First slowly, something off in the distance, then very fast it was on us: COVID-19.
When Fab@CIC and District Hall and Cambridge Hackspace closed their doors, under the mandated quarantine, I joined a number of local Slack- and Zoom-powered COVID groups.
But without any sewing skills, or access to a sewing machine, I couldn't help the mask cause. And monkeying around with an open source ventilator was out of my league.
I kept my eyes open for an opportunity to help, but in the meantime I shifted my explorations to a humbler "information pain" challenge: "touchless."
Interactivity without any risk of infection.
Fortunately I already had some experience with touchless gesture sensors -- which I used to trigger the gachapon machines.
But a few of my projects, including the new Demo Guy, used capacitive touch as the user interface. Those were gone. No one was going to want to touch anything they didn't have to.
So my first task was to go completely touchless: which meant gesture sensors, and a few technologies I was eager to try: PIR (for Passive InfaRed) proximity sensors, Time of Flight (ToF) sensors, and Ultrasonic sensors.
From now on, no touching!