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

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 ūüôĀ




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.




Reflection: New Media: A Critical Introduction, New York, NY: Routledge, 2009, Lister, Martin, Jon Dovey, Seth Giddings, Iain Grant and Kieran Kelly, eds.

New Media: A Critical Introduction gives a very in-depth analysis of new media. I will be doing a reflection on Chapter 2 which introduces the notion of VR and how it has created a culture among its users.

Chapter 2 addressed the popularity of VR in the early 2000s but also gave some space to consider the future of virtual reality, especially when integrated with the art scene. They also considered opinions as to whether VR can be considered as a medium, and whether it is able to integrate into social and cultural situations. VR which is something that is initially meant for gaming and entertainment is now considered for being used for something more serious and relevant.

Stone mentioned that immersive or simulational VR will fuse with online forms at a future time to become a medium of a new and dramatic kind. Online forms with VR would definitely help with boosting the whole concept of the online application, as well as creating higher immersion within the user. However, there are its drawbacks, such as technological capacity, and whether the user would be able to embrace this technology.

There is also the fact that the physical components for the user to experience VR is pretty inconvenient to bring around, and thus gives VR some mobility limitations. But these limitations are balanced by the quality of the content that uses VR to deliver their message. The fact that VR itself makes the user have a kind of experience that raises questions about the nature of reality, perception, embodiment, representation and simulation,¬†paired with the content that people are interested in (such as games, movies, etc), thus still making VR prominent in today’s technologically advanced society.

Progressing from the popularity of VR, developers are also trying to make VR a visual culture by experimenting with human-computer interface design. The researchers used the phrase ‘break the glass and go inside the machine’, VR has already fulfilled that by literally putting the user into the technology (through the physical components). However, I feel that only having a physical representation of breaking the barrier between human and computer is not enough to create the visual culture that the chapter mentioned. There is still the narrative stage that increases the interaction between the user and the database within the computer, and also the method of showing information on the computer, and how accessible this database is. VR definitely helps to amplify the immersive effects between human and computer, but I still feel that there are more layers that actually build this culture.

All in all, this chapter has given me a good insight into the debates and perspectives on VR, and that has let me better understand it as a whole.

Project concept and development

Project Proposal

The subject of the proposal: Platform game about Jurong’s nature and industrial aspects

The space that your project will explore: Jurong Industrial Estate/ Shipyard and Jurong Lake Gardens/Chinese garden

The form that your project will take: A platform game of our character going through the timeline of Jurong, but the same time we will have an implementation of portals for players to explore more about each aspect that we will be focusing on (nature and industrial)

Project Concept

An interactive scrolling game that increases the players knowledge on the nature and industrial sides of Jurong

Consult notes from 16 Feb 2020
  • The easter eggs will give the player a bigger payoff
  • The drive towards development, and building more in Jurong, has its drawbacks. But taking time to view the overall scene can better benefit society.
  • Creating hyperlinks may break the immersion of the players, so how can we integrate the archival/ interesting info within the game itself? We can make the facts within each popup short and simple so the player does not need to divert to other websites.
  • Try alternatives of portals/ alternatives to parallel¬†
  • Scrolling backwards/ letting the character navigate upside down
  • What is the function of the chatterbox in relation to the game? Creating a visual summary of the interactions the player makes in the game¬†
  • What is the takeaway that we are giving to the viewer? Probably interesting facts about the nature and industrial aspects of jurong that is summarised in pictorial form

Aspects to consider

  1. What kind of info do we want to give the players?
  2. How long is each round?
  3. How many options do we have per round?
Moodboard / Colour scheme

Click here

Rough idea of graphics

Game layout progress

So far the jumping action for the character has been created on a single platform.

History of Design Lecture 3 Reflection – The art of Futurism

  • An Italian art movement of the early twentieth century that aimed to capture in art the dynamism and energy of the modern world.
  • Created by the Italian poet and author Filippo Tommaso Marinetti in 1909 through Futurist Manifesto.
  • Fusion of the cubist painting and the futurist poetry
  • Futurists were well versed and practiced in nearly every field of art, including painting, ceramics, sculpture, graphic design, interior design, theatre, film, literature, music and architecture.
F U T U R I S T  M A N I F E S T O
    • A poem written by Marinetti, and it first appeared as a preface to a volume of his poems (written in 1908)
    • Marinetti and his fellow futurists were tired of Italy‚Äôs reliance on its classical heritage and disdainful of the present, and thus wanted to create a new aesthetic based on industry, war and the machine.
    • They wanted to burn museums and libraries, as they contained traces of the old traditions of Italy.
    • They also demanded purification by war – which influenced fascism and chauvinism
A R T  S T Y L E S  I N  F U T U R I S M

