Posts Tagged ‘ciid’

Small interactions

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Lately I’ve been questioning all the small interactions that we deal with everyday, these that are so deeply-rooted in our daily routine that we don’t question whether it’s a good design or not. Sometimes we have the perception that if it’s been there for a long time, it should be good. We have created standards that help us not to think about the interaction itself, but focus on what we want, and the result. However, as we deal with these interactions many times each day, their design has a big impact in our lives. It’s part of the designers’ role to analise how appropriate are these interactions in our days.

I wanted to dedicate a short video to these small interactions.

The same thinking could be applied to everyday objects.


A knife today has exactly the same shape (and sometimes same materials) than thousands of years ago. It’s a standard – we know how to use it, we know what is it for. But it was conceived in another context: different lifestyle, design and manufacture processes, needs, etc. When it’s time to redesign these objects? Is it too late because they are already standards? How much have they already shaped our behavior and lifestyle?

Designing today, tomorrow

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

A month ago we made a small documentary around the role of the designer today, and tomorrow. We interviewed Simona Maschi (head of the Interaction Design Programme and co-founder of CIID), Vinay Venkatraman (co-founder of CIID), Peder Burgaard (Business Development Manager at TDC) and Iago Noguer Storgaard (Senior Consultant at ReD Associates) – four visions on the present and future of the design.

The documentary is being exhibited at Danish Design Center within the exhibition 10+ Design Forecast.

Designers have an enormous responsibility to shoulder and this goes way beyond the use of materials and aesthetic pleasure. Stepping back from the final ‘product’, we also need to think about the big picture.

The growing desire for individuals to customise and democratise products, systems and services plays a part in how the role of the designer slots in to a larger ecosystem.

Designers have the power to change the way people live their everyday lives. Business strategy, technology, communication and societal demands are just some of the aspects today’s designers need to take in to consideration.

The designer of today is the designer of tomorrow.

Playing with materials

Friday, March 26th, 2010

During the Wearable Computing and Tangible user Interface courses at CIID we had the opportunity to have some time to play with materials. No hi-tech tools are needed for exploring different techniques to modify these materials, but in CIID we have the chance to have amazing workshops. That helps.

“Give me an idea, a laser-cutter and a couple of days”. Certainly, laser-cutter has opened a new horizon in terms of material processing. It can cut, raster, edge, drill holes, burn, etc. It does it over wood, paper, fabric, metal, plastic, stone or whatever (link bread) comes to your mind. And it does it precisely and fast.

With fabric is possible to achieve different colors depending on the intensity of the laser and the raster pattern. The cut is precise and it doesn’t fray.


Cutting lines in lycra generates nice shapes when stretched.


All the pieces of the glove for Atmo project were laser-cut, even the foam. Then I used conductive thread to generate the contact points for lighting the embedded LED.




Foamboard is also a good material for prototyping. Using the laser-cutter is possible to generate curves by edging lines.



Also to build structures that can be covered by fabric.


Stick fabric to the foamboard using spray-glue before laser-cut or edge.



Edging the cardboard, getting a burned finish.


Also wood gets a nice texturized burned finish:


Acrylic has been the material for many projects. It’s easy to cut with a laser-cutter and bend with hot air without losing transparency. Raster provides a nice translucent finish. It’s rigidity and durability allows to build working prototypes really quick. Some pictures from the The Discreet Window project:







Also stones can be edged with the laser-cut, with a nice textured golden finish.


Apart from the laser-cut, we went to the workshops to play. The aspect of the cold steel can have beautiful colors by immersing it in salty water to rust it, or heating it with the grinder.



Or grinder the surface to create highlights in different directions.



Milling the wood to achieve a small thickness, an interesting solution to embed LED’s into the wood and see the light through when they are lighten up.


I spent an evening working with ceramics – it’s an amazing process. Shape the material with your hands, applying pressure carefully with your fingers and feel the piece evolve… using the wheel is fun. I need some teaching though, results were way different from the first idea.



Combining two materials to achieve a flexible structure. Afterwards I wanted to use glass instead of the balloon. Eric blew glass inside the structure, forming an amazing shape.



And magnets are cool!




Materials, tools and time are the ingredients to have fun exploring processes, some times with unexpected and pleasant surprises!

Prototype 3D shapes without digital modeling

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

To prototype non-linear shapes or wearable objects that have to be adapted to a certain part of a body we used a technique that avoids spending hours in a 3D software. It eases the process since no modeling of the desired shape or part of the body is required.

