Goal:

Design a constructivist (a.k.a. learned in context) and playful way to learn anatomy.


the suit in action

How it works:


Play modes:
  1. Intro mode - Played when the suit is turned on, the suit gives the child introductory instructions: “Welcome to my body band. You’re in free play mode. Press the heart to start the muscle song!”
  2. Free Play mode - In free play mode, the suit makes tones associated with a specific movement, allowing the child to associate their muscles to the suit. As the child puts on the magnetic muscles, the suit tells them the name of each one, saying “that’s your bicep” when they put on their bicep, etc.
  3. Song mode - By pressing the heart button, the child can play a learning song. When the child moves the muscle that is prompted in the audio, a special song is played, helping them learn the names of muscles and anatomy. When the song finishes, the suit returns to free play mode.

Exploded View:


Parts:
  1. heart muscle
  2. large speaker
  3. on/off button
  4. arduino .wav shield
  5. arduino uno (plays music file)
  6. arduino mega (handles sensing
  7. leg muscle
  8. conductive sagnets
  9. small speaker
  10. flex sensor
Here you can see our construction methodology. We have flex sensors as our main sensor, and we actuate with speakers. We also use the muscles as a simple pull-up switch to detect if a muscle is on.

User Testing

After using My Body Band a couple of times, we wanted to see how well our young play tester, Petra, remembered the different muscles she learned about. Here is a video of Petra's father and I giving her a quick quiz. Some things we learned from the testing were:

Prototyping

Q: Does the interaction between moving a muscle and hearing a sound facilitate discovery?
A: It was really fun to just walk around and live life normally with the suit on. Different patterns would emerge unexpectedly. After I put the suit on, I was totally surprised when my leg was only in motion for about 10% of my stride.

Q: How is the suit working? Is it intuitive to a new user?
A: It is way fun to dance to a beat, but the beat should probably be simple to let the solo shine through. The threshold rate of movement should be higher, because sometimes Abby seemed unsure if she was the one responsible for the sound, or if was just latency in the suit.