Wednesday, April 16, 2014

INDN 311: Final Looksy!

For the final presentation I also wanted to have some sweet renders to show, so alongside with the one from before, I also wanted to have a bit of coolness factor to go with my design process. Because people always love pretty stuff, right?

All of the renders experimented with the same structure and layout to the whole thing. Just manipulating the materials got me to thinking about what material I'd like to make the device from. Obviously, I have a certain affinity for beautiful timber, so there's always that to consider. I want to be able to make things that I love, and at the end of this day it's going to be something for me.

Other materials I should consider is things like extruded aluminium or plastic though, as well as a pure 3D printed material. That said, if I'm going to 3D print, then I'd want to make the design more expressive of that materiality, rather than doing the standard design and 3D printing, which would end up rather blocky.

After considering different options, I decided to do two different group renders, showing off the different materials I might consider. The wood on the far left would be something like a walnut or jarra, while the next along would be something akin to an oak or beech. Followed by a black, brown and white matte plastic.

Aaaaand of course I had to do some different shiny metal renders, for kicks. Till next time!

INDN 341: Presentation Bonanza!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

INDN 341: All Strapped Up!

Now that the crane is finished, all I had to do was "wire" the whole thing up and put it together.
First, I had to connect all the pieces to the frame with some black rope that I bought, The black rope also served as the "tensile wires" for the crane. I routed out the slots for the modified spray wand to sit, and it fits quite well.
Since this is just a proof of concept, I didn't really fancy doing something too intense. It's just a simple mechanism to trigger the spray, so it's nice and easy to use for now. Obviously if my project got picked, we'd want to make an automatic triggering system, which would allow for people to just press a button and have the system work.

By modulating the pressure, you can get nice and even coverage over an area, as I discovered. I'm going to be honest, I didn't actually use someone's head for these as I didn't want to spray anyone with ink. No-one would really have wanted to be a part of that. But a piece of card has no say in it's existence.

This was with the card placed flush to the receiving layer. It worked really well, and the clarity of the shape is very obvious.

On attempt two, I suspended the shape from the page, emulating a more real head shape. The result was a little more destructive.

INDN 341: Build It Up!

The design for the presentation is sussed now, so I head to the workshop to make the whole thing happen. It was a pretty simple construction to be honest, as it was very easy to cut out the forms I wanted from the wood.
I used threaded rods to connect the two arms together, as well as to provide a point for the ropes to hold the arms up. This is a pretty simple idea, but I think it has the potential to be very well executed and look really nice.

One of the considerations I took into account was how much motion the pieces have in of themselves, without any rope attached at all. I wanted to allow for a bit, but not let it be too free to move.

For pictures, I'll probably tether the crane to a table leg, or something of that sort.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

INDN 341: Form Explorations

Now that I'm inching ever closer to the point of no return for this project, it's really nice to start deciding on a form that I can be really excited about. After pottering around with random pure-function forms, it's nice to start getting into the parts that I really enjoy. I'm getting better at my sketching, and am also beginning to enjoy it more. I now see it less as a means to an end, and more of a tool for progressive expression.

There's something quite nice about the slightness and the simple functionality of a crane, so I decided to use that as the inspiration for my form for this section. The ability for the crane to assume multiple positions however isn't something I'm imitating. I'm just going to take the form and then apply it to my idea.

I think this form idea has a lot of merit and could prove to be very beautiful if finished in the right way. Planning out my sizes, I then jumped from the sketchbook to the CAD program, and started mocking up the form in a way that I thought would work.

After tinkering with the CAD file, I then decided to get some renders done. To my satisfaction, the renders worked out beautifully, and I really like the way they fit together. If there's one thing that first year taught me well, it was how to render.

Obviously the final proof of concept won't look like this, and also won't be so empty. For starters I'll be making the mock-up model out of pine, and the CAD models are also missing all the gear that would be mounted onto the crane. That's why the whole set-up doesn't do my idea complete justice. The holes and rods are going to be connected to each other via cable/rope of some kind.

Friday, April 11, 2014

INDN 311: Physical Processes, Techniques & Motorised Output

After exploring various shapes in my sketches, I decided to pursue a particular form in my modelling. For the presentation I plan on having two models, one that shows shape, size and fit. The second model will be a form that doesn't really represent the shape, but rather the function of the vibrating of the water.

This is the current state of the design. An oblong block that has a front slot for the phone, a central hole for the glass canister, and then a slot near the front end on the top for the device to be used as a stand for the phone. This part of the design is a part that I'll be 3D printing, just to show the shape and form.

