MSc Product Design - Creative Technology (1)

This week we began our next module Creative Technology with Jon Rodgers and Martin Skelly. Hitting the ground running on Monday with a 9am start, the focus of the week was to, in my case, refamiliarise myself with Arduino after about a years break from using it for anything. Arduino was never really an avenue I'd considered going down last year for my Honours project so I was excited at the thought of getting to grips with it again for this module. Until, Jon and Martin announced that we had to come up with 50 ideas and associated circuits with them by Friday. Fuck.

In all fairness, however, they weren't strictly enforcing this hand in, and I actually really enjoyed the week and the style of teaching - running the class and module like a design practise and personal project was an approach that really suited me personally. I loved having the option to dip in and out of group work while being allowed to do my own thing and explore my own ideas without feeling pressured to contribute to a group. Because of this, I had 7 good ideas and circuits to match that I could see myself exploring for this project.

Our brief for this module was to explore ideas for IoT products that could fit into the spectrum of the Connected Home. We were given a number of scenarios to consider, including forgetful reminders for physical social networks, mindful fitness and wellbeing and shaping the camera of the future. A lot of my ideas fell into the forgetful reminders category and a lot of ideas began to flow as I played around with the board and played around with different components. Ideas ranged from a system to let your flatmate know you were going to bed, a ring for service button for guests in the home and a series of magnets that when pressed sent a reminder to whoever you lived with to buy a specific product - e.g. press the milk magnet to remind your flatmate to buy more milk.

By the end of the week, I had settled on an idea called The Good News Box that I was interested in exploring further in the coming weeks. The idea was to create a physical prop that acted as not only a reminder to share your good news with your household, but to make a flashy presentation of your good news - no matter how small it may seem to you. This was with the intent to create a meaningful product that would get people even more excited to share their good news with others, and build suspense which In the coming weeks is something I particularly want to explore. 

So far however, I have created a circuit that when the button is pressed on the breadboard, 8 LEDs begin to light up and flash in a random sequence, a servo begins to move with a note indicating there's good news and has the board speaking to Processing to open the YouTube page for Kool and The Gang's song "Celebration". Next week will see me refine the code and explore the possibilities of neopixels rather than LEDs.