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Five projects that could relate to my final project


For the last session of  ‘Creative Art Project’ we were asked to show five influences for our future project. I was divided between two kind of projects: one was related to illustration and storytelling; the other one was related to dancer’s movements. After several talks with my tutor, I’ve decided to work on the first kind of project. In this second semester that is about to start I will have to research about “projection/mapping”, “tangible interaction”, “augmented reality”.

Digital Identity – The Final Exhibition and Users’ Experience

The exhibition successfully hold on 20th. September 2012 in Culture Lab. Considering of that create shapes by user’s body figure might be more personal, the original idea changed into just create user’s figure outline during the program building. Meanwhile, the outline could be more clearly to point out the theme of identity for users.

Thanks for Adam Parkinson and Guy Schofield’s technique help, thanks for Brigitta Zics and thanks for Richard Bate helped the exhibition setting up and building made the exhibition successful!

Thanks for all the audiences coming to show their interest and gave their valuable experience and suggestions:

– This makes me thinking of how technology will get involved into human’s life and build the connection in the future, and realize of the psychology can be used widely in our life.

– This could be expended on a whole wall set aside by a path, and when people walking by all of their digital identity will appeared on the wall.

– It is interesting and when I walk out of the door in the morning, I may know my mood of the day.

The following photographies taken on the exhibition night by photographer Liam Taylor, thanks for Liam’s photos recorded the excited night.

Explain Digital Identity to Audiences:

Audience Getting Digital Identity From The Screen:

Colour Detection Demonstration:

More Different Results:

[All Photos By Liam Taylor]

Digital Identity – How It Works?

The Digital Identity project used Max Msp as the technique program support, and to get the final result, it took from three parts:

– Colour detection

– Figure outline

– Sound recording

Both of the first two aspects required video analysis, and it used a video camera to capture the image of the environment in front of the screen in this project. With the pure black background colour, it made the image more easily for the computer processing. And later will be mentioned, the face detection also required the image got from video camera.

Colour detection using the [jit.spill], it gave the RGB (red/green/blue) value separately of a specific x/y coordinates. With the idea of the RGB of darker colour has a tendency to 0,0,0 whilst lighter colour has a tendency to 255,255,255, this gave the way to distinguish the colour been detected belong to dark colour or light/bright colour by using the sum calculation.

Below is the patches of the how to input the image from the video camera, and how the RGB value be gotten at a specific coordinates area.

With [cv.jit.canny], it gave a way to deal with the image got from video camera into a sketch mode. And with [cv.jit.faces] as the face detection, it surely gave an efficaciously way to decide when to refresh the screen, to make sure the Digital Identity just belong to the individual. And in this project, when system detect of 0 (none) face, it will send the signal to refresh the screen.

To build the Synesthesia theory, it decided to draw round shape by brighter colour and cube shape by darker colour. The idea is according to the Colour Psychology, curved shape as well as bright colour always gives a feeling of activity and expansion. On the other hand, sharpen shape like triangle or cube as well as darken colour always gives a feeling of tough and gathered.

Then it draw shapes in the [jit.pwindow]. With [jit.xfade], it controlled two windows video and add them together with the transparency setting up.

The frequency aspect in this project can be isolated from others. It required to record a sound and give out the frequency number, and then create a piano note by this number.

Digital Identity – Theories Suport

Five main theories are related as the background research theories:

  • Embodied Interaction
  • Embodied Cognition
  • The Phenomenology of Perception
  • Synesthesia
  • Colour Psychology

Varela et al. (1991) raised the concept of Embodied Cognition in two aspects and explained the idea that the human body influences the original human cognition.

“First, the cognition depends upon the kind of experience that comes from having a body with various sensorimotor capacities, and second, that these individual sensorimotor capacities are themselves embedded in a more encompassing biological, psychological, and cultural context.”

– Varela et al. (1991), The Embodied Mind.

Embodied Interaction exhibition is the property of the Digital Identity exhibition.

