IBM Think exhibition response by Peter

I went to the IBM Think exhibition last Thursday and met some of our classmates there. It was really amazing that I am glad I got up early for it.

Before I got to the Lincoln Center, I surfed on it’s website and found out that the electronic wall was pretty appealing to me by it’s data collection and representation. However, when I was there in the show, the wall was not as impressive as I thought. Although it was huge and graphically cool, still we could see the rough details of the whole composition of LCDs. If it was designed to allow audiences to watch the scene from a longer distance, it will definitely enhance the entire visual experience( just like sitting in the middle of a movie theater).

The interior installation delivered comparatively better performances than the wall. I didn’t get a chance to capture much because I was too focused to take out my camera. The surrounding huge stone like screens gave audiences a 360-degree view of the promoting video.  Also, after the promoting trailer, the screens transferred into interactive devices, which was a big surprise to us. It was a really pleasant experience of using all those interfaces. There is also one thing I think shouldn’t be neglected among the whole tour. Beside technology, I think this exhibition tried to tell a story that is extremely important to all of the human beings on earth.

By gathering datas and putting them into an order that could be easily understood by public, people getting into the exhibition can be more aware of the status of our planet right now. Moreover, they tended to show the comparison of old style of data visualization and new ones involving technology. We can easily saw the difference and how designers now are trying to achieve years ago. Although IBM didn’t forget to promote them at last with the long path of their past 100 achievements, we can still learn a lot from the exhibition beyond design aspect.

Week 5 Readings – Vanessa Roa

The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces
Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 5
by William H. Whyte
So, I think this was a really interesting reading, and one that made me rethink how we are approaching our project. Reading the pages of Chapter 1 and seeing the scans of old and fascinating photos of New York City life back in the 70s helped me understand how in essence, New York City public spaces were front and center seats to the stage that is the New York sidewalks. There is a demand for these spaces to be saved, they are what gives this city character, and while Plazas help make these spaces effectively dynamic and give New Yorkers an escape to space of their own, they also need to play off these streets to successfully draw in crowds. Each space says something about those who dwell within them and what they do within each space.

Chapter 2 covered the beginning of the advent of plazas and how people responded to them in public spaces. The most popular plazas, it was discovered, were visually appealing, although there were other plazas that were considered “kitsch” that were popular as well. The building and the amount of light allowed into the space also played a factor into how many people would populate the plaza. Shape was also important as was space in Plazas, but Seating triumphed all, and people essentially look for places with a variety of seating.

Chapter 5 seems to summarize my feelings best, the street is what brings people together to the plaza, and in this Chapter, food, sitting space, and shape are all secondary factors that are added on to enhance the space, but how it flows into the street is important to the success of the space and how it’s used by the public. There’s also some interesting observations made on New York City corners and how they play an important part in the way New Yorkers socialize and are another element in the urban playground that is this city.

Cultural Probes
by Bill Gaver, Tony Dunne, & Elena Pacenti

This reading is about 3 designers, funded by the European Union, who get together to study community sites within Norway, Holland and Italy to try to figure how to get the elderly to interact within them. Community sites within Oslo, Pisa and Amsterdam are studied closely, and packets of postcards, cameras and other assortments are handed to the participants, called “cultural probes”. The probes served the purpose of asking the participants how art played an important part in their lives. Each object that was placed within the package was important in helping the designers gather data from the participants, and rather than go about obtaining the data in an arrogant or abrasive way, they decided not to impede upon them, and let these people speak for themselves.

I think their subtle methods paid off, and it goes to show that sometimes it’s not about how creatively you execute something, and that we often over-think our approaches. Simply talking to people and connecting with them on a personal basis is enough to make a connection. For these designers, the probes are not the beginning nor the end of their research, it only tells one side, and through the seniors, they were able to begin listening.

Experience Prototyping
by Marion Buchenau and Jane Fulton Suri
This was a pretty dry reading, and it admittedly didn’t really excite me at first glance. There was, however, one sentence that jumped out at me, and it was when Buchenau discussed how users having an informative personal experience becomes more engaging, which strikes me as a fancy way of saying “People like to learn and being stimulated visually while doing so” which is kind of a given. There’s also a point at which Buchenau goes out of his way to point out the fact that we need more than one prototype because “a single prototype is never enough”. Buchenau seems to be a fan of poetic license in that his writing lacks any real substance, and I’m thinking most of his points could have been made easily within 1 page instead of 9.

