Team GARP – Project 1

Team Members

Gene Merewether

Alice Fuller

Rodrigo Menezes

Phil Oasis


  1. Device for determining friends’ drunkenness by making them perform motor tasks and gauging their responsiveness
    1. decreased respiratory rate – breath sensor
    2. loss of balance – stand on one foot, sense movement of person holding it
    3. slurred speech – record speech….
    4. depressed pulse –  test pulse
    5. erratic behavior – checklist of irrational behavior friends can check off
    6. loss of fine motor control – similar to baby toy of putting shapes into the correct locations, the move the sensor along the wire without touching it, simple game
  2. Baby toy to teach shapes with different shaped (polygon etc) blocks and appropriate holes for the blocks that recognize them and light up correct parts
  3. LED strip from “cold” (blue) to “hot” (red) that senses proximity to a tagged object and displays appropriate colors, to help make finding your keys fun
  4. Transparent DJ table that allows the audience to see the DJ’s work. Ordinarily, the audience does not see the work a DJ puts in.
  5. Keyboard that lights up when you are supposed to press a key. Preferably, something that can rollover an existing keyboard with a nifty interface to allow you to choose songs to play. Some implementations of this exist, but they suck.
  6. a device than can test the security of rock or ice before stepping on it.
  7. Device that allows you to tilt and turn your hands to control a remote control airplane or Quadcopter. Less scary/more natural for kids than a remote control
  8. An insulin needle with instruction that project or display before/during use.
  9. A ring that allows you to control your iPhone or mobile phone. Has a digital display that allows you to see your current song or text so you don’t have to pull it out. Essentially, the Pebble watch, but as a ring.
  10. massage display that projects lights onto the persons back indicating where and with what pressure to massage the person.
  11. A robot that plays ping pong. Instant ping pong partner.
  12. ring that integrates with google calendar/phone/blackboard and lights up as a reminder
  13. Cup with automatic drink instructions, and maybe shake/stir mechanism.
  14. Opera/Movie glasses that display the subtitles and allow you to zoom in and out. Some people love subtitles, other hate them and this would solve that problem so both people can watch.
  15. A clipboard that digitizes notes.
  16. A device that a choreographer could use. First walk around the perimeter of the room to set the spacal place, it will then record the spatial locations of the choreographer as he/she moves, allowing them to look back at a recording of the movement patterns they made.
  17. A bag that will measure the weight of its contents. Memorizes previous weights and will tell you if you forgot something.
  18. A RFID pin that you can easily put on important objects that allows a bag or container to determine if you’ve forgotten to bring something.
  19. Shoes for elderly people to keep them from tripping. They have ultrasonic range-finders on them that see upcoming objects and start a cell-phone vibrate motor in the shoe to alert the operator
  20. a coffee cup that indicates the temperature of the contents, preventing people from burning their tongues or taking a sip of cold gross coffee.
  21. A sensor connected to your legs that can sense if you ACl or achilles tendon is about to break and it will indicate that you need to stop exercising and stretch
  22. Connect a telephone to an elderly person’s hearing aid that turns on and calls the ambulance when an impact is sensed in the hearing aid.
  23. Jigsaw puzzles that allow you to change the background as you’d like.
  24. A training racket or watch that critiques your tennis/squash swing.
  25. A silent training violin
  26. Watch that measures pulse and motion and determines the right time in your sleep cycle to wake you up
  27. A belt of shirt that can help correct your posture helping to prevent back injuries and promote proper form while working out. It could send signals to your ipad or something to show what corrections need to be made to your posture.
