The Exploration of Ideas

This week we focused on the continuous exploration through the trinity of the temporal form, interaction gestalt and the physical. Where we wanted to figure out how our steps towards shaping the jellyfish with different materials could be, before trying out the different possible materials. However, these three should not be set completely apart as it is an on-going negotiation between the three elements (Vallgårda, 2014).

Physical form
To start exploring the physical form, the first thing that came to mind was what material should we use? Furthermore, how to make the user pick it up by a string instead of picking the jellyfish up by hand. Should the jellyfish itself be uncomfortable to touch? As presented in the below sketch, we explored ideas of it being pointy, sharp or even have teeth.

However it came to mind what if the jellyfish could have the same slimy looking physical appearance as an actual jellyfish does, but how to do so is the biggest challenge. So far the explorations have mainly been through paper prototyping. On the same time, I would like the Jellyfish to obtain the same elegance of movements as an actual one does move, so how do we create this movement? Is it through building it up with a ‘skeleton’ as presented in the last post, or could it be through the use of the right materials that can give that graceful movement of the jellyfish, I have attached a video below to show what I mean by graceful, the jellyfish is a very biased experience to me, as something slimy be so graceful at the same time?

It might also be the combination of the lights inside the jellyfish and the elegant movements that creates this almost hypnotizing way of floating through the water. The challenge is, how to create these lively states of light while still making it beautiful in its movements?

 Temporal form
At the temporal form, we explored mainly the stages of the lights, and how these could create a feedback that could engage the user when interacting with the jellyfish. To create more powerful lights, we chose to use a led strip, as it can light up even when shined upon in daylight. But, we wanted to create this smooth light without using delay, was found particularly challenging. However when it finally was set into the most fluent interval, it created a very smooth light. The reason why we are interested in not using a delay is because it would interrupt the on going code, thereby the interruption is avoided.

We chose to set the interval of 20 milliseconds, is this gave us a very smooth output of the led lights, if for instants the milliseconds were set to 50 seconds it became very stammering in the output, so to figure out what interval it should become was found a bit challenging, as it was a matter of trial-error.

Furthermore, the below code uses the millis() function which returns the number of milliseconds (20) since the board starts to run the current sketch that lights up /blink the led lights. Through that the function starts up the loop of running the led lights, defined later in the code.

Interaction gestalt
How can we create the inherent feedforward, which gives the impression of only being able to pick it up by the string?  The interaction gestalt is about the performance of movements that the user does in relation to the thing or the environment (Vallgårda, 2014). Therefore particularly with the interaction gestalt, we have to put our selves through all possible kinds of scenarios, to play around with whatever materials we can come up with as something useful for us in this project, if we want it to be playful, we have to explore the materials in a playful manner as well.

Exploring the interaction design, through the trinity of the temporal form, interaction gestalt and the physical. Have been very helpful in terms of what to explore next in this process. It also made me think of all the constraints both in terms of the materials and the build up of the artefact. Because all the materials we will go through, it has to obtain the gracefulness but at the same time, not being something you would like to touch, so is that even possible?

Vallgårda, Anna (2014). Giving form to computational things: developing a practice of interaction design. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 18.3: 577-592.