Show and Tell

Last week we explored and prepared for the show and tell this week with of our initial idea of the project. Our idea is inspired by anthropomorphism, we would like to obtain in some way that the artefact can represent emotions and have human traits and thereby create sympathy of the users. Furthermore, we were inspired by movement, and how to create movement based interaction, through the use of an artefact (Hummels et al., 2007). However, how could we create an artefact that affords people to interact with it in certain ways? We would like the changing light of the ‘jelly fish’ to create this interaction between people that people wants to hear and see the change of the artefact and thereby create this very playful interaction. Through this interaction between people, it could be a dialogue of the jellyfish, rather than just an action-reaction based interaction. However to come to this point was a challenge, so how did we actually get to this point? According to Schön (1992) the challenge a designer deals with when designing, is challenging and unpredictable and mainly tacit, but this is central to the design process . Through the direct interplay of sketching and writing down ideas and to build upon this, the reflection-in-action happens, where the outcome can end out entirely unpredicted and is improvised in situ (as seen in the above pictures).

So what happens next? The hardest steps in my opinion are when going from ideas into a more concrete idea, and think through what materials to explore and what constraints there could be. To do so it is important to articulate your thoughts amongst each other. This is also what Schön (1987) articulate as reflection-on-action, to be able to reflect upon action, especially with others and to try and understand what have been created so far. Through that we came to mind, that the jellyfish, should be able to express its emotions through the functional feedback of light and sound, so when you touch it, it should mimic that it hurts through lightening up in red and when you throw it to one another, it should become blue and be ‘set free’. When not in motion, the jellyfish could whine, to make people aware that it is ‘in pain’ and wants to be set free. Furthermore, the most fascinating property of the jellyfish, that we would like to mimic is its movement itself, however something that we experience as challenging to obtain. The process of reflection-in-action and reflection-on-action is something that happens continuously throughout a design process, which led us to the following paper prototype of the idea (see figure below).

After the show and tell, we were given feedback, to explore with the movements, as the lecturer said “if you are going to throw it to each other, why not just make a ball?”. Therefore, we explored around with how to create another movement based interaction with the jellyfish prototype, with the thought of how to make it an extension of the body, but still being playful for the user and ended up attaching a string to it (see video below).

Through this process short period of time, the constant act of seeing-moving-seeing have broad us to a completely other outcome than the initial already (Schön, 1992). By the simple act of attaching this string to the jellyfish, it creates new affordances than beforehand, making us explore new ideas of how to create this creature full of emotions, while still being playful for the user.

Hummels, Caroline, Kees CJ Overbeeke, and Sietske Klooster (2007). Move to get moved: a search for methods, tools and knowledge to design for expressive and rich movement-based interaction. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 11.8: 677-690.

Schön, Donald A. (1992). Designing as reflective conversation with the materials of a design situation. Research in Engineering Design 3.3, 131-147.

Schön, Donald. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner: Toward a new design for teaching and learning in the professions. San Francisco.