Sunday, April 27, 2008

Look What I Made (episode 2)

The semester is drawing to a close (thus the return to blogging). I thought I'd take the opportunity to share with you what I've been doing in my secret lair.

This studio, in contrast to the last one, was essentially one big full class project. We actually had a client this semester, which is a very different experience than designing for an abstract academic principle. We've tried to set such a thing up on previous semesters, but ran into conflicts over who owned the rights to our work. This time, with this client, the school was able to reach an agreement, so in February (a bit later than originally intended) we got started working for ACS, in particular the division that builds equipment for airport parking ticketing operations. Most of you have seen their handiwork at Atlanta, Dulles, Reagan, and other major airports. They're the top supplier for the top airports in the nation and were looking to improve their product for a variety of reasons.

We spent the semester on the problem and eventually developed three potential solutions. We all worked on the background development and early concept work. When it came time to work on the final solutions, I had a more direct hand in shaping two of them: Monolith and Organic. Ask me about them sometime and I'll be happy to tell you more. Hopefully we will be seeing one of these coming to a major airport within a year or two.

My Interaction Design class is the only other class that worked towards a physical product this semester. There were seven of us in this class and together we produced three pieces for an end-of-year exhibition titled "Play." This exhibition was focused on using the principles of interaction to modify and expand upon the experience of iconic American toys. My group (there were three of us) used the concept of "affordance" to develop a giant Simon game. Instead of pushing buttons, players jump on them. With an eight foot diameter, this version of Simon encouraged 4 (and sometimes more) people to play together. The exhibition was a success and the Simon (once we worked out a double-press problem in the software) gathered lots of players.

So that's two years down and one to go. This next one is the thesis year and it should be an interesting experience. I'll keep you informed.

UPDATE: And here's a video of the Simon in action one of my teammates just posted. We're into the double digits at this point, so there's little actual jumping anymore... We eventually made it to 17 before losing interest.