Looking Back: Critical Review

All in all, this project feels like it has been a huge journey. To be honest; I’ve felt like I’ve not only expanded through this project, but touched on all the things I wanted to do. From hand drawing the characters for my PeDeTe boards, connecting with my users, creating new and exciting cultural probes and exploring new manufacturing processes.

Design

If I could sum up this project in one word – it would be PROTOTYPING.

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Tailoring each part of the product and the experience is extremely important – It’s not something that can just be “done right” first time. Prototyping not only the model but the experience meant that there was a natrual evolution of the design, it wasnt forced to progress. This process of prototyping meant that I could bring the end users into the process in a more physical manner.

However hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I had to make two major design compromises during the project.

1. The indicators on the fascia had to be made from plastic, instead of metal
2. The body had to be made out of plastic instead of wood.

Because of the lack of tooling available the indicators wouldnt have been able to be made to the level of detail I required; and any more materials added into the pallette would have made the product look noisy. So I opted for the laser cut gloss white plastic to compliment the body instead.

Although I initially wanted to have a contrast of materials – wood versus metal, time constraints meant that the wooden body was no longer viable. So the plastic would have to compliment its environment rather than contrast against itself.

People

Even though people were involved all throughout the process; from the cultural probes, to aesthetic refining, to the adoption of the experience prototype, I wish I had more involvement with people throughout.

The restrictions of the technology made it difficult to set up the experience prototype for new people; this meant that my pool of available people to adopt it was very limited.

However I think the interactions that I was able to have with people were both very positive and worthwhile

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Technology

My relationship with the technology throughout this project has went from strength to strength. Although starting from scratch on the RaspberryPi platform meant I spent weeks writing brand new code that would have been in a knowledge base if I’d used Arduino, I’m glad I did. I felt like I gained a greater understanding of how this level of tech works. In saying that,when it takes a week to write a code to make an LED fade – It’s maybe time to consider another platform.

Still, I stand by my choice of the RaspberryPi – as a higher operating computer with GPIO capabilities, it was perfect for the task and really “cut out the middle man” by doing the gathering, deciphering, and output of the data all by itself

Furthermore interacting with both the web, and Facebook while interfacing this with a physical product was an extremely beneficial exercise.

During my time working with Facebook, not only did it revolutionise my understanding of how Facebook and indeed the internet truly works, but it kind of concerned me about just how much information is held on Facebook – and how easily it is accessible.

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Personally…

I am completely happy with the outcome of the project. If anything the end result is better than any other result that I had envisioned previously. If I had my time again I don’t think I would have done anything different apart from delve deeper into the subject areas; although I think I had a good amount of interaction with each, these subjects are so deep – I only scratched the surface. I would have loved to have the finished device adopted by a wide cross section of people into their normal living environment to see how it changed their behaviour patterns – or if it simply complimented them.

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