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New Making Projects

A Stitch in Hyperbolic Space

I find the hybrid materiality aspect of this course fascinating, even if it was a little hard to get my head around at first. I was really interested combining both traditional and modern techniques and experimenting with their outcomes.

I knew I wanted to experiment with crochet as it is one of my most favoured crafts, but also because it is one of the only traditional handicrafts that remains unmechanised due to the complexity of its stitches. I love the juxtaposition between this craft in particular and digital fabrication.

I originally wanted to work with cork as I love how versatile material it is, but it ended up just crumbling and the more reinforced cork I could get was unsuitable for laser cutting so I decided to experiment instead with 3D printing and laser cut MDF & acrylic.

I began working with the 3D printed shapes, experimenting with winding and slipping the yarn round the shapes but the fastening was never secure so I settled with attaching the yarn to itself surrounding the shape with a slip stitch and a single crochet.

For the purposes of clarity, I refer to crochet in the American terminology as I feel it is the more clear naming system. British terminology refers to the number of loops pulled through on the hook to create the stitch; whereas US terminology refers to the number of loops on the hook at the beginning of the stitch. So US single crochet (SC) it is the equivalent of the UK double crochet (DC), US double crochet (DC) is the equivalent of UK triple crochet (TC) and so on.

I first began with this shape, placing single crochet stitches on the 3D printed frame and moving around the shape. Then I wound yarn in and around the posts. I found it quite interesting. It reminded me of an old style coffee table my gran used to have. Minus the looped yarn round the legs of course.

I continued with my exploration of the 3D shapes with the single ring. I again attached the yarn with a slip stitch and enclosed it completely in single crochet stitches. I continued in a round with this shape rather than slip stitching the end of the row to the beginning and then beginning a new row. Instead, I continued in a round without stopping, drawing the shape outward to create a bowl-like shape. I liked this as it was quite similar to the way a 3D printer creates a shape.

The 3rd 3D printed shape I created with very small sections so used a thread to crochet in and around the form which, as I crocheted I thought it looked like the centre of a flower so decided to crochet single, double and triple crochet stitches to form petals and created a 2nd layer of petal like shapes in front with double crochet. Due to the fine nature of the thread, the finished experiment was not as effective as I would have liked.

After experimenting with the 3D printed forms, I began playing with the laser cut shapes. Again I found attachment of the yarn needed to be around the object in order to properly secure it. For each shape I stitched around the form, trying variations of stitches to create differing shapes shown below including single crochet, half double crochet, double crochet, treble crochet, double treble crochet and puff stitch (five double crochet stitches in the same stitch and closed together with a slip stitch.

I preferred the look and feel of the laser cut MDF in conjunction with the crochet yarn to the acrylic, however it was brittle by nature of the thickness, and by laser cutting the thin material it weakened it further; causing some parts to snap. The laser cut acrylic was much more sturdy and supportive throughout my experiments so I experimented further with the acrylic pieces than I did with the MDF ones.

No matter which material I used, it always gave me a solid structure to stitch around and added a secure base to the crochet which would have otherwise been limp even when done in the tightest stitches.

One of the most interesting experiments was when I decided to create an elongated tube off acrylic stars, I chose to use a smaller star in the centre and used single crochet to keep the resulting fabric tight together. I especially liked the way the shape of the fabric changed when the stars were twisted. It’s a lovely piece to look at.

During my explorations I became fascinated by the work of Christine and Margaret Wertheim who created the crochet coral reef. Unfortunately I cannot link any of their images without paying a fair usage fee however their work can be viewed here.

Their work concerns a response to global warming and the bleaching of the coral reefs using crochet to form hyperbolic space. Hyperbolic space is commonly seen in coral, sea slugs, lettuce, the way the brain is formed and other such natural occurrences. For centuries mathematicians have struggled to recreate the shape until in a project in 1997, Dr Diana Taimina discovered how to recreate this geometry in the medium of crochet.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjfxea056blAhVIzhoKHVFbDf0QjRx6BAgBEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Faeon.co%2Fessays%2Ftheres-more-maths-in-slugs-and-corals-than-we-can-think-of&psig=AOvVaw2eXgyWsoQdLecnPazow6bZ&ust=1571522415781369

The Wertheim twins took this discovery and used it to create the organic shapes of coral in yarn. I was deeply inspired by the work of the two sisters and it prompted me to finish my work in this flavour using the hyperbolic space shape.

