Documentation & Reflection

Final Week - Before Exibition

Thomas Saly - Mon 8 June 2020, 2:48 pm

We've made it!

Finally, our prototypes work together as intended, or that is to say almost, or good enough. My prototype in particular, for reasons that are beyond me, still struggles to send messages to other balls. However, both Tuva's and Marie's balls can now send and receive messages after Tuva fiddled with the code over the weekend and somehow got it to work. Looking back none of us are actually sure why it did not work before and why it works now, but that is hardly important now. The fact that it works means that we have a proof of concept to show during the exhibition, which is a huge relief after all this effort.


As it turns out I was able to finish my website on Friday and is up and running on the server with seemingly everything working as intended. It's not as visually pleasing as I would have liked, however, the reality is that I simply have no time to perfect the visuals, as is often the case towards the end of the semester due to other assignments, in this case, the daunting task of writing my thesis paper. That said, I'm happy with the content of the portfolio as I provide a detailed walkthrough over how everything works, including the code. In addition, although I'm not entirely sure my team has the same vision, I've included what I have had as the entire intended product, what I would have wished it could have been with more time and resources.

Finally, I would like to say that although we've had a hump and hills and that our prototype still has some simulated bits that I'm happy where we have ended up and excited and anxious to see how it will perform during the exhibition and how it will be received.

Week 13

Thomas Saly - Thu 4 June 2020, 10:46 am


After this weeks contact, we sat down as a team and tried to entirely combine our code so that all team members' prototypes have all the functionality. We found it was not as easy as expected. Since some of the solutions are hardcoded and the orientation of everyone's accelerometer is a little differently placed in the different balls some functions are still very unreliable. In addition, sometimes the code seems to skip some part, exactly why we are not sure of yet. Although some of this is due to a lack of planning, I feel that much of this would have been avoided if we would have worked in closer proximity to each other and thereby work more efficiently. I am lucky that I live in the same apartment as one of my team members which means that we've been able to coordinate with each other much more efficiently than our other team members. It has been surprising to me that although most of our complex work has been done digitally that it still is so much easier to coordinate and discuss problems and solutions in person, or at least that is true for me, not sure how this affects other people. However, based on my current evidence, my team at the very least works much more efficiently in person rather than online.

Work to be Done

Obviously, based on what is written above, work still remains since our prototypes are still not functioning well together at this moment. Although we have some older version of the code with only partial functionality which can be reverted to for the exhibit and have more components simulated it would, of course, be much better to have everything working.

Besides this, I still have some work to be done on the website, which, with some luck, will be finished on Friday, giving me plenty of time to get it up and running. Based on what we were told in the contact I fear that I have gone a little too much in-depth on how my prototype works than was intended, however, since I've already done the work I might as well show it of and, if it would be too much, simply condense it before the final delivery.

Finishing it a little early means that I can focus more on my Thesis since this course has required much time in the form of individual and team components, leaving little time to work on my Thesis. That said, I'm still not entirely sure how this semester would have been different if COVID-19 would not have been. Although some things have become more challenging, I also feel, since we've been confined to our home for some time, that some things have become more efficient. That said, no matter what would be more effective, I much prefer doing things in person and I'm very happy that this is my last semester, meaning I'll not be participating in another online semester. I know now that if I were ever to study again it would be in person, not an online course.

Week 12

Thomas Saly - Mon 1 June 2020, 1:39 pm

In this week's studio we had our usual stand-up, this week including a one-line statement about our concept. The team talked about a series of one-liners together and landed on the following "E-mories, a distraction-free physical platform to remotely share personal emotions with close friends and family".


Currently, my prototype is almost finished, all that remains is putting all components inside the ball. this proved more difficult than anticipated as nothing, not even silicone will stick to my ball. this means that I needed to sew all components inside and close the ball up with needle and thread as well. After doing this the first time I found out that the bend sensor was behaving very strangely, it turned out that it was folding itself between the two halves of the ball. After long deliberation and attempts, I found that putting the bend sensor in only one half was the best solution, although the squeeze sensitivity does suffer

Here are some GIFs I created for the website that show my prototype in action:

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My portfolio is coming along fairly nicely, it won't win any design competitions, but visual-design has never been my strength so I'm not too fussed about it. I do feel this course has been a little repetitive in some ways, repeating everything we do in the proposal, the video, journals and now the portfolio. In addition, we have to reflect on the course and how our project is related to the theme etc again now in the portfolio, the team rapport and the final reflection paper, which to me seems like overkill. That said, I do understand that this type of reflection is important, I struggle with seeing the point of doing it three times in a row with no difference or changes in between. Finally, everything looks like it will be done for the exhibition, only the material study remains which I plan to do early week 13 so to have plenty of time analyzing the results and include them in the protfolio.

Week 11 - Tuesday Class and Silicone

Thomas Saly - Wed 20 May 2020, 9:00 am

Tuesday Class

During class this week we gave had a standup as we have every week, this week had a nice spin as we focused on something positive first, "what is good about lockdown", it was a nice change of pace to see people talk about good things. I myself have felt the need for positivity since lockdown and it's nice to have another source for it.

