Contrary to expectations for a microcontroller, the dismantling of the device revealed a simple switch that could only dim between three states. At that stage, the challenge was to produce a prototype that would offer the opportunity to an average PC user to handle.
Fig. 34 HAL autopsy
From the initial stages of my quest, I tried to set some restrictions on the possible uses of my system. In the best case I would be able to drive a LED matrix that would have an infinite, or at least wide, range of capabilities. Design seldom benefits from infinite possibilities and it is more likely to be beneficial and appreciated when its variations occur on a few appropriate themes. A specific application would also be useful for the evaluation and the testing of the prototype.
The next stage was to draw a storyboard that would clarify and display the concept of the prototype and present a scenario for its application based on it. Based on the criteria that I have outlined from the previous chapter, I had to work with a tangible, rugged device that would work as a transducer or a converter of the electrical energy of the computer into the physical energy of a device, which would also be used to pass a message or an emotion to others.
Fig. 35 Storyboard scene 1 Hal in its original state
The working scenario for HackHAL is that one is able to control it through his/her PC and upload to it any program he/she wants in order to transit his/her emotional state in any place at any time providing that there is a second device that can receive such messages of mood variations. Such a scenario contains all the criteria the thesis intends to investigate for a physical computing project. The choice of an already existing end-product as a starting point allows the exclusion of any aesthetic issues because it takes the device as a tested artefact.
Fig. 36 Storyboard scene 2 A PC is connected with HAL and a new program is uploaded
Using Everyday Objects as Communication tools