About my blog

The aim of the ITD course (ID4220) at the Delft University of Technology is to provide Design For Interaction Master students with in-depth theoretical and practical interaction design knowledge to help develop future products based on user-product social interaction. ITD proceeds through a sequence of iterations focusing on various aspects of the brief and the design, and culminates in an experiential prototype.

This blog is managed by Walter A. Aprile: please write if you have questions.



De meningen ge-uit door medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft en de commentaren die zijn gegeven reflecteren niet perse de mening(en) van de TU Delft. De TU Delft is dan ook niet verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van hetgeen op de TU Delft weblogs zichtbaar is. Wel vindt de TU Delft het belangrijk - en ook waarde toevoegend - dat medewerkers en studenten op deze, door de TU Delft gefaciliteerde, omgeving hun mening kunnen geven.

Posts in category generationy1

Exhibition and final movie

Hello there,


The project has come to an end. The exhibition was succesfull and our team was very relieved it all came together. 

Our final presentation movie explains the concept:

YouTube Preview Image


To show you some impressions of the exhibition, check out this movie:

YouTube Preview Image


These photo’s show the final prototype as we demonstrated it at the exhibition. It was very cool to see so many people playing with it. Thanks for the feedback everybody. 


Final prototype


The studio set up


The visitors






We hope you all enjoyed the project, the exhibition, our blog and our prototype. That’s it for us this year. Happy hollidays!



Team Generation Y1


Triage, getting ready for the final exhibition!

Hey there! The exhibition is already coming wensday!!! All do come by to check out our Hermes, the unobtrusive office communicator.


This week we’ve been make big progress! We finally have two working
prototypes, working and connected.

Two models connected!


Curious about what’s inside? this image tells it all!


Hermes autonomy


Wonder what you can do with this prototype? Our storyboard is finished.



If you still wonder what it does in reality, then do come check out our final prototypes at the exhibition!


Wensday the 29th of june, studio 2

Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering

Landbergstraat 15


See you!



Team GenerationY1



Fitting the pieces together!

Time to put our prototype together!


First of all, we had to fit this


electronics and hardware


Into this

The tube


In order to do so, we created special base plates to fit the equipment inside the tube


Base plates
Now we still had to put it in
Putting it in


It was a very tight fit!


Tight fit

After this day, we put in all the components and the prototype itself should have all the necessary functionalities. For a movie of the working prototype, you will have to be more patient. All the components are inside, but we still have some difficulties connecting all the components. One thing remains, we still have to build in an LDR sensor into the prototype, to read out the presence of the ball inside of the tube. 


That’s it for this week, see you next week, after the triage!



Team GenerationY1



A step closer

Hi there,

This week we’ve made some progress on our prototypes. We are building not just one, but two prototypes to demonstrate the communicating function of the Hermes. One important part which was still missing is the ring, used to select the receiver of the message. We worked on the turning machine to create the ring out of POM material. We started with a massive block and took layer for layer out. Finally, we made two perfectly round, tightly fitting rings for our prototype. 

Turning machine

This is Bob working on the turning machine.

The ring!

This is the result we got out of the machine.



The wiring has to be fitted into a tight tiny space. It will be challenging to put all the wires in and then connect them. That’s why we have chosen to already connect the wires to the Arduino and to put the Arduino in the prototype as a whole. At least the wiring and the soldering has been done for the two model.




Some questions remained about setting up and installing the device. To clarify this context, we worked on some images for during our (movie) presentation of the concept. The image shown illustrates how to edit your contacts in the Hermes.


Editing contacts


Movie storyboard

Making a movie? Our movie maker takes this very serious. To make the movie as good as possible, we’ve made a storyboard, with all the scenes and screens of the movie. Now all we need to do is film it!





That’s it for the update this week. See you next week, the last ITD friday before the ‘triage’ 



Team GenerationY1

Connecting the wires

Hello there,

The ITD project is nearing its end and so we are entering the final stage of building our final prototype. The materials have been delivered, the functions are clear, the programming has been done and the building has been started. 