Working with Silicone

Monday I looked through the entire Indooroopilly shopping centre and was unable to find a suitable ball for our concept so instead of wasting more time looking for a suitable ball, I decided it was time to make my own. So that's why I started working with silicone to create a semi-translucent ball for my material study. To create this ball I first used plaster to create moulds since I had a lot of leftover from my thesis. I cut up a board game box that we had no use for to create two compartments. After mixing the powder in water I covered a discarded piece of the Christmas baubles we've been using with clingwrap and pressed it into the plaster to create the mould. This ended up being more challenging than expected since the plaster dries very quickly and becomes increasingly difficult to work with when it does, this is easily seen in the image below where the bottom half of the mould is the first and the top the second on I filled, the first is much smoother.


After the plaster dried I followed Lorna's tutorial on mixing silicone with Corn Flour, although mine did not look the same or become as solid while mixing I put the silicone in the moulds and hoped for the best. In one the mould, I only put a thin layer of silicone and in the other a thick layer and used a smaller Christmas bauble covered cling wrap to make it hollow so as to have space for the Arduino components inside.


After letting it dry for a couple of hours I removed the silicone from the moulds. This went much easier than expected since I feared they would get stuck in the plaster since it did have some crevices, but silicone did what silicone loves to do and did not adhere to anything. The original idea was to have both versions serving different purposes. I planned to put the skin over the current ball and create a second half for the thick version to create an entire ball. However, on closer inspection of the finished silicone, I found that the thin skin could work great a thin skin on the outside of the created ball. This way I can put the bend sensor in between making it invisible to the user but still able to get accurate readings. That said, I still want to do some user testing to see whether they prefer the current ball with a silicone skin or the full silicone ball. I've not tried to see light can pass sufficiently through the ball because I wanted to give it overnight to make sure it was entirely dry. Today I plan to continue working on the ball, cleaning it up, creating the other half and test it with the LED strip.

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Week 10

Thomas Saly - Mon 18 May 2020, 10:44 am

Tuesday Class

Most of Tuesday's class was allocated to watching videos, start critiquing. As a team we watched through and commented together on about half our allocated videos during class. I found it extremely useful that we were able to start this process during contact hours. Not only did that mean that it was easy to organize a group meeting because our entire team was naturally already there but the course staff was available within seconds to answer questions and help with issues. In addition, it was useful to have one of the other teams available to ask questions during this time, and for other teams, we were available.

Thursday Class

After the initial standup during the workshop, our team went to work on our feedbacks, fixing any issues and misconceptions, finally posting them to Miro. Thereafter, we decided on having a group meeting on Monday to plan out our group goals so that we'll be where we want to be by the end of this semester.

Critiquing Process and Thoughts

First during Tuesday's class we went through about half of the videos together, pausing between each one to discuss our ideas. However, by the end of Class Sigurd and I wanted to continue working while the other team members had other engagements. What we decided on was that Sigurd and I would continue watching videos and creating bullet points and comments on the remaining videos and documents. In addition, we converted the comments from everyone on the first half of the videos into a cohesive text so that it would be easier to read and understood by the recipients. After the other team members had a chance to write their own comments on the remaining teams they wrote out the rest in a similar manner. After all feedback was written out all members read through them and made sure that everyone's thoughts and feedback was present. Although this would have been a lot easier to do in person, as most things are, I feel out solution of running the feedback asynchronously was the best way of doing it. I find discussions over video chat are not as good and are often very tiresome. Running our collective feedback asynchronously did so that we were able to, in our own time, write feedback and think through everything in detail and give feedback when we had time. I believe this actually ended up creating better feedback then we would have done over video chat because it became a more iterative process, feedback becoming better with each iteration.

Further Plans

I'm currently trying to figure out what I'll need to do in preparation for my material study and how to best do it. Optimally I would have a selection of materials that participants can touch, this would mean that I could only do this with a small sample size of participants. That said, having the same materials for all users I think would be better than doing a remote test where participants either guess at how materials feel or use objects in their own home, resulting in me having to guess at how they feel. I'll most likely try and create some silicone objects and will try finding some other materials and objects in some stores to gather a greater range. This will be done simultaneously as attempting to connect all team prototypes and whatever we decide on during Monday's meeting.

Week 9 - Prototype Delivery

Thomas Saly - Mon 11 May 2020, 2:45 pm

This week has largely focused around the finalization of prototype testing, creating the Video and the Supporting material for the prototype submission. As per usual the creation of the video took longer than expected.

Tuesday meeting:

After the studio on Tuesday, we had a group meeting where we decided on what each member was to do in preparation for the prototype delivery. For the team section of the video, Sigurd and I were responsible for making the script and structure of the video as well as recording most of the video required which was a lot easier for us since we live in the household, and finally, Marie used all the overmentioned materials to put the whole thing together.

