Hey Google

“Data is growing faster than ever before and by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet…Within five years there will be over 50 billion smart connected devices in the world, all developed to collect, analyze and share data.” 

Google Home Mini Voice Assistant Speaker Coral
Google Home Mini Voice Assistant Speaker Chalk

Google home mini is a smart speaker with the Google Assistant built in. It is able to recognize the user’s voice. The users are able to get the answers to the weather, traffic, finance, sports and etc from it. It will also help with the user’s schedule and reminders. Google home mini can be connected to other smart devices such as Philips Hue lightbulb, and Apps like Spotify and YouTube. Our homes can be controlled and monitored by voice with Google Assistant App and those smart-home gadgets.

Google home mini is not just designed to be functional but also to fit in the mood of our homes. The Google home mini is about the size of our palm, which takes very little space and fits seamlessly into our living environment. The circular shape of Google home mini creates harmony as circles are considered as a complete and perfect shape and many natural elements are in the shape of circle, such as the planets. Google home mini is available in Chalk(grey fabric & white plastic), Charcoal(black), and Coral(a pinkish colour). Different colours can create different moods, and atmosphere. Grey is the shade between white and black which is a neutral colour that represents balance. The Chalk mini gives a clean and neutral look with grey and white. Further, Black is often associated with power, strength, elegance, and authority. Having a small portion of black accessories at home can make the whole interior looks sophisticated and classy. Charcoal mini would be a good choice is someone wants to add some elegant element to their homes. Moreover, Coral is Pantone’s 2019 color of the year. Pantone described Living Coral as a color of carefree happiness. A press release says it “symbolizes our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits”—a feeling that, perhaps, people might be craving in today’s landscape. A tint of coral might be able to make our living environment more lively. Lastly, the choice of materials brings out the home accent of Google home mini. The top of it is wrapped by woven fabric while the base is cover with hard plastic casing. Home is where we want to have comfort, and that is probably the reason why almost 80% of it is covered with soft fabric. The Fabric surface is also touchable when the user interacts with the device.

All in all, despite the controversy of the Google Home Assistant Speaker, I would like to place it at the middle of the diagram. It is because of the good balance among its functionality, human factors, and emotion. It is a device that provides smart home solutions, increase user’s efficiency, and it is also designed to evoke comfortable home feelings.

 

References

https://www.adweek.com/brand-marketing/living-coral-is-pantones-2019-color-of-the-year/

https://blog.hubspot.com/hubfs/google_assistant_20_things.gif

 

Design with Considerations

Morphy Richards was founded as a manufacturing company in 1936 by Morphy, an engineer, and Richards a salesman. Their mission was to design aesthetic yet affordable electrical items for the average income family. As we can see that this kettle contains subtle curves at the body of the kettle and interesting handle as compared to other contemporary electric kettles in the market which normally place the handle at the side of the kettle. Also, this kettle seems to be stable with the wide base and low center of gravity which might make the users feel safe just by looking at its form. Its handle looks like a “ring” that connects to the body of the kettle. The “ring” element is also used in the design of the lid which makes the overall design friendly and lively as shapes like ellipses and ovals tend to express positive emotions. This kettle is also available in other earthy colours such as brown. The colour scheme and the matte finishing gives the electronic product some touches of nature. Therefore, I think that this product leans towards the Emotion in the diagram as its overall design focus more on the user’s feeling through the lines, shapes, mass, and colours, as well as by having the traditional kettle elements in the electric kettle design.

Product Reviews

HARVEY NORMAN

Morphy Richards Traditional Kettle
Alessi 9093 kettle designed by Michael Graves in 1985

The first product that caught my attention at Harvey Norman is the Morphy Richards traditional kettle. The handle with thin metal and thicker plastic and the shape of the body remind me of the iconic Alessi 9093 kettle designed by Michael Graves in 1985. Alessi 9093 kettle works with the stove while the Morphy Richards electric kettles are designed for the contemporary lifestyle. Morphy Richards was founded as a manufacturing company in 1936 by Morphy, an engineer, and Richards a salesman. Their mission was to design aesthetic yet affordable electrical items for the average income family. It seems like they are still carrying the mission to create aesthetically pleasing products at a reasonable price. Harvey Norman is selling Morphy Richards kettle at S$129 while the Alessi 9093 kettle costs almost S$200. Perhaps, Morphy Richards would like to bring the vintage mood and the functionality into the modern house within the average buyer’s budget.

