Concept & Some more research

Here’s my blabber on what I feel about the theme of my concept. This isn’t fully backed by my research, but most of the information are inference from those research.

In the information age, we are constantly bombarded with information and as such we need to find ways to sieve out information we need from all the other clunks that we should dismiss. This trains our mind to shorten our attention span over time as it is much more efficient to look through many sources of information rather than to focus just on one.

Personally, I’ve been almost diagnosed with ADHD when I was younger. I am always fidgety and easily distracted. Yes that could have been an excuse for me to justify being lazy, but I think my mind is kinda on overdrive sometimes, especially when I was younger. This, together with my thoughts on the information age, is (I feel) the reason why I need white noise to focus.

There is a need for more inflow of information to keep the task in check. This information usually has to come from some form of entertainment. A moving screen, some sounds from a podcast, music, or white noise. These are ideal (provided if they don’t feed new information that might interest the user to listen or watch) as they provide entertainment which are neither too little or too much information. Some of these information help give us brief distractions for us to satisfy the distraction-seeking part of the brain. Some of the ways we process such information are already so imbued in us that we just consume them subconsciously. Example, listening to music we are familiar with (or even unfamiliar with which we intend to just hear) allows us to consume the information automatically without us needing to put in energy. It occupies our information (or distraction)-seeking part of the brain and helps us to stay focused on the main task.

I would like to think of this as a form of multi-tasking. We are still able to process information on both sides, just that one is done by a more “automatic” or “subconscious” part of the brain.


According to , it is part of our biology that we get distracted. We get sudden sharp rise in attention at certain points, and then we have our in between distraction that we need. This is also related to our brain’s natural rhythm and I think there is also a co-relation with our circadian rhythm, like how certain times its easy to get in zone, while sometimes I’m just all fidgety.

To get in the zone, we need to be at least somewhat familiar with it as we need it to be done subconsciously. Getting into the zone is also emotional. One needs to be passionate about the subject.

Find the right environment. Figure out which types of environments are most conducive to finding your flow, and work them in whenever possible. I know, for example, that a coffee shop will help me start writing much more easily than sitting in an office. A good friend absolutely swears by airplanes. The notion of the environment being important applies equally in athletic endeavours: the home field advantage is well-known, but I’ve spoken to athletes who find that playing in away settings delivers them a huge mental advantage — they lose themselves in a feeling of “them against the entire stadium.” Different people need different things. Learn what they are for you.

This quote is directly taken from . I think this is where I come in. To create the best environment to work in.

More research suggests that technology isn’t the problem of distraction, but is just a good outlet:


Okay, so I think I have a pretty good idea on what I want to do for the Interactive Environment. It’s gonna be some kind of object that can transform a room. This object has sound, smell, and projections, both which are adjustable by the user. It should also be portable.

I want to immerse the user in the state of the ‘zone’. With that, I need some ideas of how people get in their zone. For me, it’s an environment that I can’t relax, but also not one that I am too stressed in. It’s like being in a cafe. But cafes are expensive. How do we build a cafe environment in an inexpensive way?

  • Immersion through sight, sound, smell, taste
    • Sight: projection on non-distracting scenery (eg. lo-fi hiphop to study to, waneella, relaxing videos, etc)
    • Smell: Coffee or whatever stimulating smells
    • Sound: Soundscape + their favourite tunes to study to
  • Occasional but mostly random breaks
    • Pleasant distracting content eg:
      • Sight: cartoon snippets / advertisements
      • Sound: comedy
      • Smell: ?


I was inspired by a few artists’ works. Here they are:

  • James Turrell – Wedgeworks (2011)

  • James Turrell – Magnatron Series  (2003)

  • Olafur Eliasson – Reimagine (2002)

  • Vadim Fishkin – Choose Your Day (2005)

  • Vadim Fishkin – A Speedy Day (2003)

  • panGenerator – Apparatum (2019)

I stumbled upon these videos that are meant for cats to watch:

Then it became these kind of videos:

I started diving into more videos and discovered that the chill playlists are right — they knew what were relaxing to watch.

