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2.03 Advanced Network Configuration

Setting up the MDA in a secured organisational network

Setting up the MDA in an secured network might require some settings to be changed by a network administrator. The MDA’s web-interface communicates with an external website, as well as a ftp server and a sql database server. The external website is the Thinkable website, which hosts the MDA’s manual and help pages. When you register the MDA your user data is send and saved to our database server. Communication with this server is also required if you want to use the image request system “MyImages”, which is part of the MDA web-interface, also access is required to the database server. This is to keep track of image requests, the status of the requests and to provide messages to the requester when a request is completed. The actual file transfer between the designer and requester is handled by a ftp-server, with the designer uploading the completed image to the ftp-server, and the requester having the image automatically downloaded from the ftp-server when the MyImages page is opened. For these external connections, which might use the network’s secured communication channels, the following provisions need to be made:

  • In order to access an external webpage, the network’s firewall should grand access to internet communications, i.e. port 80 should be opened on the firewall and users should have access to use this port for external communications (which is more or less a default in all organisations).
  • In order to have ftp access, ports 20 and 21 should be opened on the firewall, and the MDA interface should have access to use these ports.
  • In order to have database access (i.e. access to an external mysql database server), port 3306 should be opened on the firewall, and again the MDA interface should have access to use this port.

Additionally as a precaution: the MDA’s wired RJ45 network connection has a maximum speed of  100 Mbits. Although almost modern switches to which the MDA will be connected will automatically determine the speed of the device connected to it, some switches are set to a fixed speed of 1 Gbits. Please make sure that the switch port speed to which the MDA will be connected is set to auto-configure, or is manually set to 100 Mbits, otherwise the wired network connection between the MDA and the switch will fail.

For the WIFI network connection, the MDA can be configured in two ways:

  • WPA (home): which uses a pass-phrase connection (only a single pass-phrase is needed for a connection, like for standard home WIFI networks).
  • Enterprise WPA (with radius server): a WPA Enterprise WIFI connection (based on a Radius access control server), requires both a username and password to make a connection. When selecting a WIFI connection from the MDA, the MDA will automatically determine which kind of WIFI network it is connecting to, and will automatically request the single WPA pass-phrase for the single WPA pass-phrase connection, or the username and password for the WPA Enterprise connection.

1.01 Safety Instructions

! Keep clear of the MDA while it is in operation. !
! Do not insert your fingers into the openings at the sides of the MDA, or into the opening in the bottom of the arm.  !
! Do not place items sensitive to magnetism in the proximity of the pen. The pen contains a strong magnet. !

The motors of the MDA are relatively strong and can cause injuries when your fingers are caught between moving parts.

2.01 Unpacking

Place the box with the address labels facing upwards and cut the tape. Fold away the four cardboard flaps. Once opened, you’ll notice the MDA is packed in two large foam parts on top of which two carton boxes are placed. One box can contain the TactiPad inside its bag, if this was included in the initial purchase. The other one contains a pack of 400 drawing sheets, the power supply and the USB-B cable.
Remove the boxes and lift the MDA out of the box by holding it by its sides. Make sure you lift it up by the sturdy yellow top plate, the one that has the six black anchors for the TactiPad. Do not lift it up by the flexible bottom plate.
Once out of the box, you remove the pieces of foam by lifting one side of the MDA and sliding off the foam part on that side. Carefully place the MDA down again, and repeat this procedure for the other side. While packaged, the arm is in its forward position.
Please store the packaging materials in the carton for safe transportation.

2.02 First Time Use

Unobstructed drawing

! It is essential that the movement of the MDA’s arm is never obstructed while it is operating. The drawing area and at least five centimetres next to the MDA should be clear of any pens, drawing tools or other objects that could obstruct the arm during movement. If at any time during sketching the MDA’s movement is obstructed, switch the MDA off using the power button at the back. Once turned off, you can manually move the pen and arm out of the way, resolving the obstruction as necessary. !

Now that your MDA is unpacked you’re almost ready to make your first sketch. Plug the power cord into a power socket and the other end into the MDA. The next step differs depending on if you plan on connecting your MDA to your network using a LAN-cable, WiFi, or connecting directly to the mda-hotspot.

If you plan on connecting the MDA to a network via a wired connection, plug a lan cable into the appropriate socket. Next, take a device that is connected to the same network, open your browser and type in the following URL: http://mda/

If you plan on connecting it to your WiFi you first need to connect to the mda-hotspot with a WiFi capable device. Simply select the mda-hotspot WiFi network and enter the following password: 12345678. Once your device is connected to the mda-hotspot, go to your browser and type in the following URL: http://mda/ . Browse to the setup page and enter the password: admin and click continue. Click network setup and look for the WiFi network you want the MDA to connect to. Enter the WiFi password and click Add WiFi Network. The MDA should now connect to your WiFi network. From this point on you can access the MDA from any device that is connected to the same WiFi Network.

