This course focuses on thoughtfully and critically embedding computational media into the physical world. We will make, tinker, and experiment with high tech and low tech materials. The final projects will be themed around biolectronic interfaces, and the winning team will present their work at the Biodesign Challenge. This course is taught by Stacey Kuznetsov, assistant professor at the School of Arts, Media, and Engineering. The TA is Piyum Fernando.
We decided to adapt the idea of a modular wearable or insertable device designed specifically for the user or use cases.
The long term speculative concept is to evolve this modular wearable into an physical augmentation or ‘insertable’. This bodily augmentation tool would essentially live and grow with that of a symbiotic relationship where the insertable would ‘learn’ about the user and be able to relay pertinent information. Our motivation for this wearable was the state of wearables in today’s market. They seem to only be used for fashion, exercise and a convenience factor. While the uses are important they aren’t a necessity and people can simply live without them. Studies also show that they are inaccurate and extensions of smart phones or other devices. We want to improve upon these current uses.
We used google glasses and an emotiv helmet as a proof of concept and to sift through different through the different types of information to gather. This process was a bit overwhelming and the data we want to capture has not been completely streamlined yet. We know we want obvious vitals such as bpm but we want to dig much deeper than that. For example incorporating the emotive helmet’s ability to monitor brainwaves.
We plan to have this wearable accessible for everyone and it will help. Purpose will be adaptable to each person’s needs. The main groups of people that we are targeting are those prone to dangerous situations, health emergencies or natural disasters. When a person is in danger or suffering from some sort of health issue they will be able to ping their health information via cloud server. Of course there are concerns with privacy issues, costs and cyber attacks, all of which are mentioned in the power point attached.
Had we been selected we would have improved upon our presentation; adding a video, a 3D prototype and possibly a website. As for the content we would have our narrow down the data we want monitored, further investigate the data we want monitored, and add the necessary sensors to the 3D prototype that will give the judges a good idea of what the product will look like. Due to time constraints the bio material aspect would be more of a speculative concept but we were looking into the biomaterial/growable clothing concepts of Suzanne Lee’s and Conny Groenewegen. You can read more about our project in the attached powerpoint: Purpose_Presentation.
Some Works Sited:
Our project is the Mycelia -Can a trash can that is made up of mycelium that can eat plastic. The plan is to have these placed within homes and have this a use as a recycling can for plastic trash. The mycelium will eat the plastic getting ride of our plastic problem at the source, the house hold. Here is some concept art we made to help image this idea mycelium_project_v1
After several failed builds with mycelium we use play-doh to help use mock up or build
The only parts we use was some mycelium, play-doh, and a small trash can.
Our overall idea is greatly shown in this video that goes a little bit through the life cycle of what our end goal looks like.
Other than the video most of our plans and idea can be found on our PowerPoint for our presentation Final May 2 AME 410
The final presentations will take place on Wednesday, May 2, 12pm-2pm.
Lower Level Atrium, Biodesign Institute
727 E. Tyler St., Tempe, AZ 85287
Please email me your powerpoint slides no later than Wednesday, May 2nd at 11am, or bring your slides on an external USB drive. All presentations will be done using the room’s computer, you will not be able to plug in personal laptops to present.
A strict time limit of 15 minutes will be enforced for your presentation and demo. Please rehearse ahead of time, as you will not be able to go over the time limit, regardless of where you are in your talk or demo. This time limit includes any fumbling/technical difficulties/etc so I suggest arriving to the presentation room early to make sure everything works.
I will have an office hour Tuesday, May 1 at 2pm in Stauffer B270 if you want to run through your talk and/or get some feedback.
The presentations will be evaluated according to the Biodesign Challenge criteria. In addition to following the guidelines below, your presentation should show a clear timeline of work from May 2nd up until the Biodesign Summit in NYC. At the very least, your presentation must include:
- A clear problem statement or rationale for your project
- Prior/related work
- Show related projects the convince us that your idea is feasible and new
- Your design concept
- The big vision of your project
- Demo of physical artifact
- An artifact showing some aspect of your big vision
- Societal impacts of your concept
- A careful consideration of who will be impacted by your project, as well as any unintended consequences, risks, etc.
