Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Embrace has an alternating rhythmic form that enables it to nest within its matching reversed form. Each node is modular, with a semi-retro twist, like the "Kitchen Aid" aesthetic. We also wanted to keep it simple and sleek like Apple's current line of products. Lastly we wanted Embrace to appeal to trendy and hip middle aged consumer base mirroring the Volkswagen Beetle market.
Have you ever wanted to share an experience with a person who was not there with you in the moment?
A lot of people asked us exactly what our product does for its user. Looking back at the entire concept development and proess, the answer is not what our product does for the user, but how the user makes the product work for them in order to enhance their relationships. Thus making our product simply an "enabler." It enables its users to share personal experiences. Each user experiences Embrace in their own unique ways. The personalization of Embrace comes with each different user, different people share different experiences.
Our process of generating scenarios consisted of 5 stages: storyboards, a photoshoot, renderings, revised script, and the movie. We drew out each scence of our scenario on paper to show the sequence of events, and wrote out some initial dialogue and notes as reference for future use. This lead us to our photoshoot. We chose subjects that matched perfectly to our target audience we created in the previous phases. The photoshoot went smoothly, the weather was nice, and we finished in about an hour, overall it was a success. After the shoot, we chose the pictures that we wanted to include in our scenario, altered them, and rendered each Embrace shot to correspond with the scenario picture through size, angle, and lighting. We then revised our initial script to in order to include and pinpoint key features of our device to show through the scenario. From there we took all of our final shots for the scenario and plugged them into Adobe Premiere to make an animated movie. We read directly from our script and recorded 19 separate voiceovers which explain the storyline. Below are images of the 4 scenarios we came up with:
Friday, May 20, 2005
Final Model Creation
For this phase of the project we spent a total of 45 hours refining, modeling, and branding our design. We chose to go with a sleek, and simple aesthetic to give our form an overall quality and modern appeal. After a brief brainstorming session, we decided to call this product "Embrace." Embrace standing for the "bracelets" fitting together, and representing its users, who embrace one another.
Incorporating a variety of colors into our design was one of our initial intents. Before, we wanted to give the consumer a choice between different colored bands. After further development, we decided that too much color interferes and overwhelms the elegance of the form. Instead, we incorporated color into certain features of the design such as the glowing lights outlined on the edge. Emphasizing features through color allows the user to personalize their bracelets to their own unique,and individual styles and/or fashions.
We built and rendered our model using Alias Studio Tools, and Photoshop for a more finished look. Physically building this model would have been ideal, the actual size, and intricate details of Embrace would have been difficult to construct accurately. CAD modeling allowed us to construct the model to scale with details and features that glow through strategic lighting placement.
Below are a few of Jonathan's sketches that show the evolution of our charger form. We decided to go with a form that compliments Embrace's form.
embrace in context
This image of Embrace shows an example of a person taking a picture of an experience. The back side is shown while the picture is taken with the lens, which is located in the front for easy viewing.
Soft Touch Coating creates a perception of quality for the user.
Monday, May 02, 2005
Next Step: What do we call it?
- Constructing a prototype
- CAD model
- Create a name for this device
- Shots of product in context/scenarios
- Making it look as hot as possible
Final Concept/ Design Freeze
Personas and Scenarios
Diana (30) and Mike (30) Tomfitch
- Hip, trendy, Urban married couple
- Very "active"
- Occupations: Mike is a Sports agent, and Diana is a Law student.
- Couple Activities: Outdoor water sports, Mountain biking, Tennis, Picnics
- Daily routines include: brushing teeth their teeth in the morning together, reading different sections of the morning newspaper, morning coffee, exercising, "spooning" at night before they fall asleep
- Weekend Activities: Going out to high class bars, movies, restaurants, throwing mini-parties with close friends.