To prove the concept of the water vibrations being something beautiful that can manipulate the light passing from the screen of the phone towards the ceiling. To do this, I constructed a small frame for holding a small vacuum formed piece of plastic that would hold the water. To this plastic form I then glued a small motor to the back. I then attached a small circular piece of acrylic that had the hole for the motors shaft slightly offset. By doing this, the motor will generate excess vibrations that will transfer through the plastic into the water, where the vibrations will become visible due to the nature of the medium.

I experimented with different sizes of attachment to the motor. By playing around with various sizes, I was able to get a variety of different ripple points. I eventually settled on the smallest ones, as I really didn't want water splashing everywhere and getting all over the presentations. The ripples that it generated were the ones above. I really like these because they weren't enough to actually get the water moving, just truly vibrating. It's really nice as you could really see these lovely standing waves that moved slowly over the water as the speed fluctuated a bit.

I added a bit of ink to the mix so as to make the ripples more visible. It kind of worked. For the presentation, I want to show this functioning to the point where it creates a visible difference to the transmitted light from below.

MDDN 314: Welcome To The HyperTrain Transit Station

With the aim of creating a futuristic environment with distinct spatial and sonorous references to modern train stations, "Welcome to the HyperTrain Transit Station" is an attempt at transporting the listener into a familiar-yet-unfamiliar space.

Drawing inspiration from video games such as Mass Effect and Halo, as well as the movies Blade Runner, Avatar, I, Robot and Star Trek, I sought to create a world that wasn't a ridiculous stretch for the listener to imagine.

The listener gradually moves through the different spaces the station has to offer, with different ambient qualities and sounds perforating each sector. From the sounds of the distant automobiles in the first space to the hyperjump of the train in the last area, I created a space referencing the commotion and movement of people at every turn.

The first space presents the listener with a large, echoing entrance hall which serves as an antechamber for the main partition. The relative quiet of this area is punctuated by announcements and advertisements, as well as the sounds of various other spaces bordering onto this one. Upon passing into the second space, the sound of many more people crowded at the ticketing station fills the ambiance. This space is filled with more advertisement kiosks, keen to snatch your attention away from the surroundings. Operated by robots, the ticketing station runs pretty smoothly until someone attempts to enter on a false ticket. Once outside in the covered train boarding station, the sound of these grand machines takes over. Advertisements are few and far between here, and the sound of people is droned out by the trains and announcements. As HyperTrain Beta-4 closes it's doors, the sound of the hyperdrive spinning up can be heard. The train begins to pull out of the boarding area and ultimately warps out of the station. The sound scape ends as the tour of the station comes to a close.

The created world is distracting and colourful, with distinct references to modern transit stations. I designed the piece of art with the soundtrack very specifically in mind. All of the sounds were made or recorded by me, as well as the accompanying art.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

INDN 311: Model That Final Form Now!

For this project, I want to create something unique, something that will be innovative and use pre-existing technology in an interesting way. I want to make something that makes an interesting use of materials, as well as being a really minimal design that really exemplifies the use of technology.

By positioning the iPhone inside the build, it serves the phone as both a safe location as well as a point for it to create it's light display. The doughnut shape of the glass receptacle on top I chose so that I could get an interesting medium (shape-wise) to play with for the light display. By limiting the light to that point as well as placing a void space in the middle for the light, it should also force the light from the phone to be more specific in terms of its final location. The cork in the middle of the form will allow the doughnut shape of the transmitted light to be more directed in it's shape.

This should allow me to have the app designed purely around this circular form, which makes for something really interesting in a design sense. I should be able to split the different parts of the circle up into segments and display different things and colours on them. By doing this, I could be able to generate various selections of colour and as a result, various different moods through colour combinations.

In terms of the look of the final object, I want to keep it really nice and simple. I love the look of a more subdued wood, such as oak or ash. I want to strike a balance between classy and everyman. Taking inspiration from firms such as Braun, I went with a design that was really clean. I also managed to achieve a dual functionality by building in a simple slot into the top of the design. This slot allows for the user to place their phone in a more upright position and use it as a normal stand during the daytime.

I want to make the central piece out of glass (get it blown with the guy up at the main campus). The choice of glass is to allow the vibrations to translate well into the water. By using a more rigid material, these subtle movements translate better. I'm tossing up making small holes at the four corners of the imagined square, but I think, keeping in Dieter Rams' lest design tenet "Good Design should be as little design as possible", I think I might omit them.

INDN 311: Fashions Of The Time

After working hard on the form of my designs, I decided to take a step back again and take a look at some good ol' fashioned inspiration, as I really don't do that enough. The way I've always perceived inspiration is perhaps a little false. Recently I've begun to perceive it in the "right" way (if there is such a thing). I look at as something to get me psyched out for design, as something to inspire me, as a way of figuring out what designs have been timeless, and what designs have been a bit less so. By working "with" different famous designers, I let their sentiments on forms sculpt my work. And to be honest, it's almost always worked out for the better.

