Documentation & Reflection

Week Thirteen Progress

Piyumi Pathirana - Sun 7 June 2020, 3:03 pm

Progress Made

Although it hasn't been very long since my most recent post, I have made more progress than expected! I was only expecting to aim to finish the feedback state (which has now been fully implemented!) however I have also taken on Lorna's feedback of playing around with the beeping more to add some personality. I've been able to code Emily to produce random frequencies of beeps within a particular range in order to get the users attention, rather than just having the monotonous single beeping sound. It turns out the piezo speaker is quite versatile and therefore I don't need to go running around looking for an external speaker to add!

With this newfound knowledge, I have found some cool Youtube videos showing the piezo speaker actually producing well known songs that people have coded. There are quite a few famous songs and I would love to be able to incorporate one of them into the feedback state that I have just implemented! I'm struggling with fitting it into the loop coding so it's still a work in progress for now, but I think it would be a great addition to Emily to offer her more personality and provide the users with an uplifting song when they have improved their energy saving behaviours.

Left To Do

Other than that, I just have to adjust some of my coding regarding the Neopixel strip and focus on my portfolio and then I think I'll be quite satisfied with what I've produced! I have very low confidence when it comes to programming and this course has really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Although I've seen some pretty impressive and out there projects from my peers, I'm pretty proud of what I've achieved, considering both my skills and the conditions in which we've all had to work with.

Inspiring Works

A clip showing the piezo speaker playing the Super Mario theme song!

Weeks Eleven and Twelve Progress

Piyumi Pathirana - Fri 5 June 2020, 12:25 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 1:56 pm

Further Development of Emily

In complete honesty, the past two weeks have been quite slow. I lacked motivation towards this subject as other subject assessment has been quite heavy, and after completing the big hurdle of the first prototype, it has been hard to get back into it. However something that I have been enjoying relating to this course is the development of the portfolio. I love design and so being able to design my own website starting from scratch has been quite fun and definitely a refresher from the last time I developed my own website (which was many years ago!) There have been times when I've gotten frustrated with trying to further implement the final aspects for Emily so being able to resort to a less stressful task like building the portfolio has been a nice escape.

Works In Progress

The portfolio is mostly completed, I just need to incorporate the final images and description of Emily once she is all done, and then upload all the files to the hosting exhibit site. I'm am still working on implementing the feedback stage but I am very close to having it completed. We did receive feedback and results from the initial prototype, and I have taken on the feedback that Lorna has provided which includes the following:

  • Playing around with the beep more
  • Considering other ways the user can calm Emily

Depending on time left, I will see what I can do with this feedback and whether there is any possibility in implementing these. I feel that there is very little time for me to find a new source of sound to incorporate into Emily although I may see what I can do with the changing frequencies of the pitch of the Piezo element. However, regarding exploring other ways for the user to interact, I am thinking that ideas including continuous tapping of Emily or movement of the user could be ways in which the user can interact with Emily, should she get more annoying.

If I'm unable to implement such ideas however, these will definitely be considerations that I will outline were I to have access to unlimited time and resources.

Finalising The Form

I have actually gained inspiration from team Cabitat in 2019 on the form of their project 'I'm Home'. I was wanting to have a translucent form that allowed the Neopixel lights to glow through and their form did that and looked very polished and clean (see below in Inspiration Works for their form).

I did also do research on existing smart home devices and found that products such as Alexa and Google Home maintain a minimalist and polished style. I felt that I wanted a polished look for Emily that would appeal to my target audience of adult users and look aesthetically pleasing within the home. The idea was that if I couldn't find anything then I would try to attempt the idea of making paper translucent to create a dome, that I took inspiration from in my last post.

I decided to go online and explore the possibility of finding an already existing solid material or shape that I could use to encapsulate the Neopixel strip. To my luck, Bunnings appeared to have a translucent white pot that suited the aesthetic of what I am going for perfectly. I have a perfectly sized square box that will be situated under the translucent pot, which will hide the Arduino and majority of wires, in order to develop that polished and clean look that I am going for.


