Initial results from the Chin Up Chapeau

Having made a hat to measure my posture as I walk around different parts of the city, I’ve spent the last few days testing it and getting a feel for what sort of results it produces.

Chin Up Chapeau - initial results.

Diagram showing position, direction I'm facing and the angle of my head. Click for a much larger version...

Pretty much exactly as I was expecting really, which is probably a good reason to avoid drawing any sweeping conclusions from it – at least until I’ve got to the stage where I collect data without being aware that I’m doing so…

On the plus side, it does reveal lots of unexpected things – posing yet more questions in the process – and that, I believe, is the sign of a good tool!

For these renderings, green represents a neutral head position, with the pointer getting redder as my gaze is lowered. Here are some noticings:

The lower, horizontal section shows me walking along a fairly busy road: eyes front, head direction and angle reasonably constant. The upper section is along a footpath next to a river: my interest is drawn in all sorts of directions and this is shown by the inconsistency in pointer direction and colour

Close-up of a high interest area - head angle changes a lot, as does the direction I'm facing

Head angle decreases slowly as I approach the High Street, but returns to a neutral position a lot quicker as I leave it behind me

High Street Mode gets switched off as soon as I go into the Post Office, on another day it fades slowly as I walk away.

It’s becoming apparent that I need to include some sort of calibration so that I can more reasonably compare tracks from different walks. Currently, differences in how I’m wearing the hat are too easily read as differences in head angle when I put all the traces on the same diagram.

I’ve also expanded the arduino code so that I log date, time, latitude, longitude, altitude, course, speed, bearing, pitch and roll. I think there are some very interesting potential correlations to investigate (for example: when my head angle decreases, do I also walk faster?) and, whilst I may not be investigating them right now, I want to make sure I’ve got the data when I do!

Introducing the Chin Up Chapeau

[or the Shin Up Shapeau. Or the Chin Up Chap! Oh!]

The Chin Up Chapeau

I’ve been thinking a lot about how my posture changes in relation to whereabouts I am as I walk around Birmingham.

As I approach what I perceive to be high risk areas I believe I adopt a significantly more defensive stance: lowering my gaze and stooping slightly. Of course, there are hunches and there are hunches…

I made the Chin Up Chapeau to measure the angle of my head and log it along with locational data so I can see exactly how my posture relates to space. Do I really stoop, or is it, y’know, all in my head? Where are the danger zones? Are the boundaries clearly defined?

The Chin Up Chapeau sports a gps receiver [EM 406a], a tilt-compensated compass[CMPS10], a logging device [OpenLog] and an arduino clone microcontroller [RBBB] along with a few other accoutrements like a soft switch and an indicator LED.

There are still a few niceties to be sorted out, but here’s a visualisation of a quick walk last night:

Head angle, bearing, location ...and a loaf of bread from the Co-op

I’m going to log data as I walk around the city, but I’m very aware of how easy it would be to ‘fake’ the outcomes to match what I think they should be.

Or perhaps I’ll be concious that I’m watching myself and instead make an effort to keep my chin up at all times…

At the very least I now have an electrically heated hat to keep me cosy!



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