But, as we have learned during the previous ITD iterations, never cheer too soon!

The program has become quite a bit of code. This image shows all the patches we’ve made and designed for the Hermes to function the way we want it to. 

The Max5 program

But, for the code, most individual parts have been tested, but the question is, will it work when it all comes together? In order to test so, we will need the two functioning prototypes, because only then we will be able to test the sending and receiving sequence of the hermes.


We are still building our final prototype. We have decided to put a ring on the bottom of the Hermes, to select the receiver of the message. The original plan was to 3d print this ring, but that proved to be rather difficult and expensive. The new plan is to fabricate this ring in the PMB work hall in the IDE faculty. Using milling and turning techniques, we will produce a ring. The ring has to fit exactly over the outer shape of the Hermes and needs to be a tight fit!

The material has been delivered and we have in our possession a translucent tube! But when you look through the tube, you shouldn’t have to see all the stuff inside. That’s why we’ve chosen to adapt the finishing of the surface of the translucent material. We will scrub the inside of the material, so that it becomes blurry. 

Surface finishing

The surface of the tube will look something like this.


Fitting the Arduino inside the tube proved to be quite a challenge. We no longer have the space to try out all the different components, but we will have to fit it tightly together. We’ve built a base plate where we put our Arduino together with the rotation sensor.

Thight fit

Even once the Arduino will be fitted inside, all the wires will need to be connected. The wires will need to have the right length and have to be put away nicely, while still sending through the signals. Building in all the parts at once in a tight space proves to be quite a challenge. 

Connecting the wires

One of those problems is the air suction. With the base plate, the fan doesn’t get enough air through. We are making some special holes so that there is enough air to get through. 


As you can see, all the individual parts are more or less finished. The biggest challenge now is connecting all the wires and getting the whole to work as one!


That’s it for this week. Next week hopefully we’ll be finishing our prototypes


Kind regards,

Team generationY1



Building, building building

Hello there!

This week we’ve started to build big and important parts of our prototype. It’s not the final design yet, but the project is taking more shape each moment. This week we’ve made some decisions about the ring, which is used for selecting a recipient. Not only did we determine how it will be used and how it works, we’ve also built it. Our programmer was able to read out the sensor and to program it’s function. A little demo of the working principle is shown in this movie clip:

YouTube Preview Image

We’ve also been working on the electronics part. We’ve soldered the LED’s, the transistor and the fan into an electronic circuit. We are now finalizing the electronics part and we are trying to build it in to the prototype. The Arduino has been fitted into the model and we are working on getting everything to work as we intend it to work.

Building the circuits into the prototype

Another little test we did was with the shape of the Hermes. We wanted to try to have an angle on top of our cylinder. That might however affect the performance of the ball inside of the tube. Therefore, we tried some different shapes with some good old paper prototyping. The angle on top worked fine, so we can incorporate this in our final prototype. 


Top angle test

We also managed to find a suitable ball! For weeks we’ve been searching for the right ball to use in our Hermes. Today, we went to the shop to buy one. It is a styrofoam ball, but it was still too heavy for the fan to lift. We got rid of some of the volume inside and tried again. And it worked! It’s not too heavy anymore and it flies beautifully. You can easily grab the ball, so interacting with it shouldn’t be a problem.

For now we are working towards our final prototype. But first we want to finish our draft prototype with all its functions. If we know for sure everything works fine, we can do a small user test with the fully functioning prototype. Once that’s done and we are satisfied with the results, we can incorporate all the functions into the final prototype. The first materials for the final prototype have already been ordered. Let’s see what we can make of it!

Keep you all posted!



Finalizing the concept

Today we had some feedback on our prototype plan. Together with Aad Jan and Walter we’ve discussed several aspects of our plan.

The core question about our product is: Why am I using this communicator and not just skype or the office communicator. If we are able to answer this question, we will provide a feasible product solution for the office. In the brainstorm we did, we came up with some values that are important for the Hermes. 


