Documentation & Reflection

Exhibit Week

Lucy Davidson - Sun 14 June 2020, 5:16 pm

And just like that the whole course has finished! I feel like this has been the longest semester but has also gone by so quickly. I'm really proud with what I have been able to achieve given these difficult conditions we were required to work in. I was really anxious at the start when the project moved from being in a team to being by myself but there has been some benefits that I didn't think about. I'm not going to lie and say I preferred doing it alone but it has meant that I have been able to work on every aspect and go way out of my comfort zone. I feel as though I could have easily just focused on the aspects I found comfortable, being design and the physical build, but by working alone I've had to problem solve through various electronic and programming issues that I would have never really had to do had I been in a team.

The exhibit was surprisingly very fun! I think having the physical exhibit would have, of course been better but it was quite fun being able to just pop into people's channels and quickly see their work before jumping back into ours when we had a guest. It was really cool to see everyone's final prototype and everyone was so supportive!! It was really cool to see all my team members' Emily's and how we approached things similarly and differently. I definitely think as a team we would've been able to create something amazing, but alone I still think we have all achieved really cool final prototypes! I was also really surprised by the number of guests we had and how many random people were genuinely interested in our work! I think the whole night was very successful and was a great finish to the course.

I was really sad when I found out this course was moving online but through our weekly zoom calls and very entertaining podcasts, this subject has to be one of my favourites yet. The teaching staff have done an amazing job to keep us all engaged and connected so I just want to say THANK YOU!! I'm very excited to come back and attend the exhibit in future semesters!

Now I just have to finish the team report and critical reflection essay and (fingers crossed) I will be an official graduate!

Week 13 - Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Sun 14 June 2020, 5:14 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 11:53 am

Work Done

It’s the final week! I feel like I have so much I could still be working on for my project but I need to focus on what we spoke about in our studio this week: "If you had a magic wand and could wave it over your project, what would you want it to do?". My response to this question was, "that Emily knows when the air conditioner or heater is on, make the logic for acceptable temperatures a lot easier". A lot of the feedback I got on the Miro board and in person testing was that users were concerned about how the temperature was deemed inefficient. To be honest, I had been putting this off for a while but as this is the main data being collected to effect Emily's outputs, I know it needed to be well thought out. I did some research into what the government have suggested as the ideal temperature and decided that this relied a lot on knowing if an appliance was on. I decided I should add more to my simulation aspects (the outdoor temperature dial) and add two switches to simulate turning on and off the air conditioner. I spent a bit of time making a laser cut box for this too and I'm really happy with how it turned out!


Earlier this week I had some technical difficulties with my prototype.. I was putting it all together to take some photos to give to the media team, and the whole prototype stopped working. I was very stressed as the exhibit was coming up in less than a week and started panicking. I pulled everything off the board (thanking myself that I used connectors instead of soldering everything directly onto the board) and testing each component one by one. I ended up figuring out that the problem was that there wasn't enough power supplied to power all the different components. I did some research and spoke to some of my friends who are much more experienced in electronics and they suggested that I bypass the on-board power regulator and power externally using a 5V supply directly from a USB power supply. They also suggested I use a power shifter to convert the 5V back down to 3.3V that the board required. This fixed everything and I was so excited when it all started working again! This was a massive relief but also pushed back all my work by a few days as I did have to unsolder and then solder a few components. I decided to not get too stressed and just focus on getting through the next week, even though it did end up with a few nights finishing at 6am… I definitely learnt from this experience how important it is to put the extra time into making good connectors so that I can pull everything off the board if I need to.

I've found that the touch pins aren't as reliable as I expected so I decided to change them to buttons. Although this doesn't have the same feeling of holding Emily's arms as though you are working as a team to save the environment, I still think it will work well for the target user group. It is still easily understood by all age groups and difficult enough to be annoying but easy enough to integrate into their everyday lives. Overall, I don't think this change will have a large effect on the interaction with Emily.

I'm mostly very excited for the exhibit! I am a little unsure of what to expect and hope I don't get asked too many difficult questions but I'm trying to stay positive! I know we're all in a very uncertain time and I think everyone will be feeling a similar way. I'm really glad I'll have my team there with me in case anything goes wrong!

Work To Do

It's now Sunday and I'm pretty happy with what I have been able to achieve! I just have a few final things to finish and then I can put everything together! I have all the components mostly working when they should but I do have a bit more programming to do to ensure she advances her state when she is meant to.

I have finished the template for my website and mostly filled in the content. I just have to record some videos and finish up the portfolio once the prototype is completed. I kind of wished I left more time between finishing the prototype and submitting the portfolio but I think I've done the best I could have with all the other assessment I've had on! My website can be seen at

Week 12 | Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Thu 28 May 2020, 1:24 am
Modified: Sun 21 June 2020, 3:48 pm

Work Done

This week in the studio, our team discussed any issues we were having and any questions we had relating to the final exhibit and portfolio. It was great to have these conversations on discord so that we could get used to having random people jump in and out of our channel. I'm having some trouble with connecting my video - it seems to freeze as soon as I turn it on so I need to figure out what's going on before the final exhibit.

Outside of class, I've been getting through the annotated portfolio whenever I have time. I have also been continuing to solder all the elements onto the board. I ended up having to include a level converter for my text-to-speech module and led strip as they both require 5V but the esp-32 only outputs 3.3V. This meant the circuit had to be a lot more complicated than initially expected, however, I have managed to finish all of this off and all that's left to connect is the vibrating mini-motor. This will also be a bit complicated as I need to add a transistor. After I connected the level converter and speech module, I also connected the speaker to the module.

Imgur Imgur

This meant that I could actually implement the text-to-speech functionality which was super exciting!! I ended up finishing all this at about 1am so I just had Emily say "Hi there my name is Emily. How are you Lucy?" and then play the built-in song "Daisy".

