Iteration: In-Sync


  • transmission of touch was limited to only sitting up and down
  • sound was almost non-existent
  • distance was too close for much impact


  • overhead shelter that doubles up as simple mode of interaction; grid of free-moving leaves above, supported by net-like structure, users can tug on the net either side, like a primitive and limited form of interaction
  • a double sided acoustic guitar in the middle, strummable from both sides
  • sonification of movement; use of pickups to amplify movement sounds, strategically placed on the undersides of the seating area and cloth
  • responsive musical chair; could encourage users to ‘play’ with the seat more, use of fabric sensing grid
  • digitalisation of communication cone.

Fabric Sensing grid (

design sketches

possible location


In Sync – Process (Part 1)


I started the design in CAD, after having a loosely similar sketch. In the first iteration, the sitting area was much wider, basically a 1m x 1m square. After all the design was done, I prepared a cutlist, and upon realising the ridiculous amount of wood the design required, I had to go back to the digital board and do major revisions.

Design Iteration 1

I first down-sized the sitting space to a cosy 60cm x 60cm square, and reduced the number of legs. I was pretty confident this amount of wood was structurally sound, as I have made sofas of similar design before(actually slimmer in design). I was very relieved when the updated cutlist reflected an almost 30% reduction in wood requirements. On hindsight, I am glad I downsized the structure as the timeframe was challenging enough as it is.

Design Iteration 2


The building of this project took place over an intense five days, at least for me.. But it was great to do some building from time to time, and I am proud to share my process..

The wood was all sourced kindly from the IM room; alas there were many twisted ones, but as a lot of my construction used short lengths, much of the twist was mitigated as I processed and glued them up. Also, I would like to add that the whole process involved no heavy machinery, 🙂 only a cordless drill and sander.

Cut planks to length

Measuring, cutting alone took a full day, in total there were close to 80 pieces, derived from about 6 x 2.4m planks. Then the planks were fitted, cut and glued according to the CAD design.

Glue planks for strength

When one half of the frame was done, a dry fit was done to make sure that the translated CAD design worked in real world. At this point it was pretty spot on. Though I must admit the frame was not entirely square; about 5mm longer on one half.

First rough framing complete

After all the parts were ready, lots of sanding was done to remove the blemishes and cracks in the wood. This part was certainly one of the most demanding.

Sanding mania

With the framing ready, the time has come for throwing in some cloth for the seating. I had on hand some used curtains; these were plenty strong for our purposes. After a bit of trial and error, I made 2 straight stitches on each side to act as sleeves for them to slide onto the frame. I try to make this as modular as possible, so I avoided using staples, even though it would be much faster.

Marking & sewing stitches to cloth

Fitting cloth to frame

As there was plenty of sanding to be done, I sanded one half per day and applied wax so that I can use the time while the wax is drying to sand the other half. It was pretty gratifying to see the crappy wood transform into something that look somewhat luxurious 🙂 By the way this is kapur timber.

Applying wax finish on first batch of sanded parts

Finished all sanding ! This is how the planks look before wax

Moment of truth! A first full assembly of one half. The legs are properly fitted for the first time, with the addition of the bottom leg tie supports. I deviated a little from the CAD for the supports, as it didn’t negatively affect the strength and looked more visually interesting, seen here in a cascading style. Some sewing was also done on the straps, repurposed from cargo tie-downs. Three of these were more than enough to help support the weight of seaters. Bryan, Zhifeng and Bao also bravely helped me test-run the strength of the cloth seats. Seeing Bao sit comfortably on the chair, I was confident the structure could handle itself.

First full assembly of one side, sign of relief!

The other half was done much faster, and after some finishing touches the whole design is fully realised and ready to go! It was Friday, so I decided to also quickly throw together a cart to house the dismantled structure, and get it all packed and ready to go for installation on Monday evening.

Full assembly complete

All packed and ready to go

Setup went by smoothly, as this is an analog project I guess? Digital projects tend to throw you curveballs. I also added some greens for good measure. I was lucky to have Gwen, Yenee and Amanda to help me test-run. I am glad they had a bit of fun.

Setup at location

First eager participants :p

Presentation day. In general I think the structure held up well. In terms of interactivity, it was limited. Most of the interaction occurred as people sat and got up, making it see-saw-ish. Also, the tin-can contraption was more of visual eye-candy than functional. I think there are many opportunities for further development. And hopefully for the next iteration we can have this outdoors for better effect.

Cheers !

Critique day

Check out part 2 , as the project gets ‘digitised’ !

MicroPerf 3 – GPS Texting

GPS Texting is a flash mob done by Yixue, Ashley and Daryl. It involves 5 performers receiving visual cues from their phones to form a gigantic “WE ♡ SG” using ropes laid on the ground. This was done at an open field near Geylang Industrial Estate.

Bird’s eye view of performance site

The initial idea was for each performer to access a web app (that is made using glitch and mapbox) that shows a map, their current location, and letter which they are supposed to “draw”. Each performer would utilise the GPS function on their phone to guide them on which direction to go and how long each side of the string will be.

Site 1 & 2 shown in Mapbox software


Webapp made to coordinate movement

However, on the day of performance, the chosen site was really muddy and wet, (making it very hard to walk). The GPS was also not accurate enough, perhaps due to reduced letter sizes(insufficient rope) and cloud cover. Furthermore, half of our performers were kids (Yixue’s nephews and niece), so we decided to improvise.

Test-run with new setup

The final flash mob performance consist of 5 performers, forming a letter each. There is also another conductor who is positioned at a higher level to guide the performers below by streaming a real-time video from above so that the performers below could check on their phones if their letters are placed correctly. Each performer would first form the letter on their own, then adjust accordingly with the help of the video stream.

Final Result



With the idea in hand, a webapp was quickly prototyped to assess the feasibility of using GPS for such a purpose. The GPS is usable at large distances, therefore a suitable scale was required for the whole thing to work. The initial scales of letters required on average 60-70m of rope per letter. However, insufficient rope resulted in an attempt to tweak the letter sizes, which proved to be a bad decision.

Left: Glitch was instrumental in making a functional app with minimal fuss.
Right: Measuring tool for estimating distances.

The original plan was to have the performers open the same app on their phones. The app is synced; so the map will show the performer the next point to move towards relative to their current location.

Instructions for performers

For performers to visualise…

Materials and Tech

  • 5 reels of 55m white rope
  • Mobile phones
  • Glitch platform (nodejs app)
  • Firebase Realtime database (for synchronization)
  • Geolocation Api
  • Mapbox