Cardboard Computers
by Pelle Ehn and Morton Kyng

As someone who finds herself struggling with certain parts of technology and adapting easily to other aspects of it, I felt myself find some reassurance in the beginning of this article. A lot of what this article discusses reminds me a bit of Ken Robinson, who also believes that schools are stifling creativity because schools act as institutions that promote industrialism. In a way, we’re seeing a bit of that ourselves with the Steve Jobs hero worship, where business figures are looked up to and not for their creativity but because they were able to use their creativity to acquire wealth, wealth being the end all and be all of what it means to be truly successful. I think the user-ability of software is just as important for artists to be able to create efficiently and affectively. I know for a fact, had it not been for me being exposed to software like Dreamweaver, I would have never been able to play around with HTML. I think the tools we get exposed to plays a role in how we will use those tools later on in the future.

Creation Ideation Workshop – Response

On Wednesday night, I stayed till 8 to take part in a late, fast paced session of the writing workshop that had taken place a week earlier on Friday. Created and mandated by Anezka Sebek, we spent an hour talking and developing ideas in an exercise session that was suppose to strengthen our writing skills. While I didn’t get a chance to snap any photos of the event, I did take some notes. The first video of the night, was a whimsical video of a book reading for Maira Kalman. It was from TED talks, and it was pretty fascinating. One of the other videos shared during this small sit in session was Steven Johnson’s “Where Ideas Come From”, which can be viewed on youtube: watch?v=NugRZGDbPFU.

We also shared some New Yorker comic panels, or rather, Anezka shared them, and then asked if anyone had read the New Yorker. “Then you aren’t proper New Yorkers…” she joked when she was met with some casual and blank stares. But aside from that, we did have a fascinating night. There were many ideas being discussed, and it seemed like a good opportunity to share our ideas and discuss our classes amongst ourselves. One girl wanted to teach Design and Technology to Children. My idea was to create an interactive story for the visually impaired. Then came sharing our ideas in 250 characters or less, or a “tweet” as Anezka called it. The class ended on that note, which was too bad. Although everything somewhat felt rushed and quick, I think I would have gotten more out of the 3 hour session. But still, it was a pretty good night and Anezka left us on one last note, which was to keep in touch and to check the DataMyne database if we had any questions about what classes to take next semester. And I, for one, still do. I’m hoping to put the packets of notes and references for writing papers that she gave us during the workshop to good use in the weeks to come.

Marisa’s response to the IBM 100 THINK Exhibit

IBM 100 THINK Exhibit- Exclusive for Parsons MFADT

On Thursday October 20, 2011 I attended a fantastic interactive exhibit at Lincoln Center. I found the exhibit to be fascinating and informative about what we can do to improve the world. The exhibit focused on global issues like building more efficient airports, reducing water leakage, reducing crime, improving energy usage, establishing healthier rivers and strengthening our food supply. It also including reducing identity theft and traffic congestion in NYC. It was an esthetically beautiful exhibit. The graphics, sound, and interactions were well done and I highly recommend everyone go see it! I found it useful to see how the screen interaction functions are designed and it gave me some ideas for future projects.

I took a video of the exhibit’s interior on my iphone.

Below are a few photos:

Reading response – scrapyard challenge

Interaction Relabelling and Extreme Characters: Methods for Exploring Aesthetic Interactions

Gaver, Djajadiningrat, Frens

In this article, the author truly gives designers a better method to examine and execute the ideas of creating interactive works. The first means mentioned is interaction relabeling, which enables us to think single item differently according to the object’s characters. The main point here is to rethink how an object can be related to the design product. If the two are far more different from each other, it gives us a better chance to think creatively. I found this very helpful because we usually get stuck while brainstorming due to constrains of aiming missions. However, the most creative concepts always come out of nowhere. In other words, this can expand our range of thinking unexpectedly but meaningfully. The other means called extreme characters also intrigue me because we seldom implement this in our design practices. By putting extreme roles into our target audiences, every step taken after might go wild. But according to the author, we can get rid of the stereotypical outcome that we try to avoid through this process. But my question here is how are we going to choose the extreme groups from people? Are the one chosen comes randomly? Or we should build up rules to select them? I definitely think this is what we need to think about if we truly want to follow this method to execute our future projects.

