Christina Pinto's Portfolio

Repel to shoo away people invading your private space

Posted on: September 13, 2012

Occasionally you find your private space invaded by thoughtless people who think stepping into your comfort zone is acceptable. You can outright tell the person you don’t like to feel his breath on your face but then, you risk sounding offensive. Zac Ong, a student of interactive media, has designed a potential answer to this problem. The Repel is an interactive device that is fitted with the essential machinery to understand when someone is too close and give a warning to the person. The entire device is fastened to a strap to be draped across your body, but it is very bulky and noticeable so you better wear a flattering outfit to offset the bad design.



Repel is made up of an Arduino Uno board, two 6v battery, two high powered red LEDs, three DC motors, one servo full rotation motor, sixteen flat Blue LEDs, a infrared sensor, one laser and one force registor. On the wearer’s left shoulder, a camera-like device emits the red laser beam that sets a perimeter marked as the wearer’s personal zone. It rotates 360 degrees to create a complete circle around the wearer. If someone breaches the border, the beam activates the infrared sensor attached to the black strap. In turn the sensor triggers the secondary parts of the system, the visible warning signs.

The highlight of the device is that it visually shows through small electronic display units your uneasiness at having someone so near. The red LED, signifying your heartbeat, blinks in succession and the buttons, symbolizing your emotions, spin rapidly. Shorter the proximity of the person, faster the buttons rotate. It is not only the appearance of Repel that is repelling, but its apparent shortcomings. Wearers could run into people they like or enter a crowded elevator where it impossible to shift away, what then? The device fails. Though it could pass as plausible modern art.



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