Even though this was very basic it was very exciting to see it all come together! Now I just need to get it integrated with the other features (light and screen) so that she says the right things according to the state she's in. I also just used the default "male" voice, so I need to change this to more of a "female" voice. Even though the module does have a built-in amplifier, the sound is quite quiet, so I may play around with another amplifier or look into the module settings to see if volume is defined anywhere.

I'm really excited to get the text-to-speech functionality fully working as I think the current methods of negative reinforcement are quite boring and aren't as interactive as I would like. I think adding this functionality will really bring Emily to life and create an interesting interaction with Emily.

Work to do

I need to finish up the soldering by adding the vibrating mini-motor and transistor, and then continue working on the code. I also need to continue working on the annotated portfolio whenever I can as I don't want it to be a rushed last-minute thing. I want to try to fix my discord settings to resolve the camera freezing issue hopefully before class next week so I can test it with a larger group of people if we end up on discord again.

Week 11 | Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Sun 24 May 2020, 10:49 am
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 11:06 am

Work Done

This week I started working on getting the text-to-speech functionality working. I was previously working on my windows computer downstairs but wanted to try to work on my mac as it was a lot more convenient. However, I had a lot of difficulties getting all the settings right and wasted a lot of time trying to get it talking to the board. I ended up giving up and just working downstairs. When I moved to working downstairs again, because my connections between all the sensors and the board were very dodgy, my program stopped working. I decided it would be more beneficial to focus this week on getting all the components soldered so that I could be sure that any functionalities that weren't working was the code instead of not knowing what was going wrong.

This week I also started going through some of the feedback I received on my prototype. It was mostly really positive and everyone seems to enjoy Emily's singing as much as I do! A common theme among all feedback was about the logic used to determine the appropriate temperatures. I have been putting off doing this properly as I'm not quite sure how to categorise the temperatures by just comparing the indoor and outdoor temperature with no other information. I think I should add buttons to simulate turning on and off the air-conditioner and heater so that Emily will have more information. This way I can have different logic for when both are off, when the heater is on, and when the air conditioner is on. I think this will make a lot more sense when I am explaining the logic too. One of the teams also linked a research paper about using smart homes that share data between all the devices to take control of the home, based on this information. I thought this was a really interesting perspective, however, I think in order to encourage the long term behaviour change I want, Emily needs to alert the user at the time of the bad behaviour rather than just make the changes herself, even if that is more efficient. Although it may be interesting to think about using this type of idea to allow Emily to take control if the user is out of the house and accidentally left an appliance on.

Work to do

Now that I have moved to the soldered veroboard, I can focus on getting the text-to-speech working. I have bought the amplifier and speaker so I just need to get it all talking together.

Related Work

Paper about smart homes discussed above: K.-H. N. Bui, I. E. Agbehadji, R. Millham, D. Camacho and J. J. Jung, “Distributed artificial bee colony approach for connected appliances in smart home energy management system,” National Research Foundation of Korea, 2020.

Week 10 | Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Thu 14 May 2020, 11:37 am
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 12:10 pm

Work Done

Over the weekend I finished up my video and prototype document. I ended up leaving both of these to the last minute as I wanted to have as much functionality working in the prototype to get the best feedback I could before the final submission. I think the video still turned out pretty well in spite of this, but I think the document could have had a bit more work to structure my ideas better. For the final delivery, I want to finish the prototype a bit earlier to give myself time to really perfect the deliverables as it will be seen by the public and not just my peers and the teaching staff.

In class on Wednesday, we mainly focused on completing the appraisals. Our team did this through the zoom breakout room and google docs to easily collaborate. First, we individually watched the videos, taking notes as we went. This allowed us to first have our own opinions that weren't disregarded by groupthink. We then added our individual notes to the google doc and discussed what each of us thought, having more in-depth discussions in areas where we were confused or had vastly differing views. We then collated all the different points into a paragraph and took turns posting to Miro. This method worked really well as we were able to incorporate all our individual ideas as well as coming to some conclusions/suggestions as a team.

As we only do report back mainly as audio, it was really cool to see where everyone has got with their projects and what they currently have working. I'm really excited to see everyone's final result as there are some really cool projects in the making!

On Thursday, I attended the prac where we were asked to report back on the biggest hold-up in the final delivery. My response was that my current prototype doesn't have that many negative reinforcement elements so I'm worried it won't fit our team's brief enough. My text-to-speech module arrived in the mail yesterday so hopefully, I can get that working in the next week so that I can do some user testing around how annoying Emily is and if the combination of light, vibration, and sound are enough to annoy the user into change. I also asked Ben and Steven if it would be better, in the end, to actually connect and read data from the weather API or if I should just leave the outdoor temperature being simulated by the nob attached to my prototype. Steven said I should show that I have planned my prototype around being able to have the functionality (one of the reasons I moved to an esp-32) and have this working to show how it would work, but also have the simulated outdoor temperature to easily switch between states and show the full functionality of the prototype for the final demonstration. I think this will be the best bet for my final delivery, so I need to have another look into the weather APIs now that I have moved to the esp-32.

Work to Do

As I said above, I need to have a play around with the text-to-speech module and connect it to the esp-32 and speaker as well as looking into the weather API. Now that I have all the elements that will be included in the final delivery, I want to move it off the breadboard and solder it so that it can fit inside the cactus. I'll need to redesign the print to have cutouts for the temperature sensor, speaker, and ultra-sonic sensor. I also need to reevaluate the logic behind the acceptable temperature combinations Emily allows, so I might have a conversation with the other members of my team also doing temperature or discuss with the teaching staff some user testing or other research methods to figure this out. I have a lot of work to do but I'm really excited to see the prototype coming together!

