2014-10-04 Project News

It is time to summarize our results during the last month!

First of all, we have built another prototype!
It will be nice to know how ProgArm will work for someone who hasn't been into this project for as long as we are. Also, we are hoping that Yuno will contribute some code to make it more Android-compatible. This prototype is special as well! The ring is mirrored because it is meant to be worn on the left hand.

Besides that, we have finally managed to get our battery gauge chip to work. This wasn't hard at all, but it is just one of these tasks that we couldn't get our hands on. Click on the image to see it in full size! File:battery news.png

Thin lines indicate periods with no data. Battery charge is relative to the charge it had on startup, thus it doesn't reach zero and it is hard to guess the real charge. Normally it should reset current charge value to the battery maximum when charging is finished (that yet has to be done).

Some of these jumps to 1300 mAh were done manually (simple counter reset), it doesn't mean that the device was charged instantly :)

You can clearly see when the device was worn (temperature rise to about 36°C). This also means that we could go into some kind of a sleep mode if the temperature was below 30°C for too long.

Also, it is time to decide the project's future. All this time we were developing it naturally, without having any solid goal. This was very productive at time, it allowed us to test our random thoughts and eventually this device grew into something useful. But now it is time to push it into some specific direction. For example, we can try to make it as small as possible, or we can set our goal to use only the most available components (to make it easy to build), or we can add more hardware features like pulse detection and similar. There are so many paths we can go now! Expect some wiki rearrangement (perhaps a new section for fresh ideas?).


2014-08-16 Android Support

We are happy to announce that now it possible to use same Client across all platforms, including Android.

This was a very crucial step. Now we are sure that users on all platforms will benefit from any added features (unless they are platform-specific, of course).

Although there are several hacks we have to perform in order to run it on Android, it is not as hard as it seemed to be.

More details are available on Perl Client on Android page.


2014-08-10 ProgArm 0.2 Is Here

We are glad to tell that the work on ProgArm 0.2 is now complete. The device hardware alpha release can be found on GitHub. Please note that there was a fix made to the schematic, however PCB files are still those of the previous version.

By now, there is only one fully functional prototype. This prototype is working as intended, however it still has some flaws.

Second prototype is going to be built soon.



Excited about what new features are going to be there in 0.2.

Also i saw the device image so there's going to be ring thats Wired ?

Don't you think thats a little bit inconvenient ? What if i'm on a bike and i accidentally fall off while the wire got stuck on the handle and from the pressure of my falling it would get detach.

Also is there any L.C.D / L.E.D screen ?

-- stark 2014-08-15 13:58 UTC

Yes, we are using the wired ring right now. As our tests have shown, it is a lot more convenient than it looks like at first glance.

We are also thinking about a wireless version, where the main problem would be ring battery. We are currently thinking of tiny li-ion batteries or a supercap/ionistor, but the wireless ring is still just a concept.

The micro USB type connector on ring wire provides protection in situations like you have described. When falling off a bike, the wire simply gets detached instead of getting torn off, and can be easily reconnected after you get up.

Any type of LCD/LED screen that uses SPI/IIC interface can be connected to ProgArm using it's external interface ports. Right now we are not using any display, but planning to try using a small monochrome OLED screen.

-- Alexandr Boldin 2014-08-15 15:22 UTC

I'm really stupid for thinking its not detachable but still as a portable,wearable device wireless is the way to go.Which i'm sure won't be a concept for long.

And thank you for your feedback on the LCD/LED, which i'm also sure going to be come ootb in the future ;)

-- stark 2014-08-15 15:31 UTC

These are some good questions! You are right, we need FAQ now. I will answer these question in detail later, here are some short answers until then:

