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Course: Making Studio
Instructor: Becky Stern
Assignment: Design an object that utilizes both an LED or EL element and fabric
Abstract:
The light-up hand warmer for cycling is my first project using EL wires. I took interest in experimenting with how this light technology could be applied to an activity that I do almost every day. I was not at all familiar with EL wires, so I chose a medium — a woven hand warmer — that would allow me to easily and quickly get more comfortable with them.

The construction of the light-up hand warmer is very simple. I purchased an EL wire starter pack from Adafruit(Adafruit also carries many other colors; I chose red to match my bike and because red is a universal color for warning and stopping). The kit includes an EL inverter with a built-in battery compartment that also conveniently has a plug, so it can directly connect to the EL wire without additional soldering. As a bonus, the inverter has selectable modes of on, off, and fast/slow blink to conserve battery.

In order to concentrate the visible light of the EL wire, I threaded it through the sleeve’s woven fabric and bent it into a spiraling rectangle. The wire’s stiffness pulled a bit against the softness of the sleeve, but in general the wire held its shape relatively well without distorting the hand warmer too much. When the EL wire was completed, I clipped the inverter to my jacket’s sleeve and pulled the hand warmer over my gloved hand.

I was pleasantly surprised when I tested the light-up hand warmer on the road. First, because I had left no open ends of the wire exposed, I was able to avoid any snagging when I put on and took off my backpack. Second, the EL wire was more than sufficiently large and bright (I hope) for drivers to spot it when I extend my hand for an upcoming turn or when I’m gesturing to slow down. The blinking modes came in handy, as it is then less likely to blend into the bright lights of New York City. However, I still identified several key design areas in need of improvement:

  1. An alternative method is needed to secure the wire in place
  2. A more compact inverter/battery charge is needed; the current one is quite bulky
  3. A right-hand version would be useful, because vehicular traffic is quite busy on the city’s roads. Expecting drivers to always see an upcoming right-hand turn with my raised left hand is unrealistic.

Overall, I am happy with the way the hand warmer came out as an exercise in getting familiar with the nuances of working with EL wires. Given more time, I would love to explore:

  1. A custom enclosure that may function better as a cycling jacket attachment
  2. A more distinctive light pattern
  3. Various fabric materials that would improve shape retainment (along with different sewing methods).
  4. Slimmer batteries that would, again, allow me to cut down on the weight and size of the inverter.
  5. Ways in which light pattern could react to a body motion, e.g. breathing or heart beating.

Class: Making StudioInstructor: Becky SternAssignment: Create a tutorial on a process with which we are familiar and post it on Instructables.comWork: A tutorial for making gyozas 
Link: Homemade Gyoza Making Made Easy

Class: Making Studio
Instructor: Becky Stern
Assignment: Create a tutorial on a process with which we are familiar and post it on Instructables.com
Work: A tutorial for making gyozas 

Link: Homemade Gyoza Making Made Easy

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Class: Affirming Artifacts

Instructor: Allan Chochinov

Assignment: Imagine Eers in three different embodiments.

Class: Affirming Artifacts

Instructor: Allan Chochinov

Assignment: Use a randomly disposed item to inspire a meaningful design that meets a real need.

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Design Inspiration: Form That Follows Function

NY Times article features Englishman Alan Dudley’s unique collection of animal skulls and skeletons. The complexity and beauty found in these skulls are truly humbling and inspiring to me as a designer. My favorite bit from the article:

Springhares and rabbits have very large auditory bullae: it’s said that the chamber enclosed by the bullae resonates perfectly to the whooshing sound of a downward-swooping owl, alerting the rabbit to dive for its burrow and live to enjoy another day.”

Amazing.

