Hug Messenger

Context

Hug Messenger originated from an earlier project where a child at a local pediatric center responded positively to recordings of his/her parent's voice. In partnership with a volunteer from Sarah Lawrence College and a therapist at the center, we embedded an Arduino and Adafruit MP3 shield into a bolster pillow that could be triggered through detatchable soft buttons. The peditric center had recently relocated further away from the parents of many of the children -- making it difficult for the parents to make it to the center every day to see their children. To allow parents to still read their child a bedtime story, say "I love you", or convey other thoughts, I devised a way for parents to relay those sentiments from afar. The Hug Messenger utilized the Google Drive API to allow parents to upload new messages to their children even when they were not physically present via the cloud. The child could trigger the message based off a custom switch, for instance by hugging a teddy bear or moving a body part in front of a toy. The switch would then communicate via radio to a Raspberry Pi that would pull the audio message from the private Google Drive account and play it for the child. The Raspberry Pi would then send a text message to the parent's phone with various pre-programmed messages. These messages could be changed by the parent, therapist, or child remotely by editing a text file in the Google Drive account. Parents could control everything from a desktop or via the Google Drive app.

Technologies and Materials Used