Harnessing Technology project

Tofu Boxes
a group project about haptics

One aspect of haptic interactivity is the direct relationship between the way a user touches a device, the immediate response of the device, and the user's interpretation of that response.
To explore the qualities of such interactivity, four plain boxes were designed and programmed to produce natural, meaningful responses to input from a user's hand. A user interacts with each box by approaching and touching it. When each box is touched, it reacts in a unique way. The reaction to the user's action establishes a relationship between the box and user.
During this project the all group was involved in compiling a short research about the state of the art in haptic technologies. We had also the opportunity to visit the PERCRO lab of the Scuola di S.Anna in Pisa.
See the group website for a comprehensive documentation.

My Tofu box: Pandora
developed with Livia Sunesson

Pandora’s box is connoted with her own behaviour. The walls of the box are halfway open until you approach them with the lid.
When you try put on the lid on the box, the walls will stand up straight to support the lid. The box will help you to close itself up. The box will complain if you don't put on the lid, through movements of the walls.
Reminding the myth of the Vase of Pandora, the box should try to prevent you to keep it open.


Input: IR emitter placed on the lid of the box. The IR receiver is inside the box.

Output: servo motor with a wheel. The wheel is connected to the walls through few threads, rotating at the variation of IR it moves the walls.


‘Pandora’s box
‘declare variables:
angleVar var word
irIntensity var word


high 10
pause 1
rctime 10,1
‘debug irIntensity
if irIntensity‹40000 then servo

Main: ‘rotate from 0-180 degrees:

for angleVar=0 to 1500 step 50
‘increase pulse every cycle
‘debug angleVar
pause 20
goto Loop

  tofuboxes group website