Target?

With Conv-O, our initial target are the year one Bachelor of Creative Technology students within group works because ourselves were year ones as well and felt that there was an initial discomfort when working within a new team for the first time, small answers and vague action and responses. With Conv-O we want to mitigate this issue by bypassing it as quickly and easy as possible which the team efficient as quickly as possible by giving it as sense of direction on what to focus on, one topic, question at a time.

Concept

The concept of Conv-O is a software that facilitates a group conversation through the use of topic bubbles that will end up linking to each other creating a mind map showing the journey of a group conversation and development.

In terms of what is the market for facilitating conversation, team building exercises are important for schools, universities, to professional careers because getting the team as relaxed and contributing as fast as possible makes them incredibly more productive. With the program that we made, you are able to visualise the conversation seeing what is more talked about with topics that are larger in size, the abundant point of conversation, to the least talked about with small bubbles that need improvement or can be discarded.

Functions

Two main functionality of our project are visually representing conversation within groups of two or more people and visually representing the flow of topics, questions, and conversation. Currently, we are targeting the students of year one students of Bachelor of Creative Technologies as we tested the basic functionality and various iteration of our project with them. But as the project developed, avenues opened for us, this allowed us to consider the future of the project as it can be expanded to the workplace, during Agile and Scrum meetings, sprints, stand up meetings, ideation or idea generating.

Additional functions we want to implement to improve the software are numerous, to say the least, here’s a few. We want to have the ability to not only save the screen as an image but to have it as a save file to revisit within the program. Be able to embed information within the bubbles, like sound words and other metadata for data processing either visually or right into the program and many others.

Conv-O

Conv-O

The current title of our project. It is the summary of me and my partners collective semester 1’s worth of work.

It took many forms before arriving to the current state, from initial ideas of a kinetic scrolling website, to an android application to the current state of Processing, a visual form of Java.

It is designed, at this point, to target year ones in my current degree of Bachelor of Creative Technology in Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Specifically for visualisation of conversation, in topics, and how a topic grows over time. After the session, they can visually see how their topics took shape, with one topic could be the biggest one, one could be weak and requires working on.

This application can also make the people visually aware of how the conversation is going. With the ability to add new topics on the fly, seeing the natural flow of the conversation makes it a powerful tool to see what begins as a simple topic or question can lead to a large amount of topic to expand to.

after using the bubblwe

It also has a threshold value for the sound, so this visual aid subconsciously makes speakers aware of their own speaking voice, if the growth isn’t being affected by their voice, it indicates that they can be too quiet. This allows for them to adjust their speaking voice to better help the people around them hear better.

Bean Bags & Low Tables

Great inspiration comes from many place, but what is the best at leading new work flows is the search engine giant, Google.

Above is a photo taken from the Zurich (Zooglers, how cool is that) office of Google

The bright lights, even brighter furniture leather seats, fruit bowls low table with glass, explosive wall, plenty of natural lights and the list goes on and on. This image is a representation of something we want to capture and try to replicate with our setup. Its bright atmosphere is an excellent catalyst for creativity because compared to a boring conference room where all the big money deal happen, it isn’t a place where creativity can flow easily.

Even this modern conference room is trying to be something it isn’t. You can plaster all the key words for idea generations but a black and white room is not going to cut it.

Low tables are excellent for discussion because tables it reduces barriers for free flowing conversation for generating ideas. It also increases the visibility of the other person, not just seeing from their chest up which is important as it creates an air of freedom, more fuel for creativity.

dav

Lastly the low bean bags as substitution for normal chairs. This is the crux of our entire project. Our last attempt to recreate the open atmosphere we so desire. The laid back and low posture is crucial for the atmosphere because it isn’t the same way you would sit in an open chair. Being laid back in itself is a relaxing state for a person, which ultimately inclines a person to think more freely rather than corporately. As it is, upright sitting signifies, tight, correct posture, corporate, and serious tone which we want to avoid. With loose sitting, relaxed sitting creates a freer feeling which is so important for discussions and idea generations

Why cafe?