In this part of the final artefact I attached three of the experiments adding the hyperbolic space theme through curls running along the sides of the yellow triangle.

This main piece of the final artefact was created with one of the large acrylic circles stitching loops from chains and working in a round in the same way I created the blue ‘bowl’ I worked on this one completely freehand, with no plan and no uniform stitches. One of the things that the Wertheim sisters noted was that their mistakes, missed stitches and freehand work created more organic and real looking work and I carried that into this piece.

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Projects

Rekindle and Reconnect

This blog post is a brief introduction of my final year design. It aims to explain what I did and why it works. I have attached my workbook below, where you can find the process and motivation behind the project.

~2 signifies ‘about two’ or ‘about to’. The project promotes the concept of a co-dependent relationship through using light as a material that connects people intuitively. It is a poetic interaction whereby air blown by two people is transferred to a ‘living-space’ lighting-source. A series of glass artefacts captures the gesture of blowing, and the project represents a dialogue between art, design and craft.

User testing : Couples are activating ~2 in their home.
Photo: ~2 fits in the home environment.
Photo: ~2 at ECA Degree show
Photo: ~2 desktop version.

This work is the result of an integrated learning-experience combining the theoretical- and practical-knowledge I have gained from the past 4 years. I position myself as a context-driven designer, in that I am concerned with contextual narratives and critical value beyond functions. My process starts with a critical insight or a narrative, which then drives the concept throughout the project. As a critical designer, I have always believed in the middle-ground between marketing solutions and critical aspirations, which is normally regarded as an impossible fusion. Thus, in my final year design project, fundamentally, I am trying to blur the boundaries between the critical design and commercial design.

Through my research, I found that most technologies are changing our lifestyles by empowering individual needs, and the possibilities of using technologies to connect with our physical and social environment are at lost. So ~2 aims to offer a chance for people to connect and appreciate their social(physical) environment.

Through testing ~2 in home and exhibition space, people are reconnected and provoked. Some of them start to imagine the other possibilities of embodied social interaction, for example, heating systems. The others appreciate the engaging interaction. Few of them asked the cost and looking forward to see ~2 in production. However, due to the lack of knowledge in professional producing, the form, the material and the electronics of ~2 are limited to be one-off pieces. There are people who refuses to use ~2, because they are with strangers. As a result, ~2 becomes a tool to deliver social thought experiments, to revaluate our relationship with others.

Categories
Projects Transactions

BORROW

BORROW is a Leasing device that promotes Community design. It Rethinks Ownership through supporting the old value of sharing and helps users to think of possessions not at an individual level but at a community level: share and borrow amongst networks you build. It is presented as a portable device that has a touch screen interface with an added voice recognition system.

BORROW

This innovative idea cultivates well-being and human flourishing, where human to human interaction is encouraged. In addition, it could also promote sustainable living due to the decrease in the demand for buying new items if people share. 

BORROW

The body of this device follows the form of the interface itself to reduce  space and the straps of this device will be able to be changed to match different tastes of people. the joint of the interface to the body will be through a magnet and the straps will be forced clipped into the body.

Its imperative that this product promotes sustainability as well as being high quality to last a product life. Hence, the material chosen for this product is lightweight stainless steel for the bottom part and recycled aluminosilicate from existing phone screens. The body will be made our of 3d printed ABSi plastic. this material has high tensile strength, high melting point, is an insulator, and relatively tough, but enough for BORROW. there are a wide range of choices for the straps designs. the prototype i’ve made is made from rubber, however, there will be options for patterns, it could be made from 3d printed abs plastic, with a metal texture finishing spray and also simple rubber straps.

BORROW

Lastly, the interface will be available in black and white colours to provide more colour options for a wide range of users.

