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So, the presentation is tomorrow morning.

I believe i am ready, or as ready as i will ever be at least. Just q quick couple notes about this blog. It has been a working document for me, so as such it is not organised as well as it perhaps could have been. If you go to the bottom of this page you will be able to view the three categories, implementation, concept and design. My posts have been split into these groups.

Likewise, within these groups it is always worth checking the archives/’older posts’ as some sections have a few entries.

Otherwise, i hope that those reading this enjoyed my presentation ad that this blog is an insight into how i conceptualised, designed and planned my product

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So,  a massive part of any product, any design, is how the user interacts with it. The D-Note is designed to be used on the go, easily, in a lecture, there should be a minimum of fuss and maximum ease of use.

The following images show the flow the user will experience, it should be simple, intuitive and straightforward.

okay, so once the device is turned on, the first screen the user will see is …

The user can then simply use the arrow buttons to navigate this simple menu, like so …

If the user was to then press ‘select’ on this ‘View Last Note’ icon, this screen will present …

Simply a press of the ‘import’ button pushes the current screen onto the r.h.s to be editable …

From here, the user may want to have a different set of notes on the l.h.s to do this they would first press the ‘Home’ button …

They are then taken  back to the root menu on the l.h.s. From here they may decide to view all of the notes saved…

Once again, the user can navigate this menu easily, and can then press select on a chosen option …

Here we have it shown that the l.h.s has the display of a set of notes, while the r.h.s has an editable, different set of notes. If the user were to edit them …

The user could then save this edit with a press of the ‘Save’ button … and again, the arrows can navigate the keyboard and save an edited file. Nice, simple, easy.

So, a little bit of research i did a while back on student’s opinions of the lecture note-taking process. It was very much a qualitative piece of research, simply enquiring as to which bits they felt could be improved, which elements were a hassle.

some of the answers are as follows:

  • “Taking lecture notes is a pain as it means we spend less time paying attention to what a lecturer is actually saying”
  • “its fine, its dull, but its a necessary task”
  • “Taking notes is fine, storing them is a pain, i can never find the notes that i want!”
  • “Note-taking is good, i think that when i write stuff down it re-enforces it in my head”
  • “Note-taking is fine, having to carry around folders worth of notes is annoying though”

Okay, so basically, it should be discussed how this has effected the concept of the D-Note. Most strikingly is the comment about writing things being a re-enforcement of learning. I completely agree with this, and i believe it is an effect that is not achieved by , for example, typing on a laptop.

Similarly, portability is once again mentioned. This was part of the inspiration as well. i asked myself the question ‘How could I concentrate all of these folders into something the size of one?’. The obvious answer is a laptop computer, and when integrated with the idea of still wanting to be able to write, then a tablet notepad seemed an excellent idea.

Just a small piece documenting how i would go about making/implementing a touch screen. The process is remarkably simple to describe considering the actual complexity of it. Quite simply the touch screen consists of layers upon layer. Generally there are four layers, these are:

•Top polyester layer coated with a transparent metallic conductive coating on the bottom

•Adhesive spacer

•Glass layer coated with a transparent metallic conductive coating on the top

•Adhesive layer on the backside of the glass for mounting.

A small electrical current is then put through

When a user touches the surface, the system records the change in the electrical current (there is a local electro static field) that flows through the display, and this is recorded along with the coordinates of the disturbance

For the actual display on the l.h.s of the screen i want the user to be able to look at it as if was simply paper. Much in the same way that e-book readers present themselves today.

The technology is called Electronic paper, or sometimes E Ink (E ink are actually the company that develop the electronic paper, but are synonymous with the technology now). E-paper is considered more comfortable to read than conventional displays, and so is desirable for my product.

What would actually be used is an electrophoretic display that forms visible images by rearranging charged pigment particles using an applied electric field.

