (£18 eBay). WebCam capture via Processing, and jpegs posted to Tumblr via Python and Temboo. :)

3D Printing: Ultimaker trial

It’s arrived! Thank you Ultimaker :)




Oops. Better thicken that base layer.IMG_6827

Arduino bumpers


Me! Scanned with Kinect and Scanect.IMG_6838 IMG_6844

Ultimaker’s Cuba software, and a client prototype.

Screen Shot 2013-12-13 at 10.35.52

50 Years of Doctor Who prompted this.

IMG_6869 IMG_6875

Fractal shapes, and a nice vase to boot.

IMG_6848 IMG_6852

Oops. Again. Better check those settings.

To be fair, in my limited experiences with 3D Printing, the fails are almost as good as the successes. As you learn more about the materials, models, and software.


Talking about: Doing it for the kids

Today I got the opportunity to speak to a class of 8 year olds. Frightening!
It was my son’s class, so how bad could it be?

They’d been learning about circuits, and I had a few Electric Paint pens left over from the recent Bare Conductive and Moving Brands ‘InkHack’ – where I built the Conductive Safe with the awesome TouchBoard.

Anyways. Without the yet-to-be-released TouchBoard (check out Kickstarter), I fell back on some simple circuits that lit LEDs, switches that when the paint was touched activated an Iron Man arc reactor toy and a Capacitive shield (USB TouchKey) that changed the colour of an RGB LED depending on the word they touched.

The Capacitive part was probably the most fun, as I had one child touch the GND and another choose a colour. Of course nothing happened, until they held hands and completed the circuit!

It was a lot of fun. Hope the kids enjoyed it as much as me.


Another version of today's use of #electricpaint for 'the kids' @arduino @bareconductive

A video posted by @thathollywood on

Also with #papercraft and #electricpaint 'for the kids' @ardunio @bareconductive

A video posted by @thathollywood on