Some other questions came forward too. Did we test if our ball is grab able? A balloon is flexible, but with a smooth surface of a lightweight ball, this might be easier. We will have to find a suitable ball and test it. We also want to have a ball that lights up in the right color.

Hand on the ball


Furthermore, they asked about the context of the device. How does this device work when workers are working on a ‘flexplek’? Will the device be connected to the computer? When using the device, how can you configure the possible people to send messages to? How do I adjust my own name? Questions about the set up still have to be answered! We don’t have to fully model or program this set up, but we will need to mention a feasible solution for these issues. The illustration below gives an indication of how you can set up the Hermes. 

Setting up the Hermes

We also discovered some mechanical and electrical issues. If we want to use a stepper motor, we would have to design a proper solution to rotate the ring. To measure the user turning the ring and to program this would also require great deals of thought. Therefore, we’ve decided to alter our ‘select receiver’ and ‘show sender’ procedure. We will make a base at the bottom of the tube which you can turn. It will look something like this:


During the day, we were suddenly interrupted by the fire alarm. We had to leave all our work and leave the building. Gladly, it was just a false alarm and soon we could get back in the building to continue with our ITD project. 


At the end of this day, we sat down with the group in the ‘kuil’ of the IDE faculty. We’ve managed to make some decisions and to choose and order some of our materials, so that we can start with building towards our final prototype. 



See you next week!



Team GenerationY1


Final prototype plan

In order to finalize our design and to deliver a working prototype, we’ve composed a plan for the last weeks of the semester. To do so, we need to know what materials to use, how to prototype and build our design, the context in which it will be used, what functionalities to incorporate and how to program all of it. 



In order to make two interactive prototypes which can communicate to one and another, we will need the following materials:

  • Arduino Uno
  • Phidget sensorboard
  • 2x IR distance sensor
  • 2x Half sized bread board
  • 2x USB powered fan
  • 2x bipolar stepper motor
  • Acrylic tube
  • Lightweight ball
  • RGB LED’s


Building & prototyping

We are in a stage where we are finalizing our design. The following image gives an impression of how the prototype will be composed and how it is going to look. We have a very skilled model builder who will make this prototype look very sexy!!!



Context & functionalities

The context of the product will be a product for generation Y, within a large office environment. It is a subtle communicational device, but without a screen. It enables colleagues to ‘knock on the door’ of their co workers, to see if they are available to them. Everybody will have a Hermes placed on the corner of his/her desk. 

For the functionalities, we’ve made a flow chart, showing all the incorporated user interactions, decisions and system actions.

Flow chart

You can select a receiver and send him/her a message. The other Hermes will receive this message and the user can accept or decline the message. A timer will check if the message is read in time. After a response (or no response) the sender gets to see the feedback of the hermes and will know the answer. 



Using the max phidget and the arduino, we will program all functionalities as shown in the flow chart. In the end we want to deliver a fully operational prototype which you can use to communicate to each other. 


Planning & documentation

For the remaining weeks we’ve made a detailed planning. There is still plenty to be done and we’ve looked ahead to make sure we can finish the project in time. We’ve entered a stage where we need to order materials etc. and where it is important to finalize things. Some deliverables you can look out for are our weekly blog, a final flow chart, a working prototype, the demo movie and presentation pictures of the design, the materials, the functionalities and working principles, the interactions, the use in context and the technology set up. For the end of the project, we will write a project paper, make a poster and make a brochure to hand out during the exhibition. Hopefully, all this work will provide us with some nice and inspirational material for our personal portfolio’s.


User testing @ Exact


Team Generation Y1

again! This week we prepared the interactive model and a lot of questions, to
do some serious user testing. Do people understand our send, receive, feedback
cycle? Do they think the concept has value in the office environment? Do they
understand all our intended interactions? Our aim for this day was to have an
in depth discussion with our test participants about the concept and gain a lot
of new insights. And of course, we wanted to see if people understood our
intended interactions. The movie gives a short impression of the day.