Related Work

I read a paper talking about the differences between energy consumption in an office environment compared to at home. It was really interesting and stated that in the office people are influenced by others and more motivated to be energy conscious, however, at home there were other barriers that stopped them. I think adding this text-to-speech functionality will not only add to Emily being annoying but may also act as an influence that others in the office provide.

Paper: S. C. Staddon, C. Cycil, M. Goulden, C. Leygue and A. Spence, “Intervening to change behaviour and save energy in the workplace: A systematic review of available evidence,” Energy Research & Social Science, vol. 17, pp. 30-51, 2016.

Week 9 | Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Sun 10 May 2020, 7:21 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 4:04 pm

Work Done

This week my main focus was finishing everything up for the prototype deliverable due on Monday. At the start of the week, I was having some difficulties matching the colour correctly in the lights. I couldn't figure out what was going wrong as it worked perfectly fine on the Arduino and I hadn't noticed it on the esp-32 before as I was just doing random colours up until this point. I figured out that the esp-32 I was using use GRB instead of RGB for the colour setting. This was such a simple problem but took hours to figure out… Regardless, I was very pleased when I figured this out.

As I wanted to have some type of form being shown for this deliverable I wanted to remove the screen from the breadboard and stick it to the inside of the cactus. I decided that the best way to do this was to use ribbon wiring so that I could easily connect and disconnect it in the future, and would also make the inside of the device a lot cleaner. However, as I had to make these wires by hand, the connections were quite flaky resulting in the screen only working about 50% of the time, and requiring pushing random wires to get it working again. This isn't ideal so I might borrow my uncle's ribbon crimp tool to create a really good connection wire.

Next, I started designing and building the form. My intention was to 3D print it but when I went to start printing it, my 3D printer was having a lot of difficulties as the filament hadn't been used in a while and was breaking so easily. I then went to my original plan of laser cutting it out of acrylic. I was originally hesitant in doing this as the cactus shape was quite difficult to make out of individual pieces. However, I found a website ( that lets you specify the box and number of sides and adds in the finger joints for you. This was such a good find as it meant I could create the cactus without using any glue. Once I printed my original design, I realised that it lost its cactus-like shape in the process. I had to make each of the faces quite large due to the size of the screen but this made a very odd and wide looking cactus.


I decided it was better for this iteration to just use a rectangle for the main body section and keep the hexagonal boxes for the arms. Once I turned the lights on I was really happy with the final result!


The final prototype for this deliverable looks like this:

For the next iteration, I might try putting the screen vertically so that I can make a thinner body but still using hexagonal boxes to make it look more like a cylinder. I also need to figure out a better way of doing the arms so that they can have elbow bends in the arms. This time I tried to add some detailing to the pieces to see if I could get a cool light effect working so it looks more like a cactus, however they weren't big enough on the acrylic to have any significant effect. For the next iteration, I'm going to have a play around with some different shapes to see if I can add texture to the acrylic and make it look like there are darker stripes.

I do want to put in a bit more time to really perfect the form as my target user group does have an increased emphasis on the form. As I want kids to engage with Emily, I need to make sure she can easily be identified as a cactus and look cute and inviting to interact with. As it is also intended for adults, I need to make sure the design is still clean and aesthetically pleasing, so that they aren't embarrassed to display it in their living room.

Once I was happy with my prototype, I started creating the video. This took a lot longer than I expected and was quite difficult to make sure I was talking about everything I needed to as this is the only way the prototype is marked. Although it was a challenge to get it done on time, I'm pretty happy with the result.

Work to Do

Now that I have a usable prototype I want to get some user testing done on the features I have already implemented so that I can make any necessary changes. I also want to figure out an interesting method for turning Emily off. Currently, I have just decided to have touch pins on the arms to turn her off but I'm not very happy with this as an interesting interaction. Hopefully, some feedback in the appraisals can help this. I'm also hoping that the speaker module will arrive in the next few days so I can get the speech to text fully implemented. I'm really excited to have this in the prototype as I think it will really add to her personality.

Related Work

To get ideas for the shape of the cactus I looked at how people have created cactuses on thingiverse (

Week 8 | Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Sun 3 May 2020, 2:28 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 4:07 pm

Work Done

This week I decided to move from using the Arduino to using an esp-32. The main reason for this was due to the newfound necessity of using a screen. Last weekend I conducted user testing around what makes an emotional connection between the user and the device. I really need to make sure that the user does want to continue using Emily and they aren't put off by all the negative reinforcement, which can be done by creating this emotional connection. From this, I found that some type of personality was most important, followed by facial expressions. I was already planning on creating a personality through text-to-speech comments so I thought facial expressions were an important feature to add.

I started by creating the facial expressions to be used on the screen. I conducted user testing for this as well so that I could understand what makes cartoon characters likeable. The relevant findings for facial expressions were that the most likeable characters most commonly had big, cute eyes. I'm pretty happy with the images and think it is quite effective. I decided to have a quite minimal design so that it wasn't confusing but made sure the user could easily identify when Emily was happy, too hot, and too cold. I tried to make the faces as cute as possible with big glossy eyes.


I initially did this by using an M5. However, once I got the screen working, I realised that adding extra sensors and outputs is quite difficult and somewhat limited due to the compact nature of the device. I probably should have thought about this before jumping straight into programming it but I wanted to see how difficult it was to use the M5 for the screen before I converted everything across. Displaying images on a screen was a lot more difficult than I thought and ended up taking a full day to do. This was because I had to first understand all the libraries used and then had to figure out how to convert all the images to flash memory icons (16-bit colour).

I then tried using just a regular esp32 connected to a tjctm24024-spi (240x320) screen. This also had its difficulties as the wiring was extremely complex. It also didn't help that the pin labels were on the bottom of the screen. I figured this out by finding the pin layout of the esp32 and drawing in illustrator how I was going to connect each pin.