Dourish emphasized that the most important feature of Embodied Interaction is it reflects on the relationship between people and systems, in another word, it’s a human-machine relationship. He gave the definition of Embodied Interaction as a kind of interaction based on computer systems and occupies the worlds of physical and social reality.

“Embodied interaction is not a technology or a set of rules. It is a perspective on the relationship between people and systems. The questions of how it should be developed, explored and instantiated remain open research problems.”

– Dourish (2004)  Where the Action Is: the Foundations of Embodied Interaction.

During the Digital Identity exhibition, all it required is to get audience involved of this exhibition to build the interaction experience. And this is the embodied interaction. The connection would be bonded between audience and the interface screen by the audience’s perception and feelings. The significant idea is that the interface won’t tell you things but reflect things, as a mirror. For instant, all those graphics and figures on the screen would never be created by no meanings but a way to enlarge individual’s feelings which they might won’t realized.

The Human Machine Circle in Digital Identity

“Synesthesia comes from the Greek ‘syn’ (meaning union) and ‘aisthesis’ (sensation), literally interpreted as a joining of the senses. Synesthesia is an involuntary joining in which the real information from one sense is joined or accompanies a perception in another.”

– Cytowic (2002) Synesthesia: A Union of the Senses.

In a word, Synesthesia is the link set up on the common perception between different senses of human-beings.

Synesthesia works in Digital Identity

Digital Identity, an Embodied Interactive Exhibition to Expedite a Unique Experience of Synesthesia

Digital Identity is an interactive project by using the Mirror Interface technology as the platform. It is with the intention to create a unique identity by digital information, and meanwhile to build the connection between audiences and digital technology.

In the exhibition, the Digital Identity took from the following three aspects of individual’s characters:

1. Individual’s dressing colour.
2. Individual’s body figure.
3. Individual’s voice frequency.

And then represented and gave feedback to the audiences in three aspects to build the Digital Identity:

1. Similar colourful graphics.
2. Individual’s body outline.
3. Piano tones with the same frequency.

The entire exhibition highlighted the Synethesia theory. It believed that there can always find a common mood or feeling between different patterns. For instants, Digital Identity will capture audience’s dressing colour and put in part of the exhibition. It believed that individuals’ would have some specific mood or feeling when they decided to pick up their clothes among the others clothing early this exhibition day, in a way which they might not realized in time. However, when the clothes represent on the screen with the same colour but different patterns, it won’t tell you anything but recall your that particular mood or feeling. In this way, the connection will be built by the common mood or feeling.

On the other hand, colours and shapes also built connection in this exhibition with the theory of Colour Psychology:

Bright Colour – Curve Shapes – Activity and Expand

Dark Colour – Sharp Shapes – Tough and Gather

Critical contextualisation and wearable technologies

Each of the following was chosen to give an overview of the fields that encompass fabrics, wearables and technologies and science. There are different kinds of information about textiles and technology studies available; some are in catalogue forms, showing culminations of various practitioners giving a brief description of the study. Other forms are like MIT’s courses in ‘High Low Tech’ ( MIT, High Low Tech) which have blog information available. The blog style approach doesn’t give details but shows more examples. MIT are one of the leading universities in this area of study, they also mediate work, which is very useful as some of this includes pieces that didn’t work at all, and this being recognised is very worthwhile.  Meaning if you can find this information you don’t have to make the same mistakes, you can think round the problem or see how it relates to personal projects, speeding up developments and enhancing quality. Several of these studies can be found on the New Textiles course site, lead by Leah Buechley creator of LilyPad, (Buechley, L. 2012, New Textiles). LilyPad ( LilyPad )is a collection of sewable electronic components, a prototyping platform like Arduino for testing concepts. This platform also gives room to test as to whether the individual could take active control over the use of their technology, e.g. If used within the glove the individual could use it to work out the best temperature reactions for themselves. I also believe giving the sufferer control over their condition improves their personal experience, therefor improving their well-being. MIT’s course ‘High Low Tech’ aims to take technology to a level where anyone in any cultural situation could connect up a circuit using traditional textile and material processes. Examples include: Pu Gong Ying Tu (Dandelion Painting),

Very simply if you blow at the dandelion flowers the seeds seemingly disperse and the flowers slowly grow back ready to be blown about as seeds again. The aim of the MIT group is certainly not complex technology but pieces that can be meaningful and can be looked after by anyone with any cultural background, whatever their knowledge of technology. This allows people to become involved with technology in a ‘hands-on’ way, communally, emotionally and culturally.

