Physical Computing

For the last two weeks we have been doing a physical computing course taught by Massimo Banzi, Dave Mellis and Gwendolyn Floyd. During the first week were predominantly taught by Massimo on how to use Arduino

“Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments”

For our last week of physical computing we were set a week long brief to put into practice all we had learned from our exercises taught on the Arduino platform. The brief was set by Gwendolyn Floyd who was also teaching us alongside Massimo and Dave.

The brief was as follows:

Home automation and the internet of things enable our intelligent objects to silently communicate
amongst themselves at faster and higher degrees of autonomy. This requires less and less interaction
and relationship with the user. These trends also create and depend on cycles of replacement and
upgrading, leading to the rapid discarding of old objects. Our project will challenge these behaviors of
passivity and obsolescence by exploring and adapting the cultural, physical, and psychological user
interfaces that reside in the objects we have given up on or replaced. How can new interactions with
and between our old objects create more meaningful, engaging, and thoughtful relationships with
contemporary situations, needs, and desires?

As more and more behaviors and interactions get packed into smaller and smarter objects, what are
the physical gestures and interactions we threw away with “outdated” technology that could add logic,
humanity, and meaning to our daily lives or specific situations.

Please find old objects and re-imagine their functionality: the way they interact with either another object, other objects, people, or the computer in new and relevant ways

For the week we worked in groups to come up with a solution to the brief and make a working prototype of our ideas to exhibit.  I personally loved the week and was hugely inspired by the brief and by the people that i was working with in my group.

Our idea was…….

‘Rock is the new Swivel’

instructions

2991343083_cea07a2b5a

mimi

photos by Ashwin and Tobias

One of the chief goals of technology has been to make tasks more efficient and as a result save time. But this has only meant an increased pace of life, as we try harder to pack more into less time and effort.
The swivel chair is a classic ‘efficiency technology’ that has left aching backs and stress in its wake. In this prototype, we seek to introduce a powerful antidote into the domain dominated by the swivel. We emphasize how ‘rock’, an interaction thats all but disappeared from the modern ‘sitting’ context, can be a mantra to soothe frayed nerves, and at the same time serve up a widely appreciated need, thanks to networked digital technology.

The theme we worked with is: ‘Guerilla free time – how can technology, which has been designed to heighten our efficiency and productivity facilitate break time, helpful laziness, etc.

Via this prototype, the everyday mundane act of fetching coffee during a hectic schedule is transformed into an act of relaxation, a forced ‘quiet time’ that encourages you to use every coffee drinking opportunity to take a break, listen to some music, and simply chill. 🙂

Over all the mini exhibition we had was really brilliant. It was amazing to see what everyone had achieved in such a short space of time as well as getting some really productive feedback from our external visitors one of whom was Bill Verplank and of course our wonderful CIID staff!

Some links to more photos of the exhibition…….

Tobias’s and Alie’s flickr!!

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