Thursday meeting:

Based on the feedback we got from the tutor we decided we needed a paradigm for the whole concept so to do that, during our meeting during the workshop we decided on the following. Sigurd and I became responsible for writing the scenario we used for our team section and Tuva was responsible for drawing it.

General Thoughts

For the most part, creating the video was fairly straight forward, after creating a script the rest comes together fairly easy. When created properly the script shows all the required footage needed. Sometimes the timing can be somewhat challenging, luckily Tuva had the great idea for us to wait with our filming until she had a chance to record the voice bits, this made it so that we had a much easier time recording video because we now knew how long the shots had to be useful. Although this type of delivery including video usually takes longer to put together when comparing it to a pure text-based delivery, I have to say it is a lot more enjoyable and it was a nice break from writing the conference paper for my Thesis, the downside obviously being that it took away time from me being able to that, but you can't have everything.

Week 8

Thomas Saly - Mon 4 May 2020, 8:57 am
Modified: Mon 4 May 2020, 9:01 am

At the beginning of this week I had decided to tank the actual recording of sound for this project so most of the week has gone to finishing up the prototype so it's ready for testing. Testing will be somewhat challenging due to the physical nature of the prototype. I am, however, lucky that I have some people that I live with, so I'll be able to have two actual physical tests. In addition to those two testers, I'll send out a video with an interview sheet so that the 2 other participants can give their response in their own time without the need to find a time everyone is free. I would have liked more participants, however, between my Master Thesis and this course I've started to use up my social circles and those that I have not used are much too busy to participate. I could contact strangers on the internet for help, however, I have yet to do that. I think this is partly due to the fact that this is just course work and won't actually help with the development of an actual something, it gives me the feeling that I would slightly waste their time. I feel that this would be very different in a job situation because like I said, it would be for an actual purpose besides finishing a school project. I felt this for my Masters Thesis because it is something that at least is for academic purposes so although it's not for a company it still helps further research in my field so it feels more worthwhile. I think it would be interesting if Uni could pay students small fees to be testers in a variety of courses from time to time. This could make it a lot easier for students to get participants and really streamline the whole experience. Although I think getting participants is a part that we should learn, usually testers get some sort of benefit from being testers and usually that is not something we as students can afford. Streamlining this also could mean better and broader testing conditions ending in better finding and overall better results. I know there are companies that do this already, I just think since Uni already has a good mixing pot of cultures, backgrounds and fields of education it could a good way to improve the learning potential of a selection of courses whilst also giving something back to the students.

One major thing that I accomplished this week was to link up my prototype with Sigurd's. After someone finishes the recording simulation with my prototype I automatically send the audio file (currently empty) and a colour to Sigurd's prototype which he then shows as notification, what has not yet bee included is the choice of the colour or the throwing of the ball to send. However, even without those parts, it still gives a good indication of context when both Sigurd and myself can show a little more context between different balls visually.

My plan for this week is to finish up user-testing, analyse the data that I have collected and then create the video and supporting document. The aims of my user testing is fairly simple, first and foremost I'm testing whether the interaction paradigm functions as intended and makes sense to users. Thereafter I aim to find what kind of messages users would like to be able to send through this artifact so that I can know what the next prototype could include or in what direction we should take the project when it comes the content people would like to send. This could end in me finding that people want something that I can't make, but at the very least I should get an indication of what the optimal solution would be. I think this might be a week where I'll go over the allocated 20 hours of work, but that is natural the week before submission.

Week 7

Thomas Saly - Sun 26 April 2020, 11:18 am

Towards the latter part of the break, I was able to start to work properly on this prototype having received all the parts that we ordered. Earlier that week we also went around the CBD to look for suitable balls that we could use for our prototype. Apart from some Christmas baubles we o only found either coloured balls or solid balls, all unsuitable to shine coloured lights through. So for now, we are using the Christmas baubles although I want to do a materials study for the prototype after this to find what material and feel people would prefer.

We have chosen as a team to divide the idea up in parts so that we can prototype different parts each and put it together to create a whole. My part, for this prototype, is using a squeeze interaction to record a message, store that sound and making it available to be uploaded to a server so that the receiver can listen to the message, which Marie will be working on. Although the technical bit of this is relatively simple (apart from saving it to an SD card as written in a previous post) the testing will reveal some interesting information. The goal is to find whether the chosen interaction (squeeze) is appropriate for its purpose. Besides that, it will be interesting to see what users will think when interacting with the prototype and what kind of messages they would want to send and how long they would want them to be if there is a definable length to how long a message should be possible.

How far I've currently come is that nothing is done the balls looks like this


Then when the ball is squeezed it starts recording sound and the led strip inside starts wiping red like this


When the user is done recording and stops squeezing the ball it starts wiping yellow to indicate that the ball is busy readying the message to be sent, when ready the less wipe green twice to indicate the message is ready.

