Interactive Table: Paraimpu used to support the collaborative working

"Interactive Table" is a concept by Stefania Sini and Sergio Leone, young architects with a soul of maker. Other their works on

Interactive table project

The interactive table is a self-design and self-manufacturing work. It is designed and produced by the fabricator thanks to the adoption of different design tools which permits to develop customized designs to respond to multiple modes of use that may fit in the available space. 

The Interactive table is built with wood, variable in quality and thickness, and requires few resources to have the cut done because of its simple and linear design. The assembly is quick and easy, it can be correctly executed with very few simple steps. The easiness in manufacturing and assembly is a fundamental requirement for the creation of an accessible prototype that allows everyone to simply self produce the table. It is an idea comprehending not only the process of fabrication, but also a wide concept of participation and education. 
The user is involved in the design and in all the issue regarding it, he is involved in the entire production process and he has to deal with problems that are often a matter of the "experts".

Interactive table process

The interactive table is a customized, self-fabricated object. It is also a platform, a process, because it represents a tool to improve interaction and to develop creative and shared ideas and projects.
The interactive table involves the use of fabrication, web services and technologies. It is a small attempt to link the physical and the virtual space, it implicates the real and the cognitive dimension. It wants to develop a network of diffused interests, creating small communities that cooperate for the improvement of their environment.
The interaction table design requires the adoption of multiple existing platform:

  • FabLab - a prototype tools for digital fabrication;
  • Arduino - an open - source prototyping platform;
  • Twitter - a real-time information network;
  • Paraimpu - a social tool to connect to the Web physical things.
The interactive table's process starts with a parametric table prototype. It permits the table fabricator/user to customize the table and let him free to suggest unconventional  results.
When the final design is ready, the cutting drawings are prepared and the fabrication process can start.
The design next stages help the fabricator/user to self-produce an object contributing in the development of a more responsive environment. The interactive table is designed to accommodate an Arduino Ethernet Shield that connects the wood table with the internet and provides it with an IP number. Then a sensor is added, a linear potentiometer, which allows to state the number of people sitting/staying/participation on the table.
The next stage consists of giving the interactive table an identity on the Web: a Twitter account is created and all the interactive table followers can stay updated on the discussions/projects/ideas emerging from the people that sits/stays/participates/ on it.
The last phase consists in the use of Paraimpu to create a connection between the Arduino Ethernet Shield and its Twitter account, permitting to detect and give feeds about the table status. The status is stated thought the linear potentiometer and every time there is a variation in its condition, because the number of people sitting/staying/participating on the table increases or decreases, a tweet is posted on the interactive table's account page and all its followers receive the real-time information and can have an informed reaction.
In the scenario described at time0 the interactive table is off. At the time1 the interactive table goes on and the discussion on Project1 is launched, there are 3 interactive table's followers on the table, The sensor detects the new status and sends a feed a in the interactive table's account. Finally, at time2, 6 interactive table's followers are sitting/staying/participating on the interactive table.
The interactive table opens new possibilities for the interaction at the building scale as well as the urban scale. It develops responsive and collaborative environments thanks to the use of multiple platform and their communities all around. All the different stages of the process use technological and technical devices and expertise, however they have a strong intention to make people collaborate through diverse forms of self-working and co-working.
We think the interactive table structures a process of learning, sharing and cooperating which represents a basis for the development of a communal, diffuse and pervasive knowledge.


It's the time to assembly the Interactive table ...

Step 1: Fabricate the table
Customize the table by changing the parameters in the parametric prototype developed with Grasshoper (McNeel Rhinocerose plug-in); get the cut file for the CNC milling machine (2,5 axis) and fabricate the table component; when the components are ready you can assemble the table and install the Arduino Ethernet Shield in the table.

Step 2. Connect the Arduino Ethernet Shield with the linear potentiometer
Locate the Arduino Ethernet Shield and the breadboard in the interactive table (there is a dedicated space) Place the battery close to the Arduino Ethernet Shield, it will be connected to Arduino after the process of sketches  uploaded will be completed. 
Locate the linear potentiometer an create the connections as in the following image:

Step 3. Create an interactive table account on Twitter.

Step 4. Connect the Arduino Ethernet Shield to the LAN.
Let it to spread the read values.

Step 5. Programme the Arduino Ethernet Shield and connect it with the Interactive table account on Twitter.
In order to connect the Arduino with the Interactive table account on Twitter use Paraimpu. It is necessary to log on to access the service, it can be done with the interactive table account on Twitter.
Then a sensor, the Arduino Ethernet Shield, called int_table, and an actuator, the Interactive table account on Twitter, have to be created.
Click on the
sensor and introduce the MAC address and the IP number (it is the IP number that indentifies the LAN), set Arduino as a Reader and state to read the analogical input every 3 minutes. Then Paraimpu creates a file that have to be uploaded in the Arduino Ethernet Shield and that make the connection working.
For creating the actuator, click on Twitter icon on the palette and use the Interactive table account.

Step 6.The connection on Paraimpu
By the tool of the Arduino Ethernet instance, connect it to the Twitter Actuator.

To make the connection working some mappings have to be set. Paraimpu supports the definition of the mapping between the data provided by Arduino and the different data format used by Twitter actuator.
The idea is to get the number of people working on the table by the current potentiometer value: one person each read hundreds.
On the related connection details page, state the following mappings:

Mapping 1
Match: int_table.A1>0 && int_table.A1<10
ReplaceAnyone in on the interactive table. Number of people working is 0
Mapping 2
Match: int_table.A1>=100 && int_table.A1<=1000
Replace: Number of people working is <% Math.floor(int_table.A1 / 100) %>
Mapping 3
Match: int_table.A1>1000 
Replace: The interactive table is complete! Number of people working is 10

Step 7. Connect the Arduino Ethernet Shield with the battery, start a Project/Discussion, create a community around it and let them working around the interactive table!


4 responses to “Interactive Table: Paraimpu used to support the collaborative working

  1. fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.
  3. Thanks! I am happy it is helpful-

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