Version 1 of the AXCase came about through the work of students in a Humanities Computing/Industrial Design joint class: Huiwen Ji, Patrick Von Hauff, Calen Henry, and Garry Wong.
The class was centered around the development of an interactive object.

This group of students chose to create an Arduinome for the following reasons:

  • It is a great project for four beginners since it is well documented in that guides for building the object are widely available.
  • There is a great community of support surrounding the project.
  • The device, split between the four of them would be relatively cost effective.

Once built, the device needed to serve some sort of research purpose as this was the focus of the class. Unfortunately, none had yet been thought of before the device was completed. Without knowing what the arduinome would be used for (musical instrument, art installation, game device, etc.), it was impossible to build an enclosure that suited the use. The AXCase was born out of a need for a case that could be easily extended or modified so that the arduinome could be used for a variety of purposes. Through the use of cardboard attachments that fit into holes made into the side of the case, the user could turn the device into a hand-held object, create a stand for the device, or anything else the user could imagine.

In the end, the students wanted to explore the arduinome as not only a musical input device but rather approached the object from a fresh perspective.
They asked themselves where would an arduinome be most suitable. In order to answer this question, they had to consider what the arduinome is not. For example, the arduinome is decidedly low resolution, high contrast, and tactile. The user group that suited these characteristics happens to be individuals with low vision; people with low vision arguably do not care about high resolution, require high contrast, and much prefer something tactile. Perhaps the arduinome could be an assitive device or gaming device for users with low vision.

Here is a copy of the resulting paper written for the end of the class.

The case succeeded in a few ways, for example:

  • Cost effective – MDF is cheap and widely available.
  • Easy to manufacture – the case is completely flat-packable.
  • Users could indeed make their own attachments for the case.

However, the case left the team wanting more:

  • Appearance – MDF is quite…. plain. Though this case was designed with the intention of adding cladding of different types such as veneer or fun fur.
  • Durability – MDF is also highly susceptible to water damage
  • Environmental impact – MDF is also an environmentally unwise choice
  • Weight – the device was quite heavy after the addition of the case as MDF is quite heavy as well.

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