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After som more research it seems that there is a fault with the SD card boards that we have bought and that is what may be causing the issues with saving the files. We've explored other methods of recording but have thus far not been able to do so. The last thing we tried was using JS to record sound but have not made it work yet. It looks like I won't be recording actual sound yet this prototype and be simulating this. I'll probably include this in a later prototype but for now it's much more important to finish to create something that will give some valuable data for further development.

The ideal product the way I see it would be a selection of balls which other users can send messages to, those messages can take the shape of sound, images, videos and other media content, whatever users want to use to tell their story. The point of this is to take the experience away from conventional messaging systems and make the experience special again, more along the lines of the intimacy you get from a handwritten letter rather than another message on your phone. I also would love to create a wall of favourite memories and stories. The Idea is taken from the movie Inside Out where you have a wall with memory balls if they are not interacted with they fade. The idea behind this is to encourage the user to remember good memories to create a healthy emotional state, especially during challenging times.

Week 6

Thomas Saly - Tue 21 April 2020, 7:40 am
Modified: Sun 26 April 2020, 9:34 am

This Week's Class

During this weeks class we did some observational research, I believe the original idea was to do it first-hand, as in going to observe people doing things where they are doing it. However, due to the current restrictions, we instead chose to watch videos on youtube. Although it by that point it's no longer first hand since videos can be filmed and edited in a way to make any point the creator wants, we found it the best way within the time-limit to do the task at hand. This was a very useful exercise and I wished we would do this type of thing more. Doing this in class and talking about everyone's observations and analysis of it would be very useful. Also seeing what kind of observations more experienced people such as tutors and lecturers have could be very useful for developing good practices and skills.

The latter part of the class was dedicated to creating a Miro board of our project, defining a collective mindmap of our project with the team was relatively useful. Although we were all mostly in the same mind space we were able to clarify some points and clear up some misconceptions. Underneath are images of our comprehensive miro board which I feel sums up our project nicely.

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On Friday we ordered parts for all our individual prototypes, we ordered them with express shipping but as it turns out the AUS Postal service is suffering from some substantial delays. This has been very inconvenient since I had plans to work on the prototype for most of the break. On top of that once they arrived last Friday we found out that we had ordered a wrong, which is not compatible with the Arduino. The part is a speaker with a built in amplifier, luckily for us we found out that the speaker can be removed and we'll be able to build a functional speaker from it. The only issue is that we need a transistor and naturally we have no clue what kind/strength to get, we've asked one of the tutors for assistance but have yet to receive a response on slack.

For my own individual part I've been working on recording sound, more details to be posted later this week. I've gotten it to work some of the time but it seems to be very unreliable. Since the Arduino does not really have any real storage space we've opted to use a microSD card. I've followed a guide using a library to make the Arduino read and save the sounds from the microphone, however, thus far it works about 25% of the time and I have no clue as to why it sometimes works and why not, it's been incredibly frustrating and it's at these times I really feel the disadvantage of not being able to receive direct help. Of course this would not have been possible during the break, but the fact that you can't just sit down with people and work through a problem does make things a lot harder. Below are some images of my current setup, it's not pretty or anything close to how it would look later on but everything is hooked up in a way so that changes can easily be made whenever needed.


That said, however, although the recording of sound will be crucial in later prototypes it's not for this iteration. This means that I can focus on making the crucial part for the prototype throughout the week, conduct some testing and worry about the recording bit later on once I have the rest figured out. That said I have been able to rig up a bend sensor and am currently figuring out exactly how I'm going to fasten it inside of my ball and will be calibrating my ball so that when it is squeezed it will record sound, or at least at this stage, pretend to do so.

Week 5 - User Interview and Proposal

Thomas Saly - Mon 6 April 2020, 4:54 pm

Between the Contact and the Workshop, all team members did one user interview to help us refine our idea further. We designed the protocol together in our meeting after the Tuesdays Contact and analyzed the results together during Thursday's workshop. I feel that everyone did a great job on the interviews and that we gathered some really valuable data from it. I hope that we can keep gathering good data throughout the semester with these new restrictions in mind. I would say that we are pretty lucky in this fact since all members have roommates in one form or another so physical testing is still possible. That said remote testing is still very needed since those that you live in close proximity to tend to adopt some of the same views as you and have likely had some insight into the project you¨ve been working on. Although they'll still provide valuable data we'd likely get better data if we interview people who have no previous knowledge of our concept. This means that just like in my Master Thesis we'll have to get a little creative when it comes to testing our physical prototype, although this can be cumbersome it's also interesting to see what creative solutions we can come up with for testing our work.

During the workshop, we got some help from Steven, he helped us decide how we were going to focus our concept, what to include and what to leave in, he said that we should create a sentence that our project should be based on, almost like a research question. Based on that we created the following sentence “How can we encourage others to share positive emotions with close ones remotely”, armed with this it should be much easier to decide whether a function or interaction is valuable to the project by considering if it serves the concept's primary purpose, which is this sentence.

