Sorry for the long delay everybody, I’ve just wrapped up moving and managed to get settled in a little bit. I’ll be able to pick up the pace over the next week. In the meantime, I’ve got a quick proof of concept project and that hint towards the mini project.
Let’s start with a quick review of the tablet itself. When you first pick it up, it’s wonderfully light and the rear has a great grippy-ness to it. The display looks fantastic and the system feels smooth & responsive. The second thing everyone will want to do (or at least I did) was test the waterproofing. Filled up the kitchen sink and ‘accidentally’ put the tablet in while my roommates were around. Several seconds of panic [on their part] later and the tablet works just fine. On the software side, the Sony apps look nice and cover basic functions like gallery and music. There’s a nice level of polish to the visuals. The remote and mini-apps work nicely, as I came to expect with my other Sony tablet. Every person I’ve shown it to has been quite impressed and intrigued by it. My Apple-loving friends no longer have any arguments about their iPad’s superiority (despite my older tablets being more powerful than their iCounterparts), this tablet has the design and build quality to stop them in their tracks.
As for Sony’s Smarttags, there’s not a lot to say about them other than that they’re aesthetically pleasing, relatively unobtrusive, and work well as an NFC tag. The software on the tablet does a great job of allowing one to customize actions to work with the tags.
As for the hint, I’m going to start with two of them, as I didn’t add one last week. This project originally began as part of this prescient home and then I decided I could adapt part of it to be more fun than practical.
1. A great place to set down one’s drink.
2. Tabletop gaming.
What I’m calling the proof of concept project was put together while moving. It starts with a secret… I’m a bathroom reader. Okay, so maybe that’s not a huge secret (books and magazines strewn around the bathroom is a bit of a giveaway), but it’s not exactly a polite conversation topic. It was conceived while describing the project to a friend who pointed out that he doesn’t cook, but there was an alternate use he found noteworthy (i.e. reading the royal reports on the porcelain throne). Henceforth this will just be described as the book preparation device (or BPD to save some typing). The materials needed are superglue, a sharp knife (preferably something like an Exacto), an NFC tag, and a magazine that you don’t want to read anymore. Use the superglue to laminate a block of pages together, either the whole magazine or just a section large enough to house the NFC tag. The one I did was about a 3 inch square through the whole magazine, excluding the cover. This also left the edges loose, providing a more authentic magazine look, rather than a big mess of superglue. Once this is set and dried, outline the NFC tag on the block for the pattern to cut. Cut and remove layers until you’ve made a cavity large enough for the tag to fit. Snugness is a personal preference, I left mine so that the tag was removable, but a tight fit and some glue could make this more permanent. Sony’s native Smarttag software works well for this application. Just customize the options so that the tag (blue in this case) triggers the tablet to open Play Books. A nice feature of Sony’s application is that there are ‘end’ actions, so a second contact with the tag causes a second set of actions to occur. I set this option to return to the home screen and read the time aloud (so that I know how late I am to wherever I’m headed). Once this is set up, leave the magazine near your reading chair. Place the tablet on the BPD as you sit down and presto! Your book is opened, as if by magic. When you’re done reading, set the tablet down again, stand, stretch, and poof! Your tablet has closed the book, told you how long you were lost in it, and is ready to travel to the next project.
I’ll add some pictures and a video here before too long. Maybe even a witty/catchy acronym to rename the project.
====Old/Original Posts Below===
Welcome to my secret underground lair... I mean thread detailing my entry into the Tablet Z competition. This first post will likely be a bit brief, but will hopefully clarify the concept of this project. This project will likely be a bit different than some of the software-focused entries, as the entire system hinges upon a series of physical constructs. As such, I'm going to attempt to detail every step, with hopes that some of you may find this interesting enough to try for yourself. I'd love to hear what everyone has to say and will try to respond to as many questions/input as I can.
To utilize NFC and other features of the Tablet Z in order to produce a system which causes the tablet to perform actions in a semi-predictive matter.
I intend to modify items to produce convenient and unobtrusive ways of integrating NFC tags. This will provide the infrastructure for the system. On the device, software will be used to carry out instructions specific to the tag and other variables.
To put my sciencey talk into a more tangible example, take for instance the kitchen. What function would be handy for a tablet to perform by itself? The most obvious answer to me, is for it to open up a recipe. In order to accomplish this, I intend to create a stand with an integrated NFC tag, which would trigger the tablet to open a recipe app. Depending on the software side (which I plan on mostly using existing apps, as I'm not much of a coder), I would ideally have the system cross reference a menu that's been planned out (i.e. that you had planned for meatloaf on Monday night, the tablet would open directly to a meatloaf recipe). As a starting point, it will likely open to a random recipe. For anyone following along at home, the action should be easily modified on the software side. Perhaps some people prefer to catch up with HBO or listen to some Sinatra while cooking. The idea is in the same vein as the whole home-of-the-future concept.
This concept will be extrapolated to several rooms.Other planned functionality would be to automatically turn on the TV in the living room, play music in the den, set alarms in the bedroom, and perhaps a few other tricks along the way.
Before I wrap this post up, I'd like to say thanks to XDA and Sony for holding this competition and giving me the opportunity to create this project. I'd also like to say thanks to everyone who takes the time to follow the projects in this contest and hope that everyone has a bit of fun.
PS- This first week is going to be slow (I'm moving at the end of the month), but I'll try to post a hint towards the mini-project within this one. I'm attempting to keep it as a bit of a surprise.