IAD Process Week 6 – Production 2

Monday

On Monday morning we tried to create a code for the feather, which we would use in the video to display the emotions matching the dialog in the audio channel.

We realized that it would become a lot easier to film if we created the colors on the video in the post production (after effects). That way we would not have to find a place to hide the cables and the electronics. And we would also be able to change the lights after we recorded the videos.

We then started to set up our film set. We went to the studio and placed our couch and the softboxes, to get a nice and simple visual style. Installing the lights turned out to be more complicated than we thought, but was worth the extra work, after we edited the photos.

Tuesday

Back from the reading week we first we presented our developments to Joëlle and Nicole. Our initial plan was to have one shot, and digitally add a variety by choosing different frames throughout the video. Joelle and Nicole both animated us to try to make more moving pictures. They suggested that we would do some sort of stop-motion. That way we would create a more interesting image.

We decided to pursue that advice and optimized the storyboard by adding motions to the bracelet. Sadly the only empty spot in the foto studio was this Tuesday after 6 pm. A little night shift was expedient.

 

Wednesday

Wednesday morning we had another mentoring with Joëlle. We showed our images and our ideas for the subtitles. Since the audio files were in swiss-german, we were obliged to include subtitles. By adding subtitles we could include other visual objects on the screen, the question was, if we would destroy this simple style, and distract too much from the colors of the bracelets. We decided that we had to try both!

Arranging the images to a stop-motion was harder than we thought. Mapping the images to the voices was extremely time-consuming. But created a better outcome than inserting images with the exact same length. Another night shift!

Thursday

The last day of the module wasn’t easy, as expected. We spent a lot of time key-framing the lights of the bracelets. Each frame had to be adjusted individually. While Michael focused on this animated effect, Vinzenz and Shaën started with the documentation and the presentation.

When we finally finished the light effect of the bracelets, we started to work on the sound for the video. To stick to the simple and abstract design of the video, we only inserted minimalistic sound effects, which were only noticeable for people who have seen the movie multiple times.

Friday

The last day of our module! Presentations first, beers second!

Password: Emotion

Key lessons of the week and our module in general

Take your time to find the project subject!

Don’t think of a title in the last minutes. Take your time to find a suitable title for your project.

Always remember to turn off the room lamps in a photo studio! This sounds very basic, but being so fixed on softboxes, light intensity and white balance make it hard to remember the basic stuff!

Interaction Design – Additional Documentation

Final Concept

Target Group

Love couples.
We decided to focus on love relationships because sharing your emotions is very intimate and at the same time you have you have many misunderstandings and bad communication. There are also couples which are doing similar stuff like sharing the current location through mobile phones.

Usage

Each partner has a bracelet on the wrist sharing the emotion of their partner whenever they want to know it. They are connected to their mobile phones through Bluetooth LE and so connected to each other through the internet. By raising the wrist and turning it that the color LED faces the face of the wearer, the emotion of the partner will be displayed in two colors chosen by the partners themselves. Choosing the colors enables them to encrypt their emotions from an outside audience.

The closer the partners are to each other, the faster the immediate the color will change on the bracelet. In contrary, far distance to each other gives them a more like a summary of the last minutes or hours to prevent confusion if it’s not caused by partner i.e. at work.

Goals

The device should never replace something but emphasize the emotions.

Encourage conversation and prevent misunderstandings

  • Encourage couples to talk about their feelings. If they don’t like the current situation or not.
  • Emphasize the emotion of people while they are speaking

Build togetherness

  • Share emotions together
  • Have something that connects them together throughout the day.
  • Show the partner that you are comfortable and enjoy

Sensors

EDA Sensor:
Is probably the most accurate sensor to measure some kind of emotions after awkward brainwave sensors.
When we are stressed, When we are stressed, we sweat more – increasing our skin’s electrical conductivity.

PGG Sensor (Heart rate):
Is a good combination to the EDA sensor. We all know, when you are stressed or in discomfort, your heart rate rises.

Shift of concepts

What was special in this module was that we shifted our concepts for many times until we finally established the idea the bracelet. But beside that it was a hard way to our idea, we learned a lot and we think that it matured our concept. We changed our mind quite often after long discussion and new insights we gathered.