Future Progress

What's left to do is to complete the feedback part of Emily and if time is kind, implement some of the feedback listed above. Once that's all done I'm able to upload images and videos of the final form of Emily for the portfolio. I am feeling extremely nervous about the upcoming exhibit but am looking forward to seeing all the varying projects!

Inspiration Works

I'm Home - by Team Cabitat


Photo taken from Max Cartwright Portfolio -


Weeks Nine and Ten Progress

Piyumi Pathirana - Mon 18 May 2020, 12:37 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 1:50 pm

Developing The First Prototype

With the prototype deadline looming, I cracked down on working on the functional aspects of my prototype. After getting the LDR to measure the varying light levels, I was able to provide visual feedback to the user through a Neopixel strip, with red alerting the user of high energy usage, yellow resembling medium energy usage and green resembling low energy usage. In addition, I managed to connect external lights within the build that represented lights within a home. With these lights connected, I added a delay for when maximum sunlight level was detected by Emily, however at this point, the lights would turn off instantly rather than after a period of time.

I feel that the visual display of how efficient the user's light consumption is is a clear way for the user to understand their light consumption.

User Testing

I did some user testing with this version of the prototype with my family and found that they felt there was not much user interaction with Emily and that Emily could be even more annoying. They also suggested having some sort of feedback in the end when Emily recognises that user's have been improving on their energy saving behaviours. With this feedback, I'm thinking about incorporating a way for the user to perhaps touch Emily in order to interact with her. I just have to develop a reason for the user to touch her now! In terms of providing feedback to the user regarding their energy saving behaviours, I think some sort of unique and pleasant visual experience would be cool, so that the user is made aware that they are making progress. This coupled with perhaps a song could be a unique and fun idea, which is a stark difference to Emily's usual annoying antics.

Taking On Feedback

I thought the progress that I had made so far was good, but based on the feedback from user testing as well as my own gut feeling, I felt the concept was too simple. From here I wanted to work on fixing the delay to begin delaying after a period of time, as well as adding further annoyance to Emily through the use of flashing the lights in the Neopixel strip as well as sound, and an element of interactivity between the user and Emily. With the stress of the upcoming assessment and figuring out all the components I was trying to include, I ended up having a bit of a mental breakdown and getting confused with my concept with exactly what I wanted to implement into Emily. So, I sat down and just drew out a plan of how I wanted Emily to react and respond to varying situations. I planned out the main components that Emily would respond to and then worked from there.


The finished prototype was quite successful in relation to the planning that I did above. I incorporated the flashing of lights, as well as an annoying beeping sound corresponding to the frequency of the flashing from the lights. I also managed to add a delay to both the red and yellow stages before the lights turned off, and incorporated a switch that allows for the user to interact with Emily rather than Emily just being an object that sits within the home. I didn't end up adding an element of feedback to the user, so that is something that I aim to work on for the finished concept!

The Finished Prototype

Energy Saving Emily is a household device that is designed to help users in saving energy around the house. Emily has been designed to fit within the domain of change through discomfort, where aspects of negative reinforcement can be used to promote behavioural change. When lights within a house are on, Emily can detect the amount of sunlight available. Depending on the amount of sunlight detected, Emily annoys the user through flashing lights and annoying sounds and can turn off the lights within a room in order to create discomfort for the user to push behavioural change in reducing unnecessary energy wastage.

Appraisal Feedback

It was actually quite fun to work as a team to provide other teams with feedback. Our team worked very efficiently, even though it took quite a while to get through everyone assigned to us! It was definitely a challenge to provide feedback that was thoughtful, specific, actionable and within the word limit!

I gained some interesting feedback from the team appraisals. It's really interesting to gain other people's perspectives as they always come up with ideas and suggestions that you've never really thought of before. I summarised the main aspects of feedback as such:

No. 1:

  • Outlined Problem: Emily's light consumption may be contradictory to trying to save light consumption in the house
  • Possible Suggested Solution: Solely rely on sound or less intense blinking
  • My Response: This is an interesting thought and something I had not considered. I would like to keep some light alerts therefore I may look into less intense blinking and dimming of Emily's light exposure.