  • Used elements of neo-impressionism (post-impressionist works) and cubism to create compositions that expressed the idea of the dynamism, the energy and the movement, of modern life.
  • Used divisionism: breaking light and colour down into a series of dots or geometric forms.
  • Also incorporates¬† high contrast and intersecting lines to show movement

  • Words in Freedom: destroyed syntax, used verbs in the infinitive, abolished adjectives and adverbs, suppressed punctuation, and employed mathematical and musical symbols.
  • Marinetti exhorted writers to ‚Äúdestroy the ‚Äėi‚Äô in literature: that is, all psychology,‚ÄĚ to give up on being understood by the reader, and to abandon aesthetic concerns by creating the ‚Äúugly‚ÄĚ in literature.
  • His prescription for Futurist writing was not only phonetic but also visual. He wanted to take advantage of the ‚Äútypographical revolution‚ÄĚ to use new fonts and arrangements of words.
  • use of different sizes, weights, and styles of type allowed them to weld painting and poetry, because the intrinsic beauty of letterforms, manipulated creatively, transformed the printed page into a work of visual art.
  • used intersecting lines within words as well to create directional lines that lead the eye from line to word
A D A P T A T I O N S  I N  F U T U R I S M

  • The use of Futurism has adapted into book covers and posters
  • Adapted the use of futurist mindsets of skyscrapers and neon interface

The Art and Technique of Photoengraving

The act of engraving text and image onto materials for commonfolk to read has dated back to 750CE. The first engraved printing units were wood engravings, such were seen in the Chinese Diamond Sutra that was created in the year 868.

After these wooden engravings gained popularity, people started to make printing units out of metal plates using different types of metal – specifically copper and pewter. These metal plates were made able to print by a process in which an image in wax or bitumen was drawn on, or transferred to, the surface of the plate and nonimage areas removed by action of appropriate acids.

Photoengraving was only invented in 1813 by researcher Joseph Nicephore Niepce. He coated a pewter or copper plate with a photosensitive asphaltum and exposed the surface to bright sunlight through an etching of a portrait, which served as a positive image. Sunlight passing through the background of the etching hardened the asphaltum, while the protected areas, under the inked portion of the etching, were developed in oil of lavender and white petroleum to create an image in exposed metal. This image was then etched into the plate, and from the intaglio image, prints were made on a copperplate press.

Image result for photoengraving

Example of photoengraving on wood

In 1851,  wet-collodion process for photography was introduced, and it provided a means for producing a photographic negative as the basic element in the preparation of engravings. This photographic process also provided a method of stripping the photographic image from the glass plate, permitting assembly of a number of images for plate making, and also making possible the geometric reversal of the image needed in letterpress plate making to produce a right-reading print on paper.

Soon after, the halftone process allowed people to produce shades of grey, in which the image is broken up into dots, and variations of gray tones are obtained by varying the size of the dots, thus controlling the amount of ink laid down in a given area.

The discovery of the halftone screen was primarily responsible for the development and growth of photoengraving; further growth was related to other developments in the printing and allied industries. The introduction in 1935 of the first practical colour film for amateur and professional use probably did more to accelerate printing developments than any single invention. By making bulky studio-type colour cameras obsolete and permitting the use of readily portable camera equipment for the production of colour images, on-the-spot colour photography became possible, greatly increasing the use of coloured illustrations.

At approximately the same time, the commercial production of coated paper and heat-drying printing inks for letterpress printing began. Many colour developments for films, printing processes, and materials followed.

Now in our current society, photoengraving is used for specialty printing, such as foil stamping, embossing on paper, wood and cork branding for the wine industry and chocolate coin engraving and molding plates. It is also used by designers to simulate various products for photography shoots and right reading plaques for casting in bronze.



History of Design Reflection: Expanding research on the Garamond Typeface


The Garamond typeface was created by engraver Claude Garamond in the 16th century.  Our current understanding of the Garamond font are interpretations of fonts that were inspired by drawings which were modelled after the punches of Claude Garamond.


Garamond was the first to craft letters to the medium. He was the first to deviate from a purely handwritten-style to make letters that would read better when printed. These letterforms were thinner and more delicate than those before it, which both allowed the ink to bleed on the page without overly distorting the words and used less ink. Other key characteristics include the way the top serifs of the lower-case letters curve back into the letter, the feeling of airiness from the generous openings in the letters, known as counters, and the tall ascenders. These letters were often used for printing of body text and books.Garamond Characteristics


Garamond fell into decline in the 18th and 19th century, and people tried to revive the font, thus expanding Garamond into many different styles which have evolved into the modern Garamond fonts we have today.