Before we examined the results of our user interviews we still considered using automatic emotion detection for our project. Due to this, I did a lot of research on this topic, looking at different solutions. I landed on using Google's Firebase pack for facial recognition which also has the ability to detect emotions based on facial expressions. After several hours I was still not able to get this to work and put it aside. However, we have now decided to not include automatic emotional detection, I see this as a bittersweet moment since the research I did is no longer needed and essentially wasted time, the good part is that I no longer need to make it work and can focus on the bits that will be useful.

Since Thursday all I've really done is writing different sections of the Proposal I was partially responsible for writing about the Theme and the Relevance to Theme sections of the proposal. In addition to this everyone had to write about at least 1 peer-reviewed article relevant to the assignment. The theme sections were relatively interesting since it allowed me to delve a little deeper into what experts include in emotional intelligence and how our concept fits within it, I was delighted to see that our concept covers almost all categories of emotional intelligence, which means that we have interpreted what emotional intelligence is and thereby have a concept that fits well within it. For my peer-reviewed article, I was very interested in how humans connect colours with emotions. Although it is likely that people from different cultures view colours differently and I'm sure we'll have to do our own testing with colours its nonetheless useful to have a baseline to work from and see how other researchers have explored this space.

Week 5 - Tuesday Workshop and Research

Thomas Saly - Wed 1 April 2020, 10:54 am

Tuesday Contact

During this weeks class, we had a standup where everyone talked about what they had done since last week. Although I see the point of these standups I think they took much too long this time. Part of this is, of course, the online factor, people are not used to it and switching back and forth takes a little bit longer and there were some technical issues. That said, I think it, in general, took longer then it needed to, in future I would prefer everyone just quickly do a point by point things end then instead of discussing things with everyone rather do it more group by group with the Tutors and Lorna opening up more time for the groups that are not involved to work and advance their own projects instead.

After the standup, we all went to our own group zoom meetings and continued working on our ideas and proposal. During this meeting, we as a group talked a little more about our idea and how we intend to split it up, at this time Ben entered our meeting and we talked with him how we had refined our idea and what we could do to improve it. He mentioned that we should have more interaction with the visual output on our prototype which is what we will be focusing on going forward. Having most of the details ironed out we created an interview protocol so that we before our proposal can conduct interviews and use those to guide our further idea refinement and hopefully help us divide our project logically so that all members get something fun to work on but still work on the same idea.

Testing the Arduino kit

After the lecture and the group meeting, I had some idea of what kind of things we may need to use for our project. So in preparation, I did some research on the components we have in our Arduino kit and played around with them to see how they work, how they are wired and how those components code look and function.

Since we've been talking a lot about colored lights I used the potentiometers to create an adjustable RBG light.

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I tried using the engine to make a fan (we won't use a fan but we may use the engine)


Lastly, I used the servo since it's probably better to use the servo to control tiny doors and such because it turns out that you have great amounts of control when using the servo. You're able to set exactly the degrees you want it to go to, not just on/off (did not take any pictures). Now I'm planning to see what kind of facial recognition (preferably free) is out there that'll work with the Arduino

Week 4 - Presentation, Reflection and Group Work

Thomas Saly - Mon 30 March 2020, 12:02 pm

The Covid Conundrum

It's been a difficult time with a lot of changes and just like many, I'm a little disappointed that the course was forced to change into something not quite what we expected. This is, of course, something that is nobody's fault and something that simply had to be done for legal, health and safety reason, that said, it's still sad. Regardless of this, I'll keep going in this course and just try and do the best I can with what we've collectively been given this semester. Although I have some reservations I like to think of myself as a positive person and hope that this semester will still prove to be both educational and entertaining. The only thing I do really hope for is that our team will at the end be able to put together our different project areas and create something that is, at the very least, a cohesive entity.

I have some worries when it comes to both Lectures and presentations over Zoom, we've already experienced some crashes and I fear that they are likely as steadily more of Australia and the rest of the world is moving to purely online education and work environment. We've had a group meeting already where we've used Discord to discuss the future of our project and such and our group was not a fan. We've all been used to having mostly physical meetings which makes it much easier to read body language and in general, I find it much easier to work together when everyone is present. After this week's group meeting we all considered actually meeting up in person for future meetings while taking the necessary precautions. However, this seems to now not be possible since the government has reduced public gathering restrictions from 10 to 2, meaning that only half of the team could possibly meet at the same time. This for us means that we simply have to make do with the tools available do the best we can and make sure that everyone stays as happy and healthy as possible.


This week we listened to all presentations over Zoom, I find that these all-day presentation days can be very taxing, this fact was not reduced by the fact that we were using Zoom. Although it was better then I expected and there are some benefits to this since I live with one of my classmates and we're able to discuss and clarify things while the presentations are going on. However, sitting for that long in front of a TV hearing all kinds of different sound qualities and volumes is a little extra tiring.

Our Presentation

I was fairly happy with our presentation, I highly prefer doing these in person so that I can see the people I'm presenting for and especially during feedback not having to listen to a bunch of mics but, listening to and discussing in person is just so much easier and effective. As far a content goes I feel we hit most of the points and presented our idea clearly. We received some very valuable feedback from the Lora and the Tutors during the live feedback and the group meeting afterwards.