No. 2:

  • Outlined Problem: User may not be alerted from the buzzer sound if they leave the room that Emily is in, resulting in unnecessary power cut due to user being unaware
  • My Response: I can see where this may come from. Perhaps I will make the sound louder so that it can be heard, or a possibility I could include is having something attached to the user that alerts the user when Emily is trying to get their attention. I could also look into adding a proximity/motion sensor so that Emily can detect when the user is close by.

No. 3:

  • Outlined Problem: Emily turns lights off lights rather than making the user change their habits.
  • Possible Suggested Solution: Other outcomes could happen when the user engages with Emily.
  • My Response: I understand this, however I wanted to incorporate a further element of discomfort rather than just annoyance through sounds and lights, hence why Emily has control over the lights. Emily does give the users a chance to correct their actions initially though, and only after a period of time when no action has been taken by the user will Emily have control over the lights.

No. 4:

  • Outlined Problem: Many stages increases complexity.
  • Possible Suggested Solution: Simplify process or only keep major stages.
  • My Response: Very understandable, I will look into simplifying the stages of Emily for the final concept prototype, depending on my most necessary steps.

No. 5:

  • Outlined Problem: What if user's need lights on during the daytime ie. in a dark house?
  • My Response: This an interesting thought, however my concept of Emily only responds to the sunlight detected through the window, therefore in a dark house, I would presume sunlight exposure is not very prominent and Emily would be able to detect this and respond according to the appropriate stage. Nevertheless, if there is anything that I can think of that can be implemented into Emily to acknowledge this further, I will definitely look into developing it

Future Progress

From here I will take on the feedback that has been suggested by my peers. They have given some very interesting insights that I look forward to exploring. I also need to incorporate the feedback stage into Emily to alert users of their improved behaviour, as well as find the materials to come up with an appropriate form for Emily, possibly even making a paper mache dome that is semi translucent. I have also started developing my website portfolio this week, so will continue to do so over the coming weeks.

Inspirational Works

After doing some exploration around a translucent material, I came across this video showing how to make paper translucent. I would like to see if I can possibly incorporate this method and make a paper mache dome with the translucent paper, to allow for the Neopixel LEDs to shine through. We shall see how my testing pans out!


Week Eight Progress

Piyumi Pathirana - Sun 3 May 2020, 7:28 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 1:42 pm

Functional Progress

After experiencing some uncertainty last week about how to approach the development of Emily, I am feeling more confident with the progress that I have made. I have managed to use an LDR to recognise varying levels of light, which is reflected in LED's that I was using. Here is some footage of what I achieved:

From that I have also managed to connect a relay into the circuit that connects to the motor that was provided in the kit, which allows for the exposure of light to turn on and off the motor. Ideally I would like to attach a light source rather than a motor, however I currently do not have the required power source to get that running just yet. I am hoping to have the light source attached to the circuit by the next studio session. (The video only shows a slight movement of the motor since I didn't solder it/have a good connection between the two!)

Studio Insights

For the studio session this week, the main concern that I expressed was injecting personality into Emily. I was given some great advice from Lorna and the tutors to have a look at movie characters such as Wall-E and R2-D2 to see how such robots were given personalities despite saying very little (if not none at all)! I did some viewing on YouTube to find that both robots emitted robotic sounds that were viewed as 'cute', which made them appealing. Additionally, they use varying pitches in sound to display their emotions. They are also both short which makes them seem more approachable almost. Such inspiration works that I viewed are as follows:

With this as inspiration, my initial thoughts are to implement beeping noises into Emily, as though she is communicating to the user, similar to R2-D2. It would be interesting to incorporate some type of movement as both Wall-E and R2-D2 move around, which definitely gives them character and personality, however I'm not sure how I would do so. The tricky part is coming up with a way to incorporate sound into Emily to give her that likeable personality!