- Timeline for future work
- Convince us that there is more work you can do here, and that your team is committed to continuing this project in May/June
Below are more detailed guidelines from the Biodesign Website.
Projects will be judged on:
- Conceptual elegance
- Presentational strength
- Consideration of various cultural and environmental factors
Is the project original? Does it approach the chosen problem in an innovative way?
How gracefully and powerfully does the project respond to the chosen problem or issue? How effectively does the designed product or process communicate values that go beyond its formal and functional qualities?
How well does this design work to solve a real-world problem or enhance some aspect of culture?
ORAL PRESENTATION AND SLIDESHOW
Each team is expected to use a 15-minute presentation to tell the story of their design. This presentation should explain how the design works, the needs that it meets, the science driving it, and how it may be adopted in the commercial world. The presentation and slides should be fun while treating the design idea seriously.
VISUAL RENDERING AND PHYSICAL MODELING
Each team must produce a poster illustrating the look, functionality, and possible uses of their design. Teams should also create physical models of the design. These models should capture the look and feel of the design.
Has the team deeply considered the possibility of its design coming to fruition? We subdivide feasibility into several criteria:
Any science that the students describe should be based in reality. We’re asking students to consider technology that will likely become available five to ten years from now. Has the team demonstrated that trends in current science indicate that their vision will be possible?
What makes a biotechnological solution the best method to address this problem, as opposed to other technologies or social solutions? Has the team considered why a biological design is the right fit for the problem?
How does this vision fit into already-built systems? Does it require an entirely new infrastructure to be built along with it?
In what ways does the product or process have the potential to both positively and negatively impact humans and their environment, and in what ways has the designer worked to mitigate the negative and maximize the positive impacts?
How does the design change the lives of those who use it?
How does the design change the lives of those who don’t use it? These people might include workers involved in its manufacture as well as those who don’t have access to the new design or can’t afford to pay for it.
Has the team considered how widely its design might be used? Is this a product or process that’s meant to change an entire global system, or is it a niche product for specific markets?
D. Ethics and cultural suitability
Has the team considered ways in which the vision fits with the moral principles of the cultures meant to use it?
Can the project be achieved with methods that do not deplete or destroy natural resources?
A. Environmental impact
How does the team intend their design to interact with living environments at the sites where it’s manufactured, used, and disposed of? Is the product or process intended to change the living environment? How so?
Does this product or process use fewer resources—for example less water or energy—than products currently available?
C. Life cycle
Has the team considered their design’s entire life cycle? Can it be recycled, or reused in other ways?
Has the team considered the potential negative effects of its vision?
Has the team accounted for possible harm to human health and the living environment associated with its product or process malfunctioning? Has the team changed their design to mitigate these risks?
B. Dual use
In the hands of someone with ill intent, any design can be used nefariously. A hammer, meant to bang in nails, can be turned into a murder weapon when swung at a person. Nuclear technology can be harnessed to create energy, but also to create a bomb. Has the team considered how their design might be harnessed for ill intent? Has the team considered how its design could be negatively exploited, and how to mitigate that risk?
1865 Coffee Shop
The shop has a typical coffee shop vibe in which individuals and groups work on projects while music plays in the background. The space is relatively large and empty feeling in comparison with the number of people there. There is a window into the kitchen in which all of the coffee and grilled cheese is made. The coffee shop has a Christian intonation to its decorations with a chalk bible quotes, religious music, and a wifi password “jesus_saves”.
One corner of the coffee shop is covered in decorations about London. The wall is confusing in comparison with the flow of the rest of the shop. On this wall also sits a large unused flat screen tv and cupboard. This wall could potentially be a great place for an installation.
1) “Would you use our installation if it was in your store?”
