Interactive Environments & Experience Design

Part 1

Prof Nohe’s works are very interesting and experimental. It piques the audience’s interest, and maintains this interest because of how much they can explore with the installation. The installation hinges mainly on the interactivity and how responsive it is to the audience’s interactions and choices of connecting different ports. This creates different effects and different “music”.

The interesting part comes when 2 or more people comes. The music might be too loud at that point for verbal communication, and they might try to just make music base on each other’s actions and the sounds that they make, which becomes very intuitive and empathetical. This reminds me of the way a game called Journey is played; there is no way for the characters to communicate, neither mic nor chat, but through actions and sounds made by the characters in the game. Surprisingly, most players bond tighter through this, as compared to other games where communication is involved.

Part 2
Day 1 – Diary

I use my phone the moment I wake up and check for messages and my social media. I usually do this for 30 mins before I fully wake up to get started on my day. I would usually watch Youtube when I am eating and when there isn’t anyone to talk to, and then play mobile games like Soul Knight and Cytus (music game) when I am travelling on the MRT to school. Alternatively, I will listen to music if I am not in the mood for games. I don’t usually take photos unless I see something cool, but I would still place the quality of cameras as priority when choosing a phone. My phone is equipped with a Swype keyboard so I take down notes a lot faster through my phone as compared to writing notes down. Other things that I do on my phone is to upload documents and pictures on google drive so that I will never have to use a wire to connect both devices manually. Navigation via Google Maps helps a lot when I am travelling to a new place. All in all it is used for almost everything, from social and entertainment to work – there is no way I can live without it.

On the way to school, you can also see most people using their phones for the same reasons; communications via text messaging and video calling, social media, and gaming to pass travelling time. Even when I am eating with friends, there will always be a high chance that my friends would bring their phones out to show us something funny or cool.

Day 2 – Torment

It was like living off the grid with no more connection to anyone outside of anywhere I am. It becomes highly inconvenient and incredibly boring when I am traveling, with no way of knowing when the bus will arrive and no way of self entertainment. I still do people-watching on the MRT, but it is different without music because then it feels like you are intruding into their personal spaces by listening to their conversations. It becomes more than just body language; it becomes everything personal. No access to computers mean I will not be able to get most of my work done, since I need to use computer softwares for certain project and I am not able to read or reply any emails.

Being an avid gamer, having no access to computer or my phone means I will not be able to play any games either, which is painful when my daily schedule includes late night gaming. There isn’t much I can do but disturb the people working around me, go out of school/home, or read a book. I went to hike the Southern Trails at Hort Park that day. It is sad, but there is no way I will be able to live without any devices right now. ūüôĀ

Art Science Museum – Future World

Future World is a brilliant exhibition where audiences get to fully experience each and every installation, not just by watching, but through almost every other senses like sound and touch.

Endless wave of waves

In Nature, there are 5 panels of LED projecting an endless wave of waves. Accompanied by soothing music and bean bags strewn across the carpet floor, visitors are encouraged to take a sit or even lie down to relax and drown in the calmness of the sea, which they did so without any instructions.

Building a town

Moving further into the exhibition, we were were greeted with a familiar sight of civilisation. One of the installation was fully interactive. We were given a landscape and all we have to do were to move certain blocks like mountains (for river channels) and houses (for roads). The computer (Kinect) joins similar shapes together and automatically builds a town, with animations of small cars and trains going back and forth. The concept was pretty easy to understand and surprisingly engaging. The table is big enough to hold large crowds and there were enough blocks for everyone to shift. Each shift could result in a different pattern of town and everyone wants to try.

Light cubes

The other interesting project was the cubes. They are colourful and bright, and attracts children and adults alike. However, the concept was not as obvious as the town-building game. Visitors will only know that the cubes actually stack on a plus and minus when you get close to it and touch it. Only then they will try to stack them and see how the colours will change. I feel like it might work better if the plus and minus indents were more deeper and more obvious. Other than that, the technology used for this is impressive!

Light Balls Orchestra

These balls of colourful lights are comes in 2 sizes for both adults and children. Many of the visitors would go ahead to step in and play with them. However, being here before, I actually did not realise that bouncing these balls actually activate sounds of an orchestra and a choir around you! It is a huge pity if most visitors do not realise that part of the installation because of all of the other installation polluting it with sound. Nevertheless, it is inviting, and it takes advantage of what visitors already understood in their early years of their lives what to do with balls: bounce them, or even kick them.

LED crystals – Space Simulation

In the future world, visitors are greeted by thousands of LED crystals hung from the ceiling. As these lights change to simulate movement through space (literally), soothing music plays to suit the various patterns. Being enveloped by thousands of lights gives audiences a sense of wonder, and that there is so much more in the universe to see and experience. All of it in a small space that is made much bigger by mirrors that seems to further expand the universe.

