It seems interns are no longer relegated to making copies. The interns at Open University's computer science department have raised the bar for intern projects by creating an interactive punching bag enhanced to turn punches into various forms of stimulus and feedback — in this example, playing "Ode to Joy."
The physical characteristics of a punch are captured using impact sensors and accelerometer and are translated by Arduino processors to provide sounds, lights or images and information. Any physical contact will do — hugging the bag works just fine — but a punch is so much more satisfying.
With programmable LEDs, speakers and can have displays to provide different configurations of stimuli, feedback and log information over time.
It's the logging of information over time that will be important. Sure, the punching bag is super fun, but there actually was a higher purpose in mind.
The interactive upgrade on the traditional punching bag was designed to investigate interaction design with a physical, familiar object. It will be used to study the impact of stimulus and feedback on users and what impact interaction design has on the user experience over time.
All stimulus and feedback aside, the punching bag looks like a pretty fun way to work off a little stress. Here's hoping they go commercial and every office in America gets one.
An interactive ping-pong table would be pretty cool, too…