T H E  D I F F E R E N T  T Y P E S  O F  G A R A M O N D

Garamond has evolved in its own way and different types of Garamond font has been created depending on different inspirations.

Image result for adobe garamond 1989





About Project

The Broken Stethoscope is a physical representation of the vulnerability of strained relationships between 2 people. These strained relationships are usually caused by emotional abandonment of one party, leaving the abandoned party in confusion. However, when trying to solve this abandonment, the abandoned party is often faced with silence, and a lack of interaction. In the perspective of the perpetrator, this silence can root from a lack of understanding of the other party’s situation, or not wanting to risk the negative consequences if he/she answers.

Me and Mun Cheng thus decided to use a stethoscope as our object. Similar to how a doctor checks on his patients, we have the perpetrator and the victim doing this interaction instead, where the victim asks the questions to the perpetrator.

Observational Documentation (user-tests)
  1. Play-test
  2. Peltier tests
  3. Peltier test on chest in class
  4. Peltier test with stethoscope attached
Design Process Documentation

Initial Ideas (please click the attachment below)


Process documentation

Initial circuit set-up
installing the circuit along with the stethoscope
Final set-up


Initially, we wanted to install the stethoscope head below the Peltier module (which we encased), but we realised that the sound of the cooling fan overpowered the sound of the heartbeat, thus we decided to remove the stethoscope head altogether and just replace it with the Peltier.


Final Presentation

Final Presentation Video

Final set-up

For our final presentation, we created a set of questions for the two participants, The participant who is wearing the pulse sensor is the one asking the questions, and the other participant who answers feels the coldness from the Peltier module. We also gave disclaimers and instructions, such as to take out any jackets and earrings so that the pulse sensor can be installed properly, and that the participants can feel the coldness.

Instructions and Questions (please click attachment below)

THE BROKEN STETHOSCOPE instructions and questions



Materials required

  1. Peltier module
  2. Heat sink
  3. Cooling fan
  4. AC to DC power adaptor
  5. Female power connector
  6. Pulse sensor
  7. Breadboard
  8. Relay
  9. Arduino module
  10. Laptop / power bank
  11. Electrical tape
  12. Thermal paste
  13. Stethoscope
  14. Acrylic


  1. Connect power and ground sources from arduino to breadboard
  2. Connect pulse sensor to breadboard and arduino
    • Purple wire: any analog pin
    • Black wire: ground rail (blue)
    • Red wire: power rail (red)
  3. Connect relay to breadboard and arduino
    • IN: any digital pin
    • GND: ground rail (blue)
    • VCC: power rail (red)
  4. In each slot within the female power adaptor, attach 2 positive and 2 negative wires.
  5. Connect relay to female power connector and Peltier (from top view – screws are at the top)
    • Left-hand outlet: insert positive Peltier wire
    • Middle outlet: insert positive female power connector wire
  6. Connect negative wire of Peltier and female power connector together using crocodile clips
  7. Connect female power connector to power adaptor
  8. Using the other set of positive and negative wires on the female power adaptor, attach the fan to the circuit.
  9. Paste Peltier module on top of heat sink and cooling fan at the bottom.
  10. Encase the Peltier, heat sink and cooling fan with an outer casing (in our case we used acrylic)
  11. Line the wires along the stethoscope and cover it up with tape/ tubing
Codes and circuit design

Circuit design


Peltier test with a button

Final code for the Peltier and the pulse sensor


Issues and troubleshooting

We had many issues regarding the sensitivity of the Peltier module and the pulse sensor. Initially, the Peltier became very hot in a short span of time, when it was supposed to stay cold throughout the duration when the circuit was closed. Also it was only able to work once, and last for about 1 minute. We then realised that the heat sink and the cooling fan was too small to dissipate the heat produced fast enough, thus, we changed both of these components to bigger and thicker ones. That solved our issue about the heat dissipation. The one issue we could not really solve was the pulse sensor. Because the pulse sensor is partly a photocell, it senses light to activate the Peltier and has a threshold. However, the sensitivity of the pulse sensor is extremely high, and it triggers the Peltier to turn on and off at very high frequencies, and the Peltier module cannot keep up with it. We managed to find a more controllable threshold at 800, but that limited its sensitivity to sense ones pulse all the time.