Lee Fong and Julia Pi
- Occupations: Lee is Graduate student and does freelance designing for money, Julia is a Marketing associate for IKEA
- Engaged to be married, waiting until Lee graduates
- Couple Activities: Feeding ducks at the park, jogging, going to coffee shops, photography, shopping
Daily routines include: Julia has to wake Lee up every morning, watering their herb garden, checking their E-mail, and other online tasks, cooking dinner over "Jeopardy"
- Weekend Activities: Going out to dance clubs, house-hunting, test driving fast cars, day trips to the beach, eating out at Thai food restaurants
Diana and Mike's Scenario:
Olfactory System, Smell, and Emotions
- The shape of an individual odor molecule is unique to the emitting substance
- When inhaled, the odor molecule is absorbed in the nasal passage and binds to chemoreceptors in the olfactory epithelium, which are specific to certain odor molecules
- This binding initiates a change in the permeability of the sensory neuron, which creates a slow electric potential that travels to the olfactory bulb
- From the olfactory bulb, the transmitted signal is sent to the limbic system of the brain for further processing.
- Recognition of the odor occurs in the limbic system when the signal is interpreted through a comparison to past experiences with the odor and relation of the smell to the emitting substance
- "The olfactory system, which senses odors, is vital to our lives, and comprises one of the most primal parts of the brain. Just like our sense of hearing, sight, touch or taste, the sense of smell is a way for us to gather messages about the environment around us." Robin Reineke
- The actual ability to smell is closely tied to memory and experience
The above statement validates using smell sensory indicators in our device. The idea of using olfactory cues and aromatic feedback is an ambient way to indicate incoming information. (See “Technology and Materials Research”) Just as a cell phone rings when someone is trying to reach you. The idea of choosing a ring-tone from a menu of pre-set ringers is how we will incorporate our scent palette. The palette will come with five pre-set smells, and the user will be able to choose one scent, like a ring-tone, to be their image indicator. We felt this is an intuitive and non-intrusive way to intimately connect two users through scents. For example, when someone wants to send you their information, the scent of pina-coloda is released to you, others may be able to smell it as well, but only you will “really” know why it smells like pina-coloda, which personalizes it to the user. Also, we want to give the user the opportunity to customize their scents by purchasing other scent palettes that can be swapped for the original. If the costumer does not like the default scents, they can purchase other scent options that appeal to them.It's Right Under Our Noses
Technology and Materials Research
Our final design should be suitable for the next realm of fashionable wearables. Researching growing trends, current, and newly developing technologies, will enable us to develop a product that exceeds today's current "wearable computer" technologies. Our non-intrusive device will enhance user communication on an intimate and personal level. We researched various technologies that we may want to incorporate into our device. Such tools as Bluetooth technology, will allow our user to seamlessly communicate to a significant other while apart. Using technologies that encourage harmony, rather than interruption of user routines or lifestyles, is our main goal.
- Interacting with mobile computers,
- based on 3D sound and gestures
- creates interfaces that are powerful, usable and natural.
View Ecology Coatings
- "Liquid solids" that are cured by exposure to ultraviolet light for a few seconds. Made up of nano-size particles
(molecules measuring less than 1 billionth of a meter)
- It contains a photo inhibitor that when UV light hits it, the light knocks electrons loose from the molecules. In their
agitated state, the individual molecules all bind to each other, creating a uniform coating.
- "This is free radical curing"
Micro Emissive Displays (MED):
- Micro Emissive Displays (MED) have produced a fully functional television screen less than half the size of a postage stamp.
- “…Can be fitted into a pair of glasses or sunglasses so it is next to the eye and will appear a viewable size” Dr Ian Underwood, co-founder of MED and a researcher at Edinburgh University
- The MED uses a light-emitting plastic mounted on a chip to produce digital pictures. Microscopic metal pads on the surface of the chip cause sections of the plastic to light up when they receive a signal.
Electronic Ink, E-Ink:
- Principal components of electronic ink are millions of tiny microcapsules, about the diameter of a human hair. In one incarnation, each microcapsule contains positively charged white particles and negatively charged black particles suspended in a clear fluid. When a negative electric field is applied, the white particles move to the top of the microcapsule where they become visible to the user. This makes the surface appear white at that spot. At the same time, an opposite electric field pulls the black particles to the bottom of the microcapsules where they are hidden. By reversing this process, the black particles appear at the top of the capsule, which now makes the surface appear dark at that spot.