Future Progress

My progress from here on in is to continue on the development of Emily, as well as make a start on the deliverable that is due shortly. In regards to Emily, I am sort of playing around with the bits that I have to see what additional things I can incorporate. I still am not sure on what kind of form I want Emily to be, but I want her to look appealing and perhaps even cute (like Wall-E and R2-D2)! I do also have to consider that I am targeting an adult based audience rather than a family with children though, so a cute look may not necessarily be the most appropriate. However this is just an initial concept of the form approach that I am thinking of, but may change depending on the materials I can access.

Mid Semester Break and Week Seven Progress

Piyumi Pathirana - Sun 26 April 2020, 11:14 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 1:35 pm

Over The Mid Sem

My mid semester break consisted of relaxing and working through some of the projects in the Arduino booklet. I have never worked with an Arduino before (and had hardly heard of it prior to this course) and so approaching this was quite daunting. I also have very little programming skills due to my dual degree not requiring many coding courses, so I'm not as confident as some of my team mates, which makes me feel a little self conscious regarding the project. The individual aspect of the project is starting to get to me slightly in terms of my confidence of the task. Going through the booklet helped a bit, however I'm still finding it a bit difficult to successfully complete some of the projects.

Getting Back Into It

Despite the concerns I have, I have finalised the general concept that I am aiming to achieve by the end of the semester. I've set myself a concept that I would like to achieve, which is a simplified version of the original Energy Saving Emily concept, mainly focusing on light. Previously, I mentioned exploring controlling air conditioning aspects or water aspects, however I feel that this may be difficult to control in such a project, hence the reason that I have gone for light, as this can be done through simply turning the lights on or off. This week I have been playing around with the Arduino kit as well as some of the items sent in the auxiliary kit that I received. I've been exploring the types of kit equipment that is suitable to my project and am discovering what I may need to do in order to bring my concept to life.

From doing some scoping online this week on ways to use the Arduino to get my idea going, I have found that the photoresistor (LDR) is a great way to measure the amount of light. Additionally, I have discovered that the 2 channel relay module that I received will be useful in being able to control power usage, such as a light bulb. These are still things that I am playing around with, but I am getting more of an understanding of the bits and pieces that will help me with my project.


The Planned Concept

Energy Saving Emily is a household device which recognises the usage of energy within a home. My focus on Emily will explore light usage within an adult household. When Emily detects that the lights have been on for too long, she will alert the user through either sound or light (potentially both). If the user does nothing about this then Emily will restrict the usage of light in the most commonly used room of the house for a period of time during the night. She will hopefully have the ability to speak and make comments towards the user in a playful manner, as a way to engage with the user and ensure that they don't get annoyed or bored with her.

The Ideal Concept

Were I to have all the time, resources and skills required to develop Emily, Emily would be able to measure a variety of energy usage elements within a home. She would be humorous, cunning and playful. The device would have a face to feel more personalised and display emotions that explain how she's feeling about the current energy usage. Emily would be able to converse with the user and provide feedback based on their power usage. She would still restrict power, depending on usage ie. aircon, water, lights.

Weeks Five and Six Progress

Piyumi Pathirana - Tue 21 April 2020, 11:05 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 1:33 pm


During this time, a lot of what was done was domain research to decide upon factors to focus on within the project and completing the first major group assessment piece this semester. As a team, we decided that we would all like to pursue the idea of Emily, but we will explore varying aspects. Each of us will be developing Emily to suit different target audiences, and we will each focus on a form of our choosing. We've also decided to look at varying energy saving practices, depending on our interests. Most of my team members appear to be leaning towards the heating and cooling aspect that I previously mentioned, however I'm tossing up between that as well as light consumption within the home. I'm really excited to see all the outcomes that the team has, as we all seem to have really different takes on Energy Saving Emily! We are all very willing to help each other out where possible and share any findings we discover during the process.