I also found that aquariums and floaty things (AKA jellyfishes) are relaxing to watch too.

I also found bizarre but interesting vapourwave compilations like these that are filled with retro ads:

I just had to look up more

Theres also streams of live music content like this:

Some cool stuffs but I think is distracting:

I think seeing stuffs float around and moving landscapes are really working. Rather than the advertisements or human / animal movements.


So the idea is to have a portable projection + sound + smell machine that enables a user to be immersed in a space they are in. The projection is like a window to a relaxing visual world that one can focus in, while studying sound can be mixed with their favourite music playlist of their choice. The smell part I’m not sure yet but I’ll think about it. I’ll also think about whether to use videos or light streaks. In between, there will be random “commercial breaks” that allow the user to unwind. Everything must be controllable by the user.

The form will be taking inspiration from Apparatum. The effect will be similar to Vadim Fishkin’s Choose Your Day and Speedy Day. James Turrell’s aesthetics and immersive environments will also be considered.

If need be, I’ll create a room, or maybe setup in Truss Room so I will have more control. I can control the room’s brightness too!



Multimodal Experience

Butt Bell

Eyes on the back / Back-awareness Warning

I was burnt out after a series of try-harding at making everything good because #newsemnewme, but after 2 weeks of being uninspired, I’m feeling better now and I think I’m going to go with a less tedious project.

While in my burnt out phase I made this mindmap:

I kind of broken down the types of messages there can be, as well as what forms a wearable can take. I was stuck with the idea that a notification must be from a phone.

During the lesson last week, we were introduced to the 8.5 head human figure, which allows us to accurately depict our device on a human body.

Along with the lesson, I was also told that the notification can even be something that’s outside of the mobile phone. Things like a touch or press of an object that can be translated into a vibration on another person’s forearm.

With that, I felt more at ease that there are more ideas to explore. So I started this new mindmap

Very unclear, what I highlighted are:

  • money transactions
  • water plants
  • knock on glass window
  • every website visit / instagram
  • friend proximity
  • reverse / who’s behind (eye on butt)

I found out that notifications should always be personally catered to an individual. The individual should care about the notification and not just something that is sent for a cause. As such, the ones that I highlighted are the more feasible ones (except for the one I striked out, which I included at first thinking it will be nice if it can work together with my Interactive Spaces project)

The Device


I was interested in the idea of having a sensor on the back that can detect people that are behind us. It works as some kind of rear mirror for people, a 6th sense for us to ‘see’ what’s behind us. I like it as I think it’s interesting to think of ways to enhance our senses, and wearables are perfect for that. Also, I found way too many times that I have to pull my friend when he/she is blocking someone from passing.

My idea of a wearable is going to be a belt which sends a signal to the shoulders. My rationale is that a belt will be stable and inconspicuous. The belt will also allow the sensor to always be facing the back of the person as that’s the only side of the body that it can face. The shoulder, as the vibration should feel like a tap on the shoulder to prompt the person to move away when there is something or someone behind him or her. The notification will also tell the user whether the incoming object or person is coming to the left or the right side.

A quick sketch of how this will look like in comparison to the 8.5 head model

The Interaction

So how this device should work is, if something is in the vicinity, at least 1 sensor should pick it up. The arduino will then compare both ultrasonic sensors: if one side is higher than the other, it will notify the user on the correct side. If both side detects a similar output (maybe within a certain range), both shoulders will vibrate to alert that the object or person is directly behind. The intensity will be determined by the closeness. The sound will come in the form of short beeps with decreasing intervals as the gap gets smaller, just like a car when in reverse.

Problem: if the user is leaning onto something on purpose, the device will keep beeping and vibrating. To solve this, I would make it such that the user can switch the device off at anytime, so as to prevent disruption or disturbance.

Something more advanced… If I can do it

I wonder if I can change the idea to the arduino detecting change in speed (acceleration) of oncoming ‘entities’, basically detecting change in environment so static environment will not trigger the system. This will solve the problem mentioned above. We shall see.