Three companions of the imaginary variety.

February 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

This is Ovie.

Ovie leans towards things that it likes – such as this attractive leaf. This is how Ovie communicates.

Ovie’s owner started a garden and developed an interest in botany. To reflect this new hobby they changed Ovie’s appearance. It looked like a pear.

As a result of all this botanical exploration, Ovie increasingly resembled a plant.  Its eyes looked like seeds and it became known as Corm, which is similar, but not to be confused with a bulb.

Here is Myo. Myo’s creator has intended to make an endearing  heart-shaped companion with beautiful expressive eyes. There were problems. The mechanics never functioned correctly, which meant that Myo couldn’t move, and faulty engineering made the components heat up and become hazardous. The only things that moved were Myo’s eyes, which looked helpless and desperate as they slid back and forth in their large glassy membranes. Myo’s creator did not particularly enjoy being in its presence, but felt guilty for not displaying a higher quality of workmanship, so tried to interact and spend time with Myo often.  

This is Humble Robot. Or at least it will be. Humble robot does not yet exist beyond being a coordinate on a screen that will eventually grow into something. In theory Humble Robot will consist of many parts, all of which perform their own tasks and work as a whole. They will talk to and protect each other. Humble robot has a solid understanding of electronic components and is aware that they can be sensitive and are not to be touched. It may over time development intelligent mechanisms to protect these parts from a damaging human touch…

eep!

November 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

There is an area of robotics called Lovotics!! This field attempts to achieve a genuine sense of love and attachment between people and robots. So happy right now…

A tale of two Furbies.

November 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have owned two Furbies in my life.

The first was a birthday present when I was 12 and Furbies had just arrived on the toy scene. The second ( I am slightly ashamed to admit) was my Christmas present at the age of 21. (there is extensive documentation of my 21 year old self tearing through the packaging on Christmas morning, which actually devalued the object significantly so I’m told. whoops.) My experience with Furby no. 1 was standard to that of most electronic pets. It had a few days worth of novelty appeal before we locked it in a cupboard never to be activated again. At the time Furbies were everywhere, just another electronic product that failed to live up to its promise. 10 years later it was a collectors item (especially the gizmo one) and obtaining one involved purchase from an online nostalgia toyshop. I think differently about this Furby, it is a piece of design, a moment in the evolution of technology and  in my own history and life story. I had no qualms about dissecting the first Furby during the first wave of my inquisitive robot obsession, but couldn’t imagine destroying the second. So many outside factors effect our relationship to objects. Even two Furbies that are essentially exactly the same can be viewed and treated in a completely different way when impressed upon by time and circumstance, one was an expendable piece of consumer culture, the other, a treasured artifact that is imbued with meaning beyond its basic companion function. I am still me, but my knowledge and understanding of the physical world changes and allows me to see old Furbies in new ways.

Hobby love.

November 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

This is my Knitting machine. I love it.

This was my fourth year sculpture project. It is a children’s toy knitting machine that I modified and motorised. Making this was a hideous ordeal which involved buckets of tears and more money than I care to think about. To me (and my non-existent electrical skills), this was a feat of engineering that made me miserable for several weeks of my life. For some sadistic reason, I had decided that a part of this work would be a performance where I spent 12 hours straight monitoring the machine while it knitted piles of wool into a never ending tube. As time passed and the machine kept working, I felt increasingly proud, it became a bonding experience, I alone knew how to fix jams and untangle mistakes. After two years, the knitting machine still goes and I am always proud to say, “I made that”. On the other hand if the whole thing had failed miserably I would have undoubtably ended up in an ultimate shame spiral, vowing to never attempt something mechanical again. In DIY the successes and failures are felt ten-fold.

My favourite quote today.

November 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

“How will my toaster ever get better, making toast the way I prefer, unless it has some pride?”

-Donald A Norman Emotional Design

Another highlight:

“The actions of a kitten or human baby may be judged fun and cute, but the very same actions performed by a cat or human adult can be judged irritating or disgusting.”

The designery desk.

October 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

 

 

Your desk is design too.

 

Much inspired by Julia and Ellen Lupton’s manifesto which proclaims: Design is everywhere! Here is my desk. Which also fits in with their statement: design is a mess. Time to go home I think.

Sporatic curiosity explosion.

October 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Today I have read Ulla-Maaria Engeström’s Draft Craft Manifesto, which attempts to identify some of the driving reasons behind the popular contemporary craft movement, the article Qualitative Methods: from Boring to Brilliant where Christopher Ireland chronicles the development of qualitative research methods in product design and have begun to read Donald A. Norman’s Emotional Design: why we love (or hate) everyday things which presents some fascinating information about emotions and how they affect our response to objects. So, as a result of mentally mashing these topics together in my coffee addled brain, I have come up with some half-baked questions: What is the emotional response to a handmade object? What are the aesthetic clues to something being handmade? Do people respond well to the appearance of ‘homemade’ or with a level of distrust? Do we believe handmade objects to be less efficient than mass-produced? Is the lack of market testing and factor at all when buying something handmade? If you buy a soft toy from a craft fair, is market research, testing or focus groups factors that cross your mind? Does the joy of a unique object outweigh the fact that it is not specifically developed and streamlined for you specifically?