Our primary aim is to engage diverse audiences in designing and building their own technologies by situating computation in new cultural and material contexts, and by developing tools that democratize engineering.

Buechley, 2012 ‘High Low Tech’

GLOVE- Conceptual developments

The materials chosen took research, testing and of course had to be available or within budget. I also strove to find materials with as much evidence as to their properties and testing as possible. Not all materials were well described, one in particular was described as a ‘thread’ and after some convincing the company sent me some samples, the material that arrived was a hard wire, though bendable not a useable material as a subtle heating element for fingers at all.


Another material, which I managed to obtain a sample of, offered even more than I expected, with the right circuit connections the thin, fine material could not only detect temperature but also warm up creating a thermal map of an area. This would be an ideal layer to the glove concept however the cost of further material and time testing and forming the thermal map would be great in finance and time. When I found this I knew not only would I be forming a concept and a prototype but my research would also form the outline of the optimum item. This could then be taken on as further research beyond the course and developed into a product, providing the concept was accepted and understood and that tests confirmed the advantages to be great enough to warrant its development.

The glove prototype would therefore have to evenly as possible warm the fingers and the technology would have to be simple to understand and alter details such as temperature sensed at which the glove reacts. This way the prototype would be able to most accurately prove the concept in medical advantage. However this is not the only concern, the glove also needs to be practical as well as aesthetic and these are 2 very important factors.

Part of the aesthetic comes in as with medical conditions we have a culture of Dr. patent confidentiality and I don’t see why this shouldn’t extend to any medical related clothing, therefore the glove should look like any other glove or not give away any of its medical intentions. This then leaves passing the knowledge on up to the wearer, although if the wearer were to shake someone’s hand whilst the glove is warm it may lead to questions, even then no medical condition could be mentioned just the fondness of warm hands.

The glove should also be desirable as an item to own from its looks, many medically related devices are perceived as clinical looking and cold, this should seem attractive and trustworthy so that the looks would not put off anyone who could benefit from the function. Also there are already gloves with a heat source within, these are large and chunky. During my case study my subject showed me what the NHS had given them, the glove was a designed for skiers and very chunky. As the subject is most affected at work these were unhelpful as the subject when wearing them would be unable to type. A this design aspect here is key, as long as the glove is fitted, preferable stretchy to an extent, the user would be able to conduct many day to day tasks whilst wearing them.

To surmise, to fully test the concept the prototype must show fitted fingered gloves for functionality, an aesthetically pleasing design with discretionary technology so the wearers able to access but not necessarily have on show and operate accurately.

The initial prototype showed that it is possible to monitor the temperature


This gave me the opportunity to further the project with a positive result, knowing the temperature sensing works gave me the opportunity to focus on materials and pin pointing the concept and how the project will communicate this to the public and to those with a more academic interest. (Explaining things simply for anyone to understand or explaining the work in more detail to get more detailed points made clearly.)

I then researched various materials for the main glove to see if there’s any particularly good material or blend for flexibility and maximum movement of hands as well as keeping warm for the thickness. Often if a particular material works its used widely for that application, and in keeping warm wool is one of the best materials for a thin, yet flexible and fitted glove outcome. This lead to what would work with the wool, the researched pointed towards gloves recommended for Raynaud’s as similarly with wool there are basic materials that have been used and trusted and more recently put to scientific testing to give further evidence as to why the material is good.