Taking a balloon as the shape we wanted to reproduce, we went through the following steps:

1. Cover the balloon with tape


2. Cover it then with fabric (cotton is ok), making the appropriate cuts and using tape to follow the curves.


3. Draw a desired pattern which will be used for cutting the fabric. Shapes should be about 3-4 cm. wide maximum in order to get flat pieces. It’s useful to draw extra lines that cross the main shapes and label them in both sides, in order to align adjacent pieces afterwards.



4. Cut the fabric following the pattern. The resulting pieces can be used to reconstruct the balloon, sticking the pieces together of cutting these shapes out of another material.


In order to be more precise to cut the new fabric, I scanned the patterns and traced them using Illustrator. Then I cut them with the laser-cutter, ready to be sewed.



We used this technique to build the dock of the project Atmo. Some pictures of the process:


rideCPH, a bike sharing concept for Copenhagen

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Copenhagen was the first city to introduce a bike sharing system, in 1995. Since then, different cities have launched a bike sharing service as a healthy, environmentally respectful mean of transportation. Bicing (Barcelona) is a good example of success, having a high acceptation from locals and commuters – more than 400 stations and 6.000 bicycles in 2 years. However, the uni-directional flows and the lack of bike lanes in some districts are still challenging the system for a continuous improvement.

The city of Copenhagen, aware that its system was one step behind the modern ones, started an open design competition for the new Copenhagen bike sharing system. During our Upgrade Skills at CIID (Flash course), we were asked to design an interactive touch-point for the future system to be deployed in Copenhagen.

My concept aim to combine a simple and fast service for regular users and a guidance service for punctual users and specially, tourists. In my opinion, they should be a main target for for two reasons: 1. most of the people living in Copenhagen already have a bike, 2. discover the city riding a bike is part of the local culture and could lead to a better impression and experience.

The guidance service allows to select a route in the touch-point. The bicycles are equipped with a module with GPS and LED’s that guides the user to the selected points.



Following, a video of the concept rideCPH showing the service and the interaction in the touch-point.


Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

The second assignement for the Video Prototyping week was to design a service around ‘energy saving’ topic. After a short brainstorming, we worked in pairs to develop the concept and sketch it. Together with Eric, we designed a service for increasing people’s awareness about energy and culture of maintenance for a better efficiency and longevity of our appliances and devices. We decided to sketch the concept using a doll, shooting in the stop motion studio. This allowed us to control the light and the sound (no voice over), probably the main issues when shooting with basic equipment.


We sketched the story, built the scenario and the props…




…and we shot until late at night. It was fun!

Probably we missed a bit the focus of the service in the first version. We had another day and a half to refine the prototype and put more emphasis in explaining the concept. More footage, editing and fun.

I enjoyed this week a lot. Music, sound, photography, lighting, props, communication… video prototyping is design.

Video prototyping

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Video sketching is one of the most powerful tools for communicating a concept to the project team or a client. Vinay explained us different techniques and tips for shooting, editing and producing video prototypes. Resolution and fidelity need to be adjusted depending on the purpose of the prototype, the target audience, the timeline and the resources.

As a first exercise, we were given a small text with blanks in order to imagine a story. Working in pairs, we shot the story and then we exchanged the tape with another team, editing their material trying to imagine what was the story line. Here the resulting videos:

We used iMovie for editing – simple, intuitive and enough for the majority of the video prototypes.

Introduction to Interaction Design

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

The 3rd week at CIID we received Matt Cottam, co-founder of Tellart.  The goal was to “introduce us to core concepts involved with interaction design” through an analog experience, with any use of technology. The course was structured to work on different small projects covering different topics, as well as film viewings and discussions.

During the week we run a project in parallel to the short ones: “What is a switch?”. We were asked to create at least 20 switches using scraps we found around us. We worked until late at night, converting our tables in a coloured mess of pieces of everything. By Friday we had a broad collection of switches, ranging from a simple contact of two pieces of paper, to high elaborated and complex artifacts.




On Day 3 we designed icons for “add a friend” and “unfriend” buttons for a social network interface. After brainstorming around what these concepts mean in different environments and groups of people, each of us created a mural 24×24 post-its in a selected surface. Here my process and result:


We explored other fields of interaction design with the other assignments, such as cities as platforms, visualisation of virtual relationships, mobile application for arrange a meeting or re-design of an old interface.



I experienced this week as a perfect warm up for the whole programme, regarding both content and intensity.

Other pictures of the projects developed this week here.