Documentation & Reflection


Kelsey Quinn - Sun 21 June 2020, 10:48 pm

I think the correct phrase to use for this week is that I survived. I’m pleased that I was able to get everything done, and also relieved that I don’t have to stress about it anymore.

That said, I’m largely unhappy with how I completed most of the tasks this week. I struggled to put my portfolio together, and there is a lot that could have been improved. I’m particularly disappointed with my reflection section, and I hope to make up for it somewhat with the final reflection submission. I also had technical issues with my prototype leading up to and during the exhibit. I think the problems I had with Processing were to do with my Arduino being faulty, so sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t. I spent so much time trying to troubleshoot the inconsistency that I wasn’t able to make any other progress on the functions or form. As a result, the pressure readings, which were the key feature of the concept, were not implemented fully, and the prototype had no form at all. I’m overall disappointed with how my prototype was presented, and if I was able to do it all over again, I would spend a lot more time on the weights and pressure readings, as well as invest some time into creating a form, and perhaps look more into simulating some features, rather than spending all my time trying to get it to function fully.

The only part of this week I was happy with was our final team report, mostly because I was able to work on it with my other team members. I think I would have been much happier with my work this semester if I had been able to work on it fully with my team members. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, that wasn’t possible, and I am still pleased that I was able to push myself and learn some new skills in the process.

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Week 13

Kelsey Quinn - Sun 21 June 2020, 10:38 pm

My goal this week was to implement additional note blocks so that more than one note could be placed and played. I successfully got it all wired, and the Arduino Serial monitor is reading each note block correctly, but I am still having issues with getting Processing to consistently read the Serial. I’m not sure what the issue is, but I hope to have it resolved by the exhibit next week. I’m also a little concerned that I still haven’t started creating the form yet, but I feel that having a working prototype will be better than a good looking one.

Our team has decided to go with a similar colour scheme for all our portfolios, to create a team feel, but each designing individually. I haven’t created a website in over a year, so I don’t think my portfolio will be particularly impressive, but I hope to have it at least presentable.

week 13

Week 12

Kelsey Quinn - Sun 21 June 2020, 10:37 pm

This week my major progress made was implementing the sound function when the play button is connected. I created simple midi files for the different notes I plan on implementing, and used Processing to read the Serial port and play the appropriate file based on which note name was sent. I’ve since run into a problem where Processing doesn’t always read the Serial, and so throws an error when trying to read the string. I also haven’t yet figured out how to reset Processing to play again when the play button is connected a second time. My solution at the moment is simply manually restarting the Processing instance after each attempt to play a note.

week 12

Week 11

Kelsey Quinn - Sun 21 June 2020, 10:37 pm

My main concern this week was the feedback I received from last week’s demonstration. Many people said that my concept didn’t achieve what I said it would, namely that it doesn’t demonstrate fractions and proportionality. I was initially worried that I would have to change my concept entirely, but after speaking with Lorna, I’ve decided to simply change the scope so that it is explicitly teaching children about music and rhythm.

I haven’t made any more progress on implementing features on my prototype, because I was worried that any progress I made might have to be undone if my concept had to change. I still need to implement sound, as well as add more note block circuits and find a way to consistently register pressure, as it’s much more precise than I first realised.

week 11

Week 10

Kelsey Quinn - Sun 21 June 2020, 10:36 pm

Creating the video and prototype document has helped me further develop and understand my concept. In particular, I decided to have two states for the device, locked and unlocked. Because the concept focuses on using weight to understand fractions and proportionality, I thought it would be good to have a setting where users could only manipulate the weights, and the note blocks are locked in place. In the unlocked setting, users can change both note blocks and weights as they wish, to allow for more open-ended creation. I’m interested to see what feedback I get from this change, as I have only really thought of it this week, and haven’t had the time to really think about all the implications.

I’m a bit concerned that my demonstration video is quite short, however I felt that there wasn’t really anything else that needed to be added. I felt that a short, clear explanation and demonstration was better. It does make me a bit worried that my concept isn’t complex enough, if it can be explained in such a short time, and I’m concerned that it’s getting too late in the semester to make any significant changes. I will have to wait and see what feedback I get.

It was also interesting to properly see other peoples’ concepts for the first time. Some groups were almost intimidating in how much progress they had made, while others gave me more perspective on my own progress, and made me feel like I’m not as behind as I thought.