From here I began researching warming methods that could be utilized on a glove and in ways that benefit Raynaud’s sufferers. This took a lot of research, as I want to be careful not to burn anyone and to work in the concept. As this piece has a direct interaction to the wearer I would like it to be as safe as possible.

Heating element wise out of about 50 companies I contacted by phone and email that in some way advertised around 5-10 got back to me in some way, 1 offered samples, 1 I was able to get a sample from after multiple emails over a month or so, most of the companies were un able to send anything or described the item in enough detail so I could work out that it was not the right material.

After testing would I could get a hold of the main 2 one was not as described and one although would be very good would also be very complex, able to sense temperature and heat up within the fine mesh.

Eventually I went back to a warm clothing company I had come across to try find something more specific, however after searching all I was able to find would be a special order and very expensive, so for the purpose of this concept to out put a prototype to show the points listed above I purchased an item sold by the warming clothing company and unravelled the relevant section to be able to show a working piece and conduct user tests. I have since spoken to more experienced people in the field of technology and textiles and they agreed that it is the best way to go as when it comes to making the product its self you would have your own, in this case ‘thread’ made.

Collaborations happen very often, I have found that if I talk to others in the Culture Lab about any problem I am having eventually there’s a chance I will meet someone able to help me. The main people who have been helping me have gone through various codes or physics with me, explained how this works and made suggestions. In the case of my glove code I have had direct help from several people who have typed parts in and pointed out issues. For example I forgot to add a safety feature to the glove code and circuit so that if the battery was dead or the sensors didn’t work for any reason the glove would inform the wearer rather than the wearer believing the glove is looking after them when it is not.

As I am less confident with code I get as much advice and help as possible but each time the code is changed, I then spend time going through the code to make sure I know what each part is doing and have notes within the code just encase I forget what any one part does so if something needs altering I am able to alter it my self as easily as possible.

GLOVE for Raynaud’s, is there a need?

Raynaud’s effects 3-20% of the adult population worldwide, in the UK it may effect as many as 1 in every 9 women and 1 in every 12 men.

The blood vessels tighten and the supply is cut off, to re establish the supply a the best method is slow warming, if this can begin soon as possible following the on set of Raynaud’s, and well, there will be no pain or damage.

Blood vessels

Blood vessels are the tubes in which blood travels to and from parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are veins, arteries and capillaries.

Many treatments are available for Raynaud’s phenomenon. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and for those with a mild condition practical measures such as using hand warmers, thermal gloves and hats help to alleviate symptoms

If the condition is severe the GP can advise on the different types of drugs available, which include vasodilators – drugs which open up the small blood vessels. Patients often have to try several before they find one that works.

There are two types of Raynaud’s. It can either be:

  • primary: when the condition develops by itself (this is the most common type)
  • secondary: when it develops in association with another health condition

The causes of primary Raynaud’s are unclear. However 1 in 10 people with primary Raynaud’s will go on to develop a condition associated with secondary Raynaud’s such as lupus.

As well as other conditions causing this medications for various conditions can also cause Raynaud’s and as the drugs for severe cases are as above ones that may include vasodilators they can react with other medications, inter reacting medications is a specific concern for the elderly as they are often on a variety of medications. A couple advantages to a wearable solution are: the side effects, the consumable medications would come with various side effects that could impair life, whereas the external effect is direct and only has a negative possibility of working when not needed or not working when needed, the other is the cost, it takes 2 weeks to test a medication then 1 week break then another Dr.’s appointment to trial another drug, the cost comes in the time taken with the Dr and the cost of each drug, this would very quickly amount to much more than the cost of a technology enhanced glove.