Hertzian Tales

Anthony Dunne

Technology now is one element that human can not live without. And considering of the cycles that how humans are utilizing electronic object is a ordinary but essential question we should ask ourselves, just like the author does. As Clive, our design for this century lecturer, claims in his argument, people now are taking a step back to technology. It does not mean that we stop using electronic objects and start to live like aboriginal people. The reason he said so is that although human beings now are closely attached to technology, we actually do not think or deeply engage to the objects we are using. We are addicted to smart phones and internet, and somehow we can not imagine life without them. However, those devices generate an environment that everyone should get involved or then will be eliminated. The truth is, no one really think deeply about those objects before start using them. In my opinion, that is why people get so tired of one thing and need to buy another newer one. Clive offers a solution about “playing” with the object. He believes that through playing with products, we can have ourselves more engage and bond to them more. I would say the relationship between technology and human is important. If we connect ourselves with technology in a social cultural way, then technology will no longer be just an object but an emotional representation of a strong relationship, which is more meaningful than it originally is.

The Design of Everyday Things

 Donald Norman

It is always easier to criticize than to compliment. I agree with the idea that has shown in the essay indicating that people should think about designs before they physically use it. However, sometimes people go the extreme. When we buy a super simple design object, we think it is to simple and want more services from it. When buy a complicated design like a smartphone, we criticize it being to distracting that we can hardly find what we really want. If we are being to aggressive, this will be the result. However, we know that every product has its own target audience. Some people’s favorite feature of one product can be other’s pain in the ass. My point here is that before we make everything into “simple” design, we might need to think about who is going to use it. If the target audience is an aged group of people, then the design should be easy and straightforward, and vice versa. I do like the idea quoted in the article saying that every product should be thoughtfully designed, and I believe it is our responsibility as designers. If people stop complaining, then probably we have done something right.

Why We Need Things

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Before focusing on the content of this essay, I think the title is a usual but broad question that we can ask ourselves. Why do we need things? There are definitely no exact answers. What I believe in is quoted in the article is that things we possess define who we are. Of course there are things not necessary toward our life, but here is a psychological side of human beings. To nurture our mentality, objects are needed. A letter in a bottle can recall one’s 10 years memory. A teddy bear can be a representation of an intact family. What we are discussing now here in DT is more focusing on the manipulating technology with human behavior. However, there is another side of design that can be simple but touching. Maybe it is not that “cool”, but meaningful. I definitely think that some things around us are neglected by its purpose, but there are also things essential to our existence.

The Computer Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet

Alan Kay

The revolution of computer is clear and obvious. However, there are still some reasons that can deny it, just taking a different aspect to assess the whole process. In my opinion, I think the change now is too massive that sometimes we don’t feel we are changing by keeping up spontaneously. For most of the generation born after 2000, it is definitely hard for them to imagine life without computers. It is also difficult for their children in the future to live without technology. However, it is the change we need to adapt to. And we still can not take away the credits from those pioneers. But the point here is that can anyone predict what will happen next? If the answer is no, then what are the steps we should take to get involved and define ourselves in the future?

What do Prototypes Prototype

Houde and Hill

Reading this essay, I found it extremely helpful. It is helpful in a way that you need to practice the principles into your own experience then you will feel it. We all know that prototype shouldn’t be just a pretty model that duplicate the final look of one product, however, sometimes we still get caught up in such situation. The main thing here is that before you start building a prototype, you should always ask yourself why you are building this and what might be essential throughout the process. In the three dimensions of prototype, role, look and feel, and implementation, functionality is my first concern, which is always neglected in design process. While creating a new piece of work, I sometimes focus too much on the look of it in terms of my graduate school background. Nevertheless, it is not always the most important part of the work. Frankly speaking, it is always not after I got into DT. So the biggest challenge here for me is that how will I get through the limitations of graphic design but still has the original sense of aesthetics. As long as knowing more about interactive design, I believe more practices make perfection, and I definitely think this also apply to projects that involve human interactions.

