First slowly, something off in the distance, then very fast it was on us: COVID-19.
When Fab@CIC and District Hall and Cambridge Hackspace closed their doors, under the mandated quarantine, I joined a number of local Slack- and Zoom-powered COVID groups.
But without any sewing skills, or access to a sewing machine, I couldn't help the mask cause. And monkeying around with an open source ventilator was out of my league.
I kept my eyes open for an opportunity to help, but in the meantime I shifted my explorations to a humbler "information pain" challenge: "touchless."
Interactivity without any risk of infection.
Fortunately I already had some experience with touchless gesture sensors -- which I used to trigger the gachapon machines. But a few of my projects, including the new Boston Matt, used capacitive touch as the user interface.
So my first task was to go completely touchless: which meant gesture sensors, and a few technologies I was eager to try: PIR (for Passive InfaRed) proximity sensors, Time of Flight (ToF) sensors, and Ultrasonic sensors.
Nobody was going to have to touch anything.