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What’s in the Puck?

Written by Tarik - Engineering at Zenytime

What’s in the Puck?

Years of research have led to the ultimate breath sensor: Sensawaft™ is the exclusive MEMS sensor at the heart of the Puck. “MEMS” stands for microelectromechanical system: it is the component which enables us to detect your breath flow, and to measure its intensity and direction.

In the past years, we have gathered a remarkable amount of data regarding how humans have used their breath to interact with their environment, throughout ages and cultures, in real-life scenarios.

It may sometimes look like magic, but our sensor and algorithms are pretty sophisticated and were developed for the purposes of measuring and optimizing breath-based interaction.

Sensor

It took many generations to reach Sensawaft’s current design so it optimally performs in all of the following areas:

  • High sensitivity – in the open space
  • Strong resistance to noise signals
  • High reliability
  • Accurate signal separation
  • Small size package
  • Cost reduction

Meeting such requirements inside one single package was a real challenge that took hard work and iterative engineering.

We had to come up with creative ideas and to shake things off and start over, and over again, while keeping in mind manufacturing cost, cycles, packaging and testing.

Sensawaft embeds a very thin conductive membrane that reacts to breath pressure that is applied on it every time you breathe out toward the Puck. It detects thousands of state transitions per second, so we needed a way to process this raw data and clean it so it yields the interaction you intend and most enjoyable user experience.

For this we had to relentlessly improve our core decision process and resulting UX algorithms.

Algorithms

We had to figure out and map the interaction users want to generate. We tested many algorithm processing features to bring to life the user experience you can enjoy in Zenytime games.

 

Our sensor captures thousands of unique signals every second: from there, our task was to guess what users were really looking for, both in terms of game controls and unconscious/subconscious sensory perception and expectations.

 

Everyone has been building their own experience of breath-based interaction, whether blowing candles on a birthday cake, soap bubbles, dandelion seeds… dust… spinning a pinwheel, or blowing through a straw to control a ping pong ball.

We had to integrate inherent latency and other such constraints and develop the intelligence that analyzes and interpret sensor’s outputs.

We developed features somewhat similar to a breath-sensitive full directional pad, with a smooth motion so you can feel that nice effect of having deep control over the object’s motion, with some latency, etc.

We are constantly testing and implementing new user experiences that deliver realistic, “feel good”, enjoyable gaming experience while keeping you breathing healthy.

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