Skatepark mapping

We started to do our field research at the skatepark and so we also had our first ideas for the skatepark. To be honest the ideas weren’t very concrete. But we focused on the unwritten rules and the nonverbal communication.

We encountered the problem that many different people are on the skatepark and so there were many arguments. We thought about many ways how we can decrease the fights such as visualizing the unwritten rules in many ways. But it all went into the direction of manifesting rules and from our observations, in the interviews we’ve made skate people appreciate the freedom they have. Also, the impact in the world is quite restricted to the skatepark which was not the idea of the module.

Feedback forcing device & commute collision prevention

Our next ideas had a big impact of the skatepark.

We noticed that the communication between different parties like the parents of the kids and the teenager skaters was broken. They did not really say what they wanted to say and often they just communicated when it already was too late.

So we made a quick concept of a device which exposes if you are uncomfortable while you were talking. We imagined to be used at team meetings and or in family dinner. The aim of this would be that people make it normal to show critique and to communicate before it’s too late.

The second device focused on what we thought about in the beginning of the module. We all experienced situations in public spaces where people share limited space. We thought about several AR possibilities to i.e. prevent pumps that people are more caring and aware of each other.

Bracelet

Again after great feedback, we decided to focus on displaying emotions. Funny enough, we initially focused on a bracelet just to make a quick prototype. The bracelet should show as many emotions as possible. But after the feedback, we recognized that it’s so hard to track, distinguish, interpret and display all emotions. We also wanted to leave the concept open to all people.

We noticed that we need to focus a bit more on our user group. We decided to define which people should use the bracelet. Because it’s something such intimate we settled to love couples very fast. Also, we shrunk the range of emotions to comfort and discomfort which is doable with technology nowadays.

We had many ideas of a medium to display emotions such as glowing tattoos, holograms and implants. We wrote down properties which the bracelet should have:

  • Independent from seasons and fashion
  • Easy to hide or remove
  • Not distracting

It excluded most of our ideas but the main reason was the sensor. We really wanted to use the EDA sensor for our concept. Besides the brainwave sensor it’s the most accurate yet and at the same time it’s not as embarrassing as connected cables on your head. But the sensor could only be applied at the finger or at the wrist.

Interviews

Usually, the better you are prepared for an interview, the better the results will be. We first defined what we wanted to find out with the interview, with whom we want to talk and finally the questions we want to ask. Before the interview we did a very short introduction what is happening the next few minutes and what the basic concept of the bracelet is.

Questions to be answered

  • See if there are problems in communication where the bracelet can help
  • Find out where the current concept can led them to problem and what we would need to fix.
  • Find out how much people are willing to share and what is to much so they feel controlled.

Interview Questions

It’s one thing to ask the right questions. But it’s also important how you ask them. By asking a question and also when we ask it can influence the outcome a lot. That’s why we put some extra effort formulate a few good questions and reduce it so our interview partners won’t be bored. As you can see in the following questions they are often very open and also encourage a conversation between the participants.

  • Where could it help you to communicate?
  • Where do you think it would bring you into trouble?
  • When would you feel observed/controlled?
    • How can you compare it to other methods like location sharing with smartphone apps?
  • How could it strengthen your togetherness?
  • What would you change about the bracelet to make it more usable (general question in the end)
  • Would you be willing to wear a bracelet, if you knew your partner could see your emotions at any time? (at the end, very implicit)

Selection of interview partners

We wanted to have a range of different couples in a matter of the time they are together. So we looked for couples which are together for less than two years, around ten years and more than twenty years. We expected it to be hard but it was even harder to find participants.

Learnings of Interviews

We learned that many couples indeed have communication problems and it’s normal. Often times they would love to know more what their partner is thinking but at the same time, there are thoughts and feelings they don’t want to share.

Although it could bring them into arguments four of five couples said that it could help them in their relationship.

Half of our couples would rather share their emotions instead of their location, the other the total opposite. But all of them, of course, were a bit concerned and would probably not share the emotions all the time throughout the day. Maybe only for a short period of time and as one couple suggested, for people who participate a couple therapy.

I case of strengthening the togetherness only two couples thought it could help.