My Direction With Emily

I have decided that I would like to explore Emily in an adult household. I believe that sustainable living is something that has only just taken off recently, and due to it being a novel topic, it is hard for adults to adopt such methods at home, due to the living styles they are so accustomed to. I would like for Emily to educate adults playfully and make an impact on their household energy savings. Taking on peer feedback, I would like to find ways in which to induce more discomfort into Emily in order to prompt energy changing habits. I think that adults would be able to tolerate such levels of discomfort more than children would, hence the selection of my target audience. To induce further discomfort, possibilities that I was initially exploring included ideas such as making the aircon temperature colder when using it unnecessarily, or similarly doing the same with water. The most prominent idea that I have had which I think would be within my skill range is to implement light restrictions during night time should a user use too much light during the day time. I would probably only restrict this to one room in the house though (ie. living room) as I think it would be quite cruel to leave a whole house stranded in darkness at night! I think to balance such an act, it would be humorous for Emily to be a bit cheeky and almost taunt the users slightly when the darkness strikes, but still be funny and hopefully somewhat endearing.


I'm happy with the progress I've made on the development of the idea, and how the project is functioning in terms of individual work and team collaboration. I'm still nervous about the implementation of it, however I have made some progress on the Arduino Kit booklet, which has given me a bit more confidence. Something I'm not happy with is my journal documentation! I have definitely been losing a bit of motivation to document and have some catching up to do which I'm definitely not happy about. I originally thought journaling would be the easiest part of the course, but clearly the motivation part is not as easy as I thought it would be.

Future Progress

Things that I am needing to do from here is working with the Arduino Kit to implement my idea, and of course coming up with a unique form for Emily! I haven't had any burst of inspiration yet, but I'm hoping that through developing a functioning prototype, I will be able to come up with a form that suits her functionality and personality. Finally, I am going to try and allocate a time on certain days to do some documenting on my journal posts once or twice a week (fingers crossed I can stick to it somewhat)!

Week Four Progress

Piyumi Pathirana - Sun 29 March 2020, 2:12 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 1:30 pm


With all the changes going on, it was really interesting to use the platform of Zoom to participate in classes for the first time. Using multiple platforms such as Zoom, combined with Watch2gether and Slack was a creative way of watching all the teams concepts and then providing feedback to them, while engaging in class.

Energy Saving Emily appeared to be quite an intriguing concept to a lot of our peers! We received some great feedback from everyone, giving us paths to explore that we previously didn't think about. I compiled all the relevant feedback that was given.


We did find a few comments about how implementing the aspect of discomfort could be deterring to people wanting to interact with it, however our topic is Change Through Discomfort, so that sort of defeated the purpose of our whole idea.

Potential Future Implementation Aspects

Aspects of feedback that have really interested me include implementing an emotional connection between the user and Emily, Emily providing further discomfort by potentially making the water or aircon too cold when using the shower or AC for too long, how Emily responds to several bad habits happening at a time, or the movement of Emily being annoying, whether it be the user having to chase Emily or Emily chasing after the user. A comment that definitely gave us something to think about is having some sort of reward system or end reward once the behaviour has been corrected.

Concerns Going Forward

Reflecting upon these ideas, I would love to explore more around the element of restricting the users access to their energy supply if they are not being energy efficient. I think this is a playful and annoying element that could be applied to the concept. In terms of adding an emotional connection to Emily, ideas that I'm currently thinking surround speech between the user and Emily. I'm unsure how I would implement this though, so further exploration around technologies would be needed. These ideas sound really exciting however I am definitely concerned about finding ways to actually incorporate some of these ideas. I've never really taken on a task like this individually so am hoping that the aspects that I do incorporate into my final concept will be functional and suitable to the project!

