Slavi Kaloferov

UX OF HUMAN SENSES – WEEK 2


Brief

Conceive, make and wear a design that extends human senses beyond the body

Teammates

Tanya Singh, Yanxu (Line) Chen and Devin Wang 

Timeframe

03.10 – 13.10.2022

Development

We felt that we needed more research so once again we visited Postman’s park. This time we approached the on-scene research much better by having specific questions in mind and some planned exercises, thus, we could connect with it on a deeper level with our senses.

Trying to communicate through vibration from the connected wood. Photo credit: Devin Wang

What stood out to us from our exercise this time was the sense of connection through the objects between the people even though complete strangers.

Having a multicultural and multidisciplinary team was a blessing because we got inspired by the dressing up of the Indian sari because of Tanya for our prototype and use the fashion designer experience to craft it well because of Yanxu.

Initial ideas for attaching and testing the wearable prototype. Photo credit: Yanxu Chen
Creating the sleeve wearable prototype

The main message of our prototypes was to increase awareness of human connection through touch and vibration on the arm with sound.

Therefore, by using these extensions they worked as an artificial limb (Alien Limb Phenomenon) which extended the senses outside the human body into objects. 

From the projects, we have seen so far on the brief, and ours included, we came to the conclusion that when we block certain senses (communication channels), it amplifies the working/ available ones further. Based on this we made glasses that block the vision in order to tune in the wearer to the touch and sound.

Considering human ergonomics: adjusting the length of the paper prototype to fit better. Photo credit: Devin Wang
Attaching the sleeve to the paper wearable prototype. Photo credit: Devin Wang
Wearing the prototypes to user test the experience. Photo credit: Devin Wang

Like the first week though, we were not united in one direction within our group. We were thinking between a paper half-torso and arm prototype and a wearable sleeve both of which with extendable sticky attachments. On the one hand, it was good because this made us explore more prototype options but on the other hand, we could not think through well the experience. The paper wearable was a bit more rigid and limited the movement whereas the cloth one was very comfortable for the wearer.

To me weak points of our project were: 

  • Not testing our prototypes with others to get their “fresh pair of eyes” feedback from which we could pick the best direction, objectively avoid disagreements and iterate quickly; 
  • Not doing enough secondary research on the topic to help us contextualise our experience and how specifically we work with the human sense of exteroception.

We should have presented only one of the prototypes in the presentation despite not being the better option to get undivided and more helpful feedback.

Final wearable prototypes in practice – feeling the connection with others. Photo credit: Yanxu Chen

Next steps

Feedback pointed out that our idea/ wearable cloth had a lot of potential and which could be extended into a whole costume. London (tube) will be a good place because it is quite crowded with people not paying attention to others despite being in frequent physical contact with them – intensifying the feeling of togetherness, especially after COVID times.