Especially the appearance of the bracelet was always a reason to criticize. It probably could be too big, disturb while wearing a watch or needs to look fancier to be worn at any occasion. Every couple told us that they’re afraid that people from outside could see their emotions. It’s such an intimate thing. So they suggested it should be only visible when they look at their wrist and one couple suggested to encrypt the output by the selection of custom colors.

Prototype Production

For the prototype, we 3D printed a wrist strap with flexible filament and a transparent lamp in the middle. The IAD lab gave us an RGB NeoPixel, an Adafruit Feather which compatible to Arduino and a matching battery. Michael quickly made a working code to demonstrate how the bracelet could work.

Video Production

As we finally decided to make a bit more abstract video we first started to listen to our interviews again and create a storyboard for the two interviews we selected. This was extremely helpful in the following steps of the production.

We wanted to have a bit more abstract video which displays the experience of our concept. Instead of filming, we were shooting pictures of the movie because then the shooting was way simpler and we were able to make animations in post production. With this, we did not have to hide cables of the prototype.

IAD Process Week 5 – Production 1

Monday

Vinzenz and Shaën each did one more interview on Monday with more interesting results. This time we were surprised that the couples had very similar problems.

Tuesday

After sharing the interviews we individually made, we tried to find identical statements from the couples. The most popular sentence was probably that the bracelet would have to be hidden most of the time. It should be very discrete and not visible all the time.

This lead us to the conclusion, to build a new prototype we could then use in our concept video or demonstration. To make the prototype less striking, we decided to minimize the transparent material. The bracelet would now be black and have a tiny box or dot, which is enlightened by a color LED according to the color. After our struggles with the Ninja Flex, we reconciled with flexible 3D printer material and decided to try another black flex material.

Wednesday

We arrived Wednesday morning and went straight to the Industrial lab to check on our new prototype. Luckily the print turned out to be decent, and we experimented with the lights inside of it. Our previously used LED stripes worked but were extremely hard to hide in videos or photos because of the big power supply and the remote control.

We went to the physical computing lab and asked Clemens and Moritz for some technical parts and advice on the selection of the electronics. Moritz suggested to use an Adafruit Feather (similar to an Arduino), and a Neopixels Led. The feather is a small microcontroller that works with a tiny 3.7V battery and the Neopixels have some sort of bus system, which reduces the wires required to control the colors of the LED. It also enabled us to make the prototype portable and not connected to the socket or huge batteries.

Thursday

We presented our idea for the concept video to Nicole. Initially, we wanted to shoot scenarios with actors or even with ourselves. These scenarios would then show how our bracelet could influence people in a dispute or in everyday life situations.

Nicole warned us of the disadvantages of filming emotions with “actors”. Since we did not have the resources to find interested and talented actors in such a short time, it would be hard to convey the emotions and feelings of the characters in our video. Due to this realization, we decided to make our movie with a more abstract set.

A simple background, some sort of objects that could indicate a room, and the two bracelets which play a scenario. Reduced to the max. Instead of creating new scenarios which show the usage, we decided to use the disputes, we recorded in the interviews. These would be more authentic and random, then our ideas.

That way we would have the audio file of a couple arguing in the background, and in the image of the bracelets with the emotions of the narrators would be visual.

Friday

After a failed 3D print of a couch for our set. We started a new print on another printer.

While we waited for our couch, we cut the interviews and defined the audio files for our videos. We came across two disputes, which were suitable for our project.

To visualize our ideas for the video we created a detailed storyboard.  

Key lessons of the week

Don’t spend too much time on prototyping. It’s fun but you have to keep focused on your project. But prototyping, after all, makes clearly makes sense.

We have to work with the resources we have and we are no good actors. So there might be a more creative way of conveying the experience of the product.

Never use a 0.4mm nozzle for a 20cm print model (takes 20 hours and destroys your object 1h before the end)!

IAD Process Week 4 – Stories and Users

Tuesday

To start the week, each group presented a short play of a scenario demonstrating the idea of our project. Vinzenz and Michael acted as if they were roommates, who had few misunderstandings. We created a scenario where one roommate was a lazy who never did the dishes but party a lot. By not talking honestly we demonstrated how it should not work in a healthy relationship between two friends. Then we included the bracelet and played a similar scenario where one of us was scared of a horror movie but too afraid to say so. The bracelet forced them to show their real feelings and helped to encourage a conversation.

