How many social media profiles do you have? If you are like most people you use at least two or three, and many people have more like five or six different social media profiles on various services. Having that many people in your online network has some pretty great advantages in regards to friendship, humor, networking, the sharing of cat pictures and even in emotional support for when you’re going through a rough spot. But it can also be a little overwhelming trying to keep track of everyone. Especially if you are one of the many people who use social media for work, making your circle that much larger. It is easy to lose track of that one special someone, especially if they need some support but they feel uncomfortable seeking it publically.
This can be especially true for couples, family members or friends who live a long distance from each other. Not only can you feel isolated from your loved ones in different cities, but it can sometimes feel like they are hardly a part of your life at all. And yes, you could simply text or call them, but often it isn’t about actually talking to them, but just knowing that they are there for you. Just feeling a bit scared or a bit down doesn’t mean that you want to interrupt someone for your reassurance, so it can often seem like a bother to contact them so directly. But as ever, the internet is here to help, and all it will take is one of these 3D printed caterpillars.
FEELix was designed by a trio of makers Alicia Tam Wei, Caroline Sinders and Adelle Lin–Project Remorse Code–at a LittleBits Make-a-thon event where they created the first prototype device. The concept was pretty simple, they wanted to build a device that had a switch with several mood options that would connect directly with a companion device. When one user sets the device with a specific emotional state it would notify the owner of your mood and each different mood has a corresponding color. Then they could reply back to you with their own mood or feelings using one of their FEELix mood options. The creators saw it as a simple way to keep an emotional connection with someone close to you that doesn’t require either of you interrupting your days. It is a really unobtrusive way to remind a certain someone that you are there for them when they need you, and for them to return the favor.
Here is a brief video of FEELix working through some emotional issues:
“Being social media mavens, we all bonded over our frustrations with the over-saturation of communication lines and decided to create a simple channel between two people. We also wanted to create little characters for each ‘Remorse Code’ and used cardboard and straws as our initial prototype. When we got into the finals of the ShapeBits competition, we designed and 3D printed ‘FEELix’ the caterpillar with the body being a mod of a model by ErolSculpture,” said co-creator Tam Wei.
The body of FEELix was inspired by the titular character from the classic children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The trio had started to design a body from scratch using Blender & Tinkercad until they stumbled onto a Flying Caterpillar Model on Thingiverse. The model was simply altered slightly in Tinkercad to accommodate the LittleBits modules and they designed a new head shape. The final design for FEELix has only five 3D printable parts: the body, the head, the dial that doubles as a face and its individual antenna.
The adorable FEELix has a dial with five emotional conditions–if you find yourself having a case of the feels, just set the dial to how you are feeling and your loved one’s companion caterpillar will light up, notifying them of your emotional state. The electronics are assembled from several LittleBits electronic modules. LittleBits sells an entire library of module options that will easily connect using magnets, so virtually anyone can build electronic devices without the need for soldering, wiring, or programming. There are 9 different assembly kits available with a selection of 70 different, interchangeable LittleBits modules.
So far Tam Wei, Sinders and Lin are still developing the device and don’t know if it will ever move beyond this prototype stage. They did tell us that they are open to suggestions from anyone who would like to further develop it with them however. So what mood would you set your FEELix dial to? Let us know over on our 3D Printed FEELix Caterpillar forum thread at 3DPB.com.