Category Archives: technology

Collaborative Alien Project: Who Are We?

Got my little butt into gear and finally plucked up the courage to ask Grant Herron (a fellow Jewellery student) about possibly collaborating as I heard he was into Film props. He was well up for it surprisingly so we went ahead and got started a couple of weeks later.

We decided to take our own interpretation on a Sci-Fi Film ‘Alien’ by Ridley Scott. Both of us thought we should create some kind of arm piece. Grant, being more experienced in electronics, designed the upper arm which consisted of small LEDs, a small rotating satellite dish and hinged parts. This is what I also wanted to learn from him. For me, well I went all out making a silicone corset forearm piece (as I’d never really played with the material before but was very keen to), a prosthetic glove with ribbed tubes and long hinged creepy fingers, all made from latex of course.

As we were both passionate about film, we discussed perhaps making a short film which would be able to present our piece on the body, moving and electronics in operation. For that we would need a storyboard:

My buddy filling in the storyboard

Here are photos from the making of our pieces:

Grant’s upper arm piece in the making. The circular piece with small tubes protruding from (right of picture) is the joint so I can allow movement like bending my elbow.

 

 

 

The satellite Grant made. Also some LED lights you were able to turn off and on.

This sequence of photographs is me attaching my prosthetic latex glove using Pros Aide glue. You can only really glue prosthetics in stages to make sure you have glued it on properly.

Still loose flapping bits of latex.

After repeatedly applying the glue all the latex should be attached to the skin with no loose parts.

Here is the whole of my lower arm piece put on. The fingers are divided into 3 and there are 2 hinged joints on each finger so they can move. The finger tips are square copper wire soldered together and I have created clear latex windows on each so light can pass through.

Below this you can see tubes extending down from the knuckles which are made from latex and copper wire and lastly the piece on the forearm is made from silicone.

The Silicone Piece

I had to create a mould in plaster to cast the silicone in. It is very weird and squishy to touch which I thought went well with the nature of this project.

The Facial Prosthetics

Just experimenting where it looks best. I thought it would look good to exaggerate the cheekbone.

Samples of prosthetics. They kind of look like slugs to me.

Attached only using the prosthetic glue. You can still see that the edges have not been blended with the skin but that comes next.

The beginning of the blending process… but you can see that later!

Here is me and Grant and a few other helpers on the set just setting and cleaning it up.

Day time

Night time

My 20th time trying to put in contacts

Final Make-up

Midnight on the set. So so cold! Kept my dressing gown on as long as possible!

Just altering a wee bit

Final arm in the dark

Movie making in process

One of the Stop Motion pictures

Final scene

Such a good experience. Think we’ll be collaborating again for our final year as I think it is good practice for the future. You can learn a lot from each other and take things a step further. For me, I want to go into Prosthetics as I see it diminishing due to Computer Aided Graphics (CGI). Yes it can be extremely useful for big things but with it, you lose that sense of actually holding and feeling the object as it is all done on computer. Some makers use it because they are just being lazy and it saves time, but some actually use it for good purpose. For instance, in The Matrix when Neo dodges the bullets, that is a good example of well-used CGI.

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Design & The Market: New Challenges

Today our lecture was about how studying a particular discipline does not always end up being your future career. For example: I study Jewellery, therefore, I will become a Jeweller. Does not always happen in that predictable way. I think nowadays disciplines are possessing portfolio lives which could take them into a much broader spectrum of work and industries.

“Most of what you’ve been told about your future career is wrong”

In the 1980’s the number of coal miners were huge: around 200,000 odd. Today about 3,500 remain. Why? Because of the increase in technology, other types of jobs are needed (IT, Entertainment, Financial Services etc) whilst the service sector is diminishing.

What I found most intriguing was young people raised in this new technological revolution (i.e. i-pod’s, i-pads, video games etc) are evolving anatomically and neurologically. Don Tapscott, a Chairman of the nGenera Innovation Network and a professor of management, University of Toronto, reveals the reason why young people are able to multi-task. Young people are capable of using their laptop, taking notes, flicking through a magazine and watching TV at the same time. Research shows that our brains are developing and becoming a better active memory store, thus, better at holding a lot more information and performing tasks simultaneously. Young people sometimes use the TV as a ‘background noise’ so that they are able to work as we are used to digital technology – we were raised with it. However, the older generation find this difficult as they were not born in this high-tech world. Even our fingers are changing and functioning differently due to the increased number of people playing video games and typing on laptops. This, therefore, means surgical tools have to change to our ‘modern-day’ fingers.