Things To Look Forward To

We have luckily gained ourselves a new team member! It will be really interesting to see the ideas and skills that she brings to the table. I'm looking forward to exploring my own skills and thinking about how to get a start on Emily, especially in the situation we are facing when a lockdown could happen at any point in time. It's quite important that I have access to as many resources that are necessary, should anything drastic happen! I'm also intrigued about the paths that my team members decide to take, to see what kind of form they give Emily and what habits they decide to explore. It will definitely be a challenge but is something that I'm getting more excited about as the semester progresses and our idea comes along.

sustainableactions #takingdifferentdirections

Adapting To Changes

Piyumi Pathirana - Mon 23 March 2020, 9:16 pm

Continuing The Course

The last week has been quite a mixture of emotions, confusion and thinking about the future. With COVID-19 making a huge impact to the course, it has definitely brought upon new challenges and directions to take. Regardless, I'm still excited and ready to continue the course with all the changes to come, although am quite nervous about taking on the task with a more individual outlook as I don't feel very strongly in my programming skills.

Group Chats

Upon discovering the changes to the course, we sadly lost a team member within the group. Upon discussion with the remaining team members, we revised our initial idea of the chair as it felt like a more complex idea to create as an individual. The idea that we've come up with explores changing energy consumption habits through implementing factors of discomfort. We felt that through an individual aspect, this might be something that might be less difficult to tackle.

Research Questions

We conducted initial research questioning to collect some ideas that we could explore. The following questions and responses were recorded:

Q1. What energy consumption habits do you want to change?

  • Taking shorter showers
  • Using phone less
  • Using and buying less plastic
  • Reduce power usage at home
  • If it’s too cold/hot for the dogs
  • Outside door is left open
  • Devices/tvs/lights left on
  • Cleaning not done
  • Air conditioner/heater left on

Q2. 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.

Q3. 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

The Concept

Based on the responses we received, we came up with the concept of a small portable object that playfully annoys and disturbs users when they have committed a negative energy consumption habit, ie. leaving the aircon running when not present. The user will be alerted after a certain time through an annoying sound initially (potentially the ball complaining), however if they do not take any action, then it will continue to annoy them through flashing lights, vibrations and annoying sounds. The goal is that the user becomes annoyed and made to feel uncomfortable which forces them to fix the problem. Hopefully with constant annoyance, this will improve their habits of being more energy efficient at home.

Possible ways to explore and create this that were discussed were varying sensors to measure light, sound, water and movement detection. Sensors is not something that I have had much experience with however, so I'm hoping that it won't be too challenging for me. In saying that though, I'm definitely ready to step out of my comfort zone and explore something new!

We are still confused about the future of the project and our ability to be able to develop such a project with all the big changes, so hopefully after the presentations this week we will have more of an understanding and more confidence in the concept and ourselves!

#adaptingtochange #exploringnewideas

Week Three Progress

Piyumi Pathirana - Thu 12 March 2020, 10:26 pm

World Cafe

Beginning the week with World Cafe was quite exciting. I had already done a form of this in DECO3500 and quite enjoyed the activity, so it was great to be able to do this again with a variety of different topics. In my previous journal post I listed some of the themes that I was interested in exploring, so this activity gave me a chance to do that, as well as meet more people in the class.

The topics that I had a chance to explore were Change Through Discomfort, Change Through Positive Reinforcement, Emotional Totems, Sassy Tech, Bothersome Tech and Creative Learning. Throughout this activity I hosted twice, which was exciting however it would have been nice to see some other people step up to host so that I could explore one last topic. In saying that though, it did allow me to take on a slight leadership role, which is something that I have been trying to improve upon.

Imgur Imgur

After exploring these topics and brainstorming some weird and wacky ideas, the top four topics that really intrigued me were Change Through Discomfort, Change Through Positive Reinforcement, Sassy Tech and Bothersome Tech. I definitely think the themes that I'm interested in overlap in some way which I found quite interesting.

Chatting With Bash

To continue the week, former UQ graduate Bash Isai, chatted to the cohort online all the way from London. It was really interesting to hear his experiences and he gave us some valuable tips on how to get a job. I had come across the idea of job recruiters as my partner has one of his own but I didn't realise how easy and useful they could be. I definitely am going to be looking into finding myself a recruitment agent!

He also conducted this insightful activity which began with us writing 50 words about ourself, and then continuously cutting it down until we had three words. From those three we had to select the one that best represented us. The three that I ended with were unique, genuine and exceptional, however I thought that genuine was the word that best encompassed myself and my attitude as a whole.

