Device of the Week [Sensory]: The BrainPort Vision Device


The BrainPort Vision Device aids the visually impaired to perceive their surroundings by enhancing their tastebuds. Consisting of a frame camera and an electro tactile array, the user is able to interpret their environment by feeling the stimuli on the surface of their tongue. More specifically, the pictures captured on the camera that is mounted on framed glasses are converted to a pattern of electronic impulses and then sent to the electro tactile array which is attached to the user’s tongue. The impulses are then sent to the different sensory centers of the brain for interpretation.

It may seem strange at first, but the visually impaired who have tried this device were able to make out shapes and people after a while of practice. This marks a monumental peak in technology, especially in the sensory aspect.

  • Able to aid the visually impaired into “seeing” or sensing their surroundings
  • Enable the visually impaired to be more independent in life
  • The device can be used for not just the visually impaired, but people with other conditions as well, such as quadriplegia.
  • Users can operate it independently with a handheld controller
  • It uses a rechargeable battery
  • The usage of tastebuds in the tongue it is slightly inconvenient especially during mealtimes when the device needs to be removed.
  • Debates have said that this device doesn’t really let the user see objects, but instead only perceiving them in their brain
  • This technology cannot be adapted to work on senses the brain does not already have.
  • The BrainPort requires daily usage in order for the brain to register this sensation and better identify the body’s surroundings using this method.
  • The cost of the device is $10,000 so it cannot be afforded by many
  • A minor side effect will be the metallic taste from the electro tactile array

BrainPort Vision Device

Progress – Assignment 1

After looking through my sketch and concept this week, I decided to focus more on how to portray the uncomfortable part of the concept. Thus I did more research on how to portray my physical objects (the childhood transitional objects) and how I could play around with them to show the creepiness or slight discomfort of these items. Thus, I came up with 3 types of executions to show this feeling of familiarity yet strangeness.

  1. Having a physical set-up of toys in a dining setting

Similar to the setting of the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice in Wonderland, I thought of making a bizarre and otherworldly dining setting using the transitional objects and normal dining objects. I feel that by adding something that once felt familiar to something that we use everyday may create a feeling of curiosity and strangeness, especially when the transitional object does not match the setting of the items we use everyday (in this case a dining setting). I was thinking of adding smaller toys (doll parts, plastic animals, macaroni necklaces, smaller stuffed toys) amongst the food and drinks in the dining setting. In addition, the cutlery, teapots, teacups and trays can be altered with these toy parts to show the increased dissociation with reality.

I would like the participants to gradually notice the displacement of toys within the setting, which allows the discomfort to slowly sink in.

2. Using UV light on the toys/ pictures of toys to show the creepiness/ or how they are treated after discarding them

As transitional objects are often abandoned once the child has transitioned over to his/her teens and adulthood, we often do not think of what happens to these toys once they have been discarded, and I wanted to use UV light as a way of portraying the damage that these toys receive, even to the point of disintegrating them. As we often see these toys in a positive light and in a materialistic sense when we were children, we would see these toys in a different light currently, especially when we have more exposure to horror/creepy content.

I managed to get a pen with a UV light attached, so the ink is only visible under UV light. Below is a video of my attempt at using the pen to draw the strange side of the transitional object.

3. Using blue and red light to show the different sides of the objects

Similar to the UV light idea, the usage of red and blue light allows different images to be shown on the same canvas, depending on what light is shown. I was inspired by street artist Insane51 (instagram), who creates murals using red and blue spray paint. Different murals can be seen depending on which colour glasses the viewer is wearing (red or blue). To be able to execute this method, I would take pictures of the toy in its prime state, and in its destroyed state, edit them and print each on a transparency, one in blue ink and one in red ink, then use an LED strip to show the different perspectives of the object.

I think my concept is leaning more towards the dissociation of reality, but culturing the negative emotions from that dissociation, and translating that emotion by using the strangeness of childhood transitional objects. I do prefer the first execution idea slightly more as it is a direct and quirky way of addressing this weirdness while immersing my participants in the space I have created.