COURTS

Philips HUE at Courts
Philips Starter kit E27

Philips HUE Single bulb E27
The product that I am interested in Courts is the Philips HUE, a smart lighting system that allows the users to control the light and create the mood of the room. It works of smart devices such as Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and etc. Lighting used to be just the equipment to provide light when the sun goes down. However, as technology developed and our lifestyle change, we tend to pay more attention to our feeling and experience. Hence, products like Philips HUE is designed to light up the room as well as the mood. Now we could have better control of our living environment and be more integrated with our homes.

 

IKEA

Ingvar Kamprad established IKEA in 1943 with his belief: “ people not as well off should be given the same opportunities as those who are.” IKEA is known for its affordable flat packed Scandinavian style furniture which brings Hygge to millions of homes IKEA always stick to its beliefs to produce good designs with simplicity no matter how crazy the trend is. For instance, IKEA’s iconic BILLY bookshelf designed by one of the IKEA’s first employees, Gillis Lundgren. Lundgren was born in Sweden in 1929, studied at the Malmö Institute of Technology, and joined IKEA in 1953. Lundgren grew with the IKEA from a small startup into a multinational corporation. He also had his contribution to the flat-pack, self-assembly concept. He once removed the legs of the table so it would fit into the car, and he mentioned this story when he received the Swedish Tenzing Prize for innovators in 2012.

Gillis Lundgren

“I told Ingvar that I think that table takes too much darn space. I think we should unscrew the legs and put them under the table,” he said.

IKEA’s iconic BILLY bookshelf designed by Gillis Lundgren

BILLY is functional and flexible storage furniture that allows individuals to add personality to the design instead of showing off the designer’s fashion status. The simplicity of BILLY had been appreciated by its users in the market for 40 years. I would consider it as a product that is designed for everyone and all the time. 

 

Hyperessay: Spider Dress – The Emotional Interface

The Spider Dress – Anouk Wipprecht 

The earliest “dialogue” between human and machines probably started from the interaction between the steersman, the person who navigates the boat and the boat. The message from the steersman was conveyed and obeyed by the boat which headed to the right direction. The interaction between human and machine developed dramatically since the Greek time, just like how Norbert Wiener, the American mathematician, and philosopher predicted the evolution of human-machine interaction in 1954 in his book Cybernetics: or Control and communication in the Animal and the Machine. Cybernetic was simply derived from the Greek word “steersman”. It includes the study of communication and control between human and machine.

“… in the future development of these messages and communication facilities, messages between man and machines, between machines and man, and between machine and machine, are destined to play an ever-increasing part (of society).”      – Norbert Wiener

Image result for IBM PERSONAL COMPUTER
The IBM Personal Computer of 1981

“communication and control together.” the message that the computer conveys to us is controlling our behaviors to the sensual level ever since the invention and commercialization of technological appliances, such as TVs, walkmans, VCRs, and personal computers during the 1980s. Artwork such as “Deep Contact” by Lynn Hershman expressed artist’s vision of how interactive technology is manipulating our desire and behavior.

Today, fashion is a media to explore new functions, technology and also a new area for interdisciplinary academic research including engineering, material science, fashion design, interactive design and etc. The Dutch designer Anouk Wipprecht is one of the most active designers in fashion tech. She started her fashion tech experiments working with microcontrollers such as the Arduino to see how they could be used to create behaviors. The Spider Dress is one of her garments that interact with the wearer as well as the surrounding. “Spider Dress acts as the interface between the body and the external world,” said Wipprecht. “It uses technology and the garment as a medium of interaction.”