A video of this product works will be linked down below:

BORROW Video
Categories
Projects

Bean Bank

The BEAN BANK cup is a coffee cup for on the go, it allows the owner to pay with it and to be lead to new coffee shops. The design appears to be a reusable coffee cup, but it has additional features that show direction, enable communication and payment. The added features are not obtrusive, the RFID is built in the bottom of the cup and is therefore not visible. Additionally, the interface that gives directions is comprised of 5 LEDs in a cross section. LED’s were chose as the output, as they are the least obtrusive while still conveying the message to the owner. The cup moves people around by being the means of payment, as well as having the LED’s which direct the owner to discover new coffee shops. The cup to owner interaction is disruptive because normally people direct themselves to new places; in this case, however, the coffee cup does it for them. If the owner follows the cup instruction he/she is lead to somewhere unknown to him to purchase a cup of coffee. This factor of being lead somewhere mysterious by your coffee cup is a flipped vision of people to products interaction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHDGs9dFU3g&feature=youtu.be


Categories
Projects

A More Object Orientated World

A Chair that wants to be interacted with. Feeling unhappy when it’s neglected and content when used, the user is encouraged to engage with the object. Through a visual language of LEDs the chair can communicate with the user, asking them to sit down as the lights countdown from green into red. This is an object orientated perspective that responds to Timothy Morton’s ‘Humankind’ by emphasising that objects can carry agency in our everyday lives. It also consider’s themes from Dunne & Raby’s ‘Technological Dreams’ but within a more relatable context.

Within the abstract setting of a home, the chair disrupts the norm by becoming the actuator that influences the user. A traditional hierarchy of human over non-human is reversed as the chair has a language to convey it’s emotions to the user.

Video – https://youtu.be/UZBdyoeV7-Q

Ben Manders 

Categories
Projects

Connected things, blog post, Brad Findlay

I started by simply coding the led strip, to turn on and off. I then started looking into changing the colour of it, both these things were very basic. However ,the wiring of the board was a little more complicated but after a few times of doing it, it soon became pretty easy and the more and more times I done it I became much more familiar with the board and what each pin means. I then looked at coding the ultrasonic sensor which was also difficult as I had never used this before, so I got some assistance wiring this up and also looking at the code and what each part means. Once it was all set up I started looking at the data it was giving out, It was pretty accurate and was giving out the data in centimetres. I then combined the codes, this took some time to get working again as I ended up getting quite confused with how it all worked when combined. At first I set it so that the two components worked individual, just to make sure they both worked on the code, I then started altering it so that the led would turn on at a certain distance. At first I had it set so that unless the object was closer than the set distance, the LED would just stay green. However this did not look very professional and I wanted the LED to be turned off unless in use. So I changed the code around and got it so that it would be off, until something was in front of it, then it would turn green and start flashing to show it was in use at a safe distance. Then when you got close to the second variable it would turn red and start blinking faster. I was happy with this but I wanted to make it a bit more precise. I decided to do this by adding in another variable, which was amber. This would go on between the green and the red to show that the user is close, but not too close. Making the design much more effective to use. However, this meant redoing some of the code as it did not fit with what I had previous done before. I also had to change my distances and make them bigger to allow enough distance between the three colours.

My reason for designing the LED park parking assistant is based on, not everyone can afford a car that comes equipped with parking sensors nowadays, and other people might just not like them, may find them annoying or hard to use. My Project looks at providing car parking aids for car parks, turning parking sensor into installations, rather than luxury add-ons for vehicles. Making them available for use to everyone. Installing these parking aids will allow all people to park safely and confidently. Reducing bumps and crashes. These parking aids could be set up in any kind of carpark or multi-storey. The stand would be cemented into the back of the spaces just like a sign would, allowing them to be seen from the front windscreen and rear view mirror while parking.

The parking aids will be presented as tall stands that feature discreet proximity sensors at 3 different levels of the stand this will allow readings for any height of vehicle. The stand will be housing an LED strip at the top, that moves up and down based of readings from the sensors, so visible at various heights, accommodating different cars. The LED will first switch on when the user first drives into the space, to save power being wasted. As the user starts getting closer to the sensor, it will change to Green to alert the user the are in proximity to the sensor. The when the user then gets closer, the light will then change to amber and then finally to Red when the user is dangerously close, and warning them that they should stop and they are safely in the bay. The warning will be visible whether the user is driving in or reversing in to the space, and will also move up or down if it detects the vehicle is taller or smaller.