With a body of stats and info I then began discussions, with such high numbers of people with Raynaud’s I was bound to know one. Once I had spoken to a few people and the word had begun to spread I found I knew a lot of people with some form of the condition, primary or secondary or who knew family and/or close friends with the conditions and were able to discuss their own or the person they knows concerns and issues. With this in mind I conducted a case study, a Raynaud’s sufferer volunteered to help me, filling in some questionnaires about their experience with the condition day-to-day and season-to-season. I also formed a more detailed booklet to see the differences between bare hands, normal gloves that the subject would usually use, gloves recommended for Raynaud’s sufferers and finally heating gloves. This would show weather the gloves of my design make a perceivable difference to day-to-day life. If the result is that there is no improvement with heated gloves compared to the subjects usual methods then the result would teach a great deal about the subjects condition. However various research does seem to point to gloves heating to particular temperatures being advantageous to the sufferer.

GLOVE – critical contextualisation

There are some clothes designed for heating that utilize materials and technology. WarmX are a German company who make clothing using a silver coated polyamide for a heating element. (WarmX, 2012). There are also several safety certificates and an “faq” that includes questions such as:

Can I burn myself while wearing the warmX-underwear?“ (WarmX, 2012, FAQ)

The products are aimed but not limited to, a middle aged plus market, which is reflected in their photographs and prices, I think their target group is important as when aimed at the younger generation the whole theme of the advertisement and information for heated clothing drastically changes.

Rip Curl, a surfing company, (RipCurl, 2012, H-Bomb) have developed a heated wet suit and rather than reassuring their clients merely with certificates they show videos of the battery cases being tested. This includes having metal rod thrust at the batteries to ensure any large impact would not cause any problems to the batteries as they are very closely attached to the wearer. Whereas with WarmX the battery pack was in an easily reached pocket attached with poppers so you could remove it at any time the heated wet suit is securely fixed in place. The power supply can only be removed when you are not wearing the wet suit

HAT- sun awareness, is there a need?

Sun exposure is something that everyone has to be aware of at some point, over exposure can go from burns to more serious issues such as cancer, under exposure can lead to vitamin D deficiency.

( )

Avoiding sunburn can be very difficult. Unfortunately, getting sunburned is much more common that it ought to be. In a recent, survey conducted in partnership with iVillage, The Skin Cancer Foundation discovered that 42 percent of people polled get a sunburn at least once a year. ( )

Sun exposure is the main cause of malignant melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

In the UK around 11,100 cases of malignant melanoma each year are linked to excessive exposure to sunlight and use of sunbeds.

( )

Issues of sun burn and skin cancer have been known for a long time, In 1918, Norman Paul of Sydney, Australia, first made the link between sun exposure and skin cancer in print with his book, The Influence of Sunlight in the Production of Cancer of the Skin. Many media campaigns have been made to try and remind the masses to be aware and take care in the sun, yet thousands still get sunburns that cause/develop into cancer. As technologies develop there are various ways we could monitor the UV intake. Although it must be said that there are those who use sunbeds knowing the risks they cause and still use them on a regular basis, showing that not all find skin cancer a concern over various trends and impulses.

Monitoring UV and comparing this to skin tone is a possibility yet technology like the sun has its side effects such as positive ions released form technology causing depression. With this in mind I wanted to look at a more personal awareness method that may spark up interest in the UK’s fast paced culture. Here I decided to look at materials that react to environment, some fabrics shrink 10% or stiffen with an electric current, some respond to temperatures. I chose to use Nitinol, or NiTi, an alloy of nickel and titanium. This alloy can be bendable by hand when below its transformation temperature, when it reaches the transformation temperature the wire will move into a pre designated shape. The transformation temperature is decided by the exact percentage of nickel to titanium in the wire, 50.5%nickel would be around a 25-30 degree transformation temperature and 48% nickel would be around 60-70 degrees transformation temperature. Although this is a simple equation finding this to purchase at lower temperatures

Many are unsure of sun exposures and not all will ask or search for answers and technology is helping in this such as mums net conducting a Q&A with a Dr. however there will still be a large number who would not think to consult ‘mumsnet’ about this issue even if they were a member of ‘mumsnet’.

