Tim Olden

Connection Cushion

Connecting people through (a) physical object(s)

Connect to people ‘right here, right now’. Using the ‘connection cushion’, which is available at the conference, users can easily hook up their online profiles, while having drinks at the bar or sitting next to each other at a presentation.


Connection Cushion - sketch.jpg -

System Flow

- Two people are somewhere together at Picnic and want to connect their online profiles.
- The Connection Cushion is lying nearby (or there’s somebody walking around with it)
- They both have to put their tags on the cushion:

Simultaneously: Requires 2 RFID readers
One after each other (after the first swipe, there’s a timeslot (say 5-10 seconds) for the second tag to be read)

- The Cushion gives feedback (physical, visible or maybe audible) to confirm the joining.
- Data is being sent to the host PC over Bluetooth and a request is being sent to the web server connecting the ID's.

List of required hardware + materials:

- Host computer (Bluetooth compatible)

- 1 or 2 SonMicro readers (hardware hacked/ pin lifted)
- 1 Arduino BT
- 4 rechargeable penlite batteries
- Battery holder & connection cable

- 1 or 2 Vibrators (use the top, one for each RFID reader)
[- Speaker / LED's]

- Cushion (HEMA)
- Cotton (to fill up the cushion)
- Felt (to hold all the electronics in place)
- Some fabric (to do the embroidering on if not on cushion directly)
- [Extra fabric to make a complete cushion out of]
- [Then we’ll need a zipper too]

Backup Plan / Performance People

Instead of having a mobile cushion that visitors can use, the experience could also be turned into somewhat of a ‘performance’. In this version there will be a person (the connector) who roams the rooms at picnic, allowing people to connect up to each other. The person will take the hands of two persons, one in each hand, and through this action link up their online profiles.