If you don’t plan on connecting your MDA to a network at all, use a WiFi capable device and connect to the mda-hotspot network with password 12345678.

Be aware that if you do not connect your MDA to a network that has access to the internet you cannot automatically download updates or new images added to the examples directory.

After connecting your MDA, take your Tactipad and place it on the MDA. You can place it in one of two orientations: landscape, which leaves the 2 Tactinocks uncovered; or portrait, which covers all the 6 Tactinocks. Your Tactipad is placed correctly if you can’t easily move it around without lifting it and the front most edge of the Tactipad is flush with the front most edge of the MDA.
Make sure that you place a sheet of sketching foil on the Tactipad before you attempt your first sketch.

Take a device that is connected to the same network as the MDA (or directly to the MDA) and go the http://mda/ . Browse to the examples page, pick the emoji category, and click on one of the emoji’s to start your first sketch.

That’s it! The MDA should now start sketching. While the motors in the MDA are not particularly strong, you want to make sure to keep your hands clear of the type while it’s sketching to prevent injury.

3.01 Backpanel

Closeup of MDA's backpanel, showing the ports and power button.

When looking at the back of the MDA you’ll find 4 different port types as well as the power button. The back panel is where you turn on the MDA and plug in your cables and USB devices.

From left to right you’ll find the following features:

  • USB-B port: This port can be used to connect your PC or laptop directly to the MDA using the USB-B cord you received with the MDA. You only need to do this when using TactileView to send sketches to the MDA.
  • USB-A port × 4: These 4 ports can be used to plug in USB drives to upload images to the MDA. These ports do not support a direct connection from your PC/laptop to the MDA. These ports are also known as “normal” USB ports.
  • Ethernet port: Use this port to connect the MDA to your local network, or the internet. The LEDs on the port will light up when data is being send or received.
  • Power socket: Use this port to plug in your power cord.
  • Power button: This button is used to turn on the MDA. When the MDA is turned on, the centre of the button is recessed and a yellow ring will light up. When the MDA is turned off, the centre of the button is level with the rest of the button and no light can be seen.

3.02 Drawing Arm & Sketching Stylus

Front view of the MDA's drawing arm with the drawing pen extended.If you move your hands along the longer sides of the MDA you’ll encounter two parts sticking out of the sides of the MDA opposite each other. These are the arm supports. Following these supports upwards you’ll come across the drawing arm which connects the two arm supports to each other. The drawing arm is covered by a black plastic cover which features the Thinkable logo on the front side. The arm moves from the back to the front of the MDA as needed. This is done automatically, so be careful not to get your hands caught by the MDA as this can result in injury.

If you were to reach inside the arm trough the slot in the bottom of the arm (make sure the MDA is powered off) and move your hand from the right all the way to the left you will come across a circular metal object. This is the magnet and part of the drawing stylus. This part moves up and down when the MDA is sketching, so be careful when the MDA is sketching.

If you slide the flat of your hand across the underside of the drawing arm you will feel a small point sticking out. This is the drawing point of the sketching stylus and will be lowered as needed when sketching on the TactiPad.

! Be careful when the MDA is sketching because the arm and pen point will move automatically and can crush your fingers. !

3.04 TactileView Digital Pen Dock

Towards the back, behind the furthest two nocks you’ll find the TactileView Digital Pen Dock. It is about two centimetres in height, eight centimetres wide and has rounded corners. On the back of the dock is a small indentation. This is where you can place the receiver for the TactileView Digital Pen. Simply place the receiver’s magnets inside the indentation and the magnets will click in place. Make sure the wire of the receiver does not obstruct the arm during not in the way of the arm.

4.01 Positioning

The TactiPad can be placed on the MDA in two different orientations. The first is landscape mode. In this orientation. The TactiPad’s hinge should be placed towards the backside of the MDA. The front side of the TactiPad should be flush with the front of the MDA, and there should be no room between the TactiPad and the bed of the MDA.

The second position is portrait mode. In this orientation the TactiPad’s hinge should be facing left. The shorter side of the TactiPad should be flush with the front side of the MDA, and there should be no room between the TactiPad and the bed of the MDA.

4.02 Automatic Design Orientation

Inside the MDA are four sensors that are used to determine the orientation of the TactiPad on the MDA. After the orientation of the TactiPad is determined the design is automatically rotated if necessary. A right up marker will be placed in the original top right corner of the design. To the TactiPad’s hinge should be facing off the MDA, rotate it until the right up marker is in the top right corner.

Because the MDA automatically rotates designs depending on the orientation of the TactiPad, it is sometimes needed to rotate the TactiPad after taking it off the MDA.  To help with this, the MDA automatically adds a right up marker. This right up marker is a small diagonal line in one of the corners. To ensure that the sketch is positioned correctly after it is removed from the MDA, rotate the sketch until the right up marker is located in the top right corner.