I also wanted to ensure I was using the correct pins so I didn't have to rewire it when I went to add all the other sensors and outputs. I initially wanted to use the SPIFFS file system to store the pngs however this made the changes to the screen extremely slow and would make future animations look terrible. I then used the M5 method to store the files in flash memory and this seemed to update the screen a lot quicker. I also added a touch pin as the method of changing images as I wanted to explore using these esp32 pins as a potential way to turn off the alarm protocol in the future.

I have also started working on the prototype document, however, I do need to continue working on this as I am getting a bit carried away in the fun of the prototype and am less focused on the document.

Work to Do

I have ordered a really cool text-to-speech module that I can connect to the esp32 that will let Emily have different tones in her voice and even sing. I found a library of songs I can use so I think I will incorporate this into her behaviour to add personality. I'm thinking if no one has walked past her in 5 minutes (so she can't complain to anyone) she'll sing "Everybody hurts". I had a play around with this and it sounds pretty funny! I'm excited for this to arrive and hopefully, I'll have enough time to implement something before the first prototype deliverable.

I also need to move my sensors and lights across from the Arduino to the esp32 and incorporate the facial expression changes into the alarm protocol. I need to start putting together a make-shift form pretty soon so that I can do some user testing and make any changes to the overall product before the deliverable is due. I also need to make sure I've left enough time to do all of this before I start making the video.

Related Work

For the facial expressions, I was again inspired by lua the digital pot plant as it also has the same constraints being showing emotion through a small screen. Although lua does have animations, it uses a similar minimalist design.

Week 7 | Individual Approach

Lucy Davidson - Sat 25 April 2020, 5:09 pm

Individual Concept

Our team has decided to continue to develop the concept together but create individual prototypes from different perspectives. Our concept is a digital figurine that changes based on the environment it is placed in, encouraging a change in energy saving behaviour through negative reinforcement.

I have decided to base mine around the target demographic of families with school-aged children. This means my prototype needs to be fun enough to keep the children engaged but not too childish to deter adults from getting involved. It also needs to be not too complex to confuse children but complex enough to provide the appropriate data and outputs to encourage a behaviour change.

My current plan for form is based around my initial idea of Artificial Conscience. This being a hard outside with an LED grid to show facial expressions. This is because I believe it meets the requirements I have set: to be fun; and encourage an emotional connection to be formed. I still need to test whether this form is most appropriate.


Ideal Finished Product

My ideal finished product would be a polished-looking outside (made out of either laser cut frosted acrylic or 3D printed), that changes colour, makes comments if a user walks past, plays sounds, and vibrates. To turn the flashing lights, vibrations, and sounds off, the user would need to perform an interactive activity (still needs to be determined).

Week 7 | Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Sat 25 April 2020, 4:54 pm
Modified: Sun 21 June 2020, 4:08 pm

Work Done

This week everything started happening for my project! It started off a bit rocky when I got sick, putting me out of work for a few days. However, I'm really happy with the work I have done and am excited to continue working on it next week!


In the studio on Wednesday, I had some really good discussions with my team about how we were each approaching the project and offering advice/help where we could. I'm really glad I've got such a good group that are still keen to work together where we can.


On Thursday, I had my workshop. I found this class super helpful as we were able to discuss with Ben and Steven how we were going to build the project. We were asked to define what we were building and how we intended to build it. My answers to these questions were:

What are you building?

Building a figurine that measures the temperature in the room and matches it to the current temperature outside. If the temperature is too similar, it will change colour, play a sound, and vibrate.

How do you plan on building it?
  • Use temperature sensor and compare that to weather API
  • Use strip lights to change colour
  • Might use the vibrating mini motor to make it vibrate
  • If I have time I want to add something that senses when someone walks past (don't know how to do this?)
  • Use speaker to play sound - I'm thinking of just having a list of comments that will randomly be selected and do text to speech (Audio Amplifier Module with Speaker for Arduino)
  • Still figuring out interesting way to turn it off

After discussions with the tutors, I decided to try to use the ultrasonic sensors (provided in the auxiliary kit) to detect if someone walks past or comes up to Emily. They thought the rest of my ideas were appropriate solutions, except the weather API. As I don't have access to a wifi board, I will either have to transfer data through a connection to my computer, or just use dummy values. I have decided to add a potentiometer to my board so that you can easily change the temperature to see its effect on Emily.

Outside Class

The rest of the week I have spent building and programming my Arduino. In particular, I have 2 functionalities working. I decided to focus on the temperature and lights so I could easily see when the temperature was acceptable. I also got the ultrasonic distance sensor working. I decided to start with these two functionalities as they are the main features needed for my MVP.


Potentiometer recording the outside temperature that changes the colour of the LED strip of lights if the difference between this value and the recorded indoor temperature is too large. The strip of lights will turn red if its too hot (outdoor temp - indoor temp >= 5), blue if its too cold (indoor temp - outdoor temp <= 5), and green for everything else. However, once I got this all working, I noticed that the lights tended to flicker on the edge of normal to cold and normal to hot.

I fixed this by implementing hysteresis. I did this by recording the state of the temperature as either hot, cold, or normal and then changing the acceptable degree range depending on this state. For example, if it was currently in the hot state, it only requires 3 degrees to stay hot but 5 degrees to change to hot. This meant the LED strip didn't flicker as much and provided much more consistent feedback to the user.

At the moment, the connection to the potentiometer is very inconsistent but hopefully this can be fixed once I solder it.


Ultrasonic distance sensor

Ultrasonic distance sensor detecting if the user approaches Emily or walks past. At the moment this just makes the small LED light turn on (red) but will eventually be used to trigger a comment from Emily.

My final set up looks like this:


I have also been thinking more about the form and might look into 3D printing the outside as this could potentially be easier than trying to piece together laser cut acrylic.