Marisa’s experience at MobilityShifts Conference

Mobility Shifts
Hacking as Learning: A Slice of Mozilla Drumbeat

On Wednesday, October 12, 2011 I attended a workshop put on by Mozilla. Turns out a recent graduate, Jessica Klein, from Parsons MFA Design and Technology helped orchestrate the conference. The workshop started with everyone in a circle following this video….How To Do The Robot (Totally Rad 80’s Dances)

Jessica presented a prototype for youth that is geared towards allowing kids to write their own web code; HTML and CSS. As a group we worked on giving feedback to her team at Mozilla about the current site, Jessica and her team are encouraging the community to help with the co-development and are seeking feedback to enhance the global project. She presented the “hackbook tool” which is moving towards “social persistence” so that two kids (friends) can work on the website at the same time. The program is similar to Firebug or Bolt but is unique because it is a kid friendly and simplified version. There is a cheat sheet for kids and homework lessons that can be given to students. is a good resource for people who are just starting their first site and want to collaborate with friends to edit it. You can check out her prototyping process on her FlickR page Jessica has an example of an interactive comic where the kids have to do something (a task) in order to progress through the panels on the comic. There are also assignments where the students are asked to fix webpages and dive into the code like in this sample. Finally Jessica came up with the idea to give peer mentor badges. Children are nominated by a friend and have to strive to improve their web browsing skills by working hard to earn it. These incentives are important when dealing with elementary school students.

Scrapyard Challange

Scrapyard challenge as the name of the workshop says, was a big challenge for me because it was the first time I’ve ever created an electrical circuit which actually worked.  We were expected to make a switch for a musical controller, and at the end connect it to an arduino board which was plugged in to the MIDI software. Our team created instruments for a band that included a guitar,  bass, drums, and a turn table.  Bass guitar that I worked on was formed out of, three separate conductor wires passing through the junk that I’ve found, and a plectrum as the switch. Used lots of aluminum foil for making the plectrum. Whenever the plectrum touched the conductor wires, MIDI software created musical sounds.

Mash ups – week 3

Media Software – Where’s My Stuff

Many people have busy schedules and have no time left for shopping, so that they prefer to shop online. Almost every store has their own online shopping site, and there are many other online shopping websites. When we order items from different web sites, information and the tracking numbers are being e-mailed to us. If we have multiple purchased items from multiple stores, tracking shipments of  all the online purchased items can be difficult to handle. Some stores use UPS whereas others could use American Postal service or another delivery company. As a result I came up with this idea of mashing up basic shipping companies (fedex, UPS, USPS , DHL..) and all the online stores (amazon, ebay, urban outfitters..) in order to track all your shipments online in one site.
This mashable site called “Where’s My Stuff” where you can view your online purchased items and their online shopping sites. Contact the customer services, leave and read feedback about the shipments and most importantly track your shipments easily.

Hardware to Internet

To help skiers and snowboarders to find their way in slopes.  Goggles inserted 3g sim card having a internet connection, will provide skiers and snowboarders to view information through the screen on their goggles glasses. Slope colors will be indicating the difficulty levels like black, red, green, blue so that beginners wouldn’t have any difficulties because of entering a slope not in their level.

Maker Faire – Ceyda

Maker Faire amazed me with all the creativeness that it exposed. I went there on Sunday and my favorite pieces were the Arcattack and Lumarca.

The Arcattack crew created singing tesla coils which makes audio modulation from the output sparks of the tesla coils. The show was very interesting and also the building where the show was taking place was magical. Great Hall known as the church of science had electric blue glasses placed into the walls, to create the starry effect of the outer space with the play of light.


Lumarca Creators made a three dimensional space using thin white strings as a screen to project the animation.

Click on this link to watch the video.Lumarca

Soldering+led lights

I’ve made soldering for the first time, and made these led lights. Nice to have souvenirs.


