Physical Computing: TV Volume Regulator
Goal: To create a volume regulator that automatically uses IR signals to control the volume of Lois’ TV
Role: Product Designer, 3D Prototyping, Design Researcher
Team: Elena (Designer), Connor (Developer), Aditi (Electrical Engineering)
When: March - May 2019
Overview: Collaborating with the OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, we identified an issue presented to the older people within the school. Working with Lois, a 72 year old native of Pittsburgh, we designed a custom volume regulator for her television of ten years.
My Role: For this project, I led the process from research to physical product. The goal of the research was to identify ways to improve the experience for Lois and her husband Irv’s TV watching experience. Then I translated user problems and needs into the final product features.
Every night, when Lois watches TV with her husband Irv, the volume of the commercial is much louder than the volume of the scheduled TV program. To solve this problem, we designed a device that uses IR signals to interact with her TV.
When the TV gets too loud the device automatically turns down the volume. After 30 seconds, or by pressing a button, the device is able to turn the volume back up.
The device will listen and if the sound that it hears is continuously above a threshold for a period of time, it will send IR codes to the TV to lower the volume. After 30 seconds, the TV will send signals to raise the volume back up, presuming that the TV commercials have ended and the regularly scheduled TV program is back on.
The device is designed to sit on the table in Lois’ den positioned directly in front of the television.
We began the project with an in-house interview with our client, Lois. At the initial meeting, we wanted to gain some insight into what our client, Lois wanted for her assistive device.