Work to Do

Next week I want to try to get some text to speech working so that Emily can randomly select a comment to say (based on the state) when someone approaches her or walks past. I also want to try to work with a grid of LED lights to make facial expressions to add more character to Emily. I also want to conduct some user testing to determine an interactive way to turn these features off.

Mid Sem Catch Up

Lucy Davidson - Sat 25 April 2020, 4:27 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 12:16 pm

During the mid semester break I didn't end up doing as much as I wanted but I still made some progress on the project. I worked a bit on trying to finalise my form.

I played around a lot with protoputty and although it is very interesting and fun to use, it has just been too difficult to get to work properly for me. As my target user group is families with young children, it's really important that the form not only looks good but is also durable and I don't think this can be achieved by making the entire prototype out of protoputty.

I've decided to not go with protoputty and make the outside out of laser cut acrylic with frosted glass paint to hide the insides but still let light through. I've been working on creating a template that I can cut out of wood first to check that it all works. I've also been looking at using a weather API to match the room temperature to.

Related Work

Now that I'm leaning toward using a laser cutter, I've been researching ways to make it look cooler than just a plain box. They did show us this method in the UQInnovate induction but I kind of forgot how cool etching looks! I think I could add some nice detailing to the form to create a bit more texture to the acrylic.

Week 6 | Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Tue 14 April 2020, 9:39 am
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 10:58 am

Work Done

This week our team mainly just focused on the report. I did find this report quite challenging to write as I had been putting off making any concrete decisions about my focus and form etc. However, I'm really glad I have done this as my direction is a lot more clear now and I am excited to continue researching to flesh out the final details.

On Wednesday we went through conducting user testing externally. I found this task quite difficult initially as I felt weird doing an observation through YouTube but I was really surprised at how much detail you can get in just watching videos others have posted. I was aware that the videos posted would be the extremes in people's behaviour but it was a good start. Before this studio, I was a bit concerned about how I was going to conduct the user testing, and was really limiting myself to just using my family or using zoom to interview my family and friends. However, after reading through the google doc outlining all the other methods we could use, I feel a lot more confident in user testing for my project.


As a team, we then completed a live brainstorming session to outline all the smaller details around our concept to ensure we all understood and had a say in the direction of our concept.


On Thursday, we had the Arduino tutorial. This was actually super fun and I found the activities really interesting.

I feel a lot more confident working with the Arduino and found the light sensor activity particularly useful. I can definitely alter this for my project and think I could get this sensor for my prototype completed in the next few weeks.


Work to do

Over the mid-semester break I want to continue playing around with the Arduino and maybe even try to get the light sensor to have some different outputs that I could use for my prototype. I also bought more silicone (ensuring it was 100% silicone this time…) so I want to have another go with Protoputty so I can finalise what materials I will use to build the prototype.

Related Work

I spent some time this week looking through the literature and read in a paper that parents are more likely to minimise their energy consumption if it is seen as a learning opportunity for their children! I initially just picked my user group as families with school-aged children as I thought it would be interesting to explore the form and interactions in a playful way, as well as being a teaching moment for children so they are more energy conscious when they are older. However, I didn't realise it would have this added benefit of motivating the parents too, which was great to find.

Paper: M. Fell and L. F. Chiu, “Children, parents and home energy use: Exploring motivations and limits to energy demand reduction,” Energy Policy, vol. 65, pp. 351-358, 2014.

Week 5

Lucy Davidson - Sat 4 April 2020, 5:33 pm
Modified: Sat 4 April 2020, 5:33 pm

Work I have done

I had very high hopes after watching countless videos playing with protoputty so I raced to Bunnings to buy some silicon and the results were … disappointing. It was very clumpy and wouldn't dry properly. I've now realised that my silicone wasn't 100% silicone so I'm going to have another go next week.

Imgur Imgur

In class on Wednesday, we had the report back and then discussed with my team and Lorna about our progress and how we are going to continue with the project. Our team has decided to continue to develop the idea together but branch off in terms of the form, the inputs, and the outputs. I'm glad we're still working a lot as a team and I understand that we do need to do some individually due to access to resources, but I am a bit worried about trying to come up with a form alone. However, I'm going to keep researching and playing around with different forms myself so I feel confident in what I choose to write in the report. I'm also having trouble making any concrete decisions about the way my project is going to go as I feel like its so up in the air at the moment. However, I feel confident in myself to have some idea by the time the report is due. When discussing with Lorna, we were very implementation focused, as we were feeling quite a bit of anxiety around creating this prototype alone. Lorna reminded us that this is all about the interaction between the user and the prototype so I want to keep working on my idea and make it as interesting as possible and worry about the details later.

On Thursday, I had my first prac class. It was a bit more awkward than the Wednesday because no one had their cameras on (mostly due to internet problems) but it felt less personal that going to a physical class, but I guess we have to get used to this with all classes being online. After we split up to go work on our individual work, our team decided to focus on our report to ensure we had enough time to write and edit before the submission date. I got most of my team sections done and now just need to finish up on my individual sections.

On Friday, I had no classes so I decided to spend most of the day working through the Arduino project book. I didn't find it too hard but mostly had trouble with the electronics side. I want to keep working through the book to ensure that I am prepared for the Arduino tutorial next week and can ask any questions while I have the tutors online. I had a lot of fun doing these activities and couldn't help myself timing the spaceship interface project to the song "Red Light Green Light".

Work to do

In the next week I need to finalise my idea to write my individual section of the report. I also want to keep working through the Arduino project book and have another play around with protoputty.

Work that has inspired me

Clay suggested in our presentation to have a look at Sphero. I really like this idea and want to try and incorporate some form of chasing/following the user around in Emily to further annoy the user into changing their behaviour.