Cafe have a certain of feeling of mixture of life permeating from it. creativity, transactions of hundreds of thousands to millions can happen at cafes, people writing script, sometimes on a typewriter. All walks of life can exist simultaneously within a cafe, the bustling barista with the impatient and incompetent customers. There is a certain mixture of steam, creativity, transactions and action that happens there surrounded by warm lights and light atmosphere that promotes and successfully suggest to people of openness. It is this essence is what we want to achieve in our project with the wood frame.

Border

This is supposed to be the frame of the for our setup. The laptop we were going to use is a 360 degree laptop. Since it a touch screen it allows like bellow. (When this photo was taken, it was still in development).

dav

We chose for a varnished wooden border because it has a cafe feel to it, with warm lights of yellow and brown, we believe it creates a relaxing atmosphere that makes it feel less corporate, which was one of the things we found out when we tested initial ideas towards the year ones in BCT for our project.

Because if you are given a screen to play with, in the room of the showcase, it can be confusing what to feel and to do or experience. Other peoples work run in different ways. So to mitigate this, we allowed it to have a feel drawn from cafes. Many meetings and collaborations happen outside of meeting rooms and occur at cafes with varying results but the always consistent factors is quiet ambient, not silent, location. Newlands, M. (2015, April 01).

 

Newlands, M. (2015, April 01). Business Meetings 101: How to Find the Perfect Restaurant. Retrieved June 04, 2017, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244427

 

Uncertain at its best, tragic at its worst.

I have been combing over my work at this points version of my current assignment is 300 lines of code. But don’t be fooled it is the 5th version of the current work, I have restructured the data, I have used different libraries and used different methods of working it out and it has been the last couple weeks of my life, looking at endless lines of codes, wondering why it went wrong, why doesn’t work.

It is always the best experience when I show my work to my programming professor and looks at it and within two seconds of peering into the nest of code I have created, he spots it with extreme accuracy, smirks and then shows me that hours of my life is equivalent to minutes to him. To be fair, he has been more alive than I have but it is his experience I want.

Back to my work. It has been a tremendous undertaking that I of course misconstrued to be a rather simple task, ended up being in a colossal coding nightmare. It is with my own ego that let myself always get ahead of what I want to do compared to what I do.

Currently, I am using a couple of libraries. Minim for the sound input, Toxiclibs for the visual interaction of the particles on the screen, control P5 the buttons, javax.swing.JOptionpane for the popup screen to take a string input from the user. In this project, there are two libraries that I didn’t have experience in using, which should have been my first flag, but I glanced over it overestimating myself and stretching myself very thin.

Minim is a sound library in processing, free and available for download. In my project, I am using it to get the average the sound the room in whatever environment it find itself in. An initial interesting interaction was that I destroyed the first object in the array list after 5000 sound input object after combining the two left-right input of the mic. This function is fully working, I think.

Toxiclibs is an interesting find because it is almost everything I need in terms of the interaction of the bubbles on the screen. Each bubble has its own attraction or repulsion so each bubble will never touch. This is working, each bubble is being created and is interacting with the screen with the way I have created it.  But one part of my project is that after hearing sounds over a certain threshold, it increases the radius of the bubble and I can’t edit or reach the radius of the bubble because I didn’t bother making the bubble object into a class. I wonder if can edit the radius without the need for changing the structure again.

ControlP5 is working as it is the thing that adds the bubbles on the screen after the user pressed it. There is another function that I want it to do, add a button outside the setup method, but it is proving to be difficult. If I try to make a button in the draw method it doesn’t like it one bit. Essentially it doesn’t draw it. I need this button to zoom out of the object, therefore, the button only appears after the camera has zoomed to the object.

The swing library to make a text field to be used by the users.