Device of the Week [IoT]: Kuri Mobile Robot


The Kuri Mobile Robot is a home robot that is designed for entertainment in the household. Unlike robots that focus on house cleanliness, and connectivity with the different devices in your home, Kuri is like a smart pet that can provide real-time emotional feedback to the voice and provide audio entertainment. It is similar to a monitor camera as live feedback can be activated by the user of the application to see what is going on in the household and it also sends notifications to the application user if there is unusual activity in certain areas of the home. Customized messages and missions can be told to Kuri through the application, such as “check if Suzy has returned home” or “make sure the cat is not on the kitchen table”, and Kuri would know how to navigate to the specific room or area to check. (idk about you but I would really want this in my home)

Internet of Things is displayed through the interaction between the functions of Kuri and how it can be activated through an application from a user that is not in the same space as Kuri. This robot is pretty suitable for households with children or pets.

An overview of the functions of Kuri

Interview with the creator company of Kuri, Mayfield Robotics, about the tech behind Kuri

  • Provides real-time monitoring of household through a built-in camera and application
  • Able to navigate around a household and identify each specific room
  • Using mapping sensors, it is able to navigate smoothly and avoid obstacles
  • Face recognition allows Kuri to recognise the people of the household. It also can identify animals.
  • Kuri can provide auditory entertainment through speakers
  • Small motors allow Kuri to show certain emotions and feedback to certain remarks
  • Voice sensors and rotary motors allow Kuri to turn towards the direction of the person calling it
  • VERY CUTE STRUCTURE!!! (looks like a baby penguin)
  • Unable to navigate up and down stairs
  • May not be as practical as it only provides monitoring and audio functions

Unfortunately, the Kuri robot has cancelled its production and Mayfield Robotics has closed down. Hopefully in the future a new company could create a similar robot with more functions 🙁




LEDsketch: Erasable Graffiti

Link to PDF here

Erasable Graffiti is an interactive work that involves communication between ZigSim on mobile and Processing on desktop. I decided to play with using 2d touch to produce different shapes depending on how many fingers are pressing on the phone screen. I’ve decided to use 2 fingers and when one finger is on the screen, the finger can only produce circles, and the second finger that presses on the same screen will produce squares.

Below is the video of the final product

(tbh i do think the circle patterns look like ratatouille)

This project was fun and interesting, considering that I was still new on using ZigSim and half the time I was still wondering how to understand the different types of data on both software. It would be nice if these kinds of interactions between the phone and a bigger screen could be used for projection mapping (in terms of having real-time scribbles on buildings).

Device of the Week [Health]: Food Marble


Food Marble is a small and portable breath test device that is able to keep track of one’s digestive system through breathing. The device measures the amount of hydrogen produced in each breath to determine how well a certain food has been digested by the person. The data is then sent to a phone application that is paired to this device to record down each intake and then provide food reports back to the user. Food Marble can also track the user’s sleep and stress levels through breath patterns.

What prompted me to research on this particular device was the fact that when people think of health devices, the main devices that are thought of are usually those that target heart rates, exercise patterns, sleep patterns and meditation. Not many people would think of a device that tracks digestive patterns and helps plan one’s eating routine. A common perception of digestive issues come from eating the wrong type of food or eating to quickly. But it actually goes down to the specifics of the type of components that one’s stomach cannot handle, which can be present in many types of food. This type of identification is impossible for a normal person to identify unless they have a nutritionist. Thus having this device that can track the types of components that your stomach is good and bad with is a much more convenient way of rearranging one’s eating patterns to ensure smoother digestion.

Video from Tech Insider testing the usage of the Food Marble


  • Small and portable
  • Easy viewing of data on phone app (comprehensible to new users as well)
  • Able to dissect the data into its specific food components through the FODMAP programme (i.e. Lactose, Fructose, Inulin and Sorbitol) for more accurate digestion tracking
  • Extra benefits such as sleep and stress tracking make the cost more worth it for the user


  • Since it requires physical interaction between the user and the device (through daily breath tests), the data received will be outdated if the user does not constantly do breath tests daily after meals.





Instructional Performance: Landscape Patchwork

For my performance piece, I decided to create a fun and casual drawing activity called Landscape Patchwork. The instructions for the work are as follows:

1. I begin by drawing a sun
2. I call over random participants
3. They are allowed to draw – an animal, a piece of land, a plant, an element of the sky, a person, a piece of architecture (only allowed to draw onw thing)
4. The next participant then draws, but cannot draw the same thing that the previous person drew (e.g. if the person drew a tree and the current participant wants to draw a plant then he/she will have to draw something else – aka a flower or a shrub)
5. The drawing is completed when the paper is full

The work was conducted over a duration of 4 hours, and the canvas was an A3 sized poster paper. All drawings were made with a black marker that had both thin and thick edges.

