Monday, May 18, 2020

Wobble board, gamified

Last year, I made an adjustable wobble board for balance practice: a plywood disc with a 3D-printed plastic dome rocker. One thing that I always wanted was some sort of a device that would measure how long I was staying up on the board, detecting when the board edge hit the ground. I imagined things like switches under the board or even a camera trained on the board.

But what I forgot is that I already carry the electronics for the detection in my pocket. A smartphone has an accelerometer, and so if it’s placed on the board, it can measure the board angle and thus detect the edge’s approximately touching the ground. I adapted my stopwatch app to start and stop based on accelerometer values, and made this Android app. Now all I need to do is lay my phone on the board, and when the board straightens out the timer starts, going on until the board hits the ground. There are voice announcements as to how long I’ve been on the board, and a voice announcement of the final time.

Source code is here.

Instructions on building the wobble board and links to the 3D printable files are here.

One forgets how many things can be done with a phone.

I think my best time is just under a minute, with the board set to a 19 degree maximum angle.

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