Wednesday

We started to look for a suitable material to build our prototype. We thought of a flexible plastic, which we could use in the 3D printer. That way, our prototype would be unisex, and not to fashion related. After checking the Material Library and the Industrial Lab, we found a material called Ninjaflex. It is a transparent, yet flexible filament! Full of enthusiasm we then created a basic prototype to print. After multiple tries, with and without the help of workshop employees, we had to dissociate the Ninjaflex, and print our prototype with a regular transparent PLA.

After the Mentoring with Joëlle, we decided to body storm couples with the bracelet and do a reflective interview subsequently, to validate our ideas, get new inputs and what the advantages and disadvantages could be for them.

Thursday

We reached out to friends of us and asked for their help with our project. We knew finding people would be hard. But to be honest, it turned out to be even harder than expected. Most of them were not too happy once we told them we would record them, to be able to evaluate the interview.

The questions for the interview had to be chosen in advance. We sat together and discussed, which insecurities we would need to clarify. The usage and the improvement of our bracelet interested us most. So we decided to let them play a short scenario, where they had to lead a short dispute and react to the influence of the bracelet during the dispute.

Friday

Friday morning started with a short presentation about our achievements in week 4.

Weekend

In the weekend Vinzenz visited two couples and did the brainstorming and the following interview. Both of them first were a bit nervous but after a few minutes, they found their role. The interview validated a few of our ideas but also generated new inputs. Surprisingly, they didn’t really decline the concept, they actually liked it.

Key lessons of the week

We really realized how hard it was to define interview questions but also how crucial it is for the results of the interview. The question alone can manipulate the answers and that’s what we want to prevent. But not only that even the order of questions can change the outcome. We could list even more but to conclude it: Interviewing Questions are a very sensible thing.

One more lesson: the body storming really helped a lot! It wasn’t only helping us by better results and impressions of the usage but also the couples so they can imagine and reflect with more confidence.

IAD Process Week 3 – Play

Tuesday

On Tuesday afternoon, the three of us decided which idea from last week we should follow. We decided to go for the problem of misunderstandings due to a lack of identifying others emotions. To do this research we split the related work into three topics. Shäen chose to look for historic events and art with emotions. Vinzenz concentrated on the technological part. He looked for related work projects, such as EmoteMail and sensors, which detect emotions and feelings. I focused on emotions on social media, and the psychological aspect of transparently showing emotions.

 

Wednesday

After knowing what is possible with which sensors, we tried to find out, where this device could be located. It should not distract people. In addition to the selection of the sensors, it could only be located on the hands or face. We had multiple ideas which were too science fictional. Such as glowing tattoos, holograms, and implants. In the end, we decided to go for some sort of wristband or ring.

This decision was based on a few properties that the product should have:

  • Visible from outside
  • Independent from seasons and fashion
  • Easy to hide or remove
  • Not distracting

We also finally nailed down what our product should do. First, we defined what our product should We decided to display emotions through colors. Because it’s very complicated to track, distinguish, interpret and display all emotions we decided to only focus on showing comfort and discomfort which is doable with sensors nowadays. Also, we wanted to give just a little inside of the emotions so it will encourage people but not will be misused as a lie detector. At the end, we also tried to define some user groups but we actually wanted to leave it open to everybody.

Thursday

We built a simple prototype out of LED stripes, wool and tape. It was a non-working prototype which was made to visualize our first thoughts of the device. For this case, it was very helpful so we were able to continue our discussions.

We presented our ideas to Joëlle and our guest, Joel Gähwiler, who is an assistant of the interaction design program. He gave us nice inputs and suggestions on our next steps. For example, we should try to focus more on our target audience. Only then can we really design a project for these users.

Key lessons of the week

We really made process in nailing down what we want to do. It is because we were open to new methods which helped us in our decisions. Especially visualizing helped us of having more vivid discussions. Also, the related work which doesn’t have to be in the same field enriched our creativity.