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Projects

Brad Findlay

Heres the link to my shopping basket video, Maxi-Basket. Allowing a quick, easy, budgeted shopping experience; https://youtu.be/cVPIPrkgAtk

Categories
Exhibitions Projects

New Designers

Wonderful participation of ECA Product Design students at New Designers in London. Leaving with three commendations from the jury, to Alvin Chan, Leon Brown and Meghan Foley.

Categories
Projects Social Narratives

Neutra: A tool for a better future

Our project stemmed from a personal interest in gender, particularly the way it’s communicated and perceived through language. Language is one of the most powerful vehicles through which gender discrimination is reproduced. Gender stereotypes dictating that women should display communal/warm traits while men should agentic/competent traits trickle through to society through the lexical influences of everyday communication. Consequently, language also produces and reflects the societal asymmetries of power in the favour of men and their attached societal roles. Gendered language is so common that it’s difficult for some people to even notice it. From job postings to laws, the omnipresence of gendered language can affect a wide range of behaviors and lead to indoctrinated biases. The gender stereotyping and discrimination perpetuated by the English language is unnecessary. Our mission is to dismantle these stereotypes and combat the discrimination.

The most common practice for dismantling stereotypes is the reversal of the binary: taking the inferior side having it supercede it’s opposition. This technique highlights how harmful and unnecessary these implemented structures can be to the non-marginalised. However, our project is too subtle and our binary too complex to simply reverse. Pronouns can’t just be flipped, they needed to be neutralised in order to create a truly equal society. We achieved this by creating Neutra, a web browser extension that neutralized all gender pronouns on the internet pages our users visited.

 

Neutra provides users with a unique opportunity to engage with genuine cultural change. As an interface, Neutra is easily accessible to a wide demographic of internet-users. Furthermore, it is one of the most relevant ways to spread the concept of gender neutral language, as the internet is by far the most efficient way to spread information in our day and age.

Neutra’s focus on natural language allows for cohesion and a seamless reading experience. The subtlety of the extension is one of its strongest points: its a non-disruptive and simple solution to a pervasive cultural problem. In the same way that we don’t notice the bias and sexism inherent to the english language, people won’t notice when that language is removed.

Another important benefit of Neutra is it’s message; allowing people to see the world from a different perspective, separate from the confines of gender. We hope Neutra will provide our society with an illuminating view on the way language interacts with gender.

Despite it’s subtlety, Neutra has given us a unique opportunity to enact genuine cultural change. As women, we were both hyper-aware of the impact gender has historically and institutionally had on females. Working on this project has been an empowering experience that has further deepened our understanding of not only the english language, but also of the roots of feminism. More so than our own experience, this project has also allowed us to research and explore the male perspective more thoroughly. While our understanding will never be as comprehensive as that of a man, we made particular effort to ensure our product was inclusive and relevant to their own experience. Despite the fact that our entire intention was to remove gender from mainstream media, we have both vastly expanded our knowledge and understanding of the constraints gender inflicts on men, women and everyone in between.

Please view our final product and video here:

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/neutra/hdfnnijgjecbfejflneedlioedhcmddf

Social Narratives Project – Ladina Brunner and Natalia Gulbransen-Diaz

Categories
New Making Projects

Repurposing disposed Laptop

According to a study by the EU, as of 2015 only 35% of Europe’s e-waste is disposed of legally. The rest is treated as regular rubbish or exported to less-economically developed countries such as Nigeria, where recycling methods such as burning cables to extract the copper raises concerns over environmental impact, social justice and appropriate land use.  Resulting in the accumulation of deadly toxins (e.g. cadmium & lead) in the environment, food supply, water supply and ultimately people’s bodies.

In contrast a circular economy calls for is reducing consumption, reusing functional products or components and recycling materials of discarded products, as well as creating value in a sustainable supply chain. Thereby minimizing and recovering materials and energy from the supply chain. To explore designing towards a circular economy we started with a visit to the Edinburgh Remarkery. Whose mission is to create a substitute to a disposable society by making repair education accessible to all, and to build a stronger, waste-free community.