Image acquired from:

This skylight light designed by Denise Hachinger has such a cool style. By controlling the direction of the light very specifically, she's been able to make a light that shows the pinpoints of light as almost floating in space. With heavy references to the natural world outside our own, she's create a very successful, unique image for her work.

Image acquired from:

Braun has always had a style that's been very close to my heart. I love Dieter Rams' style that he's created. We studied some of his work in first year, and giving myself to opportunity to go back to my roots a bit and get some understanding of what he was all about was really good for me. I enjoyed the opportunity to re-read over his 10 Principles of Design and see how I could apply them to this product that will hopefully get my name out there!

Good Design Is Innovative : The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

Good Design Makes a Product Useful : A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product while disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

Good Design Is Aesthetic : The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

Good Design Makes A Product Understandable : It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.

Good Design Is Unobtrusive : Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.

Good Design Is Honest : It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept

Good Design Is Long-lasting : It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.

Good Design Is Thorough Down to the Last Detail : Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.

Good Design Is Environmentally Friendly : Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimises physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

Good Design Is as Little Design as Possible : Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

These should be my "tenets" of sorts. I should have these up on my wall at all times! Really, I should.

INDN 341: Physical Componentry & Experimentation

After acquiring all the parts to my device, I then  decided to do some experiments with how I could get things to look like they properly should. To test the potential of the project, I wish I had some pieces of the water-sensitive paper, but unfortunately that's not going to happen in time for the presentation. In stead, I'm going to do my tests with ink, as the effect is similar.

Loading up the ink into my pressure sprayer tank, I first had to take a shot of the ink dispersing into the water, as no matter how often I see that, I always think it's so beautiful. There's something purely stunning about the way the ink connects in such a weirdly stringy way.

Once I had mixed up the ink with the water, I was able to do some tests. In theory, the results should be the exact same as with the water. For the presentation, I'm going to show a very simplified version of what I want to achieve. I believe that this project has the potential to end up being something very beautiful, with a beautiful overall look and a beautiful output.

One thing I found is that if I try this again, I have to be pretty liberal with the ink, as I needed quite a bit to get a dark enough effect for it to be significant. For the presentation I will also have to be quite selective with the paper that I use. If I use paper that isn't absorbent enough, I will have a big mess on my hands, literally. If I use a highly absorbent paper, then I should be able to show the resultant outcome rather nicely.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

INDN 311: Sketch That Final Form Now!

In terms of getting the design on the road again, it takes a little bit of re-focusing and effort to get the focus going. By stepping back and taking a good long hard look at everything, I was able to actually realise what it was that my project really needed. By sussing that out for myself, I started to actually create some designs that might be worthwhile.

One of the things that I really want to do is make the screen a very important part of the whole design. I want to base the design around an existing device that a lot of us have, and therefore the functionality of the whole device is something that I want to have originate from the device. This both reduces the complicated-ness of the design as well as the resultant requirements for the device as a whole, e.g. using the smartphone to provide the light and the vibrations takes away the necessity for the designed "casing/device" to have its own power supply.

The current state of affairs is looking at a device that somehow has a slot for the phone to sit in, as well as a spot for the water to be contained. The place for the water to be contained has to somehow sit free of the whole container, so that it can be freely vibrated by the phone. Ergo, it needs to not be too heavy, as well as not mar the screen of the smartphone.

One of the concepts for the design that I really enjoyed was the possibility of making the glass container for the water distort the light passing through the water. The variations of the glass could shatter the light from the screen in different ways, making for a more interesting display of light on the ceiling.

Once I realised how I wanted to capture the resultant output of the phone/app, I could start working on the housing. Theoretically the form of the housing wouldn't need to be much, just a safe place to put your phone as well as a method of housing the glass container for the water. Ergo, it has the potential to be stylish. I started out the design with a basic form that I could then extrapolate on. The block-like form developed into something that started to look a bit more functional and beautiful.

Eventually I stopped and had a look at the forms that I so deeply loved. I looked at Rams' radio design and realised that I really loved the way that it was mostly constructed out of a rounded rectangle. The rounded rectangle just has some really awesome cross-style coolness.

I also really liked the slant I was putting on the form, as this feels edgy, as well as serving a purpose. It emulates the ideal angle to have the iPhone sit at in the slot I want to put into the top of the whole piece. By cutting in a slot for the phone, the design will fulfil a dual functionality, serving as both a slot for the phone to stand in as well as a place to allow the phone to illuminate.