I was also able to speak to tutors in the Thursday workshop session about options for constructing the form. They assured me that a high-fidelity prototype was not necessary, and that consideration will be given to the difficulty accessing materials and tools this semester. That made me feel a lot more at ease about getting my prototype finished.

week 10

Week 9

Kelsey Quinn - Sun 21 June 2020, 10:34 pm

This week I worked on a system to detect which note block is placed. At first, I was advised by tutors to use a camera and make use of either Vuforia or a colour detecting program. After spending some time reading and researching various camera technologies, I was still very confused. I asked again at the workshop session, and this time I was recommended to use copper tape as a switch to create a circuit. This made much more sense to me, and I used copper tape on the bottom of the note block to create a connection between two jumper cables. I coded the connection like a button, so that it sends the note name to Serial, along with the pressure sensor reading, whenever the note block is placed.

I have since added a second button to function as the play button, so that the readings are only sent to Serial when this button is placed. I had some trouble getting all the buttons to work, particularly with getting the buttons to register being reset and ready to send the next reading. Again, I got help from tutors to use a state check, along with some tutorials online, and successfully got all buttons to work as intended.

While I have gotten the three main functions of my prototype working, they are all in their most basic form, and I still have to use the readings to actually play the correct sounds. This will have to be mocked for next week’s demonstration. I also haven’t given much thought yet to how I will create the form of the prototype, as I’m still very much focused on the functionality. I’m also a little worried about how I will actually create the form, as I don’t have a whole lot of access to materials.

week 9

Week 8

Kelsey Quinn - Sun 21 June 2020, 10:34 pm

I spent time this week, as well as previously during semester break, working on getting the pressure sensor working with the Arduino. I used tutorials online, and managed to get the pressure sensor to send readings to the Serial monitor. At this stage, it just prints readings every second, so I will need to work on getting it to send readings only when needed.

I have struggled a lot with motivation lately, and am still not fully adjusted to online learning. I’m worried that, given I have only just started working on my prototype, I won’t be able to finish it to a sufficient standard. Just the work I have done recently has revealed several smaller issues that need to be resolved, such as how precisely the pressure needs to be applied for it to be registered, and I’m only just coming to realise how much time it may take to properly implement all the features I planned. Combined with my motivation recently, I’m doubtful of my ability to complete my prototype to a standard I’m happy with.

week 8

Week 7

Kelsey Quinn - Sun 26 April 2020, 11:01 pm

My Individual Concept

My concept is a device that will help primary school children learn about weight, fractions and ratios through manipulating musical sounds. The device will look like a flat rectangular box, divided into individual segments for each note. Users will place weights on pressure sensors in the appropriate segment to alter the length each note will play for. Users can also change the pitch of each note by changing out the 'note block' associated with that segment. Once the user has selected all notes and weights, they press the play button. Notes will play in order from left to right, each held for as long as the weights indicate. For example, a note with 100g weight will play for half as long as a note with 200g weight. A basic sketch of the design can be seen below.


Although the image only shows four note segments, my ideal final product would be a board with between 8 and 12 segments, so that users can create actual tunes rather than a short series of notes. There would also be an optional linking connection, so that multiple boards could be linked together infinitely, allowing users to create even longer tunes.

week 7

Week 6

Kelsey Quinn - Sat 25 April 2020, 11:25 pm

Studio and Workshop

Our proposal report was due this week, so we spent a lot of our team time and free time working on it. However, we also spent some time during the studio session on Miro board, and had some discussion about how to access users for interviews and observation during the current lockdown situation. Our task in class was to find a way to observe passengers on a train from where we were sitting, and then discover some other ways we could observe passengers remotely using different techniques and technologies.


Then we moved on to team boards, and spent some time mapping out our theme, domain, user group(s), and so on, in relation to our concepts. As my team has decided to all design separate concepts for the same user group, we only focused on mapping out the parts that applied to the whole team.

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I found both these exercises quite helpful, especially in terms of getting ideas for how to do user research under the current restrictions. It was also nice to get a more concrete layout of the design space and user group we needed to focus on.

The workshop was focused on a basic introduction to Arduinos. I have used an Arduino before, but that was nearly 2 years ago, and I'd forgotten most of it. Thankfully, once I started going through some of the activities, it all came back pretty quickly, and I'm feeling a lot more confident that I'll be able to take on any part of my concept that may end up using one.

Report and Individual Concept

As mentioned before, our report was due this week, and we spent a fair bit of time as a team figuring out which aspects were part of our team section, and which parts we needed to write about individually. We decided that a lot of the general background research we had done, as well as our user group and context of use, were similar across all our concepts, so that became part of our team section. We then put all other aspects relating to our individual concepts in the individual sections.