These studies show how each concept could improve the well-being of many, those both with and without conditions of heightened sensitivity to UV or cold temperatures.

HAT  Critical contextualisation

Fashion Designer Hussein Chalayan in collaboration with Swarovski on their 111th anniversary created a collection inspired by the last 111years, wars, revolutions, political and social changes, all that shaped fashion (Chalayan, 2011). Chalayan used these to create a show called One Hundred and Eleven where the clothes morphed from high-necked Victorian through decades to today with 6 dresses. One Hundred and Eleven took place in 2006 for the spring/summer 2007. Here 2 of the outfits include hats. As all of the pieces were mechanically controlled the hats were no exception, one pulled the dress worn by the model into its brim and out of site, leaving the model naked, apart from the hat. These outfits most certainly for catwalk purposes showed aesthetics and thought, but do not show any sort of practical functionality, perhaps there is a functional reason for a hat holding the wearers dress, however this in not mentioned on any of the publications.

HAT – developments

From the GLOVE research in identifying a working prototype to show the concept and outline the optimum product I realised this would also be the best course for the HAT project.

Within the HAT project I also researched and tested a variety of materials, as the concept here is about awareness I wanted the visual to be powerful as well as the ‘function’. For this I researched both materials that react to various inputs and dye’s that react to various inputs, such as Ultra sound fabric. For the prototype using temperature based reactions showed the most promise. This way a prototype could be created that moves and changes colours/pattern for shows such as; gallery and catwalk. The movement and changes will be eye catching and memerable and the awareness angle then reminds and/or informs the public of issues surrounding sun exposure. Also the researched gained throughout the study looks at formulation of an ideal personal awareness system for sun exposure

Thermal dye and Nitinol test video.

1. colour test, 2. nitinol in fabric mini test (with thermal dye), 3. nitinol spring test, 4. 2nd nitinol in fabric test (without dye) 4. Nitinol in hot water, fast powerful reactions.

This led me to testing various forms of NiTi, the most common form that is used in orthodontic work. Even after researching places to get NiTi and the information about each piece when tested in person the results may not be as expected. This occurred for me in two ways, first the thickness of wire not as described, though this was in one case a miss read on my part. Second the temperature it reacts at, some materials need direct contact with the highest temperature to move, some will begin to react at a much lower temperature. Those that react at a lower temperature and move slowly are most useful, these show a gradual start then tend to spring into their predefine shape quickly.

Also it is possible to cause nitinol to move with electricity or power from a battery, I have made a point of not using any kind of electrical technology in the HAT. First reasons are weight and aesthetics, second is that electrical devices give off positive ions which have been seen to cause depression, particularly when on the body for prolonged periods. I wanted to specifically look at chemical ways to get round these issues and see if the public deems the concept to be of interest.

Research and testing altered and strengthened my concept and design, the research showing bad results of materials were just as useful to further design and research as the good results.

Main working developments

Nitinol tests

Early hat shape test, simple shape, effective look

The hair dryer simulated the heat needed for the nitinol to react. The circle shape is fixed with a hair clip and rolled up, reaction causes the test hat to cover the face.

Black daisy style

As apposed to a brim of nitinol I wanted to test how it would work as a series of nitinol petals.

The lamp creates enough heat for the wire to react, this allows the petal to open out.

The new reel of nitinol ordered came un baked, so I needed to raise its temperature to 500degrees then drop it quickly, this can be done with a hot air gun or as I am using a cooks blow torch outside, the ground and air cool down the wire after being heated.

The newer nitinol reacts much slower and at a much higher temperature, this may cause problems within fabric. However unlike the nitinol I had previously its does not have a super elastic quality.

The making of final HAT

In making the final hat I chose to sew the brim separately to first test the fabric works well with the nitinol, light enough and tight enough of a circle to open out fully and hold.

Using a patterned fabric meant aligning the patterns at the brim connection.

The pattern was chosen to show off the thermal dye, the shape and colour/ pattern change as well as to keep an eye catching image.

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