  28. A coin that is needed to unlock your phone, like a physical key.
  29. A way to unlock your phone using a 3-D signature.
  30. A training flute that lights up when you need to press a note.
  31. A pen which digitizes what you’re writing, as you’re writing it
  32. A baseball or tennis ball that gives you information about its trajectory and path
  33. A fencing sword that shows how fast/bent the sword got in a bout and other information.
  34. Assisted driving gloves for the deaf that vibrate the hand that is in the direction of the next turn more as the turn approaches
  35. A device in a refrigerator that will text you when food is rotting.
  36. A toothbrush that glows if it goes over an area in your mouth that you should brush more.
  37. Multi-purpose two factor authentication apps. Authentication apps are becoming increasingly common on the app store for different services (GMail, etc.) and it would be useful to have one that is tied to your identity, so services only ask you to use one app.
  38. Building off of 16, a set of joint position sensing sleeves for knees, elbows, etc that remember body positions of dancers, martial artists, performers etc throughout a piece
  39. A clock that tracks and plots your sleeping habits
  40. A pillow or blanket that senses the occupants body temperature and adjusts its heat so as to optimise the person’s temperature. It could track the information and allow you to look back at the data. It will always be the cold side of the pillow.
  41. Similar to 14, a collaborative movie watching experience where people can post stuff on another screen next to the TV so people (especially parents/younger siblings) don’t talk to ask questions about plot etc.
  42. A scanner which you upload your grocery list to, and removes them from the list as you then scan items that you get
  43. Shoes that measure your gait and critiques it/helps it.
  44. A training drum kit that glows with the beat and tells you how off you are. Or something you can add to a drum kit that does this.
  45. Automatic gavel for a meeting. If it gets too loud, it will gavel automatically.
  46. Stethoscope for taking a patient’s pulse/blood pressure in loud environments that changes the brightness of lights based on sound level in the earpieces
  47. A soccer ball that detects when it has crossed a line, and lights up to indicate that
  48. A watch that if you lick it will let you know if you are dehydrated.
  49. Game controllers that make it harder to play if you’re winning, and easier if you’re losing
  50. A heat resistant temperature sensor that changes color based on the temperature of the object it is touching
  51. A bar that has weight sensors under each of the bottles. It can tell you how much you have left of everything and it automatically gives inventory metrics.
  52. Electronic labels for stores that allow you to change prices throughout the day. Comes with inventory software so you can code how the prices change with how much quantity is left.
  53. A ring or other object that monitors a stock price and changes colors unobtrusively to indicate price changes so you can look during a meeting
  54. A breadboard that lights up with instructions when you input a wiring diagram
  55. Attachment for the phone that can analyze blood in different ways – insulin, oxygen content, disease, etc.
  56. A watch that will not let you fall asleep. Detects drowsiness and gives the wearer and nice shock.
  57. Digital chips that let you spatially organize emails or texts
  58. Headphones that sense when you’ve fallen asleep, and can be used for noise cancelling or to wake you up after a fixed amount of time
  59. An interface to flip through ebooks using a kinect.
  60. A coatrack that tells you which coat you should wear today via a light up hanger / that gives you metrics on which clothes you use and which ones you don’t.
  61. A laundry bag that texts you when it is full
  62. Building on 60, an automatic coat checker! No humans required, very efficient and secure.
  63. Kinect application to sort through emails spatially
  64. A digital chip and map based application which gives you streetview or a picture from where you put the chip