There I picked up a 2007 17″ Macbook Pro (click here for the teardown video), and soon learnt that existing options for broken laptops are often limited to disposal or recycling, with little opportunity for reuse. This is due to the fact that unlike the standardised components of desktop computers (people often save money by buying used CPUs, RAM sticks, power supplies… etc), laptop components on the other hand are often bespoke designed specifically for a limited range of models. While standardized component such as hard drives are often too old and unreliable to be reused. Moreover, as designers strive to make their laptops ever slimmer, options for reuse is further diminished (all RAM in modern Macbooks are soldered on).

The discarding and recycling of perfectly functional components such as the display panel and chassis therefore presents a hindrance towards the goal of a circular economy. Something the Edinburgh Remakery is already trying to change by refurbishing laptops with used hard drives, RAM sticks and display panels.

With that in mind I set out to try to revive the laptop into a usable computer using my smartphone. The idea behind this is smartphones are becoming increasingly powerful (the Snapdragon 835 in my Pixel 2 is being put in some laptops) and capable (more and more programs like slides and docs are web-based). At the same time smartphones are becoming increasingly affordable and ubiquitous with an estimated 2.53 billion smartphone users worldwide in 2018. This is projected to grow even further as large emerging markets like India begin to grow it’s middle class. Therefore it only seems like a  logical step to use the smartphones we already have into reviving broken laptops. Thereby extending the functionality of our smartphones and reducing waste.

The idea of integrating a smartphone into a laptop is not new in itself. The Lenovo Lifebook Concept and Razer’s Project Linda have both explored this idea, although neither has left the concept state. However, I would like to differentiate my design from Lenovo’s or Razer’s not only by using e-waste, but also by making mine open-source. Giving people the information to make, modify and improve on the design both in hardware and software.

When it comes to open source questions may be raised concerning the accessibility of the project given the high bar of DIY electronics skills required. Will people make it? If they do, will it make a difference? There is no definitive answer to that yet. However, one can point to numerous precedents where niche, and complex hardware projects have grown to influence the world through the open-source platform. These include: Arduino, Sparkfun, Adafruit, Ultimaker, Cmoy and more.

The first thing I did in terms of design was studying the feasibility. When I first started I was quite skeptical over whether it was possible at all. After a quick search through the Play Store I found software solutions which turned one’s phone into a desktop, but unlike it’s intended audience I was not plugging it in a TV or monitor but the LCD panel itself. Without the motherboard how was I going to connect these strange looking wires into HDMI? I started by searching up the panel’s model number. After some digging I discovered that I needed a LCD controller. This was the greenlight for my project.

However, early on in the project I encountered an issue which nearly derailed the entire design. I found that my phone did not support USB Alternative Modes such as DisplayPort over USB-C, which allowed phones like the Samsung Galaxy s9 or LG V30 to mirror onto another display natively. Thankfully, I found that I could replicate that functionality with a Displaylink adapter which outputs display data over USB using a virtual graphics card.

For the design I initially explored the idea of making the whole laptop chassis from scratch using scrap materials such as wood. However I decided against it. Not only would I not have time to do that, but in terms of the message of sustainability nothing quite says ‘reuse, reduce, recycle’ than reviving an old Mac. The point isn’t to make a nice polished product but to make something than contributes to the circular economy.

 

Here comes how I actually made it. Head over to my instructables for the precise process.

Here are the results:

 

 

 

 

To fulfill the criteria of being an open source project I made an instructable for everyone else to follow (as mentioned before). I tried to make it as easy to follow as possible while offering choice and variation.

Moreever, in the tech community the forums are everything so I posted about my project in the LinusTechTips forum and the diyelectronics subreddit . The response was overwhelmingly positive. However, only time will tell if this project will actually take off. I hope that even if it does not, it can be an inspiration for others to live a more sustainable conscious life.

Ok I need to go to submit this and go to sleep now.