Having been there once, I thought it would just be another field trip. However, there is so much more than meets the eye, and after analysing each installation with the Director of TeamLab, I actually learn much more.

iLight Exhibition

I was not able to attend this year’s exhibition, due to my busy schedule and fear of crowds. However, I did attend the one last year and the one exhibition that gave me the biggest impression was Fissure by Ong Kian Peng (feature image). It is basically 2 halves that will only light up if you touch the 2 metal plates on both halves, completing the circuit and lighting it up. You could also do it between 2 people, and it lights up as well, somehow suggesting the importance of human connection. It was beautiful and meaningful.

Groove Light by NUS. Retrieve from, 11/9/2017.

The other exhibition was Groove Light by NUS. They attached a lever to the light bulb so that visitors can raise or drop the light bulb in and out of the sculpture. The interesting part is the play on the light. The sculpture has curved lines, but the shadows projected onto the floor have straight lines instead, which is incredible that it is even possible!

Chipchase TED video – Better Human Connectivity?

In this TED talk, Chipchase talks about being connected, how everyone is going to be connected (and now are) via mobile phones that transcends through space (by calling) and time (by messaging with convenience). It was a rare thing then, with the streets of China even reverse engineering the production and functions of a phone, and then producing them.

Retrieved from TEDtalk, 9/9/2017.

But this TEDtalk was filmed 10 years ago. In this 10 years, much of technology has developed and almost everyone are connected via mobile data and has at least 1 smart phone. Everyone is connected virtually, albeit too much. Now we have what the experts call the phone addiction syndrome. With neck bent, and earphones plugged in, even if friends are close by, no efforts were put in to converse with them. People even got into accidents because they were not paying attention to the road traffic and pedestrian lights. A television show even in Singapore, The Noose, even made fun of how parents have to talk to their children via Whatsapp to talk to them. Indeed, technology has given us various perks like better connectivity, but is it actually making us lose human connection?


Thoughts on Chipchase Chapt 5

reading this extract is an eye-opener. There are many little bits of details that I would miss out if i were to go on a research trip, like the signs of Do’s and Don’ts and what they imply of a given area, the languages used and how it implies multilingual communities, the icons on the signs and how it implies literacy rates in that country, or how different menus in different countries implies a certain diet adopted by the citizens, etc.

What surprised me most was how he interpreted the lack of certain signs. How did it occur to him about what the lack of signs mean? The only answer i could guess was that he had done research in so many different countries and compared them to understand it better.

The other question I had in mind was: Do the signs(laws) make the citizens, or the citizens make the signs(laws)? Taking Japan for example, they are one of the most gracious community, keeps the streets very clean even though there are no rubbish bins around (as compared to Singapore where bins are everywhere, but littering still exists), sorts out their trash for recycling, and are very considerate people. Yet, they have numerous signs and rules for public spaces.

Week 1 Reflection + Questions

It is interesting how good design is all about communication between machine and man. never thought about it this way. I always thought that good design means being instinctive, that people can use products instinctively, like when you see a knobs, you turn it, and when you see a button, you push it. there is no other. but communication is getting more important now that technology is rapidly improving in different aspects, like VR. After playing with VR machines, it does seem like communication is important; how does the machine communicate with the player that you are stepping out of the safe boundaries within the room? or how you are not within the sensor range of a Kinect machine.

I feel like it will have to be important to pick up the habit of being aware of how I feel when I interact with products and objects. Why would I feel happy using my phone when it does not vibrate at everything I do on it, or why do I feel frustrated when paper gets jammed in the printer? What made it a good design base on the discoverability of a product’s affordance to users, the usage of signifiers to guide the users with utilising the product (intentional or unintentional, positive or negative feedback from the machines), the mapping of controls so that users know which switch is for which feature, the feedbacks given to users by machines as a form of communication.

horrible norman doors

Norman doors example. Retrieved from:



  1. Mimosa leaves that opens up when it detects sunlight/heat/rain…
  • light detector? (but not possible if he wants it to be mechanical)
  • if the installation depends on heat, it could depend on contraction and expansion to move. (metal would be a good heat conductor)
  • if the installation depends on rain, it could expand when it absorbs water (opens up) and contract when it eventually dries (closes). (but what kind of material?)

Other inspirations: Mimosa by Jason Bruges

  1. Wind Chimes (Sound – must be very subtle, not loud)
  • Manpowered? When people walk by > weight pressure/interactivity > activates mechanisms > mallet hits metal > sounds
  • Rainpowered? Rain pours > water collects > (1) water mill? > activates mechanisms > sound. (2) japanese bamboo fountain > too heavy > flips some mechs > hits and creates sounds
  • Inspiration: Windchime bridge by Mark Nixon


  1. Pinwheel (no particular function)
  • Makes use of temperature to turn the sculpture
  • Matt black on one side > shiny on another > creates temperature difference > spin. Or just fan blades.
  1.  Manpowered water feature? (not a developed idea..)
  • Makes use of the water being wasted (water coolers or toilet sinks) to achieve an effect.
  • The water is probably collected somewhere to gain enough momentum before giving life to a sculpture (like the japanese bamboo water feature? Since water is the source of life?) eck.. Im not so sure.. OTL ¬†

When it is moving it is smth > not moving it is another thing.


  1. Scintillating tornado…