There often is a time in the time in a project when you have to find focus which means that you have to kill one of your favorite ideas. But the more you are able to focus the deeper you can go into detail. We struggled to narrow down the user group but at the end, we learned that it is crucial.

IAD Process Week 2 – Idea Transfers

Tuesday

After an interesting Design Methodology lesson about prototyping, we were asked to create a prototype, made out of everyday objects and garbage in 1.5h. Since we had not decided what our final project should be, we were struggling to find an idea for a prototype. After one hour and 15 minutes of arguing what we should build, we decided to create some sort of „emergency-prototype“ which displays our interests, and what we would like to observe.

We made a cardboard box with a tiny door and multiple paper balls with different sizes. This was an extremely abstract form to display people (paper balls) and certain societies, which were separated by a door that was not big enough for all the paper balls to fit through.

Wednesday

Nicole gave an input on narrowing down our ideas. We used a method which contained a coordinate system with two axes, that we could name ourselves. We chose acceptance and usability, to sort our ideas.

We chose two ideas from the coordinate system. After that, we collected more than a dozen questions to our ideas we chose.

Thursday

Vinzenz decided to try to do some research on giving feedback or feedback:
When is feedback necessary and when is it better not to give feedback? What is the best way to convey feedback? etc.

Michael concentrated on the idea of technology, that supports our consciousness. He informed himself about AR and similar ideas:
What rules could be conveyed by such a system? Are we dissociating ourselves, when we create a device, which reduces non-verbal misunderstandings?

To each of our ideas we created a poster with pictures how our piece of technology could work, a goal we wanted to reach and a slogan of our product. Vinzenz’ goal was to enhance conversation, to be honest, and to lower the effort critique. He thought that people (at least in Switzerland) are not longer showing their emotions and it would help if we share critique more often.

For the presentation of Friday, we had to make a video which should contain the highlights of the last two weeks.
Also, we did our first plan what we want to reach with our projects. So we made an “Action Plan” which contained the very first concepts, the goal we want to achieve with it, what people we need for this, obstacles we’ll face and things we need.

Friday

On Friday we presented our ideas and tried to show, what progress we have made in Week two. Joëlle gave us the advice to proceed our progress, and try to focus more on one idea, which we then should research more. She missed the related work in our presentation. Which we then decided to do more intense in week three.

Key lessons of the week

If you understand the people/users and their problems well, you’ll lose yourself quite fast in many ideas you have which can be frustrating. There are a few very good techniques to find out in which direction you should work. They really help!

IAD Process Week 1 – Into the wild!

Tuesday

How can we change the world?
We started our module and worked with multiple methods to find ideas. The topic was „How can we change the world?“. After we all thought about different topics each one of us wrote down one sentence. Based on these sentences we built teams. Shaën, Vinzenz and I had all written about Human Interactions and communication. We were very interested in common miscommunications, which is why we decided to ask a youth work agency and the Kantonspolizei Zürich if we could interview them on the next day. Sadly they were not as cooperative and spontaneous as we hoped.

Wednesday

The next morning we sat together and tried to think of a new place to get inspired and interview people. 

We agreed to go to the skatepark to observe the communication between people of various ages. We managed to get three people in front of our camera: A young man riding his dirt bike, a teenager with a scooter and three children between 4 and 10 and their mother. In the afternoon we presented our thoughts and worked more on our observations.

Thursday

We brainstormed in the skatepark and tried to film nonverbal communication. Due to the lack of people, we decided to go again after school. The second time we went there, we placed our camera and filmed certain spots for a while. Michael volunteered to skate as well and observe how people behave. Afterward, we confronted the people we have seen communicate through nonverbal language. We noticed that there are some unwritten rules in the skate park but also most people rely on body language.

Friday

There’s a clash between the skaters and the parents of kids with scooters. Often times they did not really talk to each other which led to many misunderstandings and arguments. To get an overview of the situation we created personas and a model of the relationships in the skatepark.

After our presentation with Joëlle and Nicole, we decided to go in the direction of similar issues in other situations around the world. Where are intuitive rules applied and do not require written rules?

Key lessons of the week

Creating ideas is a crucial process especially if the subject of the work is not given. Next time for sure we would focus more on this part, to be open and to really understand the people and their problems.