Marco Lurati


Capture the children’s growth


"Highlights" is a family device with which parents can capture the special moments of their children's growth. Every 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 wood board of the device.

It's also possible to take and store pictures at anytime without having to mark the hight too and all those pictures are uploaded on the cloud and ready to be shared with other devices, e.g. the picture frame of the grandparents. Highlights has obviously 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 slide up and down on two aluminum rails that are 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 simply made by two wood pieces that, thanks to a spring, are pressed against the aluminum rail like a vise. Here below some pictures about it.

Backside of the project showing the muchanical moving system

To read the hight of the device to show the right 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 whole 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 visible in the pictures is an Android tablet to which an Arduino Mega ADK is connected. The app for the tablet has been developed in Eclipse using JAVA and basically it accesses the camera to take the pictures, it stores them on the SD memory and shows them when needed.

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

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

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