The original prototype of the Spider Dress
_SD_DSC5384_smallweb
The latest version of the Spider Dress

The Spider Dress is one of Anouk Wipprecht’s 3D printed interactive garments powered by Intel’s Edison technology. It was developed from Anouk Wipprecht’s earlier version of spider dress the is less mature. The new version was digitally designed and 3D printed using a Selective Laser Sintering method using pearly white nylon and took more than 60 hours in printing.  It contains proximity sensors that measure up to 23 feet around the body and biometric signal that measure the wearer’s stress level to trigger the mechanic limbs on the shoulders that protect the wearer and attacks when others violently step into the personal space. The data measured from the wearer are stored with the power of Intel computing intelligence. The system is able to understand 12 states of behavior, and Wipprecht calls it as “an interesting interplay between co-control and education of your own body and mind.” When people approach the wearer in the aggressive pace, the system detects it as attacking the wearer’s territorial. However is one walk close to the wearer at the slower pace, the system will be in the inviting motions as if it is “dancing with you”. It seems that Anouk Wipprecht is giving a human character to the garment which shows emotions base on how people “treat it”.

Nowadays, the advancement of technology allows designers to work with microprocessors, microcontrollers that are getting smaller and smaller in size, which give designers opportunities to rethink about the relationship and interaction between human and computer. It is possible for technology to be part of us instead of in the cold device separate from us to improve our quality of life. Anouk Wipprecht is aiming to create more intelligent agents that live with us and new ways to interact with the world. She also questions that what is there to learn if the machine always agrees to whatever human does.

Anouk Wipprecht‘s Vision in Fashion Tech

 

All in all, technology became the companion of us since the 1980s when personal computers were available to the mass. The interaction with personal computers developed from keyboard to touchscreen, voice control and even Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) that allow humans to mentally interact with computers. The function of computers is becoming part of our emotion and extension of the body. People had been communicating and expressing their attitude through fashion since ancient civilization. The expression becomes more dynamic with technology. The fashion tech designer Anouk Wipprecht foresee that “I see the future being more sensorial and adaptive to individual needs. Personalized instead of globalized.” I believe that wearable technology will go beyond the concept of personal dynamic that Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg Illustrated in 1977. It will straight to reach our biosignals such as brainwave and heartbeats, instead of just receiving the input from our fingertips. Wearable tech is going to be another breakthrough in human-computer interaction.

 

references

http://www.abitare.it/en/design-en/concept-en/2017/11/12/fashion-technology-wipprecht/?refresh_ce-cp

Robotic Spider Dress Powered By Intel Smart Wearable Technology

Robotic Couture

 

 

 

 

MY MANIFESTO – GOOD DESIGN CARES

 

Inspirations for Manifesto

Scandinavians’ believes in truth and honest work can be traced back to the moral humanist ethos in Lutheranism, which seeks truth and reason, and believe that salvation can be gained through an honest work that benefits one’s fellow beings.

 

Shinto, worshiping the forces of nature. The original religion of Japan, Shinto tends to make harmonious relations between human beings, nature, and kami – the spiritual energy. 

 

The environmental activist and photographer Arthus-Bertrand use photography to document the environmental changes and issues. His book  Earth From Above shows the abstracted views of the earth and gives the perspective of widespread environmental destruction.

 

My Manifesto

Water is life. After all, we are 60% made up of water, a part of nature. It is essential to recall the value that Scandinavians and Shintoism share – seeking truth and respecting nature. It is the designer’s responsibility to raise awareness of nature, and moral in technology in this consumerist digital era, because GOOD DESIGN CARES.

 

References

https://inhabitat.com/earth-from-space-shows-environmental-destruction-in-vivid-patterns-and-colors/

https://www.japan-experience.com/to-know/understanding-japan/shinto

https://wondertrip.jp/img/201609/iStock-472102195.jpg

 

The Spider Dress – The Emotional Interface

Anouk Wipprecht’s Spider Dress

 

“Spider Dress acts as the interface between the body and the external world,” said Wipprecht. “It uses technology and the garment as a medium of interaction.”  – Anouk Wipprecht

Nowadays, fashion is a media to explore new functions, technology and also a new area for interdisciplinary academic research including engineering, material science, fashion design, interactive design and etc. The Spider Dress is one of Anouk Wipprecht’s 3D printed interactive garments powered by Intel in 2012. It contains proximity sensors and biometric signal that measure the wearer’s stress level to trigger the mechanic limbs on the shoulders that protect the wearer and attacks when others steps into the personal space. The system is able to understand 12 states of behavior, and Wipprecht calls it as “an interesting interplay between co-control and education of your own body and mind.” The Spider Dress is the innovation that is more futuristic than the smart wristband and glasses, and it pushes the boundaries of social norms.