The final result of the work turned out to be more unexpected than my initial image of the work. I expected people to look at the title and the sun i drew and follow to draw a landscape with standard characteristics. Instead, the participant’s contributions were more creative and chaotic (if I may say) as they played with scale and positioning to create a more abstract piece from the initial intention i had. It did show the personalities of my fellow peers and their thought process.

The video is shown here:

Thoughts: Rafael Lozeno Hemmer – Illuminating Embodiment

Illuminating embodiment talks about how the human body is entangled in all life and meaning, which has led to works that highlight or expand on this entanglement. Rafael Lozeno Hemmer is one artist who has used this concept to create enlightening works that reimagine the relation of humans to architecture, and humans to technology. One work which has caught my attention is Displaced Emperors, where Rafael Lozeno Hemmers used human interaction with technology to reconstruct views of the Habsburg Castle in Linz, Austria. Participants were to point at the facade, which activated 3D sensors, revealing a projected hand, and whenever the hand moved, a projection of the interior of the structure was shown, bringing life and history to a piece of architecture that was once in its glory. The artwork also enabled people to feel more connected to a historical structure, which increases their empathy towards their culture and their history. The human entanglement is then emphasised by allowing humans to interact with a structure that was built by the same kind.

The reading mentioned: “These elements provided pleasurable sensual experiences for the participants and create surprising associations between distant geographical and historical settings, stimulating the user to mediate on other buildings, other histories, and other ways of cultural commemoration.” This reminded me of the Singapore Heritage Light Up Singapore event, where certain landmarks across Singapore were lit up in the country’s national colours – red and white – to commemorate its independence. Not only was this a celebratory action, but it also served as a connecting point for Singapore’s history, and the individual building’s history. Just like how revealing projections on Habsburg Castle helped to revive distant connections in history, the lighting up of certain landmarks in Singapore helped to connect different points of history and weave out a certain story of Singapore.

I do feel that in terms of interaction, Displaced Emperors still was able to engage the people in a more personal sense, through physical interaction of the building (using 3d sensors). It would be nice to see Singapore’s future light-up events to involve these forms of interactions, which could be effective with the current safe distancing measures.

SKETCH: The Calm-pen

Link to PDF here


My initial thought of home was a place of trust as I lived in a small space with my mother, and our actions are completely open, to the point where our private and emotional spaces are merged with each other. Thus, the space I call ‘home’ is a place where I forget all my worries and am able to be truly me. In a world where we show many sides and different personalities, a home space is where there is no judgement and one can truly express how they truly are. Of course, it differs from person to person, as their definition of the physical space of what they call home are different. Some consider their room space a home, where no one is watching them and this space is considered theirs. In my case, not only does the physical space around me defines the whole concept of ‘home’, but also the fact that I share a strong bond with my only family – my mother – that makes this space such a trusting one.

I proceeded to expand on the concept of trust to the resultant feeling of familiarity and comfort. This then helped me to structure my sketch and concept of the Calm-pen.

When I thought of comfort it brought me back to the essence of our childhood and it was probably the time when I felt most comfortable, being oblivious to the harshness of reality and its problems. With the current problems our world is facing, all we want to do is stay in the comfort of a ‘home’ and be oblivious to everything else. Therefore, I would want to make a space for adults to feel that comforting feeling again.

I also explored the concept of a transitional object – an object that helps a child progress from one stage of life to the next. It is an object that evokes a sense of familiarity to family and childhood – thus i wanted to bring back that feeling of comfort and familiarity to us adults.

Therefore, the concept of the Calm-pen was created. Inspired by the concept of a children’s playpen, I wanted to create a comfortable space for adults to lay down and reminisce about their carefree childhood days, using items, smell and sounds to trigger these core memories. The space itself is inspired by the baby’s nursery in Spirited Away (Image of nursery below).

Nursery room from Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli)

The sketch of the space is as follows:

The space I currently imagine is a dome, with dim lighting and the space littered with pillows or soft toys. A scent spray will spray out lavender or baby powder smelling scents across the space, while speakers are attached at the top, playing maybe some lullaby or white noise. The current goal of my space is to transport my participants into a temporary world free from worries and to be comfortable with elements that evoke childhood memories.

I do want to further develop this concept to add in some other complex feelings, or show the vulnerability of some ‘homes’ as compared to others. Ultimately a ‘home’ is a place of both good and bad memories.