As I had finally decided on my concept at the end of last week, I spent some time this week trying to visualise it, and create a preliminary design sketch to be included in the report.


I don't entirely know how exactly I will achieve all of the functions I want, but after the Arduino workshop on Thursday I feel a lot more confident about the electronic aspects I might need to tackle, and I also trust the experience of the tutors to be able to answer any questions I might have.

week 6

Week 5

Kelsey Quinn - Fri 24 April 2020, 7:23 pm

This week was a bit more hectic than expected, because we ended up losing two team members and gaining a new one. I completely understand people's reasons for choosing to drop the course at this time, and it was nice that we had some time this week to sort out the new directions we would take as a result of feedback from last week's presentation, as well as new team formation.

Following meetings across the studio and workshop sessions this week, we decided that individual concepts would work best for our team set up, as none of us live together, and it would be difficult to collaborate on a single design. We decided to focus on using music and sound in a primary school classroom setting to help learn in other non-musical areas, such as maths and art. We then helped each other flesh out our individual concepts through discussion and brainstorming.

At the beginning of this week, I was undecided on what my concept would be, other than a vague idea of somehow using music to help students learn braille. I did some research into this during the week, as well as spoke to tutors during studio time, and ultimately came to the conclusion that there is very little consensus on the 'correct' associations between sounds and letters, and it would be very difficult to justify any design decisions I made because of this.

Therefore, after being inspired by my team mate Maria and her focus on using sound to learn multiplication, I decided to create a concept around another mathematical concept, as it is much easier to find research about links between maths and music. I came up with the idea of using weights and musical rhythm to help students conceptualise ratios and fractions in a new way. At this stage, I'm thinking that users will place weights on a sensor, and the amount of weight will correspond to how long the note will play for. So a note with 200g of weight will play for twice as long as a note with 100g of weight. I will need to spend some time developing this further, and come up with an idea of what this device might look like.

week 5

Week 4 Reflection

Kelsey Quinn - Mon 30 March 2020, 5:55 pm

Proposal Pitch

Our Pitch

We spent a lot of time working on our video, and at the time it seemed that we were explaining our idea well and covering everything we needed to. Based on feedback, as well as seeing other teams' pitches, it seems like we actually have a lot more work to do in refining our concept.

In terms of positive comments, a lot of people liked that our idea was creative and playful, and made use of everyday items, which made it affordable and available to most people. However, it was also pointed out that the concept as it was presented could become annoying over time, if the object made sounds every time it was used, and it would also annoy other people in the area. It was also made clear through comments that our ideas for the intended use were too open-ended, as we got some questions such as what was the point of the interaction, does it just create random sounds, are the sounds used in the video representative of the final intended product, and so on. It became pretty clear that we hadn't fully thought through our concept, and this pitch proposal was a good way to get feedback on the areas our concept was not yet addressing.

Based on the feedback we received, we spent the rest of the week researching and discussing specific contexts of use, and user groups we should target, as a way of narrowing down the intended goal of interaction. We ultimately decided to focus on objects that can be used to help educate primary school children in a classroom setting, as we felt this had a clear context and user group, while still having a wide range of possible directions to go in.

Other Pitches

I was really interested in the range of ideas that other teams came up with. Some seemed really well thought out, with lots of background research already done and a clear idea of the product, the context of use, and the intended users. It was a bit of a relief to also see other teams who, like us, hadn't thought through every aspect of their concept just yet, and still had important issues to address. I'm looking forward to the next studio sessions, where we'll hopefully get to see how some of the other teams have incorporated feedback and developed their ideas further.

Other Reflections

I've found the transition to online classes surprisingly much more difficult than I thought. In just one week I've learned that I actually lack a lot of self-discipline, especially if the pressure of being in a physical location at a certain time is removed. This is definitely a skill I will need to work on over the coming weeks, and hopefully by the end of it I will be able to say that this is another skill I've been able to learn this semester.

week 4

Pause Week Reflection

Kelsey Quinn - Sat 21 March 2020, 10:42 pm
Modified: Sat 28 March 2020, 11:39 am

We had an online team meeting Sunday evening, and went over all our ideas and refined them to a clearer concept. It was a bit unsettling to then get an email cancelling all classes this week, and making our preparation time uncertain. We decided to proceed as though we would be presenting on Tuesday as planned, just in case, but it was definitely a confusing time.