On Friday we had a group meeting where we went through all the feedback we received, both the ones we got live and the ones that we got on Slack from our peers. A large portion of the SLack feedback was around a couple of points and focused mostly around making it a more every day in-house thing instead of a thing on campus. Not only is that a good idea in general, but it is also especially a relevant thing at this moment when everyone has to stay at home and tensions are likely to run high. Some were more about adding more or different interaction which we have considered and talked about and some are to be considered further or included in our idea as we keep refining it in preparation for the proposal. In general I' happy with how our team has functioned this far, we've worked well together and things are running about as smoothly as you can expect.

Other Presentations

In general, I'm very pleased with what everyone has produced. There were some presentations that were a little hard to follow or understand but the majority were created well and with decent enough quality. I feel most of the presentations answered well to the brief, some were a little off on some of the points but they were covered during the feedback, both live and in the Slack comments. Although I felt that there were many good comments I feel discussing an idea in an open classroom is a lot more effective and collective, people building on each other's feedback etc. Although this is possible to do on Zoom it's just really not the same or as effective.

I have to say that my attention span decreased rapidly during the last 30-60 minutes both days and hope that we won't have such long periods of time with people just presenting in a while and that most classes going forward will be more interactive.

Week 3 - Team (Supparoo)

Thomas Saly - Thu 12 March 2020, 11:47 am

On Wednesday we were allocated teams, although the process is somewhat nerve-wracking and feels a lot like playing the lottery, I'm pleased with the results. I was allocated my first choice, Emotional Intelligence and have what seems to be a solid team. One of our team members was not physically present due to potential Corona (luckily already cleared) and was included in the creation of the team contract through chat and google drive, we will discuss the contents in more detail with all members present at our next meeting, discussing, clarifying and changing any points as needed. I'm happy with the contract we've drawn up, it's clear and relatively short meaning that's it's easy to understand and clear points on what is considered conflict and how to deal with it. We also have included a point-by-point plan on how to deal with disagreements when they undoubtedly will arise. We've set up a Discord channel with the needed subchannels for primary communication with Messenger as a backup, Google Drive for documents and files, Github for eventual code and Notion for documentation and keeping everything organized.

Directly following the class we moved to a different location and started planning next weeks presentation and our current project ideas. We went through the papers and posters given and have gained some insight into the theme through the classes eyes, we've planned to come up with two ideas each for our Friday meeting, where we'll discuss and choose one for the presentation next week.

Thus far our group seems to run smoothly and keen on keeping it so. I'm excited to explore the theme some more, come up with an idea collectively and start fleshing it out more. I am somewhat concerned about finding an idea eveyone will be excited about in such a short time, but I'm also keen to see how our group dynamic will function and see how good we all are at compromising and swallowing our collective pride when it comes to ideas.

Week 3 - Day 1

Thomas Saly - Tue 10 March 2020, 5:25 pm

This week, we did world cafe, we moved around the room to different tables containing themes with ideas in those themes to work on improving, changing and iterate on those ideas to get a better image of what the space contains.

Table 1: Ability-centric interactions

For the first table I forgot to take an image before leaving so I won't have a reference image for it. For a large part of this table we tried to define the space a little, deciding what the space and the ideas were and weren't. We had some interesting thoughts around it, mainly that the space did not solve the actual problem but rather created an alterative or substitution. For example the ideas that helped guide vision impaired does not solve the problem of being blind but it helps guide the user through a different sense, meaning it does not fix the problem that the user is blind but giving them an alterative to seeing. the other thing we found is that there was one idea that made the user blind forcing them to navigate through sound based prompts, giving the sensation of blindness possibly showing the user what it could be like to be blind, possibly spreading awareness.

We also came up with a new idea by mixing actuated pixels with the vibrating shoes (the name of the idea escapes me). The idea is to create a suit with the same kind of pressure points, those points mimic the user's surroundings, this means that if the user were to walk towards a pole they would feel the location and size of that pole through their body, slowly getting stronger the closer they get.

Table 2: Musical things.


The group that came before us had explored different ideas on how to make music by other means, and had left a note on how music may be sensed. I came from the ability-centric table thought about how deaf people may gain the ability to sense music. Another idea spawned from this with the inspiration from the backpack that can be used to play beatsaber, a music game. This backpack lets the user feel the beat, creating more immersion for those that aren't deaf and creating a way for deaf and hearing impairment to enjoy the game as well by feeling the music, especially the bass. the idea was to use this technology to feel your surroundings, especially useful for the hearing impaired to sense where the sound is coming from, the more intense the sound the more intense the vibration notifying the user on any potential dangers, such as for example cars or pedestrians asking to pass. This could also be useful for non-hearing impaired, namely those who enjoy listening to music, using this they could be more aware of their surroundings. After we did find that this idea does not specifically fit the theme were in at the moment, but it was an interesting idea nonetheless.