My main problems currently are the zooming feature, zoom out and increasing the size of the bubble. It should be resolved by Monday.

Been a while…

So it has terrible that I haven’t been blogging a while, but let us move on.

Our project involves the year one in BCT and we had three chance to record and experiment on their experience within the test. we had three stories

The Doves and the Hunter

The Traveler and the Purse

The Gnat and the Bull

in that order.

Each story is short and is self-contained with a meaning. I recorded me reading the story to replicate the what the final product should be. Each reading the people are prompted to discuss and like the mechanic in our proof of concept, there is an indicator (a coin) that travels around the table, in front of the year ones to travel around.

What we changed is how we asked the people after the reading.

The first experiment, we asked them to discuss and that is it. I vague open-ended question that allowed depth but there was one person that didn’t participate at all. From what I can perceive the person is shy. Although she saw the indicator moving around the table she still didn’t feel inclined enough to participate in the conversations. For the rest of the people participating in the experiment did converse well with depth.

The second experiment focussed on asking a much more specific question, what did you learn. Each person did partake with no one not speaking but there was something lacking. There was no depth in any of the three discussions, just one-word answers.

We modified the question for the first question to be specific, and the other two were open-ended questions. This is the golden ticket. The first question focussed on a specific question, which prompted each person to partake in quick short answers and makes them comfortable which opens them to answer more and have depth in their answers for the other two stories, which is the goal of our project.

Mic Directionality

There is the severe lack of internal microphone directionality specifications or any sort of descriptions. They always speak about the battery, the internet and other irrelevant phone specifications. It is very problematic to our project but there are workarounds it but before, that I want to talk about microphone directionality

There are many types of directional mics

A mic that picks up signals from the front and back. useful for interview situations

A mic that is better for the front and sides, can give more directionality in 3 degrees with a little signal coming from the back

Another mic that has three degrees of the signal with none coming from the 180 degrees, captures front and side well.

The ideal microphone for our final project with wide angle for signals to come from to determine the directionality of the person speaking. In terms of applications, this is the most useful one for us.

But like mentioned in the beginning of this post, many companies doesn’t post much about the strength of their mics. In the previous post, I found out that there are many variation in mics even from phones in the same model, as it isn’t needed to be beefed up like a studio mic.

http://www.camfere.com/microphones-accessories-2329/p-d4212.html?currency=NZD&aid=cfgplanz&gclid=Cj0KEQjw5YfHBRDzjNnioYq3_swBEiQArj4pdDRzSMPGX7W0LYAXcdzPIo6nli6-NbHvl6NvmvL8NwoaAu8d8P8HAQ

This is a $5 directional microphone from the website above. Cheap with the sound sensitivity of -30dB which might seem short but it is only on a table and might be enough for a table discussion.

http://www.conrad.com/ce/en/product/1408696/Speech-microphone-RODE-Microphones-VIDEOMIC-ME-Transfer-typeDirect-incl-pop-filter

Technical data

Category Speech microphone
Transfer type Direct
Frequency response 100 – 20 000 Hz
Characteristics Cardioid
Features incl. pop filter
On/off switch No
Weight 34 g
Length 80 mm

Features

  • Compact and lightweight (8 cm/34 g)
  • Integrated TRRS plug to connect with the headset socket
  • Fitted for primary camera or selfie mode
  • Integrated 3,5-mm headphone jack allows play-through of audio while recording
  • 1/2“ condenser capsulel, Polar pattern: Cardioid
  • Frequency range: 100 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Sensibility: 22 mV
  • Equivalent Noise Level: 20 dBA
  • Maximum SPL: 140 dB.

It has more details and magnitude more expensive compared to the other one but it has higher sensitivity and high sensitivity.

In terms of prices, we can leave it to the budget of colab and could provide microphone for this activity.

 

Highlights & details

What is a Directional Microphone? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.learningaboutelectronics.com/Articles/What-is-a-directional-microphone