Reading Response: Public Space Project

The Social LIfe of Urban Spaces Chapter 1-3 by William White
The William White chapters put what we saw in the video onto paper.  These chapters on Plazas, Sitting Space, and the Street emphasized how people interact within a public space. The study formulated interaction of people within the space of a congested city.  Thinking of New York City, one thing comes to my mind–crowds and congestion! But really, this study shows us that this is not something that happens 24/7 but occurs during periods of times.  People have the same patterns on a daily basis, so a person who goes out to have lunch in a Plaza, is going out there with hundreds of other people.  This makes it seem like the Plaza space is always in use, but in reality, there are times when the vibe is relaxing and not overwhelming. There are many factors that contribute to the use of public space.  White thoroughly discusses how sitting space and locations of benches affects how people act in the space. Whether they are drawn into staying, or stay for a short while. The success of a space can be judged by the reaction from the public and how the space is used.  To me, space that people can go to and use regularly is successful. When people are not using it out of convenience, but purely  out of choice, the space becomes a useable interface for everyone.
Cultural Probes by Bill Gaver, Tony Dunne, and Elena Pacenti
The success of this project is evident because of the thought and time that was put into researching the audience and the results desired.  This group put together a “Culture probe” where they packaged different elements.  I felt that their process was very similar to the scientific method that is used in a science experiment.  They had a hypothesis they wanted to be answered, and then in order to get to their end product, they did research and then experiments.  I thought it was very clever to use the “cultural probe” as a way to ask questions to the elderly.  This is a great solution to the overwhelming an confusing nature of a questionnaire.  I have a personal experience with this because this summer, my Grandma asked me to help her fill out some forms because it was very confusing for her and she got frustrated. The cultural probes did a great job in reducing the stress and frustration level for the individuals by having very simple and open ended questions.  Overall, it was easy to understand, which is very important in any type of project.  If you want people to interact with what you are presenting to them, it must be easy.  Today, we are becoming more accustomed to everything happening so instantly.  We don’t have the time to wait, and I think everyone has a little ADD in them.  When something isn’t simple, people sometimes don’t take the time to do it.  On a funnier, not serious note, this also reminded me a saying my good friend uses on me: “K.I.S.S.” or “Keep it simple stupid.”
Experience Protoyping by Marion Buchenau and Jane Fulton Suri
More about prototyping! The difference between this reading and the ones we have had in the past, is this article focuses more on the actual actions people encounter through prototyping.  This article wasn’t particularly about making the physical prototype but how interaction can be used as a way to explore design ideas, communicate concepts and understand the human connection.  Experience prototyping is highly subjective because how each person comes in contact with whatever it is being prototyped is very different. But this is what is needed.  In order to understand why something works for someone and not someone else is necessary in order to create a universal product. (That is, if the product is meant to be universal).  Understanding what works is also great for the designer.  Putting something into practice is better than just conceptualizing in your mind.  I am not sure if other people work like this but, my personal work style is very visual.  Whenever I work on a project, I am drawing pictures or making paper models of what is going to be the finished product. For me, it’s important to see something and interact rather than to think about it all the way through.  I try to anticipate problems within this process so I can fix them before the end result.  The overall process is also discussed in the article.  Experience prototyping deals with how the experience provides information which leads to inspiration, confirmations, or rejections of the ideas that are being carried out. I especially liked the final notes in the article that said experiences are the connections of personal and circumstantial.  The experience is what brings out the “subjective richness” to design problems and a meaning to what is done.
Cardboard Computers
Before even getting to the paragraphs relating to cardboard mock-ups to children using their imagination to re-create life with their games, I thought of my own childhood.  Hoarding cardboard boxes to build a house, and making everything and anything out of cardboard and paper.  I didn’t have money, so I folded some paper, took a marker, and created some. I simulated having money and buying items.  This was a “mock-up” of an interaction that would occur at the store. I wanted to pretend to talk on a phone, so I cut one out of cardboard.  Simple things like this–using cardboard to mimic realistic daily reactions–are preparations for the actual event occurring. When the time came and I was allowed to use our house phone on my own, it was an upgrade from the cardboard version.  Reaching this end result felt like an accomplishment. It was the end of the prototyping phase. There are many things I wished I had as a child, or wanted to do to “play pretend” with friends. This all came true with cardboard mock-ups.  From a young age, I think we all have the potential to mock-up and prototype ideas.  Prototyping is like being a kid again.  To find success you must have the same inquisitive and experimental nature of a child who is new to everything.  Take away everything you already know and pretend like you know nothing.  This is the only way to push the possibilities and be surprised (and satisfied) with the final product.