Second Design Sprint: Push (not pull) wheel

The Push (not pull) wheel

Exploring force as an input.

The aim of this sprint was to explore how variable levels of interaction we have with an input might effect how we interact with a simple menu.


Building on previous knowledge.

This week was designed to try and free myself from getting stuck on just one idea. I had a concept in my head for a while before starting the degree project, and I thought I should just try and do it in a week to get it out of my system and move on to a more explorative approach to the problem.

The initial idea was built upon two existing works. The force touch track pad from apple and also by the Stacked UI project by Rob Nero at Malmö University.

My goal with this week was to try and explore the implications of force input on a menu system, by creating a dial that has different levels of control based on how much input you make.


The process of creating the object was fairly straightforward. The box houses a force sensitive resistor, which changes resistance based on the amount of pressure placed on it. This is housed in the bottom of the box, and when you push down, the resistance increases.

This was combined with a solenoid to create the feedback. If the solenoid is activated for different lengths of time, it creates different amounts of clicking, from small "ticks" to larger, more clicky sounds. This allows for different levels of feedback to be passed on to the user, creating a sense of scale to the interaction.

The final element was the rotary encoder. This controls the ticking sound by triggering a function every time a multiple of 2 is met. In the deeper menu levels, the ticking happens every multiple of 5, then 10, giving the feeling of more defined spaces rather than fine control. 

What I learned

This week was good as I was able to get to an outcome by the end of the week. I felt that I was able to reach the point I wanted to, and I created an object that I could then reflect upon for future weeks.

I also learned in showing the concept to people that physical affordance was important even at early prototype stage. Making sure the objects are "saying" what you want them to is important at all stages.