Meeting The Team

It was finally the day to meet the team! I'm happy with my team as I've never had the opportunity to work with any of them and so far it seems like we've been getting along well. We do all struggle a bit with programming though so that should be quite interesting, although we've made an agreement to work on any kind of programming bits together. I got my first preference of Change Through Discomfort which is awesome, meaning that I'm excited to get into the course!

We dived straight in, coming up with a team name (Negative Nancies) and listing out potential bad habits to explore. Through this process, we placed a tick next to ideas that we thought would be interesting to pursue as they seemed more suitable for the semester project.


We further pursued some of these ideas, exploring potential interactions that could be possible ideas to target throughout the course. As we brainstormed, the topic of implementing discomfort towards sitting down for too long looked promising. We brainstormed quite a few fun ideas for it, so it's looking like this may be what we decide to explore! We currently haven't decided upon what characteristics we want to implement in the chair, but with the next assessable coming up in less than next week, we should have a drafted idea soon!

Imgur Imgur

#ideation #discomfortingsolutions

Week Two Progress

Piyumi Pathirana - Mon 9 March 2020, 9:40 pm
Modified: Mon 22 June 2020, 1:04 pm

Project Inspiration Ideas

This week resulted in the cohort presenting an array of unique and playful ideas using open ended interactions in everyday life. It was quite interesting to see the different modes through which classmates selected to host their concept as well as the varying themes that people decided to tackle. Together as a group, the class collectively went through all the ideas before coming up with general categories. Below are the ideas sorted into categories:

Imgur Imgur Imgur

This method of collecting ideas and categorising them is quite efficient and a great way to see a variety of ideas and their similarities. For future, this may be method that I adopt when generating ideas for the course.

From these ideas, the cohort further explored categorising some of the potential ideas into interesting themes that can be used for the semester project. The following ideas were brainstormed:

Imgur Imgur

A final list was compiled outlining a total of 17 themes to explore.

Concepts That Intrigued Me

Some of the ideas that drew me included the themes of education and music. In particular two ideas stood out to me, the first being mort. the toy for children to learn morse code, and The Bus Composer, which allows bus riders to listen to and create music on the bus for their own ears. I thought the context of these ideas was very practical yet exciting, unique and suitable, which I think is why they stood out to me. Having a project at the end of this semester that ticks those four criteria would definitely be a great outcome for me!

Some of the themes that I would be interested in exploring within the 17 themes that were brainstormed include Beautify The Self, Change Through Discomfort, Musical Things, Emotional Totems, Bothersome Tech and Body As Controller. I think it will be interesting to explore some of the annoying aspects of tech, as well as concepts that are about ones self. I've always thought mental health is a really strong concept and it is a theme that I used last semester in a different course which is why I also have an interest for it.

Reflection On My Concept

I was excited to see a generally good response from my peers based on my concept of the Pillow Pal. One interesting comment that I was given was the possibility of being able to select the scent that one enjoys, as it was mentioned that some people may be irritated by certain smells. This idea of personalisation to a person also inspires me to potentially think about how this could be incorporated within my potential future project. Unfortunately this was the only suggestive feedback that I was provided so I have struggled to think of other ways to better the pillow concept currently.

Additional feedback commended my concept on allowing the user to be able to resonate their emotions for a while. I think being able to resonate with an object in an emotional sense is quite an important aspect, regardless of whether the object is specifically catered to emotional control or not. Hence, the idea of a user being able to somehow have an emotional attachment to a concept is something that I ideally hope the project that I undertake this semester will do.

Final Thoughts

Overall I think my presentation was clear and effective (although I definitely think I spoke quite fast due to nerves!) and my idea seems to be novel and relevant. I definitely think there is room for improvement and perhaps this may not be a project that I will choose to take on during this semester, just because I feel as though it lacks a bit of depth. However I definitely am proud of myself for coming up with a new and innovative idea that hardly overlapped with any other ideas!

