Customic (2015)


We aimed to design a microphone to be connected to a tablet or Android sever (e.g., based on Odroid) to offer an accessible interface. This microphone should allow the user to give speech commands with more comfort compared to the built-in microphone of tablets. To increase the usability, the device should also feature a number of hardware buttons that optionally provide access to important functions (e.g., go back; de-/activate speech recognition etc.). These functions should be customizable by the user, therefore the name of “customic”. Customizing can either take place using a software configurator or or using tangible tokens implemented with RFID.


The user gives the speech command “OK Google text message to Alexandra”. As a consequence, the system opens the texting app and the user starts dictating his/her message. However, the speech recognition interprets the last word incorrectly. Therefore, the user touches the delete button next to the mic module → the last word is deleted as a response. As time passes by, nevertheless, the user figures out that he/she doesn’t actually need this function. He/she would rather use the same button as a shortcut for navigating to the music app. Therefore, he/she puts the “programming mode” RFID tag on top of the device → the system is now in program mode. Then, he touches button #1 and places the music app RFID tag on the devices. As a consequence, the corresponding touch button now is programmed to serve as a music app quick access button. Alternatively, the device could also be reconfigured using an app running on the tablet, instead of the tangibles (RFID tags).


Video with early concept prototype



My excellent student David Schnitzhofer took on the project, and the images below show him packing the electronic components into pretty small casings which he modelled and printed in 3D.


Further images