I came out of this lecture thinking of ways to design and fit in with this new technological age. How the old are getting older, thus, must keep in mind they are our market too and in the end – they may well ultimately depend on our careers.

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ROUSEY-WRAP Imake Project

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.

Inspiration

Material Samples

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.

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Critical Making: The Body & Technology Team Project – Week 2

INVENTION OF THE MIGHTY POD

In week 2, we narrowed down our ideas and discussed which one was the strongest. We developed our strongest idea, trying to create it for a purpose as originally it seemed to not fill a gap in the market. Thus, we thought of ideas that would be made for a purpose. POD-ED: a place where you can take your child for a worry-free health check up, whilst letting them have a little fun and education. After coming up with this fab idea we worked on different aspects of the design – the interior, exterior etc. This is where all of our different disciplines came into play. Good times.

From left to right: Cara, Judy and Rosalind.

We met up in the Duncan of Jordanstone Library and had a good chat about what could be included and how they contributed to the design as a whole. We had A LOT of fun with this. Designs were drawn and ideas were noted, this is how we seemed to work best. Are possible ways of monitoring different aspects of health without it being obvious? Such as dexterity? Heart-Rate? Weight? Well this is what we investigated. The room would be filled with discrete monitoring devices which will be explained further in the next post.

Pea-pod designs links to Pod name and encourages children to eat vegetables.
Sketch of interior

I made some resin samples during the first week to show the group what nice colours you can get with them – almost gem-like.

On the same day, whilst us textile and jewellery people were busy idea hunting, the IED girls (Shona and Cara) went ahead and made a down-scaled model of the Pod in cardboard. Got to say it was really surprising how great it came out in the small amount of time they had!

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Critical Making: The Body & Technology Team Project – Week 1

THE BEGINNING

Yes well, this is me finally posting something after many weeks of working on projects. Every Wednesday morning and Thursday we worked on a project called The Body & Technology Project. The project started with a fascinating slide show introduction presented by, the funny, Jason Nelson. The aims of this course is to:

  • help us to develop a cleared understanding of critical thinking and making.
  • develop understanding of materials, fabrication and construction
  • explore historical and contemporary concepts in making.

STAGE 1, WEEK 1

After our introduction we were put into our allocated groups to get to know one another, they were: Rosalind Crawford from Textiles (who I knew from 1st year – she’s brilliant!), Judy Scott from Textiles (lovely lady with a talent for fabrics), Cara from Interior & Environmental Design (or IED), Shona Cairns from IED and, of course, myself from Jewellery & Metal Work.

Each team were given a subject to base their designs on – our subject was HEALTH. Immediately, my team got excited about the project – even when walking from the lecture theatre to our studios we discussed what we could do and make! It became clear that we were a focussed and hard-working group just from judging from that walk.

We visited each of our studios to give one another an idea of what facilities and spaces were on offer, as well as explaining our strengths which could possibly make our group excel more than others.

STAGE 2

After the tours we sat down and began kicking off the project with some brainstorming. This lasted for the whole day! Working together, I felt, was an excellent way to build confidence in your own ideas and to create stronger ideas as others contribute to them. It blended thoughts from different mind-sets (textiles, jewellery and IED) establishing a fantastic method of realising how broad your own discipline can become! Ideas we brainstormed were having the body in balance – to feel relaxed and mentally at ease. This is what we thought could benefit health and THIS is where our team name came about. Balance relates to the astrological sign LIBRA (balancing scales). However we thought if we translated the word into a different language it would sound memorable and more professional, thus, came up with the Swedish term ‘Vågen‘, meaning scales, however our spelling was VOGEN.

We had a really productive day brainstorming and turning up different solutions to answer our brief – HEALTH. We incorporated smart materials, wearable computers, radio frequencies an 3D printing into some of our ideas. Through this method of group brainstorming it allowed our team VOGEN to really grow, bounce ideas off one another, become motivated and enthusiastic about the project.

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Talk to Your Jewellery

I have read recently that there is a new device which can actually imprint your voice into a piece of wire. I really like the idea that you can use your own voice to create a piece of jewellery and the way it becomes very personal. In addition, I beliebe it can be a very romantic present for your lover, slyly conveying your emotions to her/him in a piece of jewellery. But in my opinion, the end product does not impress. Just pieces of bent wire, perhaps develop the shapes created into more interesting pieces? Using the line? Increasing the scale?

 

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