Week 4

Lucy Davidson - Fri 27 March 2020, 4:11 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 10:13 am

COVID-19 Update

I feel like there's so much that has happened in the past few weeks that I have been putting off writing a blog post because there's too much to write about. I have been quite emotional about the changes to the course and have considered multiple times deferring so that I can do the course as it was intended. Alas, here we are still enrolled and ready to try to make this semester as fun as it would have been if online uni wasn't a thing. My biggest disappointment was missing out on the exhibit - I've had multiple friends tell me how much fun this day was and I was super keen on making something really cool so that I had something to show off at this event. However, even though this isn't possible with the restrictions I still want to try to stay motivated and try to create something of a high standard, even if its only seen by my family, friends, and the cohort.

Work Done

During the pause week, I tried to think of a completely new idea to present to the group but kept coming back to my idea Artificial Conscience. I was really excited about making this project but gave it up when I was put in the domain "Change through discomfort". I also didn’t want to force my idea onto any other members of the group so I wanted to explore all other alternatives before I pushed my idea. I started to think more about the concept and realised that with a few changes it could definitely fit under this domain. This is how "Energy Saving Emily" was created. I had to take away the emotional aspect of connecting with Artificial Conscience and focus more on how to discomfort the user into saving electricity. As a team, we decided that the fun and playful version of discomfort is annoyance. From this, we thought of all the things that annoy us and completed some initial user testing to ask our friends and family what annoy them. We also asked what habits they wanted to change and any ideas for the form it should take. We got the following responses:

  1. What energy consumption habits do you want to change?
  • Taking shorter showers x2
  • Using phone less
  • Using and buying less plastic
  • Reduce power usage at home x2
  • If it’s too cold/hot for the dogs
  • Outside door is left open
  • Devices/tvs/lights left on x2
  • Cleaning not done 
  • air conditioner/heater left on
  1. What response would bother you? (e.g. sound, light, social media shaming)
  • Sounds that keep happening for a really long time
  • Spamming of the same message
  • High cost
  • Stops them from pursuing hobbies
  • Stops them from going out
  • Alerts on phone
  • Creates more mess
  • Loud noise
  • Speaking (e.g. yells ‘Help me!” when someone walks past)
  • Complaining about how cold it is etc.
  • Loud & constant noise
  • Vibrating?
  • Flashing & change colour (e.g. red)
  • Additional ideas - add movement sensor so it complains when someone walks past
  1. What form? (e.g. small box, plant, unappealing v appealing?)
  • Something that is too heavy to move 
  • Something stuck in position 
  • Wetness
  • Embedded in the bad habit 
  • Emotional connection
  • Small object that can be portable

I also did some brainstorming about how I could actually create Energy Saving Emily so that we could start discussing the materials we need to source/purchase. I also noted any questions I had that I needed to discuss with the team/tutors.


We used these responses to finalise our idea and plan our pitch. We decided on each focusing on a section (writing, creating slides, and voice recording) and made sure that the whole team had read all sections to ensure all necessary content was included. I created the content for Negative Reinforcement, Storyboard, and Personas.

Imgur I was given the task to create the video so I got the recordings from my team and the PowerPoint slides to finish the video. It didn't take too long and I was pretty happy with the result.

After our pitch, we received a lot of feedback surrounding the final form and ways to make it more annoying in a less annoying way (if that makes sense). A few people suggested that buzzer noises would make the user too frustrated to even use the product but having it complain the user like a 5 year old would, would make the user just the right level of annoyed to encourage change. A lot of people also suggested adding some positive reinforcement to balance it out and make more of an emotional connection to Emily. We still need to work out if it will fit under the domain enough to add some positive reinforcement.


Work To Do

Before next week our team have decided to do some individual brainstorming about the types of outputs we should have (through some research) and the final form. We also need to decide which areas we each want to focus on.

Over the weekend, I also want to start playing around with different mediums to create the final prototype so that I can buy the necessary materials before we are put in complete lockdown. My current idea is to try out proto-putty and see how difficult it is to use and if light can be seen through it. Otherwise, I might end up 3D printing it. I also want to do a bit more research into other forms that might also work for me.

Work that inspired me

I started researching more into protoputty and it looks really cool!

Week 3 | Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Sat 14 March 2020, 12:59 pm

Work Done


On Tuesday, we participated in world café. I hadn't done anything like this before and wasn't quite sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by how focused and collaborative everyone was to explore the themes and extend the projects within each theme. I found the first round the easiest, doing "musical things" as it was a blank canvas and we could really write anything that came to mind. We explored what the theme actually means and came up with some really cool ideas. Some of these included:

  • A virtual one man band where you can hit anywhere with your body (through almost dancing) to create music
  • A 3D "room" that you move through to make music

I found each round after this one progressively more difficult as I couldn't read/understand what half of the pages were saying. The leader staying at each table did help to some degree but they still only really knew the details of the round before and if they could remember what the previous leader said. I also think my creativity was somewhat limited as I was reading others' ideas and having their ideas right in front of you, found it difficult to come up with new ones. I understand each round is meant to be built upon the previous team but I think the further through I got, the less I could contribute.

However, I think my second favourite round was when I worked on "bothersome tech". I enjoyed this because it was the final round so I could write whatever I wanted and our group came up with some really cool ideas.

After world café was completed, we then had to do the dreaded task of picking our preferences for themes. I found this very overwhelming as there was no clear themes I wanted to work on. I also struggled deciding whether to continue to try to work on my project or give it up to work on a more fun theme. I ended up choosing - "change through discomfort", "everyday sustainability", and "musical things".


Bash Presentation

On Wednesday we started off with the presentation from Bash. I thought this was one of the most helpful guest speakers I've ever heard from throughout my degree. I really liked the exercise where we had to write down 50 words about ourselves. I found this super challenging as I first just wrote down that I was unique because I have a double degree, which really says nothing about my qualities and isn't unique at all.

