Week 6

Benjamin Williams - Sun 12 April 2020, 10:18 pm
Modified: Thu 21 May 2020, 4:14 pm

Concept Decelopment

With the project proposal report due this week, it was really time to finalize our concept.

We spent Wednesday collating our ideas to come up with a final concept. Continuing on from last week's progress, we had identified some core concepts and goals.

  • The tech is in power
  • There are decision points
  • The user is forced to trust or not trust the tech

In designing for everyday use, I came up with the cooking, origami, and driving teacher ideas. While they were good ideas, they posed some obvious problems. The main one being that the nature of an untrustworthy teacher is simply annoying and impractical. So, to eliminate the the teacher and guide aspect of these ideas, we thought about how the tech could be a more passive character. Thus, Anshuman thought of a self aware robot that tries to reduce your screen time. The way it worked initially was that the sassy robot would hassle you to turn off the TV by yelling at you. It would sympathise with household technology and become annoyed when you 'abuse' technology such as by overusing it.

We brought this idea to Clay and Steve who helped us improve the design. Clay informed us that the arduino has the ability to hack TVs by sending remote signals. Perfect. Eventually the idea evolved to be an adruino that roams around the house on a roomba hacking into TVs and other screens. It could hijack the tv and start playing advertisements, turn up the volume or change the language. It would be able to communicate with the user by speaking through TV speakers or putting subtitles on the screen. The idea became pretty creepy as we tried to make it seem like the robot was self aware.


In the studio we started using Miro which was a success. It's really cool seeing everyone in the class working at the same time on a board. For the activity we looked at methods for collecting data during a pandemic (not going outside). I thought that facebook groups could provide some great data. From my experience, posts and comment sections in facebook groups bring about some quality content. I also thought that podcasts could be a good source since podcasts are generally very informative and easy to understand.


I'm glad team Bat Skwad was able to refine our ideas and come up with a great concept. I was honestly struggling to think of an effective application of sassy tech in a novel, household environment - lucky we have Anshuman <3 The Screen Time Reducing Robot is a perfect way to explore how humans respond to a 'sentient' household robot. It's sassy attitude will be an effective way to get through to people watching TV since it's such an unconventional thing to have your roomba yell at you. Furthermore, we'll be able to explore how users tend to treat a robot that is generally pretty unlikeable and annoying. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for people to become violent and whether that bothers them at all. Alas, the underlying experiment is about how people interact with a robot that has emotions and whether this makes them see technology in a different light.