YouTube Preview Image

thanks to Wei Lui, for arranging the testing at the exact office. It was very
nice to be able to look around and test in a real office environment. We
brought two models that day, one was our interactive prototype and the other
one was an illustration of the ‘knocking on the door’ metaphor we are trying to



we’ve developed a communicational tool for generation Y to be used at the
workplace. It enables employees in a middle sized/big office to ‘knock on the
door’ of their colleagues. Everybody has such a tool on their desk and by
interacting with this tool, they can indicate their availability to talk. This
device communicates instantly, which saves colleagues a walk through the
office. The product is made in such a way that it gives a subtle hint of
attention and it does not disturb people during meetings. The receiver can send
back a response by interacting with the device. The sender will receive this
feedback.  We tested this concept in four parts; sending,
receiving, feedback and an interview. Users were encouraged to think aloud
during the test and to discuss the quality. 

the test, we’ve asked these questions 


  • How do
    you select a receiver with this product?
  • How do
    you send this message to another person?
  • How do
    you define the urgency of the message?
  • *How do
    you indicate what you want from this person?  (Currently, we only have a
    concept in which you can ask if someone is available)


  • Who sent
    you this message?
  • How
    urgent is this message? How can you
  • What does
    this person want from you?
  • How do
    you respond?

(for the sender)

  • Has the
    receiver seen the message? How can you tell?

about experiences

  • We’ve
    also asked some follow up questions and we’ve shown some illustrations
    with options we can incorporate in our final design.

Would you like feedback after you send this message? What kind of feedback
would you like?


Possible interactions


Interaction cards


the testing, we noticed that the test took quite a long time. Besides
testing the prototype, we also wanted to validate the purpose of our design. So
we started some dialogues with people, using our little model, to ask
them about communication in the office. The office communicator (software) was
mentioned a lot. But people liked the idea of knocking on some one’s door,
because it is very subtle and it doesn’t directly disturb people.


of the day

In the
current office environment, there are already many ways of communicating.
People can phone or chat via the office communicator, but most of our test
participants indicated that they still prefer meeting in person. This meeting
in person can be planned, but what if you just want to walk by? We’ve noticed
that the office is quite big and it can be a long walk. Your colleague might be
busy by the time you arrive and thus you lose time. We want to fill this niche
with our office communication device. The people we spoke with liked this idea.
We’ve asked them if they thought it would be important to have a level of
urgency in the message, or if they thought it would be useful to send messages
with different meanings. Comments we got was that if you have an urgent
message, you would probably call someone anyways, so this device should only be
used for subtle messages. Besides, people indicated that one clear kind of
message would probably be more powerful than many different kind of messages.
Besides, if you want to communicate a specific message, to a group, you would
probably use the office communicator anyways. This made us decide to use the
KISS principle; Keep It Simple Stupid. We will now focus on one particular
message to communicate; I require your attention, can I come by? We will make
sure that you can communicate this message as clearly as you can through our
communication device. 


let’s get busy with making this all happen! See you next time on our blog.




First user testing

After all the prototyping, programming and nutcracking, we wondered if people understand our product.

We went to a different faculty of the TU Delft (policy & management) and asked the employees if they had some time for us to look at our prototype. 

We showed four participants our movie and prototype and asked these participants about their understanding & opinion of the product.


We’ve asked them the following questions:

  • What did you just see?
  • What purpose do you think the product has?
  • How do you operate it?

We also asked about improvements and suggestions:

  • What kind of messages would you like to send to
    your colleagues?
  • Would you use such a communicational product?
    For what purpose? What kind of moments?
  • Do you have any suggestions concerning operating
    of the product?
  • Do you have any general remarks?

 It was very good for us to practice with our ITD user testing and for receiving the first user comments.

To conclude this very first small user test, we would like to say:

User testing is great food for thought! New people give new insights!

The image below shows an overview of the results and feedback we’ve got

 Meanwhile, our other team members worked on improving our design and making plans for a better model.

 Next Friday, we will try to have a functional test set up and hopefully this will help us further improve our product. 


Thats it for now,

Keep you posted!





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