“We don’t produce that many coffee grounds but I believe that that’s something people would like”
2) “Do you think customers would like it? If so, then why do you think they would like it?”
“Taking something old and repurposing it, our store has a lot of that. We have biodegradable bowls so I know our customers would like it.”
3) “Would you like the installation? If so, why would you like it?
“I like it because it might inspire us to get a compost and recycle more”
1865 Coffee Shop
Questions asked to Shelby Baker, the manager of the store
1)What does your shop do with its coffee ground waste?
“We were saving it for a while and someone would use it in their garden, but it’s been a while since she’s moved so we do just throw it away. We’ve been wanting to do something better with it”
2) Do you have any idea about how much coffee waste you produce in a week and how it is stored before heading to the trash?
“I would say maybe 5-10lbs at least per week. When we toss it, we just throw it in the trash. We have our drip coffee grounds in the paper filters and espresso grounds that are pressed into a puck; both are just dumped in the trash bin. When we save them to give to people, we put them in an empty coffee bag that the beans were in.”
3) Would you be interested in using the coffee grounds for a piece of sustainable bioArt?
“Yes! That’s super cool!”
We went to a local coffee shop called “Chop Shop” and interviewed different employees about our coffee based art installation. I asked them the three questions stated in the ask category and, after getting their permission, recorded the data I gathered from the interviews.
Thoughtless acts: When drip coffee is made the beans and filter are thrown in the trash. When espresso is made, the puck of ground coffee is hit into the trash as well which is right next to the machine for convenience. A separate container could be put there on these grounds.
Opportunities: There is an opportunity to use the 5 pounds of waste grounds a week as a foundational compost for an installation. There is also a significant opportunity to continue the chalk theme and unify the other end of the store with an installation that utilizes the large tv and wall space occupied by miscellaneous London themed paraphernalia.
Thoughtless acts: Some of the employees were not willing to be interviewed. One person said he did not want to be interviewed, instead, he chose to focus on cleaning the store.Another employee was standing in the background and joined in the interview unexpected once she heard we were discussing compost. She appeared to be very passionate about the process of composting leftover food, which taught me that this project is something that people can become passionate within the first minute of a brief introduction.
Patterns: Every employee that I interviewed at the coffee shop agreed that they would enjoy the coffee compost art installation. Furthermore, 2 out of the 3 agreed that the customers would enjoy the coffee compost as well.
Opportunities: An employee at Chop Shop stated, “Taking something old and repurposing it, our store has a lot of that. We have biodegradable bowls so I know our customers would like it.” After hearing a second employee agree that this would be something that the customers would enjoy using, I learned that this installation could potentially be a very successful product if implemented at the right type of coffee shop. Coffee shops that already make it a habit to participate in economically friendly activities would likely be more accepting of the installation than a coffee shop that does not specialize in the same activities. For example, “Chop Shop” would enjoy and use this installation more than “Starbucks” would.
Look, ask, try, learn – indoor reactive plant matter
To investigate how our design could exist in the actual world we visited the videography office for Herberger in PEBE West on campus, because it represents a good variety of environments we’re targeting for our installations: Office lobby, public space, indoor, mixed purpose. The building is an old gym that has been repurposed for a variety of classes, sports, and office spaces, so traffic in the lobby/entrance area is varied.
We spoke to the employees and asked about the aesthetic experience of the building as well as the physical quality of the environment, especially the air and temperature.
They described their general displeasure with how unclean, outdated, and ugly the gym itself was (all true) and expressed great interest in the aesthetic improvement the hypothetical installation of our design would bring. A redesign is clearly in order, and one that relates directly to the health of the space would be particularly meaningful. Biologically, we couldn’t test it the way hotel inspectors would, but we can only assume there is some serious bacteria present; an actual test of present substances would be needed to determine the exact needs of the space in terms of what toxins need to be fought by our plant materials (and thus determining which plants would be selected for this particular installation)
Employees responded equally positively to the health aspects of our proposal, they spoke about the quality of air feeling drab and not fresh, needing to step out for a walk every so often. They also experience bugs, which may be a larger facilities problem, but is something our proposal could hypothetically affect also. Their questions about weather our plants would attract more or different insects made us evaluate that aspect of it that we hadn’t thought about before.
