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Steering Wheels with ProtoPie Connect

Designers working in specific verticals have specific prototyping needs. Let’s take automotive as an example.

A critical component to driving is the steering wheel. This means that this piece of hardware is essential to prototyping the driving experience of tomorrow.

We’ll be using the Logitech G29 Driving Force Steering Wheel to make a simplified seating buck for prototyping purposes and usability testing.

You can replace the Logitech G29 steering wheel with any other hardware of your preference. Anything explained here would apply to other hardware as well.

Learn more about connecting hardware.

Learn more about prototyping with ProtoPie for automotive.

Using Various Setups with ProtoPie Connect

Setups can vary depending on whether ProtoPie Connect and the bridge app are running on the same computer or machine, or not. For these setups, use the following:

RequiredNotes
1 machine with USB ports and WiFi/network capabilitiesTo run ProtoPie Connect and the bridge app, and connect to Logitech G29 via USB
1 Logitech G29 steering wheel
Bridge app for Logitech G29See GitHub
2 tablets (iPadOS or Android) or 2 monitorsTo run larger prototypes in ProtoPie Connect via ProtoPie Player or desktop browser
1 smartphone (iOS or Android) To run smaller prototype in ProtoPie Player

If you use hardware that’s not the Logitech G29 steering wheel, you need a bridge app that works with that hardware.

Using a Single Machine

The setup we recommend the most: having ProtoPie Connect and the bridge app on the same machine.

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  • Smartphones, tablets, and monitors can all serve as displays.
  • ProtoPie Player connects to ProtoPie Connect via WiFi.
  • ProtoPie Connect and the bridge app run on the same machine.

Using Different Machines

It’s possible to run ProtoPie Connect and the bridge app on different machines. However, these different machines need to be connected to the same local area network (LAN).

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This setup is similar to the one single machine, except that ProtoPie Connect and the bridge app would run on different machines.

  • Smartphones, tablets, and monitors can all serve as displays.
  • ProtoPie Player connects to ProtoPie Connect via WiFi.
  • ProtoPie Connect and the bridge app run on different machines that are connected to the same local area network (LAN).

Using Setup Variations

As there could be different variations to this setup, we’ll show you a possible variation with smartphones, tablets, or monitors are connected to different machines.

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  • Smartphones, tablets, and monitors can all serve as displays.
  • A tablet with ProtoPie Player connected via USB to ProtoPie Connect on one machine.
  • A monitor serving as a display connected to the other machine using the desktop browser for prototypes.
  • ProtoPie Connect and the bridge app run on different machines that are connected to the same local area network (LAN).

Understanding the Information Flow

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  • The Logitech G29 steering wheel sends events and values to the bridge app.
  • The bridge app converts these events & values to Socket.IO messages for ProtoPie to understand.
  • Prototypes added to ProtoPie Connect can receive these messages and respond to them using the Send response and Receive trigger.

Learn more about the events and values from the Logitech G29 steering wheel.

Examples

Turning the Steering Wheel Left

Turn the steering wheel left and make a layer rotate and change color in a prototype.

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  • When you fully turn the Logitech G29 steering wheel to the left, the bridge app converts the incoming event into a message ProtoPie can interpret.
  • The prototype added to ProtoPie Connect would receive this message and assign it to a variable used for the Color and Rotate response.

Pressing a Button on the Steering Wheel

Press the triangle button the steering wheel and make two separate prototypes respond.

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  • When you press the triangle button on the Logitech G29 steering wheel, the bridge app converts the incoming event into a message ProtoPie can interpret.
  • The two prototypes added to ProtoPie Connect would respond to this message accordingly depending on how you set up your interactions.
    • For example, one prototype could imitate a blinking light and another prototype could show a text saying “Emergency”.
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