As my expansive module for this year, I decided to get out of my comfort zone by enrolling onto a module focused on science - a subject which is definitely not my forte. While I was fully aware of what I was getting my self in too, I was definitely not prepared for how heavy the science side of the module was going to be, and definitely struggled before I found something to properly sink my teeth into. Week 1 and 2 were introductions to the course, with the tutorial in week 1 being very vague before leading into a long day of presentations in week 2. The module leader's aims was to get us working with scientists in the university and get us to work with their science and use it as inspirations for pieces of work or projects. Being in a mixed discipline meant that each person had completely different processes for approaching this. As an interaction designer, I found the lack of a brief distressing initially, and it also did not help the fact that none of the areas of the sciences offered were appealing to me. Finally I contacted a scientist in the university called Dimitris Kalegoras who's specialised in using mathematics to create root distribution models of plants such as maize or grass. There was something about this science that appealed to me primarily as an interaction designer and I knew I could do something interesting with it.
After getting in contact, we agreed that we would try and meet weekly, since he was very keen to be involved with the project from the ground up. Initially we bounced a few ideas against one another and we each expressed where we would like to take the project. For me, I was looking to create a set of objects that could be used to help teach people who have never come in contact with the models (like myself). Dimitris expressed an interest in working with apps and was keen to create something along those lines again using my skill set.
We agreed that the hand in would still be a set of how the root maps could be interpreted in a digital and physical environment. I began playing with the root models on Photoshop and created the image below - each part of the model was separated into segments to create a dissection and showed how the information in a visually appealing way.
This gave us our first model that we would hand in. Using acrylics and a laser cutter, we would cut each shape into the acrylic and mount the acrylics on to a piece of ply board to create a physical object that could be picked up and studied.