 

Categories
New Making Projects

Computer waste toolset

The Edinburgh Remakery is a project in Leith that aims to educate and encourage people to repair their belongings. By offering the facilities and expertise they hope to start a revolution in changing people’s perception of the life of a product and how many things we throw away can be easily repaired or re-purposed. Our task as students was to demonstrate this vision with our own interpretation. Early in the brief we visited the Remakery warehouse and met Sotiris, an employee at the project. He showed us around the warehouse and explained the existing practises they have in place to recycle some of the old things donated. There was an array of different things kept at the warehouse. Large amounts of furniture were held and a large selection of electrical goods like old PC’s and computer parts. We were given the opportunity to select something interesting here and use this as inspiration or the basis of our project. I left the Remakery with a few things but most importantly I had found some old plastic PC cooling fans. They were 12 volt and relatively powerful but had, like many of the things in the warehouse, fallen victim to obsolescence and no longer had a purpose.

The potential of the fans being used as motors steered me towards a modelling tool, inspired by the tinkering I do at my desk. I would use the fan stripped of its casing and fins and find a means of adding a sanding disk to this. The tool was to be powered by the cells I had retrieved allowing it to be recharged and mobile. Early iterations followed the conventional shape associated with a Dremel or multitool, the batteries being housed in the area that was to be held. The goal was to design a series of STL parts that could be downloaded and be accommodating for many different computer fan sizes and types. this would then form an Instructable type guide. The problem again with this was the function of the object. It stood little chance up against a conventional powerful Dremel and although it uses recycled parts, a lot of it required large 3D prints adding to the waste problem but not creating anything new or unique.

Feedback when presenting and more research led me down a different path. Having a passion for making and being a frequent visitor to the ECA workshops I am forever being told by the technician Alan to sand my work on a hard surface to conserve energy. In certain situations, for more organic work I enjoy holding the piece I am working on. It allows me to monitor my practise and to feel and engage with my work. The opportunity to exploit motor size and this desire to have a more physical sanding and modelling experience dictated the form and function of the final product.

I began iterating, using the 3D printer to quickly print prototypes to test the way the motors would be housed and held inside the hand. The ergonomics were the driving force behind the project. The tools had to be passive.
They needed to assist the maker in forming and finishing but not be a distraction or a hinderance, An extension of oneself.

There were three different iterations with two looking at using the space between fingers to grip the device. These were ultimately made as small 
as possible but were still too big to sit comfortably between fingers. The third and final design opted for a ring that went over the finger. This would allow the motor to be cradled within the hand and the user could hold work with the other offering a very physical experience.

The different tools rely on a male female adapter system. The power bank I created houses the batteries and has the switch and the female adapter. The three separate tools have a male adapter. These are easily interchanged saving the user the time and hassle of having to change cutting disk or drill bit like in conventional multi tools. The power bank control station is made from the outer casings of the fans. I aimed to repurpose as many of the parts as possible in the design. The laptop batteries fit inside the body and a spring contact system inside the bank allows them to be taken out and recharged when required.

The end result is a series of tools that help the designer or maker in model making. They are able to feel the form of the object they are sculpting and make live design choices based on its physical form. The designer can embrace their work and shape and form the model based on physical feeling. The function of the parts has been changed completely and zero waste created. The old computer fans now have a new life in aiding creation.

 

Categories
Projects Social Narratives

How sustainable is an electric car?

The common conception of driving an electric car is that people think to be using an eco-friendly vehicle, however, this is not entirely true after our research. The main problem with this misconception is due to a lack of information given, the battery and energy source to run the car’s production are very polluting. A Swedish study proved that the manufacturing of an entirely electric car’s battery is as polluting as driving a fueled car for about 8 years. Additionally to the production pollution, if the car is charged with non-renewable energy, the production of it produces CO2 emissions into the air. The interfaces we designed are to make people conscious about energy production and the car production’s pollution. Our product consists of 3 parts: the dashboard, an interface for the charging station and the car. The dashboard has a design showing how much the car has been driven in correlation to the 8 years of production pollution. Secondly, we also designed an interface for the charging station. These interfaces show a graph with the different energy sources and a precise percentage of the energy that is available at the station. This allows the users to know the provenience and the sustainability of the energy and having the choice of making a conscious decision. Finally, the car interface is an expansion of the charging station interface and the dashboard showing the two, recording each history and having an explanation for each part.

https://vimeo.com/266828206

Social Narratives Project – Shannen Tioniwar and Micol Zardi