We met in person on Monday morning, and even though we were prepared to get the presentation ready for the next day, it was certainly a bit of a relief to get an extra week. We definitely hope to produce a higher quality presentation now that we have extra time to work on it. During our Monday meeting we managed to all get on the same page with our concept moving forward, as even though we were communicating through text and voice calls, it's definitely easier to sort things out in person. We decided to focus our project on objects that are mostly large and flat, purely from a feasibility standpoint, as we assumed our concept would be much more difficult to implement on a smaller object. We also shared out our different roles in preparing for the presentation, and set up another meeting for Friday.


I was a bad team member at our Friday meeting, and slept in and was late. We opted for a Zoom meeting, and used screen sharing to finalise the script and storyboard the video. We decided on who would contribute to which parts of the video, and I was tasked with creating the object 'sounds', provide video for one of the example scenarios, and record voice-over for my part of the script. I felt really bad about being late for the meeting, so I've spent most of the last two days focusing on getting my parts done well ahead of time.

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I'm a little nervous to see how the course will progress with the new online delivery and the alterations to assessment. I do want to try and stay with this course though, and maybe I'll be able to learn some new skills now that I won't be as reliant on my team for the project.


Week 3 Reflection

Kelsey Quinn - Sat 21 March 2020, 4:48 pm

The first session was the World Cafe, where we were presented the themes for the project based on the previous week's presentations, and spent time in groups discussing and exploring the themes further. Afterwards, we indicated which themes we were interested in working in for the rest of the project.

I generally enjoyed the World Cafe session, and I particularly liked getting to spend time with a lot of different people and hearing a lot of different viewpoints, but it was a bit confusing and frustrating at times. Because it was such an open-ended discussion prompt, it was sometimes difficult to focus the discussion on new areas and explore the theme beyond what had already been done. For example, I found that in some groups, people were very focused on building on the concepts from Week 2 that were presented as part of that theme, whereas I was more interested in looking at areas not covered by the concepts, and new ways of interpreting and looking at the theme.

Also, because of the structure and time constraints of the session, we all really only got to experience at most 5 or 6 themes, and when it came time to put our preferences out, I skipped over some themes simply because I didn't really know anything about them. It would have been nice to get some more time to explore more of the themes on offer.

Themes I Discussed:

Guided Movement


Musical Things


Enhancing Mundane Spaces


Change through Reward


Musical Metrics


In session 2 I was most nervous about finding out teams and who I would be working with for the rest of the semester. I was pretty happy that I got my first choice of theme, 'Musical Things', and I'm also pretty happy with my team. We are the only team of 5 in the studio, which worries me a little as there may be higher expectations around the amount of work we should be able to do because we have an extra person. I know 2 of my team quite well already, and the other 2 seem quiet and shy but willing to put in the effort, so I feel confident we will work well.

We spent our time in the session deciding on a more concrete concept to work on within the theme. We are the only team working in our theme, so we didn't have any restrictions or worries about overlap, but that almost made it more difficult to choose. We decided to focus on turning everyday objects into musical instruments, with the aim of engaging users who aren't necessarily musical themselves, to give them the experience of making music. We ran out of time in the session, so we posed 3 questions that we would each consider individually, then meet up in a group call later on the weekend to brainstorm and finalise our concept for presentation.

The three questions were:

  • Which object we would focus on turning into a musical instrument
  • What type of sounds it would make, e.g. musical, percussive, unexpected
  • What kind of interactions users could do with the object

week 3

Weeks 1 and 2 Reflection

Kelsey Quinn - Sun 8 March 2020, 10:22 pm

Week 1

I was very nervous starting this course, because of it being 4 units. I think addressing student concerns and aspirations in the first session was helpful in relieving some of the stress I was feeling, and it was also encouraging to learn that most other students had similar worries to me. As a table we created a few lists based on what we knew about the course, what we were looking forward to, and what we were worried about.


I was a bit surprised that we were starting assessment so early, but the ideation exercise in session 2 helped me start thinking of some possible ideas to present in Week 2. Mashing together unlikely scenarios using the prompt cards was sometimes quite difficult, and we often found that it wasn't possible to address all four cards in a single idea. But it was a good challenge to try and think of something that could address all the prompts, and working in a group helped make us more comfortable to share our silly and sometimes impossible ideas.


Week 2

Most of my preparation for this week was focused on forming my presentation. I started by looking up recent news articles, and quickly decided that I was most interested in creating something that addressed environmental concerns and climate change. The main inspiration article I settled on was about a certain species of sea turtle being sighted in Tasmania, which was unusually far from the equator for them, and indicated that ocean temperatures were rising.

I then researched other effects of rising ocean temperatures, and used this as the basis for my concept.