Project Inspo: Pillow Pal

Piyumi Pathirana - Mon 2 March 2020, 10:01 pm
Modified: Mon 2 March 2020, 10:06 pm

Pillow Pal

Concept Sketch


Concept Description

With constant pressures being placed on our shoulders everyday and an increase in demanding situations that people feel the need to succumb to, people are dealing with stressors and unwanted negative emotions all the time. These can be very hard to overcome when feeling surrounded by people or being placed in unfamiliar situations, as people tend to not even realise the distressing feelings that they are experiencing.

I myself get quite stressed and upset when things don't go according to plan and don't even notice how I'm feeling! Once those feelings come, I find it very hard to restore myself back to a calm state right away.

So, to combat these emotions, that's where the Pillow Pal can help. The Pillow Pal is pillow that senses the negative emotions a user is undergoing (potentially through heartbeat and body warmth). It uses a meditative approach to create a calming atmosphere.

Based on the particular emotion a user feels, the Pillow Pal releases a scent and song to relax the user, as well as changing colour to make the user aware of the type of emotion they might be undergoing. Initially, the song that is played will try to resonate with how the user is feeling, before gently transitioning to a more relaxed song. Once the Pillow Pal has registered that the user is calm, it changes its colour to a warm comforting white, while maintaining its soothing scent and calming song.

The Pillow Pal hopes to bring some light to those darker days that almost everyone experiences on a day-to-day basis, and to bring about awareness of recognising these negative emotions.



#sensory #emotions #relaxation

Week One Progress

Piyumi Pathirana - Mon 2 March 2020, 7:00 pm
Modified: Mon 2 March 2020, 10:09 pm

Seven HCI Grand Challenges

In class this week, we explored seven challenges that outline the works of leading researchers in human-computer interaction. In particular, a team and I focused on accessibility and universal access and the challenge of incorporating it into potential solutions. This topic was particularly challenging as we struggled to find any existing technological breakthroughs that allow for universal access. The only example we could come up with was an example not relating to HCI, which was the implementation of ramps to serve the same purpose as stairs, which are not very costly to implement, and can be found globally. Below is an image of what was brainstormed as a team:


Card-Driven Brainstorm Ideation

Round 1

This activity was great fun! It was a really exciting way to generate wacky and unique ideas. The first activity was conducted as a group and we came up with some interesting and unique ideas. One in particular that really stood out to us in the group was mis-directional sound within a museum to have the quality of being nomadic. Below is some of the unique and interesting ideas that we came up with as a group:


Round 2

The second activity required us to do the same, but individually. It was quite challenging to come up with ideas and easy to exhaust ideas, particularly with challenging scenarios, which is why it was handy that we were able to swap a card around with other team members. It was interesting to note that swapping only one of the four cards around could completely change the generation of ideas! Below are some of the ideas I brainstormed during this rapid fire activity.


Round 3

Finally, we regrouped with our team members once again and worked with an idea that stood out to us. In this particular case we were all happy and intrigued with the mis-directional sound idea, however we changed the design aspect of youth to control, which gave us a unique view on ideation. Here is the final set of ideas we came up with:


It was really interesting to see how swapping out an element could completely change the outcome. I really enjoyed this activity and hope to use a similar form of idea generation to create new an exciting ideas for future works.

An Intro Into Me

Piyumi Pathirana - Wed 26 February 2020, 5:06 pm
Modified: Wed 26 February 2020, 5:06 pm

An Intro Into Me

Hi there! I'm Piyumi, a final year student studying a Bachelor of Business Management and Information Technology. I am an avid enthusiast of travelling, music, food and design! I've been at uni for a long time now due to not having a clue for a long time about what I wanted to pursue, but having specialised in UX Design, I definitely think I've found something that I'd love to pursue as a career!

Throughout this course I hope to be able to successfully create an innovative project that I'm proud of and that I have challenged myself to complete. I'm excited to learn and be very hands on during the course to achieve this through making use of the amazing facilities that I'm only recently discovering about! Having never really done much construction, I'm a little nervous to dive into something new, but am always up for a challenge!