Marco Lurati


Capture the children’s growth


"Highlights" is a family device for parents to capture the special moments of their children's growth. Now and then, parents can take a new picture of each child marking their new height. The height is marked manually and traditionally using a marker on the wooden board of the device.

It's also possible to take and store pictures at any time without having to mark the height too, and all those pictures are uploaded to the cloud and ready to be shared with other devices, e.g., the picture frame of the grandparents. Highlights has a profile for each family member.

The different heights marked on the wood board create a vertical timeline, which allows a scrollable experience in viewing pictures through the years.





MAIND SUPSI, Designing Advanced Artifacts course


Monda Diab


Massimo Banzi, Giorgio Olivero



Mechanically, the device slides up and down on two aluminum rails hidden behind the wood board thanks to four wheels positioned on the back part of the device. For the prototype, the brake that allows the device to stay in position is made of two wooden pieces that, thanks to a spring, are pressed against the aluminum rail like a vise. Here below some pictures of it.

Backside of the project showing the muchanical moving system

To read the device's height to show the correct picture related to the handwritten mark on the front wood board, the device uses a multi-turn potentiometer that turns along the gear rack positioned behind the front wood board.

The total height is mapped thanks to it, and even if the device is switched off, the position is always known thanks to the value of the potentiometer (an encoder wouldn’t have known its initial position).

CAD 3D model showing the internal moving parts with the multi turn potentimeter connected with a gear to the main gear rack to know the current position

The screen in the pictures is an Android tablet connected to an Arduino Mega ADK. The app for the tablet has been developed in Eclipse using JAVA, and basically, it accesses the camera to take the pictures, stores them on the SD memory, and shows them when needed.

The other functions of the tablet haven't been used because the interactions and the interface are physical on the device itself (sliding the device up and down and using the knob to take the pictures and choose the users).

The knob and the potentiometer values are read by the Arduino ADK, which sends that information to the app on the tablet through the USB cable. Below are the design, concept, and prototyping processes, which are quickly illustrated.

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