MSc Product Design - Creative Technology (2)

Week 2 began with a tutorial where I fed back my concept from last week to Fraser and Martin. Fraser highlighted several points for me to consider for the project. This included looking at:

  • What is the celebration that the project is highlighting?
  • Is it for seasonal events only? Christmas? Easter?
  • Who is it ideally for? Kids or adults?
  • What sort of theme does the box adhere too?
  • What is the main interaction with the box?
  • How are the notifications of the box shared?

Martin also helped me refine where my project sat in terms of the connected home and IoT - I knew the scenario I was interested in was forgetful reminders for physical social networks. In that case, the Good News Box is looking to use IoT to celebrate face to face conversations that share important announcements.

Another important point that came up during discussion was how to avoid the product becoming abused or coming across as gimmicky - if people could celebrate any small piece of news, what was to stop them taking the piss with the product and crying wolf? That’s why it was suggested that I consider coming up with a strong hook. Finally, the possibility of the device recording days that there was good news was discussed, as that would give the project a bit more depth and move it away from being a gimmick.

For the rest of the week, I experimented more with Arduino and reflected on some of the points made by Fraser during the tutorial - in particular, who it was for, the interactions and how the notifications of the box would be shared. I drew inspiration from objects that are currently used in celebrations or when specifically announcing a piece of news - things like party poppers or champagne bottles. I also looked at old ways to announce news - specifically how newspaper used to be delivered and old PA systems and how IoT could be incorporated into it. Finally, I was also interested in creating an object that could be discreetly displayed in the home without drawing attention to itself. It was a lot to consider.

I highlighted 3 interactions that I wanted the product to do - announce the news, build suspense and record good news:

  • Announcing the news - looking at using neopixels to create a light show of some sort, or make a flashy presentation
  • Building suspense through notifications - using a potentiometer to allow the product or a part of the product to be twisted - I likened this to setting a timer which would then notify your household that you had good news to share. I also considered how neopixels would be used as a way to indicate that the notification had been sent to the household
  • Recording good news - using the product as a way to keep track of all the good news for the week. Could this be displayed with indicator on the side of the product? If interacted with, would the product tell you how much good news there was for the week?

This week gave me plenty to think about and put me in good stead for creating a plan of action for the next week. My main focus would be to get neopixels working with a potentiometer and also look into exploring further what processing could do.