Anouk Wipprecht investigated in the interactions in different types of space such as the public space, social space, personal space, and the intimate space. Human being naturally prefers to keep certain distances between themselves and others. This creates invisible walls around us, and Edward T. Hall, the American anthropologist, and cross-cultural researcher called it the hidden dimension in his book.

“Fashion design, Interaction design, and technology. My thesis was about technology as an extension of the body.” – Anouk Wipprecht

Further, technology became the companion of us since the 1980s when personal computers were available to the mass. The interaction with personal computers developed from keyboard to touchscreen, voice control and even Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) that allow humans to mentally interact with computers. The function of computers is becoming part of our emotion and extension of the body. People had been communicating and expressing their attitude through fashion since ancient civilization. The expression becomes more dynamic with technology.

“I see the future being more sensorial and adaptive to individual needs. Personalized instead of globalized.”

I believe that wearable technology will go beyond the concept of personal dynamic that Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg Illustrated in 1977. It goes straight to reach our biosignals such as brainwave and heartbeats, instead of receiving the input from our fingertips. Wearable tech will be another breakthrough in human-computer interaction.

 

References

http://www.abitare.it/en/design-en/concept-en/2017/11/12/fashion-technology-wipprecht/?refresh_ce-cp

ANOUK WIPPRECHT: Fashion Technology

http://www.anoukwipprecht.nl/gallery/lzrxvj4br9mnv3rsvymyhb5ntk21ld

Robotic Spider Dress Powered By Intel Smart Wearable Technology

 

 

Scandinavian Design

Link to my presentation:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1a6aBwy1cQa3qbIx_HtW2H6fZkuxKprJSbc8rMNHd_RE/edit#slide=id.g438b294149_0_6

My First Time

Have you ever had the moment when you want to sleep but your midnight thoughts won’t allow you to fall asleep? I guess most of the people would start to scroll through their phone without even knowing why they do it. Sometimes, technology is not functioning as pain killer in our life but vitamin, for the maintenance of our mind. Therefore, I designed a hyper-casual phone game that seems to be the lavenders mist for the sleepless night.

Starting of the Game
Circuit Playground

The main character of the game is called Jobs. He is a balloon that whats to get to a higher position in life. The player needs to blow to microphone on the phone (I am using circuit playground here for prototype).

Poem of the Game

The background story Jobs will slow revealed as Jobs goes higher. The story is like a poem goes like:

JOBS IS A BALLOON

HE WANTS TO FLY

FLIES INTO THE SKY

FLIES ABOVE THE NEGATIVITY

WITHOUT DOUBTING HIS ABILITY

THERE WILL BE OBSTACLES

BUT NOT AS BIG AS GOALS

BREATHE DEEPLY

MOVE ON HAPPILY

......

The night gets darker while the player gets tiring blowing. The poem might help the player to get encourage for the next day.

At the end of the game, there is no win or lose. It is the matter of how far you want to go. The GAME OVER throws a question mark to the player to let them think if it is really over, and letting them know them can always restart.

Further, this is my first time designing a game and I gave a clickbait title to the game. Our curiosity is so uncontrollable and it needs to be satisfied. This kind of ‘tricks’ is frequently used in article titles that make us WONDER. Why this name sounds so wrong? Should I check that game out in the middle of the night? The desire for resolution might make us click on the game to try.

Conclusion

This is a challenging project as it is my first time learning programming and get to know electronic components such as circuit playground. I would like to improve on the stages of the game and enhance the visual and sound effect without the time constraint.

The New Interface – Anouk Wipprecht

Around five decades ago, Roy Ascott mentioned that

“If the cybernetic spirit constitutes the predominant attitude of the modern era, the computer is the supreme tool that its technology has produced. Used in conjunction with synthetic materials it can be expected to open up paths of radical change and invention in art… The interaction of man and computer in some creative endeavor, involving the heightening of imaginative thought, is to be expected.”

in “Behaviourist Art and the Cybernetic Vision”. Nowadays, numerous artists and designers are applying this theory in their artworks. Anouk Wipprecht is one of the outstanding artists.