During this process of exploring the space and doing interviews, our activities mirrored that of the average person in the building: walking from room to room and spending a lot of time sitting. One thing we noticed over time was the quality of air, like they said, and the light, being a cold artificial fluorescent throughout. It was also rather warm in the rooms, where several people were.
Reactive plants in this space, if we were to postulate a sort of home-makeover-show type installation, would seriously improve the health and aesthetic. Plants or lichen that specifically filter air toxins, are anti-insect, and require little light, would be our selection for here specifically. Going through this exercise though has really brought to the surface how site specific our proposal really is, we originally thought of this as a general idea, but the needs of each potential space are different in more extreme ways than anticipated. This aspect is something we will definitely spend more time focusing on in our final proposal.
For this assignment we used Damon’s living space as a place to test what was happening. Our mycelium trash can is still growing because it caught mold when we tried making it last, but we put the mold in his apartment to see how his roommates interacted with it.
Look: The roommates did not pay much attention to it. The mycelium can was placed directly next to a regular trash can in the common living area much how a recycling bin would have been placed. One of the roommates did ask why this second can looked like it had “seeds” in it. It was later explained to them the concept of our project and he liked the overall idea, especially being that it looked like another normal trash can until a closer look was given.
Ask: Damon has a friend that studies Biology at the University of California, Berkley that we asked for this part of the assignment. His feedback was positive and he expressed that if mycelium can indeed devour plastic then it could easily change the landscape of how society disposes its plastic. He did express concern with having a live fungi in a person’s home and said that it may be a better idea to have it as a larger can that sits outside a person’s home and people come collect it every week like any other type of compost system.
Try: We tried placing the mycelium can in different spots both outside and inside the home. Some spots such as close to water or an eating area were places that probably should not have a live fungus such as mycelium near it. Outside seems to be the best place for this project.
Learn: The biggest take away from this is seeing how this may affect a home’s natural state when introducing mycelium to it. Because mycelium is still in it’s early stages of development, placing it in the home may cause unforeseen circumstances to arise. Also since our mycelium can is rather small, it went unnoticed in quite a few places, so it definitely would need to increase in size to catch people’s attention. Overall, the feedback we got was that this is definitely a project that would benefit a lot of people. Disposing of plastic in a natural way such as this is appealing to everybody that heard the idea because of the well known fact that plastic is destroying our oceans and our environment in general.
For our Look, Ask, Learn, and Try assignment, we set up inside of Stauffer B asking various Digital Culture students to try playing with our prototype. We did not use our finalized prototype as we are stilling working on it, but just a smaller circuit that demonstrates the technology we are incorporating into our project.
Look: Some people find our circuit prototype that they played with a little underwhelming. Others find it really intriguing that a sensor they are used to using as a speaker for playing audio could possibly produce voltage to power a circuit without the use of a battery. The overall reaction to our entire concept is really positive and people say they’d love to see our concept replace traditional lighting and power systems in the future.
Ask: Feedback we received are incorporating more or larger capacitors into our circuit to keep our LED lit for longer periods of time and the suggestion to use sensors that require less work for a user to produce voltage. Our piezo disks require a lot of charging with human pressing for such little output of light.
Try: We’ve included a video of us trying the prototype and a photo example of people trying it out. This trying helps us gather ideas on what we can change to make producing power easier.
Link to Video:
Learn: Problems we see with our idea is how we might handle rain, wear and tear, and other conditions that could destroy our circuit/pressure panels, ultimately making our idea unsustainable. They could be too much maintenance needed if the product we made isn’t sturdy and protected from elements that could cause fires or other safety hazards. Electricity can be dangerous and our circuit could even be safety hazard for people walking on it if it wears over time.