  • You are right, there is a little bit of inconvenience. But it is not as bad as some people think. I've been wearing this device for almost a year now, and such thing has never happened to me. So, in practice, this is not a frequent problem.
  • What happens if you get "hanged"? Well, nothing serious, the ring will just unplug from the device. This actually happened to me when we were switching from one of our earlier prototypes (before 0.1) to a newer version. This early prototype required much longer wire, so when we made a switch we did not shorten the wire. The wire was basically swinging around, no wonder this happened.
  • Why don't we make a wireless ring? We will, eventually, but there are disadvantages as well.
    • As you might have noticed, there is a bright RGB LED on the ring. This is very useful because you can use it as a flashlight. Unfortunately, such a useful feature is not possible with a wireless ring.
    • You will have to recharge your ring. This is probably even more inconvenient than some probability to get "hanged".
    • Everything is going to be larger. Ring must have some battery and a transmitter, and the device itself will get bigger too because of a receiver circuit.
    • Higher price and higher overall device complexity.
  • None of these reasons are too significant, it is still possible to create a wireless ring. I hope that one day Alexander will share all his thoughts on Wireless_Ring page.
  • Yes, there is a screen. It is usually located in your pocket and most people call it "smartphone". All joking aside, I think that ProgArm must be useful without a screen. The are several ways to get information from ProgArm:
    • RGB LED on the ring
    • Vibramotor
    • If you have have your headphones on, ProgArm can ask your client to pronounce some string by using any available text-to-speech software.
    • If none of these fit your particular task, you can display any information on your phone.
    • It is also possible to connect piezo speaker, but we are not using it currently.
  • This approach is not as widespread as it deserves to be. Also, by making ProgArm fully display-oriented we will render it useless during cold winters.
  • There are other complications: larger size, increased hardware & software complexity, less battery life an so on...
  • [[You_Only_Need_One_Arm?]], and I think you shouldn't need your eyes as well.
  • Of course, you can always connect any display you want! There are SPI and I²C ports, the possibilities are endless!
  • Lastly, we are not trying to create a smartwatch, although it can be used as such if you wish.

-- AlexDaniel 2014-08-15 16:14 UTC

Thanks for explaining, this clears up a lot.You're definitely correct about the usage in winter.And i also get your point in not implementing wireless ring and a screen for now.And i hope there's a function that's going to remind you to take your phone when you go out ;) (so that you don't end up just going out with Progarm).And no i'm certainly not interested in a smartwatch neither i can afford one.I'm apologizing if you guys fell offended in any way due to limited knowledge.

-- stark 2014-08-15 17:09 UTC

"if you guys fell offended in any way due to limited knowledge."
Of course not! You are asking right questions.

I will try to extract some of these points into FAQ.

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

-- AlexDaniel 2014-08-15 17:30 UTC

I had a typo in the earlier comment which should be "due to my limited knowledge" so another request for the ability to edit comments. ;)
Nonetheless thanks for clarifying, don't intend to offend anyone :) just here provide some feedback's/suggestions/proposals which may/may not be of use :)

-- stark 2014-08-15 17:40 UTC

"so another request for the ability to edit comments"
What do you mean by "request"? Just click Edit button and edit your comment. Or even my comment. Whatever, it is a wiki.

-- AlexDaniel 2014-08-15 18:21 UTC

Oh i forgot about that.If there was a edit button next to each comment would've been more convenient :)

-- stark 2014-08-15 19:16 UTC

Ever if there will be an edit button near every comment it will edit the whole page as well as the link of each edit button will be the same. That's how oddmuse works if I am correct.

-- Yuno 2014-08-23 12:43 UTC

Correct. That's how any wiki engine works, not just Oddmuse :)

-- AlexDaniel 2014-08-23 14:08 UTC


2014-07-31 Hello World

The transition to the new server is complete. Everything is set up and the website is nearly fully functional.

You can find full source code of this website here. There is an additional backup for the whole content from this website here.

Also, this is the first post in this blog. Hopefully we will be having more time and motivation to write about project news.


Great News! I'm observing reduced latency in accessing the website not that it was too slow or anything before, just a bit faster.

Feedback Regarding the web design:

By knowledge I'm no web developer but I have been messing with some color schemes lately so here's what I have to say, I think the total black background is not quite right, something like Zenburn would be nice (#dcdccc #3f3f3f if it helps :) ) and the green is ok but if you change the background you need to adjust the font colors too so go for the base16 colorscheme.

Check them out they are very popular and clean good color schemes:



-- stark 2014-08-04 17:09 UTC

Yes, it is faster indeed. There were some problems with the server. Hopefully we will never see such latency again. :)

I am afraid that if we go with gray, some people will disagree and suggest to use completely black background. And there are even people who prefer white backgrounds. We will never get it "right" unless we search for reasoning. Do you have any arguments for using gray background? Yes, there are some gray-background themes, but you can find some other themes with black background as well.

The reason why I chose black is that the background itself does not provide any information, so I want it to be as irrelevant as it could be to my eyes. However, some elements have to stand out: buttons, edit fields and some others. That's how it is now on this website.

What do you think? Does it make any sense?

-- AlexDaniel 2014-08-04 19:49 UTC

I've temporarily set the colors according to base16 theme. There was no green so I had to choose blue. Let's see how it goes.

-- AlexDaniel 2014-08-04 21:30 UTC

Now it looks alot better, not distracting yet pleasant.And i'm also glad you picked blue, its really comfortable now to look at.Before i suggested grey but yes you have solid point about what you mentioned and it makes sense but we have thin for majority of the people and this color-scheme is great.And another thing is it possible for you to increase the font size of this comment box its a bit smaller than most people are used to so they might have to zoom the page or worse go closer to the skin.And some for features thats going to be needed in the future i guess are the usual formatting options with one click buttons for choosing font size,hyperlinking,font-colors(optional),bold,italic,underline,etc.

