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Ponder

Developing introspection through our everyday items.

Timeline
Nov-December 2019

Team Member(s)
Amixa Ray Calzado

Role
Interaction Design
Speculative Definition
Physical computing

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What is Ponder?

As computing becomes more ubiquitous in our objects, we, as designers, need to be more aware of how to design meaningful interactions into electronically enhanced objects. Using a chair, table or lamp, my partner and I created a working prototype which senses and responds to human interaction.

Ponder is a cushioned chair that encourages people to be more introspective and take time out of their day to ask themselves a mindful self-reflection question, that is printed on a ticket. We hope each person captured an essence of time and thoughtfully look forward positively.

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What is introspection?

In our everyday lives, we are often surrounded by clutter — from the tasks we need to complete, to the relationships we build, to the chao. It, at times, can feel like you’re simply going through the emotions of everyday life, without getting a chance to sit down and truly process everything in front of you.

Introspection is a means to observe and analyze oneself in order to grow as a person. By understanding who you are now and who you’d like to become, you help identify the steps you need to take on that journey. Reflecting upon how you behave and what thoughts enter your mind in response to events in the world around you allows you to see what you need to work on.

Self-reflection shapes us as people, and allows us to process our emotions more thoroughly.
 

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Computing

For detection, we used a Force-Sensing Resistor (FSR), within the cushion seat. When pressure is applied the resistance value (in ohms) to the Arduino. In our code, we are detecting values greater than 200 ohms. Which will cycle into the loop to triggering the Adafruit Thermal Printer, the actuator, to process a ticket. One ticket will print as long as the user is still on the cushion seat, once they leave the code will cycle through the loop and print again when someone else is seated.

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The Printer

One of the limitations that we had was to print non-generic typographic compositions onto a 2.5mm sheet of thermal paper. In order to do this, we had to use create bitmaps out of the phrases we wanted to be typographic and insert the processed code into Arduino. After several iterations, we eventually settled on a variation of the form to the right, as it led easily for the person to immediately start thinking of their idea.

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Construction

After searching through the UW Surplus store, we found a discounted chair that contained a removable cushion (which we cut up to insert our FSR. We then attached two curved pieces of plywood to fit into the sides of the chair, and then cut out a hole to fit in the printer, placed right at the place where a right hand would be able to reach over.
 

Final Deliverable

Let's kiki and discuss future opportunities!

© Adam Ahmed 2020