- Used on rollable/flexible TFTs (Thin Film Transistors)
- Viewed like a hand printer; the pixel roller can roll out any image, video or text manually, at any speed or direction, round corners and over surfaces.
- The pixels are in the form of a series of 12 ultra bright UV LEDs situated along its axis. These UV LEDs excite phosophescent ink and leave trails of pixels that fade with time.
- Bluetooth is a technology launched by L.M. Ericsson to replace the cables connecting electronic equipment such as computers, printers and monitors with tiny radio transmitters. It has since been extended to cell phones and hand-held computers.
- Noise resilient
- Can be used in sensitive environments
- Low implementation costs, which means that it can be used in toys, consumer devices, control applications etc.
Why the name "Bluetooth?"
- The name comes from the 10th century Danish King Harald Blaatand, whose last name is translated into English as Bluetooth. King Bluetooth united Denmark and Norway, so the Swedish-based Ericsson borrowed his name for its linking technology.
"Since Bluetooth technology has low power consumption, it has a long battery life and can be efficiently used in consumer electronic items such as wireless keyboards, mice, joysticks and speakers. It can also be used in communication devices such as mobile phones (wireless mobile handsets). The technology has been used in MP3 players and cordless phones."Vinod Deshmukh, Senior Vice-president and CTO, R&D Services, MindTree Consulting
Virtual Scents-iSmell, Companies: DigiScents and TriScent
- The digitalization and broadcast of scent will enable consumers to send scented mail, smell'n shop, watch scented DVD's, and play scented games.
- DigiScents developed the scent generator, called iSmell
- It uses a cartridge, similar to an inkjet print cartridge that contains more than 100 scents that can be mixed or used separately. In small quantities, the user can easily identify these. When mixed, these generators can produce a wide variety of smells, ranging from the very pleasant to the unpleasant or unsmellable.
- The device samples a smell and breaks it up to its basic components. The information is then stored for future use. Later, when the user wants to re-create the smell, all the computer has to do is to remix the basic scents in the right proportions to duplicate the original smell.
This quote explains the use of Target Aromas as indicators:
"Olfactory cues and aromatic feedback can quickly and easily report on system status--as long as you know what the scents mean. Conceivably, unique scents, not occurring in nature, can be generated to provide all types of messages. If developers create a standard set of aromas, each easily distinguished from anything else and each having its own meaning, immediate status messages can be produced. You can turn your back on the monitor and still get updated status reports. The visually challenged may be even more capable of detecting these signals than sighted users. With an increasing number of devices using embedded browsers and Internet Protocol monitors, you should be able to log in to your backup device, NAS, SAN, or whatever and smell how the system is doing."
- Here is a list of chemicals and their molecular structures that can be combined to make a variety of scents :Example of a Chemical List
- Technology that uses inductive coupling as a means of power transfer.
- No wires required for charging, just simply place your electronics on the "splashpad"
- Can Charge many gadgets at once
Examples of Light Emitting Flexible Material which can be incorporated into a flexible bracelet concept.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
For this phase of the project, we explored forms that could be worn on the body. Some of them were included on such areas as the neck, shoulder, face (eye), arm, and wrist. We explored various “bracelet” concepts, which are to be worn by two people. Each bracelet consists of nodes that send and receive information from another user with the corresponding bracelet. Lockets, charm-bracelets, friendship bracelets, and rings are all forms of jewelry that represent an intimate connection or commitment to another person. Some of these concepts use these commitment symbols as a metaphor, representing the concept of a locket, but taken to the next level through the use of technology. A key feature that we felt was appealing, was allowing our device to unite with another bracelet, by having an alternating and uniform node-like design. We feel this is a strong concept because it relates back to our definition of poetry, “A commonplace expression or quality that resembles a poem in some respect as in form or sound.” Our design is poetic and symbolizes its users, the separation and coming together again as a couple, is reflected by the act of taking the bracelets apart, and nesting them together as a pair.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Project Introduction and Criteria
The structure of today’s societies can be described as constantly “coming and going.” People’s lives require them to leave the home in order to accomplish certain tasks such as traveling, running errands, emergencies, school, work, or vacationing. All of these disconnections describe degrees of separation. The length of time in between these disconnections is the major difference between them, but they are all related to separation.