INDN 311: Water-borne Projections

To continue my forays into the dark underbelly of interface design, I want to create an interesting harmony between the physical device and the digital interface. One of the parts that I'm keen to explore with is the possibility of creating a harmony that is specifically designed so. In this instance, what I'm looking at is lining up the screen display with a physical cut into the design. The way the form is looking at the moment is to have a glass-blown cylindrical flat container.

The clincher for this design is the at the design has to incorporate a cork or some stopper somewhere. The problem with this is that the cork will block part of my screen. As opposed to trying to fight this concept, I decided to embrace it in stead. I'm embracing the doughnut shape.

After thinking about this prospect for a bit, I decided that actually that's not such a bad idea really! I quite like the concept of just using the doughnut shape, as in itself it's still actually quite aesthetic.

The possibilities with the doughnut shape are pretty fun to play with and also quite varied. Another aspect of the design that I enjoy are the possibility that the centralised cork design will also shield the screen from blending the different colours too much through the water.

In an ideal world, you will be able to see a perfect rendition of this screen on your roof, but for obvious physical reasons, this isn't going to happen. It's going to be blurred, the colours will blend, and the way that the shapes will transmit through the water will make for an interesting state.

I still think that overall the project still has a lot of potential, especially in the way that the digital blends with the physical to create something non-tangible. The art of moving the different portions of the circle will also change the way the resultant ceiling image looks. Colour shifts would be quite pronounced, and motion between strong contrasts would be possible.

I experimented with creating the illusion of a vague landscape on the screen using only the different segments of the doughnut. I really like the result, as you can actually kind of imagine the different landscapes projected by the doughnut.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

INDN 341: Materials Research

Since the deadline for this proof of concept is looming, I decided to get down into the physical stuff. One of the most important aspects of my design is the functionality, and getting it to work properly. The proof of concept is all about showing how your project could be done, and to show that it can actually be done.

Eventually this project will develop in a full-blown group project, so I need to have all the data on the whole thing if my project gets picked for creation. Since I'm going to be creating a shower of water, I want to use something that will work well with that medium. I don't want to spray people with ink and then have them hate me, but a small amount of water most people can deal with.

Image acquired from:

I discovered this awesome stuff called water-sensitive paper. When exposed to water droplets, the spots where the aqueous drops touched goes blue (from an original yellow). It's used a lot in agriculture to test the consistency of pesticide/fungicide spraying. I think it has the potential to be perfect for my project. If I used this stuff as the backing paper for the installation, when the user sprays the water creating a stark silhouette on the paper. Then they could inscribe their confession onto the paper and then hang it up.

To test the potential of the spraying system, I went out and got a cheap pressure sprayer. (It was only $13, damn that's cheap!) It had a long straight rod that acted as the spraying wand. To get this facing the angle I wanted, I had to create a bend in the metal piping of the wand. I did this by running the pipe between rollers until it had the curvature that I wanted it to.

By pumping the handle of the canister, I can create high air pressure which forces the water out through the nozzle when the trigger is squeezed. I discovered this can also be emulated by plugging a high pressure air hose into it. When I say plug, I really mean frantically hold hand over hole, with air hose clasped tightly in fist. That part was fun. But it does work. By creating pressure, regardless of where it comes from, the spray wand is able to work.

I gave the whole set-up a test on my hand onto a sheet of cardboard. As you can see, it actually works pretty well! Hopefully I'll test the whole thing on my head soon too.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

MDDN 314: Situational Sounds

In order to assemble the soundscape that I want, I needed to first decide on what it would be. The brief was fairly open, allowing for a fair bit of playing around in terms of what we wanted to do. The first thing that I decided was that I wanted to do something a bit different. I wanted to take this project somewhere where you can't go in real life. I wanted to create a space for the future. One space that I've enjoyed on the odd occasion in Wellington has been the railway station, so I decided to do a futuristic railway station. 

Erm. Excuse my French, I actually mean The HyperTrain Transit Station. Much better. This station will feature a range of things, as I decided one late afternoon that I really needed to plan out everything I wanted in my soundscape. This involved actually thinking of all the layers of sound that exist in a futuristic train station. And when you start thinking about all the sounds involved, that number gets pretty large.

After writing that list and figuring out which sounds I would need to make personally and which sounds I could record, I took a trip over to the train station, and did some field recordings there. All of the sounds that I got there will make up the bulk of the "background ambience" of the HTTS. Once I returned, I got into making my own sounds. This proved to be a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed just playing around with the effects and with the way I could create different noises.