My paragraph ended up being:

"My name is Lucy

I am a UX designer and Market Analyst

I am unique because I also study business (majoring in marketing). I am a good collaborator and love working with others to get to the best outcome. I have a good understanding of others and their needs."

I don't think this is the best representation of who I am as a person so I do want to revisit this task at a later date. I think this is such a helpful exercise as I am currently job hunting and going to job interviews so its super important to understand what you value and also what makes you you.

My final word ended up being "collaborator" which I do think is representative of me. I know I work my best when I have a good team to bounce ideas off.


After this we were assigned our teams. I was very nervous for this process as I've been super excited about this course and didn't want to be put in a bad team, when realistically I think I would have had a great semester with anyone in the class. However, I did get put in a really good team and we were already working really well together. I was put in the team working on "change through discomfort".

Once we had met our team we completed the set discussion points and started discussing our team charter. We all seemed to agree and disagree on the main points so I think we'll work really well together.

After this discussion, we moved onto finding an idea for next week. I'm a little bit concerned about trying to find an idea that we are all happy with before next week. We all really want to make something fun but are quite limited in sticking to the theme. We started by looking at all the pieces of paper associated with our topic but we were quite overwhelmed trying to make sense of the notes from world café. We then moved on to listing all the "bad" habits we could think of, hoping an idea could be inspired from this. This is the final list we came up with.


We then put a tick beside all the habits that we think we could make an idea out of. The habit was deemed acceptable if we could think of an easy way to identify when this behaviour is taking place (e.g. hard to identify when someone is being forgetful) and if an extensive interaction could be used to stop this. For example, we didn't just want to have something where the behaviour occurs and then they are made uncomfortable (e.g. if they speed they get notified).

We started with the habit - snoozing your alarm


We then thought about sitting down for too long and came up with some really fun ideas.

We mainly came up with a chair that gets more and more uncomfortable the longer you sit in it. It starts with blowing cold air, then surround sound screaming, the chair gets lower and lower, the seat gets warm and water is released, it falls over.


Our front runners for this theme are:

  1. Oscar (the bin that vomits if you put the wrong waste in) - we're not sure if we're allowed to do this as someone else came up with the idea
  2. Artificial Conscience 2.0 (my idea where the plant responds to the environment its placed in but with added features to make it more related to negative reinforcement and discomfort) - aren't yet sure how to relate it to the topic more
  3. Uncomfortable chair (chair that becomes more and more uncomfortable the longer you sit in it)

Work to do

We still need to finalise our team charter to submit, choose an idea to present, and finalise our presentation for Wednesday. I'm a little bit concerned about how this course is going to be effected by COVID-19 due to its collaborative nature.

Projects that inspired me

When I started thinking about the topic "change through discomfort" I immediately thought about a YouTube Video I recently watched where Michael Reeves made a chair that falls over as soon as you sit on it ( It's quite extreme but I did think it could be funny as a last resort to make the person fall of the chair if they haven’t got up after all the other warnings (i.e. blowing cold air, surround sound screaming, etc.).


Week 2 | Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Thu 5 March 2020, 1:37 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 4:13 pm

Work Done


This week we had our inspiration presentations. It was super interesting how everyone interpreted the overall theme to create such a variety of physical interactions from physical products to art installations. I was pretty happy with my final idea and presentation and think it could be a pretty cool idea. After my presentation, Lorna gave me some feedback about how I could improve my concept even further. These included:

  • have garden of multiple so you can see where you are succeeding and failing
  • have some way of showing how user can do better (might know they are leaving their lights on, but don’t know how to stop)
  • could think of ways to minimise impact through production process (try to reuse as many other items as possible)

We also received feedback from other students in the class. I received a lot of feedback about how useful this idea is as well as one person suggesting it wasn't novel and another encouraging a more physical interaction to be included. In the coming week I want to keep thinking about my concept and how I can try to maximise the interaction between the user and the plant so that it is something that can be fully interacted with daily.

Theming Sessions

After the presentations we had theming sessions to help us group the ideas. There were definitely some themes emerging from the first session that carried onto the next session. Some things I noticed was daily sustainability, negative reinforcement for behaviour change, bothersome technology, emotion as input, and using shadows.

Session 1

Imgur Imgur

Session 2


It was really interesting to see that even though we had such a broad theme to begin with, so many ideas could be grouped into smaller, more specific sub-themes.

Work to Do

Now that we have been given the chosen themes for the project, I need to do some more brainstorming about potential ideas that fit some of the other themes to ensure I vote for a theme that I’m passionate about spending an entire semester working on. I also want to look over the feedback Lorna gave me to try to enhance my idea more in case I do end up wanting to pick that idea.

Work that inspired me

This week I was honestly very inspired by the other projects being shown. I particularly liked 'No Craving Shoe' as they were able to use bothersome tech to change behaviour. My current idea is quite limited in terms of interaction so I thought this was a very interesting space.

Week 2 - Artificial Conscience

Lucy Davidson - Mon 2 March 2020, 9:08 pm
Modified: Mon 2 March 2020, 9:14 pm

Idea Explanation


Climate change is the biggest problem we are facing today and we really need to be making immediate changes to our lifestyle. It can feel very powerless seeing the big companies and governments not really doing much to help this issue, so by having a fun and playful interaction like Artificial Conscience, it can motivate everyday people to make small changes for a bigger cause.

I am very passionate about minimising the effects of climate change but still find it difficult to find ways to do this in my everyday life. It has been found that one of the quickest ways to change behaviour is through disapproval ( Now not everyone has a blunt friend who will tell you when your makeup looks bad or when you’re using too much electricity, so that’s where Artificial Conscience comes in. Artificial Conscience is a digital figurine that responds to the environment around it. It can be used in many different settings but the most appropriate and common use would be in a public place in households where all members of the family can interact with it (e.g. living room). It is used to encourage conscious effort in reducing energy and water use in households by reminding the user when they are ineffectively doing so.