Table 3: Enhanced mundane spaces

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This was the first round where we changed to the different approach, talking about who we are designing for etc. We spotted on one of the sheets an idea on how to enhance solitary confinement. We then discussed what would change if we were designing for children instead (assuming that solitary confinement is meant for adults) This is how the idea of Kindergarnder Prison came. The idee then was built upon thinking about why we would design this. We figured that the reason could be to teach the children but in jail why they were put there and how they could change. One idea was to have a video of they're crime repeatedly shown to them so they really understood what they did wrong. Although this method is somewhat crude, the idea itself I would say is decent, using the prison more as a correctional facility, treating the problem with knowledge and understanding rather then basic punishment.

The Second idea came from driving, specifically learning to drive. We talked about different solutions to learning to drive, simulation and physical representations of driving problems to create a more interactive learning method instead of just theoretical.

We explored the idea of driving some more but this time focusing more on the actual driving part. We thought about the times when you drive and you become unaware of what you are doing, the times where you basically phase out for a long time, a thing that is quite dangerous. No actual ideas came to mind apart from mentioning the signs that are beside the road up to bundaberg keeping drivers awake through trivia questions beside the road. However, we came to the conclusion that safety would be essential here, having something that engaged the driver but no so interesting to draw attention away from the road so it would become dangerous again, a real tightrope to walk.

Table 4: Enhanced mundane spaces (Host)


After introducing the table on what we had talked about previously we expanded the idea of entertaining drivers to bus drivers, since we expected that the job may get somewhat boring. We talked about enhancing the way they get guided through their routes, to make in more visually appealing, but we came up with no ideas that wouldn't be distracting to the driver. Then we thought that we could make the act of stopping enjoyable for the driver. We considered some ideas t\but the one that stuck with me was the one where we would use note progression for every person tapping on or off, together creating a song for the driver. We did realise that this almost enhances what we assumed is the boring part of driving a bus route which is when nobody gets on and with this solution would mean little to no song. Our final idea came from shifting the entertainment towards the passengers creating the idea to have the seats in the bus light up based on the moods of the occupants so that if were not in the mood to talk to random people it would be visible and those that want to strike up a conversation could find each other.

Table 5: Musical metrics

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During this group we got quite off topic, talking about ideas about music but far from user metrics. However, we returned to metrics towards the end and came up woth some ideas to create music using metrics. The ideas we came up with were to create music from alcohol blowing tests. We then talked about making music for students and staff on campus, then we came up with the idea of making a song for every course after the semester, making the songs from the final grades everyone had, making it a happier song of the average was high and more sombre of the average was low.

Table 6: Creative Learning


Now we were supposed to refine the ideas on the table. We thought the Chroma idea was interesting and decided to expand on it a bit. Although we liked the idea we thought the interaction could use some enhancement. So instead of simply applying pressure, we came up with the idea of using a platform like this just much bigger. It would represent a colour circle and users would have to balance together to find the correct colours.

We took the idea of mort and instead of restricting it to morse code we figured that it could be used to teach grammar and sentence structure using some of the same mechanics that would have been used on the mort, we did not really reach any real conclusion on how we could make it interesting for the users and motivate them.

Table 7: Body as controller


At this point I think most of us at the table at that time were running a little low on energy so it took us a little while to get going properly. I don't remember where the inspiration came from but we came up with the idea to use a users shadow in a variety of different ways using blob detection technology. The first idea was that a user could stand in from of a wall and use their shadow to reveal parts of an image. The second idea was that multiple users had to work together to navigate a maze, one controlling the thing traversing the maze and the other revealing the maze, more people would mean more roles like revealing the maze, revealing traps etc. In hindsight, this round was far from as productive as the other rounds, not entirely sure why, it could have been lowering energy levels or maybe people getting tapped for ideas and inspiration.

Table 8: Emotional intelligence


This was the last round. Here we talked a little bit about the potential moral problems with the idea about punching away frustration. Creating that opportunity to release frustration is probably effective, however, it does not solve the core issue. The fact that someone becomes that angry and frustrated that they have to punch and hit it out is quite serious and I believe that this solution does not approach this problem in a healthy way. Although we did not come up with any healthier alternatives I still think that it could be worth exploring due to the fact that a healthier solution would be better in my opinion.

We did come up with an idea for an expansion on the DigPhoto idea, instead of just seeing images we figured experiencing them in 4D could have a bigger effect on the user, sensing the calming image with all senses instead of just sight, escaping the world for just a little bit.

Week 2 - Ideas and Themes

Thomas Saly - Wed 4 March 2020, 3:10 pm
Modified: Mon 9 March 2020, 8:25 am

Day 1

After hearing all the ideas and a large portion of the class left to do inductions, the rest stayed behind to find common themes among the different ideas. Here are some of the common themes I found and the collection of themes found by all that were present.

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After some time we worked together to find common themes among the themes we had found as individuals, putting them together in larger themes.