When people are separated from their homes or daily lives, the result is a loss of connection or contact between people, objects, or companions (for example: pets). The time gap between the separated users can cause them to feel worried or concerned about the unknown.
Our goals for research are to figure out how people communicate wile being separated from their environments, and what tools allow them to do so. Also to learn how these tools are affecting them. By figuring out what tools they have and use, we can discover what they may be lacking. I also hope to gain an understanding of the users thought process during periods of separation. Are they concerned about loved ones? Are they worried they may have forgotten about something? How do routines change while they are gone? Do they feel disconnected from their normal lives? These are all examples of questions I want to explore through contextual research by interviewing, tape recording, photo documentation, and simply observation to find differences and common issues in order to narrow our focus. Lastly, I want to learn how each individual achieves flow or if they feel they do at all. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyl’s definition for achieving flow involves an “optimal experience when things are going well as an almost automatic, effortless, yet highly focused state of consciousness.” By conducting research while people are at Airports (hopefully), hotels, work environments, schools, or even running errands, we can gain an in depth understanding of how separation affects them, emotionally, physically, and subconsciously.
We will focus our research on the type of user who keeps up with current fashions and is willing to pay $1200 dollars for a watch.
- A commonplace expression or quality that resembles a poem in some respect as in form or sound.
- Poetry is an imaginative awareness of an experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response.
- Poetry subconsciously draws off users past experiences.
- An imaginative awareness of an experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language; subconsciously drawing off of users past experiences.
- The innovation change or modification of the natural environment to satisfy perceived human needs and wants.
- Digital technology has progressed since the 90’s incorporating style and convenience, along with added function, to appeal to the user lifestyle. Fashion is at the forefront of individual expression. People express their personal styles through the clothes and accessories they wear. Technology is starting to replicate this concept.
- A set of behaviors temporarily adopted by people because they are perceived to be socially appropriate for the time and situation.
- Fashion is the prevailing style or custom as in dress or behavior.
- Fashion is old ideas in new ways. For example Converse shoes are becoming trendy once again, as they were in the 70’s.
- Totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns arts, beliefs institutions and all other products of human work and thought.
- A group of people with shared value systems based on common life experiences and situations.
- By defining Subculture, we can get an understanding of our target audience, and what makes them unique to an overall culture.
Flow: The word Flow was another topic of class discussion that we felt was important to define to understand the user experience, and an actual object. We defined flow as:
- Balanced spontaneous system.
- Sequence of operations without disruption.
- Based on the book Creativity by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow is an automatic effortless state of consciousness. It is achieved more often when people are doing what they love.
- Not because of money, fame, or praise. When someone is experiencing flow they tend to lose self consciousness, time and fear of failure. Often the more arduous the task the longer it takes to get flow, and often any physical and/or mental distraction can end it; recovery can take hours or more.
We then took those definitions then tried to find similar terms and ways that they were connected to each other.
While analyzing our core terms we encountered other notable terms that we felt were necessary to explore and define to guide us throughout this project.
Wearables, linked to fashion, can be described as a small device worn on the body, carried habitually without interfering with the user. Incorporating a wearable with the latest technology is the main focus of our project.
Necessities are important to all cultures and subcultures. Where antelopes develop faster legs from evolving and adapting to their environments to run from predators, we, humans, developed cars in order to adapt and enhance our lives. We defined Necessity as being essential, indispensable, and peoples’ perceived needs and wants.
