Social Things_02 ↓ First Presentation

We had to make a first presentation in the presence of the alumni Rania Svaronou and her colleague Riccie Janus working at IBM. In this 5 mn presentation, I presented the Slow Movement and its main sub-movement I’m interested in which is Slow Design, with its main principles: craft engagement with meaningful, to bring sustainability.

You can read more on that subject with the paper The Slow Design Principles (2008) by Carolyn Strauss and Alastair Fuad-Luke. Again Alastair Fuad-Luke, I think that his paper ‘Slow Design?’– A Paradigm Shift in Design Philosophy? (2002) started it all by coining the term. I also found a pretty interesting paper about Slow Technology instead, Slow Technology: Designing for Reflection by Lars Hallnäs and Johan Redström (2000).

Plus, the video made for the paper Slow Design for Meaningful Interactions (2013) by Barbara Grosse-Hering, Jon Mason, Dzmitry Aliakseyeu and Conny Bakker, is pretty good to rapidly understand what lies behind Slow Design.


Particularly the last part: “It’s about slowing interaction down at the right moment!“, which reminds me of what Carl Honoré wrote – whom I remind is the one that popularized the Slow Movement: “The Slow Movement is not about doing everything at a snail’s pace. […] On the contrary, the movement is made up of people like you and me, people who want to live better in a fast-paced, modern world. That is why the Slow philosophy can be summed up in a single word: balance. Be fast when it makes sense to be fast, and be slow when slowness is called for. Seek to live at what musicians call the tempo giusto – the right speed.”

Last reference before I’ll go into my presentation. This talk given by William Odom shows various examples of what is Slow Interaction Design:

I also presented two decisions, despite having a prototyping idea: I didn’t want to do anything with an app nor a wearable device as I mentioned there are already good options out there, plus the fact that I actually want to get off the screen to craft a tangible object. For example, I’m pretty fond of these vintage calendars, I own several of them back in my parents’ place. They act like they should – that is telling you the day it is, and I also bizarrely enjoy the fact that you have to turn the handles to literally switch to another day.

Hence, there are interactions and gestures I’m missing in the digitalized world, and I’m trying to ideate to fill these gaps. Still, I’m thinking it might be too literal to even refer to the notion of time in my object. As I go on my contextual research, I actually mostly find projects focused around the notion of time. Here are examples from the Slow Tech exhibit curated by Wallpaper and Protein at the London Design Week. Nicolas also referred me to the Slow Watch project, and Betty linked me to the pretty similar Hidden Time Watch project. Pure counter reaction: I want time out of my object.

One feedback I got from the presentation I particularly retain is: “It’s not about the technology coming to us but us going to technology“, acting as a pretty good reminder of my previous references. Quoting Nina Simon in the Participatory Museum, “Imagine looking at an object not for its artistic or historical significance but for its ability to spark conversation“, I’m thinking my object might actually fall down that path.

Social Things_01 ↓ Continued Research

After the Collaborative Unit, time to dig into the Physical Computing Unit with the Social Things brief: “Using the research that you have done on a tribe, you will start designing a tangible or a wearable object for or with that tribe. The goal is to create a meaningful object using physical computing as an agency. By meaningful, we mean that it will communicate the value(s) of your tribe.

Just to remind, my research was on the Slow Movement. I did already gather ideas during the last part of my ethnographic research. I asked my interviewees the following: “Do you think it is possible to find a balance with technology rather than having disconnected moments?” One answer from Trine Grönlund whom is behind the Go Slow initiative, particularly stuck in my mind: “Absolutely. I think the answer is very much in technology and particular in the “interface”. Today everything builds upon distraction – you are looking for one thing but you are constantly being lured away to other things. Imagine the day we decide to build sites/apps/games in a way that spreads compassion. Imagine if the more time we spend in front of the screen the more compassionate and mindful we become.

If I highlighted this last sentence, it’s because I immediately had a flashback of one of my past projects: YOU HAVE TO FACE ME that I produced last year for the Festival Les Chambres Numériques, where I asked the audience to literally face the screen in order to trigger its contents. Well, I didn’t know back then that I was crafting an interaction I’m now classifying as slow! And even though I still don’t know what kind of object I want to make, I’m pretty interested in the same contrast I did back then: the effortless technology versus the mindful effort of the audience. Where is the balance? Wouldn’t an interaction that requires time end up frustrating the audience in search of efficiency? Then, isn’t it about the notion of slow to be adjusted at its right moment to intervene?