It can respond to its environment through its rotating arms, colour (string of LED lights inside frosted casing), facial expressions on screen. For example, if the user has a 20 minute shower, they will then come into the living room to be publicly shamed by the drowning plant on the coffee table (see figure below).


I think its a very interesting interaction as instead of just a meter showing you that you have used 22L of water today, it gives an emotional context to situation. By personifying the environment in this way it allows people to have an emotional response to their inefficient use of resources, utilising the human values of compassion and need for approval.


This idea was inspired by lua, a digital plant pot that visually alerts the user of what the plant needs.

Digital Plant Pot -

#climatechange #sensors #sustainability

Week 1.2 | Documentation & Reflection

Lucy Davidson - Sun 1 March 2020, 10:15 pm

The Work Done


On Tuesday we started with the expectations, challenges, excitements, and rumours for the course. This activity scared me but also reassured me a lot for this course. I had heard this course was a lot of work but so much fun and this really seemed to resonate with the whole cohort. I’m really excited for the exhibit and generally for the whole course. Going into this subject I was quite nervous that I wouldn’t be prepared enough as I’m not the most confident programmer, but seeing that everyone is the same and Lorna saying that as an IT student I am a developer, I feel much more relaxed and eager to build my skills throughout the semester.

We then began researching into some examples of interactions that already exist. I really enjoyed this task as I think the name “Physical computing and interaction design studio” is very broad and somewhat confusing to understand. Seeing others examples of this idea really showed me how broad it actually is and how many different interactions come under this same theme. I think I had a narrow mindset of what counts as “physical computing and interaction”, but after this activity, I’m really excited to see what ideas we all come up with and present next week.

Work that Inspired/Interested Me: Something that I found during this session and that inspired me this week was an interaction by the MIT media lab called Tangible Cityscape ( I currently work for a small transport consultancy and have constant interaction with multiple different types of demographic data which can be difficult to contextualise. I think this idea is a very interesting topic to explore as I haven’t really seen anything like it before and can see how it could be applicable in an everyday setting for those working in that field. This has kind of extended my interest in exploring under-explored domains for our team project.


This week we started with the 7 HCI Challenges, with our team focusing on Human-Environment Interactions. I found this topic particularly interesting as we started discussing just the basic challenges such as classifying different user types in the environment to then discussing the dark side of these interactions. In particular, the issue of security challenging how invasive an interaction should be. We also discussed the importance of finding the line between an experience that is intensive to one that is invasive.


We then did the ideation activity with playing cards. Even though the task was sometimes very difficult, I thought this process was very cool and helpful to begin thinking outside the box. I came up with the following ideas during the individual rounds.

  1. Design to rehabilitate in the village using contract with the quality zero gravity
  • Rehabilitate - restore to health, bring back to current condition
  • Village - community
  • Contract - promise, decrease in size, commitment, understanding
  • Zero gravity - floating, comfortable (zero gravity chair)


  • Something set up in the city centre - People have to keep a weight perfectly balanced (if someone leaves, another person has to replace them - contract) which will water a plant bringing it back to life = bringing people together and rehabilitating a plant (rehabilitate)
  • Something that brings broken families back together -
  1. Design to empower in the village using fire with the quality forever
  • Empower - self-confidence
  • Village - community, school
  • Fire - burning, heat, smoke, spicy
  • Forever - eternal, doesn't break


  • Write things you don’t like about yourself and throw it into a fire that burns something that can't be melted by fire (e.g. titanium) = shows person that no matter what people say about them they won't break

I then went to the induction for 78-207 in the afternoon. It was very interesting and I’m super excited to begin working on our project in week 4.


On Friday I sat down to begin my brainstorming to come up with an idea for presentations next week. I began just writing down anything that came to mind, reminding myself that no idea was a bad idea. I found this somewhat challenging as I was very overwhelmed by the scope of possibilities. I kept thinking back to the classic pot plant that responds to how its being taken care of to help the owner keep the plant alive. I began thinking about how I could scale this idea up to help households cut back on their energy use. This is where the idea, Artificial Conscience came about. My initial ideas for this concept included:

Environmental monitor - Energy tracking guy

  • Temperature - it’s too hot in here, turn the heater down
  • If too many lights are on, says it’s too bright
  • If lights are left on all day, gets electrocuted
  • If shower was too long, turns blue and “drowns”

Knows weather, season, temperature, light

Have different sensors wirelessly connected

Groot kind of thing

Better self on the shelf:

  • People strive to be better, reminder to be good
  • best way to change behaviour is disapproval

Work to Do

The work I still have to do is to further strengthen and understand my concept of Artificial Conscience, and create the poster for my presentation next week.

Week 1: Introduction

Lucy Davidson - Thu 27 February 2020, 3:46 pm
Modified: Sun 1 March 2020, 10:01 pm

Hi! I’m Lucy and I am in my final semester studying BBusMan(Marketing) and BInfTech. I’m super keen for this subject as I think it will be a great way to finish my degree! I’ve always been interested in building physical things by using the laser cutter, 3D printer and woodworking tools at home, so I’m very excited to be able to use these skills in combination with my IT skills to create something really cool. I’m very passionate about visual and UX design so I hope I can implement these skills throughout this course while also being able to better my ability to program, and learn more about electronics and micro-controllers.

I guess my expectations for this course are that I will have a team who will want to work as hard as me to create something that we are proud of. I think the exhibition is such a unique experience to show off what we have all worked on so I hope we take advantage of this by creating something really cool and fun to interact with.

My concerns for this course are that I’m not the most confident programmer and tend to just work on what I’m comfortable doing, which is design. However, I think this will be a great push to enhance my programming skills.