Anouk Wipprecht

Anouk Wipprecht’s artworks demonstrate the combination of Fashion, Technology and Interaction Design. She is aiming to create the dialogue between the technology and body or the surroundings of the wearer with fashion as the new interface. The new interface that the next generation will grow up with. The garment itself is no longer a “perfect object”, as viewers’ participation is part of it and it is often unpredictable. Artists likeAnouk Wipprecht had transformed from an individualized source that creates objects to ones that create behaviors.

REFERENCES

http://www.anoukwipprecht.nl/gallery/lzrxvj4br9mnv3rsvymyhb5ntk21ld

https://oss.adm.ntu.edu.sg/17s2-ap9044-sem-1/wp-content/uploads/sites/2276/2018/01/ascott-behavioral-art.pdf

The Past Present & Future of Humanistic Design

Scandinavian Design Research

Scandinavian style always associates with the coziness at home, and Scandinavians enjoy the simple things in life. Hygge, the word that explains this phenomenon. It is the key part of Danish culture since the 1800s. This is probably the reason that Denmark is always at the top of the list of the world’s happiest countries. Hygge is a trendy practice around the world now as many are struggling with the fast-paced modern lifestyle.

The Scandinavian region in Northern Europe includes Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland. There are only three months of summer and the rest of the year are dark and cold. The lack of sunlight led to the limitation of natural resources in Scandinavian countries. Hence, nature is highly appreciated by Scandinavians. Moreover, Scandinavian designers are willing to invest efforts and skills into the craftsmanship with their strong understanding of nature and respect for materials. The Scandinavians strongly believe that everyday objects should be simple, functional and beautiful which are able to enhance the quality of life physically and mentally. Scandinavians’ believe in moral humanist ethos can be traced back to Lutheranism, a major branch of Protestant Christianity which identified with the theology of a German friar, Martin Luther. Lutheranism seeks truth and season, and believe that salvation can be gained through honest work.

 

Poul Henningsen, one of the most passionate lighting designers. His work focuses on the relations between light structures, shadows, and glare. He claimed that “The aim is by working scientifically, to make lighting cleaner, more economical, and more beautiful.” His most iconic design, the multi-shaded lights to reduce the dazzling glare, the fundamental problem of the modern electric bulb. The light bounces off the shades and distributed equally, which create less harm to the eyes. This design reflected the equality in Scandinavian design, and how it prioritizes user’s experience.

 

Paimio Chair is also an example of humanism, designed by Alvar Aalto in 1931-32. It was designed for a hospital in Finland where he designed all the furnishings. The angle of the back was intended to help the patients to breathe more easily. He conducted experiments in bent wood as a softer, warmer and more humanist material as compared to steel. The two closed loops of laminated wood form the arms, legs, and a thin sheet of plywood. Similarly, the Armchair he designed used the same technique with the open end bentwood arm and legs. Both chairs allow the sitter to swing which reduced the tension while sitting. Further, the tea trolley design by Alvar Aalto was inspired by British tea culture, as Alvar Aalto had become familiar with through their traveling. Their admiration toward Japanese woodwork and architecture brings the Japanese belief in nature in their work. Japanese Shinto is similar to Hygge, Shinto’s goal is to be in touch with KAMI, means the spiritual energy. Japanese Shinto believes the spirits exist in nature, in the mountain, trees and etc. Therefore, natural materials are well respected and appreciated. Another example of Alvar Aalto’s design is the Stacking Stools for Artek designed in 1929-30. This design and the experiment with the bent legs was influenced by his meetings with various members of the Bauhaus design school. Unlike other chairs, it was designed for the community instead of an individual. The minimal three leg design keeps the stool simple yet with a strong support. The stools seem to be a sculpture when they are stacked together with the spiral form. The legs can be unscrewed for flat packing. The combination of functionality and beauty could be seen clearly in through this design.

