Throughout this project, we got to know Abe, a new cafe owner at Abe’s Cafe. In a two part series interview we were able to go beyond the storefront persona and explore the depth and richness of his narrative. In our first interview we were exposed to Abe’s life experiences and passions, from his journey to the U.S as a teenager of 14, to postponing his knee surgery for a year and a half, to his love of soccer, traditional Spanish music, and volunteering. What really struck us however, was his ambition and determination in setting and executing goals. Thus came the idea of the Magic Abe Ball. Influenced by the design of magic 8 balls, we decided to create a personalized soccer ball that would serve as an interactive reminder of Abe’s goals.
Interview #1 Notes
- Mexican, born in Mexico, moved here around 14 years old
- Started working since 14 years old
- Priest helped him get into Berkeley High
- In Mexico there’s just one culture but in US very multicultural - he loved this about his school
- Did the ESL program in high school
- He worked and went to school full time
- He would get out of school at 3:30 and work from 4 till midnight
- He worked at different jobs, restaurants
- He went back to college but never finished - studied to become an electrician
- Likes music, singing, voice lessons, church, but is shy
- Plays the guitar
- Favorite song: Spanish, classic Mexican songs
- Loves that he meets people from everywhere
- On Wednesdays used to play soccer
- LOVES SOCCER
- Volunteers at church since 2005
- Catholic - religious
- Organizes retreats, tries to get kids out of the streets
Really likes helping people- feels guilty that he doesn't volunteer as much
- The program he volunteers at helps young adults be leaders, helps them in general
- Got injured, got shuffled around by insurance.
- Postponed surgery
- Can’t play, run, or exercise, lots of stress on leg, but can walk
- 2 ½ years since it happened
- Wants to go back to school, but falls asleep in class
- Wanted to make an Italian restaurant originally, too expensive, so did Mexican food
- Need hood to cook certain food - so limited to a cafe for now.
- A lot of risk starting business
- Invested his whole life savings (17 years of savings) earned only $75 on the first day
- told brothers need help, crying b/c it was hard.
- His brothers helped him clean, repaint, fix, flies, equipment
- The city confiscated his tables because he didn't have a permit - the prior owners did not have one and he did not know that.
- He does not want a partnership - does not trust the distribution of work between partners. Believes it leads to complications.
- He likes that he employs his sisters. Trusts them to take care of his business.
- Waves at a lot of people, doesn't even know their names.
- Really likes smart atmosphere of Berkeley - friends with lots of people, some of whom he has served for many years
After the initial interview, we considered a multitude of things for Abe. What if we 3D printed him a new leg? What if we got him a family? How could we help his business? Ultimately, we realized he was a very ambitious person with a lot of goals (like going back to school, or getting his surgery)--and we capsized on this to make the Magic Abe Ball: a ball that would randomly play an audio clip of himself announcing a goal, which he could revisit in 10 years.
Interview # 2
For this interview, we wanted Abe to clearly tell us what his goals are so that we could collect the audio clips. We asked the following questions:
- What are your current goals?
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
- What would you tell yourself in 10 years?
- What are you plans for the cafe?
After deciding on the Magic Abe Ball, we initially sketched a sphere with mounting geometry for Arduino. We validated this through a print... and then realized there were no .WAV extensions in stock.
Another issue was that while we were originally going to use a 4 Ohm 1W speaker (and even soldered it to a headphone jack to be compatible with the sound card), the speaker was drawing power through the card itself and was totally not loud. We thus refined our design not to take an electronic speaker, but a store bought, self-powered one.
Luckily, we had the Adafruit Sound Card, which completely satisfied our random audio needs. We also wanted to create a model that looked a bit more like a soccer ball, and add a base to it to hold the electronics. After tons of frustration from trying to edit the geometry of a soccer ball STL found online making all three of OpenSCAD, MeshMixer, and 123 Design crash, we went with a simpler truncated isocahedron model.
Tragedy struck when printing the bottom base, however: we ran out of PLA!
Luckily, we used some shiny new Makerbots to reprint the bottom: and thus the Magic Abe Ball was born!
Below are 3D model screenshots of all of our iterations.
1 x Adafruit Soundcard (2MB) $20
1 x Powered speaker $20
1x 4AA Battery Pack $3
1x Button, x4 Jump cables $1
- Acquire parts above.
- Download the .STL halves below and start a print.
- Download the .OGG files below and load them onto the Adafruit Sound Card (via microUSB)
- Follow the wiring diagram below to connect the sound card to a button (on trigger pin 0) and a powered speaker. Also connect the battery pack.
- Push electronic components into the bottom half of your newly printed shell. Mount the button on the top case. Depending on what speaker you purchase, you can hot glue it or tape it to the top case. Make sure batteries are on (the sound card will have a green light when powered) and the speaker is on.
- Press the button and enjoy reminding yourself of Abe's goals!
The electronics for this project are very simple. Connect an externally powered speaker to the Sound Board via 3.5mm AUX cable. Solder a 3-5.5V battery to Vin and Ground to power the board itself. Since we named our audio files T0RAND#, we also soldered the trigger button to pin 0 (high) and ground (low).
Class Presentation PDF