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Learning Outcomes

Primary: energy conservation

  • Bar chart is really key to showing this.
  • The pie chart is essentially showing the same information but in a different form.

Secondary: speed is related to kinetic energy

  • the only direct way to measure kinetic energy is to measure the speed of the object.
  • kinetic energy = 0.5 • mass • velocity2

Secondary: thermal energy

  • thermal energy (heat) is produced on impact and with friction, but the total energy of the system is constant.

Design Challenges

Good text descriptions

Keyboard interaction

Auditory interface

Pre-Defined Track Pieces

A pre-defined track piece construction interaction concept started at the Create-a-Thon. In exploring this idea further, using   

Other Modalities Yet to Explore

Haptics and Tactile Feedback

Haptics and tactile feedback could be useful for navigating, controlling, and understanding the simulation. Possible devices include: game controllers, mobile phones, and wearable vibrating motors. In the sim, tactile feedback could be used for:

  • indicating when a skater has snapped to the track
  • indicating proximity to the track by pulsing

Possible implementation could be done using GPII Nexus.

Auditory Interface

Using words or singing a tune, a track could be constructed using a microphone. Could incorporate nicely is there is a pre-defined "vocabulary" for different track pieces / shapes.

Other Design and Interaction Notes

  • can catch the skater while it is moving, dropping, or flying.
  • if skater is released right in the middle of the bowl, he/she does not move upon impact (skater used to bounce, but not anymore)
  • If skater is moved close to the track, he snaps into place.
  • There's a "Step forward" button, but it's unclear this is the function.


  • Play pause button usable even though the skater has stopped.
  • It's possible that bars in graph exceed boundaries of the chart
  • Sim always starts from a "Play" mode
    • Do you expect to start from paused?

Design Crit Notes

  • important to capture the physics model in a non-visual form.
    • friction, mass, height, speed
  • sonify kinetic and potential energy
    • i.e. pitch and volume
  • shape of ramp sonification
    • examine existing sonification of line charts (pitch is upward/downward) and control X-position to "play along"
  • the skater is like a cursor - moving him around the sound changes.
    • i.e. volume for proximity to ramp, notes for ramp shape
  • add options for enabling / disabling audio features

Competitive Analysis

Existing non-visual wayfinding:

  • Most wayfinding / navigation applications for non-visual users describes location relative to the user.
  • Examples: BlindSquare (Youtube video), and Sendero Seeing Eye GPS (Youtube video).
  • BlindSquare has a feature which lets a user discover surroundings by panning the phone around.
  • During navigation SeeingEye would use audio cues and narration to give updates and alerts (i.e. a description and a turn signal sound indicates which direction to turn).

Handisco smart white cane:

  • Video on PBS about Handisco.
  • Uses vibration and sound (like a Geiger counter) to convey proximity. Uses narration to give prompts and alerts.


  • Smartcane video on YouTube
  • Uses vibration exclusively to convey proximity to objects as to not compete with auditory information from the environment.

Model Based Sonification

  • Chapter 16 in the Sonification Handbook has some interesting videos.
    • Example S16.3: Tangible Data Scanning - similar to using the skater and dragging it around to scan the scene
    • Example S16.4: Principal Curve Sonification of a noisy spiral data set - convey shape of a dataset (i.e. the track)
    • Example S16.6: Particle Trajectory Sonification for 1 particle - conveying motion of a particle (i.e. skater). Note the difference in the quality of sound with different masses
  • Chapter 17 in the Sonification Handbook
    • Using k-sonar to depict shape of objects (example S17.5 to S17.11)
    • Example S17.15: Smartsight square - conveying a square shape
  • Chapter 20 in the Sonification Handbook
    • Example S20.2: SWAN video VR demo - user navigating a physical space using sonar "pings" and earcons to confirm selections


Audio games:

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