-- stark 2014-08-05 16:12 UTC

Shameful Rectification :

Line 4: *think for the majority (not *thin)

Line 7: *screen (not *skin)

P.S there are tons of grammatical errors in my comments.

-- stark 2014-08-05 16:17 UTC

Why don't you just edit your comments? :) There is one edit button at the top, another one is at the bottom. This website is a wiki, so any page is editable. Sure, there are some css tricks to make things look like they're special elements (like comments), but it is just a plain text anyway.

Some of the markup rules are listed on Page Editing page, but it is hard to list all of them. What I know for sure is that it is never going to fit on a small bar of buttons. For example, there is a bar on stackoverflow with such buttons, but it barely scratches the full potential of what you can possibly do, so you end up reading the help page anyway. And guess what, things like italics or bold are so easy to remember that you don't even need a button.

I don't feel like we should aim for "majority of people", instead we should try to attract programmers and just geeks.

We will definitely try some other themes, but it seems like we would have to choose some compromise as the default and give an option for each user to select a different theme.

I haven't tested it on different resolutions yet, so your font problem will probably remain for a little while :)

-- AlexDaniel 2014-08-05 18:14 UTC

A theme chooser would be really nice ;)

Ok so for the font size issue its looking alright in firefox but looking smaller in chromium here are some screenshots showing the difference:



And thanks for the page editing link and i think that should go into a FAQ which should be added to the top for easier navigation.

Also how about placing the links in the masthead in this order ? :)

H̲ome D̲evices Sour̲ce Recent Chang̲es Ask̲ About

And why are there underscores in some places ? :O

Some other suggestions :)

-A button for showing/hiding comments in posts like this which by default should hide the comments.

-A masthead with shadows don't know what call it but its similar to the masthead of #!'s home page

-Some drop-down menus to make it easy for others to find content quickly

-Also why no place the recent changes like a feed in the right with a button to show or hide ? ;)

For now i only have these proposals/ideas until... ;)

-- stark 2014-08-08 12:48 UTC

We appreciate your feedback and ideas! Keep them coming :)

  1. Thanks for the screenshots. I am pretty sure that there is more inconsistency than we can currently see. I should spend some time refactoring the whole css file.
  2. Maybe instead of writing about it in FAQ we should make "Edit" button more visible?
  3. About must be the first button after Home, because it should describe project ideas and goals. This is the most important page for a project like ProgArm, because the general concept is probably unclear for most people. Currently there is not much useful information in About, but we are working on it. As for Recent Changes, that is a button that should be present on any wiki. I think that placing it on the right is a good idea, so I doubt that you will see any reordering any time soon.
  4. Underscores indicate accesskeys. On most operating systems if you press Alt you will see underscores in most GUI elements, then by pressing Alt+character you can access these gui elements from your keyboard. There is the same thing on most websites, but because Alt is reserved for GUI elements, most browsers use Alt+Shift instead. For example, you can visit wikipedia and press Alt+Shift+e to edit the page. The reason why this feature is so unpopular is because most websites do not highlight access keys. I decided to underline them, this should be familiar to most geeks.
  5. Show/Hide comments? What for? If you want to read comments, then read them. If you don't, then just don't. Am I missing something?
  6. "masthead with shadows" ? Like a background for the menu? Yeah, why not!
  7. I don't think that a dropdown menu makes it easier to find content. Instead you can just have a list of links on any page, with descriptions and stuff. If one day we will have so many categories or subtopics that dropdowns would become useful, sure! But not now, I guess.
  8. Recent Changes in a feed is a good idea, although I am afraid of overcomplicating home page. We should try it and see how it goes.

Thanks for your suggestions! I will definitely check out this list again once I have time. For now I am a bit busy with website internals (now you can upload files!) and ProgArm itself (android client on its way!).

Maybe you should start a new page with a list of suggestions about website design?

-- AlexDaniel 2014-08-10 16:48 UTC

Thanks a lot for bringing the meta key function to light, i didn't know that you could do that in a web-page so i get its damn useful and i think this should mentioned in the edit and yes you can highlight the EDIT button more but a FAQ is always going to come handy don't you think ?

And for the other suggestions like show/hide comments, those are kinda basic necessity these days,sometimes people just want to read the main article rather than comments so it would have been a nice to have and for some people maybe its a must have ?

-- stark 2014-08-15 13:52 UTC