For my final in Physical Computing I decided to create an interactive wallet. I had this idea when I heard that someone from ITP had lost their wallet and started thinking how many times this has happened to my friends and family. This idea of not being able to lose something has always been very intriguing to me because I have always been really devastated when I would lose my phone, my clothes, my jewelry, my money…losing things, especially valuable things is really a big problem and people want to feel safe with things that are valuable to them. Therefore, I decided to explore this idea of creating a wallet that has GPS and every time you text it it will respond with its location.
I took a piece of paper and started drawing and brainstorming on how I could add more features to my wallet apart from GPS. I observed peoples’ transactions and their behaviors while being in the cashier in several stores for several days. What stroke my attention was that most women were taking more time than usual to give their card to the cashier because they couldn’t remember if their card was in their wallet or if they had just thrown it in the bag. So I thought that maybe I could use a sensor where every time one takes their card of their wallet an LED lights up so you can always know if your card is in your wallet or not instantly without taking so much time in the cashier and irritating the people who are passionately waiting in the cue behind you.
During playtesting I really learned much more than I thought I would. I felt a lot of enthusiasm around my idea and got a lot of great input.
So, I initially started doing research on how GPS shields work and what I figured out was that GPS works only when you are outside because the antenna needs to have a clear view of the sky in order to detect the latitude and longitude so I looked for small and powerful GSM boards that sent your location through GSM.
Fabricating the wallet was a really big challenge for me because I haven’t really built something physically since High School. I bought leather and used conductive fabric and conductive tape to create the circuit.
To hide the cables, I thought that it would be best for now to just create a beautiful case rather than creating a bigger wallet and buying a smaller breadboard and a smaller Arduino. I had too many expenses for this project already…