The app opening page. The O is the ball!
Senso's app icon in the Android launcher
The ball on the screen when using the app
As students, we know how difficult it is to stay focused. We tend to resort to fidget spinners/cubes, pens, or the phones in our pockets. Every moment of downtime becomes absorbed by endless scrolling on social media or playing an addictive mobile game designed to get us hooked. Senso is our alternative.
What Senso Does
Senso is a simple app that turns an Android device into a fidget tool. With human-computer interaction as the focal point, the app utilizes physical volume keys, tilt controls, tapping, and dragging, to intuitively manoeuvre a white ball around the screen. These mechanics, along with two different forms of haptic feedback create a unique and stimulating sensory experience that enables the user to better focus on what's around them.
How We Built It
We developed Senso using Google's Android Studio IDE. Our team's experience with Java was transferable, and many features were implemented from research, trial and error, and guidance from mentors at Hack the North. One aspect that was crucial to this project was UX/UI design. Fidget tools are misrepresented as childish and immature. Senso changes this narrative through the use of a clean monochromatic design, which elevates the typical bright colours of fidget devices into a sophisticated tool that anyone can use.
Challenges We Ran Into
As first time hackers, we did not know where to start. Having only used Java in an academic setting, creating an app was initially intimidating. By focusing on an issue relevant to us, we overcame this mental barrier and continued to hack and test, even when things felt out of reach. From a technical standpoint, the most challenging functionality to integrate was the gyroscope. For instance, being new to app development, we did not know to register the sensor's listener. Eventually, we realized this and got the feature to work.
Accomplishments That We're Proud of
- Learning to ask meaningful questions
- Creating a functional and useful project in under 36 hours
- Developing an app where the user does not even need to look at the screen! (How cool is that?!)
What We Learned
When initially brainstorming app ideas, we came up with complex solutions that were more 'flashy' than functional. Later on, we learned to look at an issue and its effects on people, rather than finding a specific technology for the sake of using it.
What's next for Senso
Other features we would like to include would be pronounced physics effects on the ball, such as gravity. We believe this will make the app more calming and fun to fidget with.