One of the first elements I gave work was the advertisements. I see the future as being very invasive in the way that ads get used. This is evidenced in all sorts of movies, such as Blade Runner and The Minority Report. I wanted to recreate this feeling of the advertisements being everywhere.

Advertisements regarding off-world expansion seemed to be a must have, as well as to create an obligatory Blade Runner reference.

One aspect of the world that I wanted to create was this notion of Synthetics (androids) being seen in a bad light. One of the ads that I made references the idea that Synthetics were developed to be slaves, but developed true sentience and could no longer be slaves.

Creating futuristic car noises was so much fun. I really enjoyed the creation of an endless volley of different-but-similar sounds. That, and it's just really fun to say Niiiiiiiaaaaaaaooooooooommmmm.

This is a noise that I generated and manipulated heavily in Audacity. Originally generated as noise, I then overlaid several frequencies onto it, to give it a metallic vent drone, as if it were the sound of a train idling or an air conditioning unit.

Friday, April 4, 2014

INDN 341: Refining The Method Of Creation

After a talk with my lecturer, my ideas have taken an entirely different turn. One of the ideas that got thrown around was the concept of cataloguing people, as opposed to objects. This concept was suggested as a lead into doing a fully fledged installation piece.

This idea then evolved into the concept of cataloguing people's heads and making that the installation. I took this idea and then went another step further. I loved the concept of Candy Chang's "A Confession" installation, and I wanted to build on that idea a little. I want to tackle the concept of anonymity and how it affords us the ability to say the way we feel without any constraints.

Image acquired from:

Using the previous concept of cataloguing people, I want to take my prior idea with how the device catalogues people's heads and combine it with the notion of a confession. The way I see the project happening is that the person has their head catalogued and then proceed to write a confession onto the card that their head was projected onto. The outline of the head, created through the use of a pressurised spray of water, is very vague, eliminating the possibility of the person being recognised.

The entire process is a little jumbled at the moment, but I think getting my ideas out onto the blog should clear it up a little bit in my head. The ideas behind this project are heavily linked to the notion of baptism and rebirth. By admitting your "confession" and being "catalogued" in an exhibited way, I see this as being a way of confessing to your self and the world. The confessions need not be bad, in fact, a lot of them could be really good!

In terms of physical form, I really wanted to juxtapose the idea of execution as well as the baptism, so I had the idea of linking the two through the physical form. That's where the idea of the execution block comes from.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

INDN 341: 3D Into 2D

So I've been doing a lot of thinking with respect to the project and how I'm going to make the interpretation of it clearly show what it's going to achieve. Another aspect that I really want to look at is the concept of the user interaction. This is a very important part of the machine as it's what the entire process is founded on.

The interaction is something that I want to consider quite heavily. Since I'm looking at the process of movement and getting the user to manipulate the fabric to generate something unique every time, it seems prudent to ensure I've designed a system that allows a certain effective method of control. One difficulty I've had is to decide whether to make a system that is fully automatically controlled, or a system that requires constant user input. These two options could both create quite a poetic object.

To allow the user interaction, I have to make sure that the design of the components  makes sense to people, as well as being easy to see and comfortable to use as well. The way I can see the fabric suspension working is as such: Multiples parts of the fabric are attached to small wheels, allowing them to be moved closer to one the three struts. Using the three sides to control the angles and locations of different points of the fabric allows the user to manipulate the resultant shapes that the trickling watercolours create below.

Using just straight connectors between the different struts would create issues though, as the angle of the connecting wire coming off the wheels would be slightly off what it possibly should be to ensure the best possible functionality. By bending the connecting struts, it alters the angle to be facing slightly more towards the center, which will make the connections to the fabric less strenuous and more direct.

In terms of other options for making the wheels function appropriately, another two options would be to have the wheel function off a small ratchet, and another option would be to have sort of "brake pads" that keep the spinning of the wheel in check. This natural inhibitor would allow for the user to manipulate the cable while on it's own it won't be able to move.

After talking to the tutor today, I narrowed down my idea a fair bit, and decided to break away from the fabric idea a bit. As opposed to letting the user dictate how the result would be, I decided to go down the path of object cataloguing, whereby the user would place an object, and said object would then be "catalogued". The way I conceived this cataloguing would be for it to have quite a simple form, allowing for a very visible structure of how it functions. I want to highligh exactly how the device turns data from 3D into 2D.

This particular sketch details the concept of that idea, which would allow for the user to place an object of their choosing in the receptacle below. The beauty of this design is in the visibility, I feel. By making it incredibly clear how the whole device works, the user can feel more connected to the process as a whole. This utilisation of a clear-cut machine should allow the user to feel more connected to the creative process as a whole.