I enjoyed the wide range of concepts presented in sessions this week. My particular favourite was the 'Punching Bag Fountain', because it was such an interesting way of interacting with the fountain, and I liked that there were many different levels and hooks for interaction, from the punching bag itself, to the ability to control the flow of the fountains, and even further to using the fountain splashes to create music. I feel these multiple access points would be very appealing to users of many different demographics.

Grouping themes was surprisingly difficult, and I'm not sure I really challenged myself very much with this. But I did find many similar themes among the concepts, such as music, exercise and personal fitness, mental and emotional health, and creativity.

Themes Day 1
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Themes Day 2
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Now that the themes have been finalised, I expect this next week will involve narrowing down my preferred themes and forming groups for the main project. This is something I'm a bit worried about, as forming groups for assessment is always risky. I mostly hope that I get a group who are all willing to put in the work necessary for this course. However, I know that my previous group experiences in other DECO courses have helped me learn how to negotiate and deal with group conflicts, so I'm feeling reasonably prepared for this next team experience.

Project Inspiration Critique Reflection

Kelsey Quinn - Sun 8 March 2020, 8:30 pm

My main concern before presenting was that I wouldn't be able to communicate my idea clearly, but afterwards I was pleased that I hadn't forgotten any part of what I planned to say, and the comments I received as feedback generally reflect that. I did feel a little awkward with the quality of my poster, as I'm not a very good drawer, and most of the other posters were of a much higher quality. I did receive some comments critiquing the quality of my poster, mostly that it wasn't easy to get a full understanding of how the device worked from the low fidelity of the illustrations. This is something I think I will need to work on in future, either through improving my drawing skills or becoming more proficient at using software to create visual representation of my ideas.

The main positive feedback I got from my peers was that most people liked that my concept focused on the environment and educating people. This was definitely the main motivation behind my choice and design, so I'm glad that this resonated with others. The main critique I received was that it wasn't clear how the concept fit in with the everyday. I didn't communicate this in my presentation, and it wasn't a concept where people could easily imagine the context of use. So I feel this is a valid critique of my presentation, and in future I need to make sure I address all aspects of the task and brief when communicating my ideas to others.

To address this now, I imagined this concept being installed in a heavily-trafficked public place such as King George Square or Queen Street, where people could stop and interact on their way past, or perhaps in a museum with a focus on educating users about the environment.

The Human Sea-mulator

Kelsey Quinn - Mon 2 March 2020, 9:32 pm
Modified: Mon 2 March 2020, 9:38 pm


This device is designed to create awareness about the impact of human activity, climate change and rising temperatures on the ocean. It consists of a large tank of water with sensors for various changes such as temperature and salinity, extra jugs and boxes filled with various things that can be added to the tank, and a laser projection system to project images onto the water surface.

Users add contents from the jugs and boxes to the large water tank, and the laser system projects images onto the water surface depicting various changes in the ecosystem of the ‘ocean’ based on what users added. For example, users adding warmer water increases the overall temperature, and the projection changes to depict bleached coral, fewer animals, wilder storms, and other effects linked to rising ocean temperatures. Users can also add contents in attempts to restore the ‘ocean’ to its original state, such as colder water. Other potential interactions include adding salt or fresh water, adding and removing human ‘rubbish’ such as plastics, adding and ‘cleaning up’ liquids that represent oil and other chemicals, and adding and removing ‘boats’ that represent fishing and other activities that remove animals and resources from the ocean.

This is intended to be installed in a park or other public place where people often walk past, and can stop and engage with it as long as they like. It is also intended that multiple people can interact with the tank at the same time, so that the effects of one person adding, for example, ‘rubbish’ items while another removes ‘boats’ can be depicted simultaneously.


Inspiration article:

Impacts of rising ocean temperature:

Lasers and water:

environment laserprojection


Kelsey Quinn - Wed 26 February 2020, 1:36 pm

Hello! I'm Kelsey, and I'm in my 4th year of my IT/Arts dual degree. I'm majoring in UX design for IT, and Japanese for Arts. I also already have degrees in Music and Education, and have spent a few years working as a music teacher in schools.

In this course, I'm hoping to learn more about how to connect technology and digital spaces with the physical world, and in particular how technology can be used to solve or bring awareness to problems and issues in society. I'm also hoping to improve my programming skills, which, despite being in my final year, I feel I've only just started to get a handle on.

My main concern about this course is the amount of work needed to do well, and how much stress it will probably cause. I hope I'll be able to work in a team where everyone pulls together and helps when others are struggling, so that no one ends up too stressed.