Project Choice

We will be building a pressure-sensing insole for running shoes. We will place several force sensors on the footbed, and use the output to coach runners on proper gait. It is common for runners to require additional weight or support on either the inside of the sole or the outside of the sole. This project could be used in shoe stores to allow vendors to advise potential customers on the best type of shoes to wear.  Currently, in order to get gait analysis, you must go to a specialty running store, which will videotape you while running in order to analyze which parts of your feet hit the ground first.  With a pressure-sensing insole, this analysis can be done much more accurately, allowing runners to select insoles or shoes which best suit their gait.  Furthermore, the inclusion of live feedback would allow a runner to dynamically modify their running technique to best use energy.

We picked our idea because we have a specific user type, helping us narrow down the idea. Also, we felt it was the right scope for our group project. We also believe that starting simple is a good goal and the potential expansions to different areas are intriguing. This could also turn into a balance trainer using vibrating motors to give feedback on balance, for example.

We also think that there are a lot of directions to expand from this project – we can expand to other sensors in the leg and provide deeper diagnostics. We’re interested in making an intuitive user interface for people not experienced with computers. Presenting the collected data in an easy-to-understand way will also be a challenge. Existing solutions have a complex and unfriendly user interface that isn’t attractive to less computer-savvy users.

Detailed Description

Target User Group

Our target user group is employees and customers of Princeton Running Company, who we will have access to through in-store visits. Customers want to compare different models of shoes during a short in-store experience. They hope to find a pair of shoes that will be healthy for their feet. Customers also enjoy involving technology, and will enjoy the experience of “seeing” comfort or discomfort. Employees want to show their expertise to help put the customer at ease, and give the customer additional basis for making their decision.

As well, we may test the device with students using treadmills in Stevens Fitness Center, or with trainers associated with Varsity teams. Princeton students love analyzing things, and so will like making their run more comfortable with technology. Trainers will appreciate being able to visually demonstrate to their athletes when they are running.

Problem Description and Context

The employees of the Princeton Running Company will want a product that will help them sell shoes and be a trusted company. To do this they will need a product that is accurate so that customers leave happy. They will need something that does data analysis quickly so that the client does not need to have any extra wait time. They will want something aesthetically pleasing and easy to use so that they can quickly understand how to use it as well have something that the customer will want to look at. The customer will want something that feels comfortable and does not affect the way they run. They will want a visual result that they can easily understand so that feel that they are learning something about how they run as well as have trust in what the employee is telling them.

Trainers are likely to have similar desires as the store employee, but they will be more focused and accurate and in depth results. If they are actually trying to help improve an athletes running style or figure out what areas of the body the athlete need to strengthen they will need a very clear look of the precise areas that are receiving pressure. They might also want a comparative diagram or color system that shows how different the athletes pressure dispersion is from where it should be.

It is difficult to analyze gait and running form in a quantitative manner. This problem arises in many different scenarios: coaches looking to advise their athletes, shoe store customers looking for shoes with the right support, and doctors looking to provide more information to physical therapy patients. Many solutions to this problem still involve videotaping, which is inexact and inaccurate. Some products have recently entered the market with pressure sensor soles, such as the Tekscan F-Scan In-Shoe Plantar Pressure Mapping System, but it remains a largely unsolved problem for everyday use. Also, this system does not allow handheld/portable feedback, which would allow easy integration into sports.

The best possible scenario is to allow the system to provide easy-to-understand instant feedback. Hopefully, this would allow the user to play with the device and associate how different movements put pressure on their feet on the fly. It would also allow vendors to allow customers to A/B test shoes and make the system require less effort to use.

Appropriate Technology Platform

We are planning on making an Arduino-based system. The primary hardware element of the our project is pressure sensors, which can be easily linked to an Arduino. The data from Arduino can be easily read into a system and we can choose from a variety of different platforms to show data.  Because of the small form factor of the Arduino and associated parts, we envision the prototype including an ankle strap to hold those components.

Ideally, this would be able to provide live feedback to the user as they were running.  This would have the benefit of allowing the user to dynamically adjust their running style.  While this would be technically difficult, it might introduce another use for the product by allowing the user to change their gait mid-run and use less energy.  However, in order for this to be a viable product in that sense, it might be necessary to manufacture multiple models of insoles with different types of support.  This idea would add another level of complexity, but would also allow the insoles to be worn on a regular basis.

We envision that the greatest benefit of the product would be in post-run analysis.  The pressure sensors could act as a sort of pedometer, and help judge when new shoes are required.  Furthermore, after a run, the user could receive feedback on how their running style changed as they tired, and on what types of shoes they should purchase for running.  While these reports may seem trivial, they would help runners reduce injuries and accurately select shoes that best fit their running style.


Product in Use:

Sensor Layout:

Display Watch: