Choose a TOPIC, a DEVICE, and a MOOD. Make an INTERACTIVE Critical Object based on your selections. The technology should be conspicuous ( I should not be able to see your Arduino/wires/motors/etc).
For this project, I started off with many different ideas. The first one I had was concerned with how user-friendly design may sometimes be more about having the user adapt to technology, rather than the other way around.
After the coronavirus pandemic began, it became hard to think of much else. For me personally, I started to think a lot about my dependency on society. I am a Type 1 Diabetic and because of this I need insulin in order to survive. Unlike people without the disease, my body can no longer produce insulin. Rather than my pancreas producing my insulin, I get it from a vial. This insulin is produced by a pharmaceutical company. Given the interwoven nature of supply chains and how something actually gets made and distributed, I rely on the normal function of daily life in order to receive insulin.
As the coronavirus pandemic worsened, it became more and more clear how dependent I am on everyone else. Further, how dependent we all are on each other. The complex web of people living their lives and doing work, allows everyone else to live their lives and do their work.
The first idea when thinking about this was to build a water spout. The water wouldn’t flow unless person (A) tried to get water and person (B) did some other action. Several ideas for this action were holding a funny position (would press buttons or detect contact), continually jumping to press a button, or running between two buttons and alternate pressing them.
I liked a lot about this idea. However, I felt my topic was a little off. This is when I realized I was concerned with dependency and not myths about pulling oneself up by their bootstraps. Also, the interaction wasn’t playful or silly enough.
I thought more about why water. Water is essential for life, and for me insulin is essential (it is for everyone, but most peoples bodies can produce their own). It can often be a tremendous amount of work for me to get insulin, despite having needed it everyday since I was diagnosed with diabetes.
Thinking about how most people have “easy access” to insulin whereas I do not, I thought it would be interesting if for this project, one person needed water while the other literally played with it. So, I tried looked into carnival games that involved water.
The first game I thought of was the Clown Balloon Water Game. Players use water guns to hit a target in a clowns mouth. Hitting the target inflates a balloon. First person to get their balloon to pop wins.
For my version, rather than popping a ballon, hitting the target allows someone on the other side of the game to get water from a spout
Here is the breakdown of my idea:
People’s fragile dependency on society to produce medicines and other resources that allow them to live. Often, this is not visible to most people until there is a crisis.
Metaphor and Juxtaposition
Playful and Silly
Spraying target with water gun and getting water from a spout.
A water spout that can only be used if another person, using a water gun, keeps almost constant pressure against a target.
For this version of the object, the solenoid valve that I had to control water flow was not really designed for this task. It was meant to be under constant pressure. Because of this I had to open up the valve and widen the space water could flow through. This only kind of worked and water now drips slowly out, even if the valve is closed. So, I need a better solenoid valve.
To take this project from this version to a more finished one I would do several things. First, I would want a real water fountain. The idea would be to make it a public water fountain. If someone wanted to drink from it they would either have to wait until someone started playing the water spray game or they would have to get someone to play it so they could drink from the fountain.
Second, I want the water spray game to be the real thing. Maybe have a couple so people can play against each other. The more real the game is, with lights and sounds like a carnival, the stronger the contrast.