Punching bags can be a lot of things to people. For boxers, it’s something they usually beat the pulp out of when they train. For people working out, it’s something that will help them lose weight or burn calories while developing a whole host of other skills.
For people who are wound up too tight, it’s a great way to release the stress and pent-up energy. And for the interns at Open University’s computer science department, it’s something that has been programmed to take punches and turn them into different forms of stimulus and feedback.
The characteristics of each punch are detected using impact sensors and an accelerometer. These signals are then processed in an Arduino processor, which provides sounds, lights, images, and other information. In addition to playing music, this particular punching bag can also emit laughter, or even a sigh when hugged.
The interactive punching bag was intended investigate the impact of feedback and stimulus on the users (or the punchers), as well as observe what effects impact interactive design might make on the user (or puncher) experience over time.
Pretty cool, huh?