There are also others keywords I retain here: interface – distraction – compassion. There are definitely links to craft between these, as I don’t believe digital detox is a solution and don’t fall neither in the values of the Slow Movement. Trine also referred me to a talk given by Rohan Gunatillake at Wisdom 2 Europe – here is his own summary wisely named Redesigning not Retreating. He explains his vision balancing mindfulness with technology. He did so with his studio Mindfulness Everywhere which create meditative apps such as buddhify and Sleepfulness. Pretty good starting point for my contextual research!

In the same veins, I also found the initiative Time Well Spent – the founder Tristan Harris gave a pretty good talk that I recommend to watch to comprehend his vision of designing to value time with technology versus the seeker-attention character of technology.

Workshop_03 ↓ Physical Computing

During the Physical Computing Workshop part 3/5, we had to try out modules in small groups. I tested the Sparkfun Easy Driver + Stepper Motor and the MPR121 Capacitive Touch Sensor, both pretty enjoyable to play with — well, that’s it if you don’t mix-up the wires and smell the burn…

For the homework, I had to use something I didn’t get to try previously so I chose the Servo Motor. Setting it up was pretty easy following this tutorial, and the Servo Motor swept back and forth without any trouble.

I added a Potentiometer to control this Servo Motor, and it still works out pretty well. On top of that, I added a LED that is also controlled by the Potentiometer to make it fade. However, I feel that the input of the two components are having a face-to-face and somehow cancel the fade effect…? The Potentiometer still lights up the LED at the end of its turn though.

Before I reach out to a solution, here the code ↓↓↓


Servo myservo;
const int potpin = 0;
int angle = 0;

const int ledPin = 10;
int brightness = 0;
int fade = 0;

void setup() {
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
angle = analogRead(potpin);
angle = map(angle, 0, 1023, 0, 180);

brightness = analogRead(potpin);
fade = map(brightness, 0, 1023, 0, 255);
analogWrite(ledPin, fade);

And the video ↓↓↓

On another note, this module seems pretty similar that of the Stepper Motor, but it is not as precise — the Stepper Motor is defined by steps and you can choose the angle of each step, while the Servo Motor turns around at once. Hence it seems to have less possibilities, but certainly I wasn’t able to make full use of it.

Workshop_02 ↓ Physical Computing

The exercice was to to do an intervention using what we’ve learned during last week’s class, aka the use of the push button and the potentiometer with LEDs.

I got in my possession a RGB LED that I’ve really wanted to try out. Basically, I wanted the push button to light on / off the LED, and the potentiometer to change the RGB value of the LED.

The RGB LED got 4 legs, the 2nd leg which is the longest one is (-) while the others legs are (+). I connected the three (+) legs into the digital input, and the (-) into the ground. For each (+) leg, I used a 330Ω resistor.

Then, I connected the push button and the potentiometer, following what I’ve been taught previously. I used a 10KΩ resistor for the push button.

Here is the code ↓↓↓

int redPin = 1;
int greenPin = 2;
int bluePin = 3;

int buttonPin = 7;
int potPin = A0;

int val = 0;

boolean ledState = LOW;
boolean prevBtnState = LOW;

void setup() {
pinMode(redPin, OUTPUT);
pinMode(greenPin, OUTPUT);
pinMode(bluePin, OUTPUT);

pinMode(buttonPin, INPUT);
pinMode(potPin, INPUT);

void setColor (int red, int green, int blue) {
analogWrite(redPin, 255 - red);
analogWrite(greenPin, 255 - green);
analogWrite(bluePin, 255 - blue);

void loop() {
boolean btnState = digitalRead(buttonPin);
int val = analogRead(potPin);

if (btnState == HIGH && prevBtnState == LOW) {
if (val < 100) {
setColor(255, 0, 0);
if (val >= 100) {
setColor(0, 255, 0);
if (val > 400) {
setColor(0, 0, 255);

digitalWrite(redPin, ledState);
digitalWrite(greenPin, ledState);
digitalWrite(bluePin, ledState);

//prevBtnState = btnState;

I’ve followed last week’s code to write this new one, and I researched tutorials (notably on Adafruit) to implement the RGB LED’s part.

However, it didn’t work out exactly the way I wanted since I can’t seem to work out the part where the switch stays on / off until its next state’s change. I can’t figure it out for now but it still works for the most part. Hopefully, as I get more comfortable with Arduino, I’ll get back to it later and solve it.