“There needs to be a rebirth of curiosity,” this quote highlights the fact that as we get older our curiosity diminishes. Curiosity sparks excitement and evokes thought and questioning tied to learning and discovery. Discovery is an exciting experience, thus curiosity can enhance life. Curiosity arouses and provokes desires or thoughts during exploration, which essentially motivates a person.
This leads to Creativity, another important term we came across. The basis of creativity is inspiration and motivation. We defined creativity as the ability to process, which everyone can do; everyone can create experiences, which makes life fulfilling. Creativity is connected to poetry, fashion, technology, flow, and experiences. Understanding these terms directed us to the question, which I briefly touched upon in the previous paragraph; when shared experiences are disconnected, how are they affected? Answering this question is something to keep in mind during our research phase.
Accessory: An optional part that may be fitted to something to perform an additional function or enhance performance
- New experiences.
- To fill with enlivening or exalting emotion.
- To stimulate energies and emotions from experiences.
- Inspiration comes from old experiences. Inspiration is an abstract personal experience. Inspiration effects motivation, self worth, and mood. Focus, trust, letting go, and listening are all characteristics of inspiration.
- Focus involves detaching oneself from normal ways of thinking.
- Trust involves the attitude of being ready to stop think in a purely rational way, letting whatever ideas come to mind.
- Letting go involves the action of trust vs. the attitude, and the reflection upon it.
- Listening involves actually listening and putting into use the ideas that come forth through the process of letting go.
Lastly, we explored the meaning of Experience. All of the previously mentioned definitions are connected to an experience. Poetry reflects on past experiences, Technology is something the user experiences everyday, Fashion can enhance an experience, Subcultures are based off of shared experiences, and Flow defines a user experience.
- The apprehension of an object, thought, or emotion through the senses or mind.
- Active participation in events or activities, leading to the accumulation of knowledge or skill.
- The totality of such events in the past of an individual or group.
- Our Interpretation: The active participation in events, activities, thoughts, objects, or emotions, through the senses or mind leading to the accumulation of knowledge or skill, based on an individual or groups totality of past events.
By researching literal and alternate definitions of Poetry, Technology, Fashion, Subculture, Flow, and Experience my partner and I were able to create our own interpretations of their meanings to direct our focus to the user experience. This inspired us to focus on the user’s relationship with a significant other, and how they share experiences, and how they stay connected when separated.
This is a picture of Lisa and Jonathan while we where interpreting our own definitions from multiple definitions we found in the dictionary.
Problem statement: when people are separated from significant others because there is a loss of connection. As a result, shared experiences and routines suffer.
An example of this is one of my co-workers when I interned at Electrolux would call his wife at least eight times if not more during the work day to talk about things that to others seemed juvenile. Once his wife called to tell him that she was standing next to a dog, and how she proceeded to pet it. Often things like pet names and cutie baby talk could be heard from the person sitting next to him.
In order to gain an understanding of our user in their environment, we conducted Contextual Inquiries to gather customer data. This method of research, based on the Beyer and Holtzblatt methodologies, gives us an explicit view of the work being done in order to understand it on the user's level, and to also gather the "low-level" details of the work that have become habitual and invisible. The idea of context implies going to the costumers' workplace or environment to observe them in action, and developing a partnership in order to talk to them about their work experience, and to engage them in detailed explanations. Through interpretation, we can develop a shared understanding about the importance of the tasks being done. Our initial focus is to study the Separations between people and their significant others, and how they incorporate technology into tools for communication, and fashion to get a sense of their Culture, or Subculture.
To start our research we brainstormed some possible locations that we would be able to find our target user. Locations where the user would be separated from their significant others was where we could gather concrete information.
- The airport.
- People at work.
- Parents at home when children are at home.
- People running errands.
- People on vacation.
- When couples were separated, how they coped.
- Specific instances when couples were separated and wanted to be with the other.
- Routines that they performed and then how they where affected when the other wasn’t there.
- What where personal traits/quarks about the other that they remembered.
- How they felt about fashion, trends and their own.