Class: Systems, Scale, and Consequence
Instructor: Richard Tyson
Assignment: Visualize “Divorce” as a system
Background: In the beginning of this course, we students were tasked with identifying “designs of the most consequence”. Once everyone had presented his or her own findings and perspectives, we voted and tabulated a general consensus of the designs we found most interesting, so we could then explore and build an analogous system. My team of four (Clay, Sam, Zena, and myself) chose the wedding ring as an artifact of human creation that we thought had a great potential for further understanding.
The wedding ring is, of course, a symbol of the tradition and institution of marriage. We researched the history, customs, cultural differences, and (primarily American) statistics of marriage. We then identified divorce as an aspect of marriage that is rich with opportunities for systems thinking intervention. In order to identify these points of intervention, however, we must first visualize divorce as a system so we can best pinpoint the areas of significant need and begin to understand the consequences of our interventions. The image above is the culmination of our two-week-long determination of divorce as an internal crisis within society as a dynamic, cell-like system of interconnected influences between individuals and social groups.

Class: Systems, Scale, and Consequence

Instructor: Richard Tyson

Assignment: Visualize “Divorce” as a system

Background: In the beginning of this course, we students were tasked with identifying “designs of the most consequence”. Once everyone had presented his or her own findings and perspectives, we voted and tabulated a general consensus of the designs we found most interesting, so we could then explore and build an analogous system. My team of four (Clay, Sam, Zena, and myself) chose the wedding ring as an artifact of human creation that we thought had a great potential for further understanding.

The wedding ring is, of course, a symbol of the tradition and institution of marriage. We researched the history, customs, cultural differences, and (primarily American) statistics of marriage. We then identified divorce as an aspect of marriage that is rich with opportunities for systems thinking intervention. In order to identify these points of intervention, however, we must first visualize divorce as a system so we can best pinpoint the areas of significant need and begin to understand the consequences of our interventions. The image above is the culmination of our two-week-long determination of divorce as an internal crisis within society as a dynamic, cell-like system of interconnected influences between individuals and social groups.

Course: Affirming Artifacts
Instructor: Allan Chochinov
Assignment: To seek inspiration from a randomly disposed of item and rapidly prototype a design.
Eers Sound Amplifiers
The Eers Sound Amplifiers were inspired by an item that I have come to take granted in daily life: the bendable straw. 

Course: Affirming Artifacts

Instructor: Allan Chochinov

Assignment: To seek inspiration from a randomly disposed of item and rapidly prototype a design.

Eers Sound Amplifiers

The Eers Sound Amplifiers were inspired by an item that I have come to take granted in daily life: the bendable straw. 


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Exercise

Randomly choose a photo of a classmate’s two-week trash collection, analyze its contents, hypothesize the personality of the owner, and guess his/her identity.

Analysis

  • File name: “RED”, possibly hinting at the owner’s prioritization of the items, which in this case are the Coca-Cola cup, the Band-Aid box, and the tag on the Madewell pouch.
  • Diet Coke/Coca-Cola cup: the paper cup is probably the default cup at the food retailer, but the Diet Coke is a personal choice. This person is likely slim in figure.
  • Band-Aid box/Madewell pouch/telegram print-out: (known) items for project.
  • The yogurt and sparkling water may be evidence that the person wants to be healthier—or at least feel that he’s making healthier food choices. This falls in line with the choice of Diet Coke.
  • Chipotle wrapper: again, a relatively healthy choice in this food category but also a very convenient choice. Judging by the “quick-healthier-food” selection, this person may also be laid-back, preferring to keep a hassle-free lifestyle.
  • Desk lamp/lighting/photo quality: the presence of the desk lamp means the person probably took the photo on his/her desk (again, hassle-free), and judging by the direction of the sunlight, the shadows, the reflections on the paper cup, and given the time of year, the person is sitting close by a south-facing window of the studio and took this picture in the morning. Given the graininess (due to low-lighting) yet high color-saturation of the photo, it is likely this person owns an iPhone or a comparable smartphone.

Description (in the form of a haiku)

Diet coke, yogurt
This man has few life’s worries
Telegram useless

Identity

This person is likely Matthew Barber.

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Studio visit: Lindsey Adelman
Date: September 13, 2012
Location: Little Italy, NYC

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