In our Critical Making Module we were given a brief asking us to design a concept which improves your daily life via exploring traditional design & craft practice and new technologies. For me, waking up in the morning is a real task especially during the winter months, thus, decided to design some kind of alarm clock which assists your waking routine. I had a great time researching all kinds of alarm clocks, like one which wafts a smell of cooking bacon or freshly brewed coffee so you got to get up and replenish your appetite, and another which actually donates your hard-earned money to some charity so getting up is a MUST. Inspired by these quirky designs I started to think of my own.
I came up with a magnetic alarm clock concept. The idea was you would wear pyjamas fitted with small magnets and when the alarm went off the magnets would activate and quite literally pull you out of bed.
I also thought of a duvet which turns extremely cold which makes getting out of bed a relief. HOWEVER, I was a little scared because supposedly magnets can do horrible things to people with pacemakers and my grandpa has one so was against that idea. I decided to go for a safer option and design something that would actually physically shake you awake. In addition, looking into sleeping disorders and treatments helped me with my designs, in particular, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
SAD is basically a mood disorder which affects individuals in any season, but most commonly in winter (winter blues). It can cause depression and make getting out of bed extremely difficult. To be honest I think I suffer a bit from this and wanted to keep this in mind when designing.
I thought a designing a special duvet which could gradually brighten and gently vibrate rather than scare you awake with a blaring noise. For inspiration I looked at photographs taken on Guy Fawkes fireworks night and went on creating numerous fabric samples and even investing in Electroluminescent Wire which is amazing stuff! I dyed, melted, grated, sewed and pleated materials to try and achieve an effect I liked for the duvet.
The images above are plastic bags ironed together with metallic foils in between and embellished with sewn circles on the top to echo the circular shapes created by the fireworks in the photos.
Pleated materials to create texture and light effects when the fabric reflects.
The material above has been dyed using a rusty items so the brown rust transfers permanently to the fabric. Pretty cool tie-dye effect but does not really fit in with my project.
During this project I took part in an Arduino workshop run by Ali, Digital Interaction guy, which took a whole day. We were taught how to program LEDs, Light Dependant Resistors (light/dark sensor) and Variable Resistors (dimming/brightening device) through Arduino circuit boards which allowed us to understand how to incorporate technology into design. I got really excited to blend textiles and technology!
I discussed with Ali the types of motors and sensors I required for my duvet. I used Light Dependant Resistors to light up the EL wire when the surrounding area had no or very little light (i.e. sunrise, night, sunset), which were programmed through Lilypad circuit boards (perfect for textiles as they are small and washable).
So my final outcome is a beautiful yet medicinal duvet aimed for people who suffer from Seasonal Affective disorder. The EL wires turns on automatically at sunset before you go to bed so you can fall asleep to an ambient glow and at sunrise (or when it nears the time wanting to waken) it automatically turns on again gradually to act as a sunrise (especially good in winter). When it is time, the blanket will gently vibrate and arouse the sleeper awake. Overall, I believe this Rousey-Wrap can suit any occasion, whether it be for people who suffer from SAD or just as an elegant decorative item for your room.
Above is my first prototype however I thought the EL wires were a bit harsh when on so decided to conceal them with an layer of fabric so the wires would softly glow through.
Sorry but I tried to take photos of the blanket when the EL wires were on but the light was far too dim to catch anything on camera. But it does look very relaxing and ambient, perfect for a gentle glow in your room.