- What type of technology they used and what they always have on them.
- How they communicate when together compared to when separated.
Key points that we discovered from her interview were:
- Her husband usually contacts her once a day, when he just arrives from a flight and/or at night when he is in a hotel room and Triba and the kids are at home.
- She misses him only when she gets off work because her routine changes. She has to leave work early to pick up the kids compared to when he is there he picks them up.
- When they go on vacation together as a family they try to leave the house so it looks like someone is home. Garbage, mail.
- They also tend to over pack because of the kids on vacations.
- The children get sad when their father is not there because they are used to routine, and when the father isn’t home they get sad. Triba has to pick the kids up from school later than the father would because she has to leave early from work.
- Triba does not feel as safe when her husband is gone; she checks the doors are locked twice for example.
- When the husband is gone it is harder to run quick errands like running to the store because she has to get all the kids ready and in the car.
- The older you get the less important it is to dress yourself than your kids. What she wears is not as important to her as it was 10 years ago.
- If an emergency where to occur a cell phone call to him would be her first reaction.
- When he is home the family orders pizza on Friday bights and plays games, but when her husband is gone they do not.
- She thinks that her husband relaxes in the hotel and orders food in.
Technology she uses:
- Home Dell PC
- Cell phone
- Watch sometimes, uses phone to tell time
After the interview, Triba mentioned she had a neighbor whose husband went over to Iraq. She could tell that he was gone because of the lawn, the husband kept it so well manicured that when he left she didn’t have time to do the same. We asked her if we could get in touch with her neighbor so she gave them my cell phone number but we never received a call.
Jordan and Laura interview
Our first Contextual Inquiry included a married couple, Laura (28), and Jordan (26), who were celebrating their second anniversary in Savannah, GA. We met them outside of a crowded coffee shop during the Savannah College of Art and Design's International Fair in downtown Savannah. There we observed them interacting as a couple, and ask them a series of questions that helped us to understand them on a more personal level. As an incentive for allowing us to use them as our research subjects, we offered them a $5.00 gift certificate to Starbucks coffee.
By visually representing our notes in a diagrammatic form, we could see connections and breakdowns in the dynamics of their relationship.
Some key findings of their interview were that they have identical cell phones, sharing the same taste in technology. We observed them swapping food, which is something they said they do often to show affection, which shows us how comfortable they are in their relationship. Laura also mentioned “90% of her cell phone calls are to her husband.” This was interesting because it shows that the majority of her communication is with her husband. A key issue or breakdown we encountered, while synthesizing their information, was the “checking in” factor. We found this to be important because “checking in,” indicates work and worry, if you have to constantly check in with someone, that implies that they are worried, why do they have this constant cloud of worry over their heads? Why does calling your significant other have to be a chore? To make things worse, Jordan expressed because of these routine “check-ins,” if for some reason Laura forgets to check in with him, he will get even more worried. This makes using a cell phone a non-enjoyable experience, acting as the bridge between worry and the unknown. An intimate detail that this couple shares is that Laura finds Jordan’s personal smell comforting. When he is away this becomes and issue because she has a hard time falling asleep, due to the interruption of her “comfort zone.”
Technology they use:
- Cell phones
Views on Fashion:
- They are not fashionable
- Laura thinks Sarah Jessica Parker is a fashion role model.
The main takeaways were:
- 90% of Laura’s calls are to Jordan
- They like to eat off each others plates
- They have identical cell phones
- The say they are comfortable with technology but prefer when it is minimalist
- Newly wed connection
- Laura owns a blackberry
- Laura can watch what she wants when Jordan is gone.
- Laura feels that Sarah Jessica Parker is Classy
- Jordan never uses laptop for personal reasons because he is on it all the time for work.
- They are constantly “checking in” with each other. Jordan gets upset if Laura forgets to check in even though he is worse at it than she is.
- Jordan does not like feature packed cell phones.
- Laura misses Jordan’s smell when he is gone.
- Laura can’t fall asleep when Jordan is gone.