 

One of the most important figures of Finnish Design, Wirkkala’s work embrace the traditional processes of Finnish handcraft, and the emotionally seductive forms found in nature. In his work, for instance, Kantarelli vase(1947), Laminated birch platter(1951), Iceberg Vase(1951), and Apple vase (1955) showed his ability to capture the spirit of flower, leaves, ice, and apple.

 

One of Denmark’s most successful architects, Arne Jacobsen, had the idea to be involved in the design throughout the entire SAS Royal Hotel, from the exterior to The iconic Swan and Egg chairs, and the stainless-steel cutlery used in the restaurant. SAS Royal Hotel was opened in 1960. It was the highest building in Scandinavia during that time, and also the world’s first design hotel often called the ‘total work of art’, which reflects the Scandinavian design that user’s experience is the priority.

 

Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of IKEA, who believes that “people not as well off should be given the same opportunities as those who are.” In 1959, he introduced the first flat-packed design, The Regal bookshelf, then modular thinking. Later on, IKEA’s iconic furniture, Poang Chair was designed by a Japanese designer Noboru Nakamura. He was probably inspired by the Armchair designed by Alvar Aalto, as the two design has the similar structure that the arm and legs form open U shape. Noboru Nakamura believes that “A chair shouldn’t be a tool that binds and holds the sitter; it should be a tool that provides us with emotional richness. This chair creates an image where we let off stress or frustration by swinging. Such movement has meaning and value.”

 

Lastly, Hans J. Wegner, the Danish designer who focus on not only the physical but also the emotional connections between the users and the products, by simplifying the form and construction. The uniformity and lightness of his three-legged shell chair design create the sense of calmness. The compression-molded veneer curvy back and seat gives the sitter extra comfort. The three legs design achieve the simplicity and stability. The design of this chair is appealing from all angles. functionality and natural beauty. Moreover, his Y-shaped back wishbone chair requires more than 100 operations to manufacture mostly by hands. The paper cord woven seat takes a skilled craftsman about one hour to create.

 

All in all, the characters of the products mentioned above reflects the beliefs of Scandinavian design Hygge which functional honesty, sensual purity, naturalism, and sense of joy and well being regardless of the manufacturing method. Nothing is concealed, what you see is what it is, and it is simply doing its job. Also, the Scandinavians designers share the same value, that they care about the user’s physical and emotional satisfaction. They were passionate about creating objects people want to have and love. They are creating moments of feeling at home. They committed to the quality with high knowledge of materials, and attention to the user. They build designs that last for decades.

 

My Thoughts

During this research, I dived deeper into the style that I always admire beyond the lines and shapes. The humanism in the Scandinavian design is the beauty that machine and technology cannot replace. It made me rethink my role as a designer. In the past, people were greatly influenced by religions, for instance, Lutheranism which seeks for the truth, honesty, nature and etc., thus, the objects were designed to follow those principles. Products were built with quality, honesty and built to last. Today, many might believe in Monelisim (belief in Money, a word that I just made). Success and quality of life were measured by wealth. Products were judged by its monetary value. People expect to get things done fast, and instantly which is against nature. It takes time for trees to grow, wastes to degrade and relationship to be built. Perhaps we could slow down for a while, have a cup of hot chocolate and think about the value that we are losing overtime.

References

https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/lighting/chandeliers-pendant-lights/poul-henningsen-ph-5-light-pendant/id-f_7004003/

https://www.moma.org/collection/works/92879http://www.moma.org/d/c/exhibition_catalogues/W1siZiIsIjMwMDA2MjcxMyJdLFsicCIsImVuY292ZXIiLCJ3d3cubW9tYS5vcmcvY2FsZW5kYXIvZXhoaWJpdGlvbnMvMTc5MiIsImh0dHA6Ly93d3cubW9tYS5vcmcvY2FsZW5kYXIvZXhoaWJpdGlvbnMvMTc5Mj9sb2NhbGU9ZW4iXV0.pdf?sha=d88f220a94b32471

https://www.radissoncollection.com/en/royalhotel-copenhagen/destination/the-history-of-the-iconic-royalhotel

https://www.radissoncollection.com/en/royalhotel-copenhagen/destination/the-history-of-the-iconic-royalhotel

https://www.radissoncollection.com/en/royalhotel-copenhagen/destination/the-history-of-the-iconic-royalhotel