There are some disadvantages to the technology, it has a very poor refresh rate (thats why it is so comfortable to read!) and so any sort of zooming application is severely limited. Fortunately the D-Note would not require zooming of any sort (the Displays are A4, so the notes would appear as if on an A4 notepad, no zooming needed)

Refs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_paper

The DigiMemo!

basically, as far as i can tell, the leading piece of tech that is specifically in my field, this is the obvious piece to be looking at.

so, rather than review this myself, i thought i would look at customer reviews of the product. And so i went to the Amazon page for the product and picked out some of the negative aspects, (the positive ones were obvious, it worked well, for reasons i have already decided to implement)

•“Sometimes, there are ghost lines, or some words get dropped off.”

•“The Mini-USB cable’s mini-USB end is thinner than the regular mini-USB cable.”

•“Exporting to OneNote is a better way to go”

•“The pen will almost certainly get lost — the place to attach it to the device is less than secure”

“you absolutely CANNOT upload files from your tablet in any comprehensible way”

So, i am aiming to eliminate all of these problems with the product.

Firstly, the ghost lines. This would not happen on the D-Note, as what you see on the screen is then saved as it is, the reasons for the ghost lines is that for this product you are writing on paper, you cannot see exactly what the computer is picking up. On the D-Note it will be clear what has been recorded.

The USB connectivity will not be via cable, so problem two is eliminated by the ‘flip’ arm usb.

Having the D-Note export files to OneNote is something i had not considered, but something easily implemented on the software side, when connecting to a PC.

Having a secure place to attach the stylus is an obvious design wish.

Having an a piece of software which uploads to a pc easily is again, something i would obviously want for my product.

So mostly these flaws are simply consolidating decisions to include pieces of tech i had already decided on, but they are good at reminding me of things i simply must have.

Later, i’ll start talking about how the software works, possibly with some mock-ups of the screens a user would see.

So lets look at how the actual product could be made.

Obviously one of the biggest challenges is the body, the overall shape of the D-Note. The requirements are that it should be durable, safe, stylish and light.

The answer? UniBody design. Taking strong inspiration from the range of macbook pros, by having a UniBody shell the entire enclosure should feel tight and light, able to cope with the day-to-day activities it will experience with a Student user.

How does UniBody design work? it is not simple, it is more complex than a regular ‘take lots of parts and fit them together’ approach. The tolerances of design have to be absolutely perfect, and everything designed to precision.

To achieve this level of precision we would mill the unibody from a solid block of aluminum using computer numerical control, or CNC, machines — the kind used by the aerospace industry to build mission-critical spacecraft components.

Although this sounds extremely technical and potentially expensive, it is not terribly. certainly, developments in UniBody engineering are happening constantly, and prices are decreasing to reflect this.

Refs: http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/design.html#unibody

Okay, so solar panels. Always wanted to have one on my D-Note and i see no reason why i shouldnt. looking into how they work, seems straight forward to be honest, a bit of maths there, the photoelectric effect is used basically, which was an Einstein (i think) experiment in the early 1900’s.

Basically, light hits the cell, knocks free an electron, there is your energy, awesome.

I imagine the most efficient way would be to get another company to create the solar panels, as they are fairly cost efficient nowadays. so thats sorted.

Also, side not: Aluminium casing in Unibody form like the Macbook Pros. excellent.

Refs: My 3rd Year Quantum Mathematics module

So a little research into touch screens. Should i go Resistive or Capacitive?

In the end, wtith little cost or accuracy differences between them (Capacitive being slightly more accurate), i went for Capacitive. Partly because this seems to be the most popular at the moment (this usually indicates efficiency) and also because from what i have read it would appear to be better with use of a stylus pen. Sorted

Refs: http://www.infosyncworld.com/news/n/10496.html
http://www.allaboutsymbian.com/forum/showthread.php?t=83014

okay, less than a week to go, and i am not feeling confident about my product, eeek.

Desperately need more concept art, a little more info on the technology, the way in which the tech is implemented and have to get some of the research into the presentation, which is a pain.

for now, enjoy this, the most recent piece of concept art. Its a profile of the front and back, very basic, somewhat plain, thats what i am looking for though.

So it isnt entirely clear from here, but on the back that is a nice solar panel. Eco!!

The body is completely made from aluminium, similar to the macbook pros out at the moment. this will ensure the product is both light and stylish. Also the ‘D-Note’ logo is there, potential to change that at any point really, and possibly have an actual logo rather than words. but we’ll see