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Day 2

We repeated the procedure from yesterday, collecting common themes from the ideas, then we again worked together to put them in larger themes collected by everyone.


What we did differently today was that after the previous step we wrote different themes on the whiteboards to narrow some of the themes down. Such as Negative and Positive reinforcement into smaller themes so that they could be more specific.


When it comes to my own presentation, it could have been a little better prepared and snappier. Although I believe it served its purpose, some points could have been clearer and two or three small thoughts were not included. In general, most presentations were good enough, only a few were unclear, difficult to hear or otherwise difficult to understand. That said, although most were understandable, a fair portion of them seemed to have missed the brief on several points, neither having novel or physical interactions. Some of these were interesting or fascinating ideas that could be interesting to work on, but served little purpose when they missed the brief.

I think that ideation processes can be very useful, however, I think that the time we did ideation was much too short and not specific enough for the brief. I understand that the idea is to gather many ideas and build on those over time, however, time is the resource we did not have in class and to ideate alone at home is only partially effective. I do understand that there are time limitations in such a comprehensive course and I appreciate the relative freedom we have been given. That said, I think that given the time constrains it could be beneficial to divide into groups earlier and ideate within those groups within certain predetermined themes to build group dynamic and start working on the project much sooner.

Thus far I'm not yet sure what I would like to work on and I'm keen to see what themes and ideas will be carried on to next week and to if there are any themes or ideas that I will be excited to work on. There are some ideas that I find interesting if they'll live on into next week, however, remains to be seen.

Assesment 2: Project Ideas and Inspirations

Thomas Saly - Mon 2 March 2020, 11:08 am

The poster can be found here Secret Handshake Lock

Smart Locks

Article Article

Smart locks are becoming ever more common, but are they safe? I've read some articles on their safety and where they are most vulnerable. What these articles agree on is that it depends on the user and how much care they take with their technology. The quote from one of the articles that had the most impact was the following from MIT professor Stuart Madnick “You may buy a stronger lock for your door, but if you still leave the key under the mat, are you really any more secure?” in other words, your home is as safe as the user makes it.

Cyberpunk 2077

The dystopian game Cyberpunk 2077 has granted som inspiration, here there are many technologies we, as of yet, lack. Some of the most prominent technologies are mechanical arms in the media that has been presented to the public thus far. In addition, a big part of Cyberpunk is hacking into different security systems, something this idea also addresses.

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Secret Handshake Lock

The issue is that people treat their everyday home security with little care, thinking that their technology will keep them safe. This may not be the case, especially when people install different apps left and right not thinking what these apps may do to their home safety. The Secret Handshake Lock intentionally shows an obvious case of bad home security to understand that the handshake between your device and your door can be as secure as a handshake performed publicly for everyone to see. The hand itself can be programmed to know several handshakes that allow any user that knows the handshake to enter through the door.

The playful nature in this idea lies in the novelty and obvious ridiculousness of the concept and the novelty of creating especially fun or overcomplicated handshakes as a key for your door.

home security smart locks intentional controversy mechanical arm

Week 1 Entry 1

Thomas Saly - Thu 27 February 2020, 8:22 am
Modified: Thu 27 February 2020, 1:34 pm

Currently on my last semester of my Interaction Design Master Degree. I enjoy different form of games, both digital and physical and love playing those with friends. I also have a fondness of creating and building even though I don't have a lot of experience with it past a hobby. In addition to this I love finding solutions to problems, which I feel will be fairly useful in future jobs within my field. Over the course of the my Masters I've already learned a variety of skills, there among a collection of coding languages and tools, Interviewing and Prototyping Techniques and ways to analyse and interpret the results.

My inspirations for building come from a variety of sources, not all are active at this time such as Mythbusters, who have often build rigs and approached problems from different angles to through different iterations come to a usable solution. Similar to mythbuster, Mark Rober is a interesting builder, using similar techniques. In addition to this, although these are not directly connected to this subject, there are several youtubers that I admire and have the same iterative design process and design by exploration. There among Adam Savage's Tested, Binging with Babish, Adam Koebel, Andrew Huang and Rybonator. All these creators are mostly in wildly different fields but all have to some degree inspired me to try different things and shown time and again that trial by error and improvement through feedback is a very effective design method.

As stated above I like to build things, so what I hope to learn in Phys Comp is exactly that, using better and more advanced tools to build better things then before. I also look forward to taking UX away from UI and apply my knowledge closer to the area that I am most interested in working with, since I have no intention of working with websites but would greatly prefer working with something physical

Something I'm a little worried about is the time constraints that we will face. This is partly because, according to the semester plan we won't be starting to work on building the project before around week 6, almost halfway into the semester. This feeling become even more prominent with the aspect of allocated groups making it somewhat random how good or stressful this project is going to be.

The thing I want to achieve in this course will likely come naturally, because I simply want to build something physical, test it and improve on the design based on feedback. I want to use what I have learned from previous digitally focused subject and apply it to something physical.