Shiomi is a timer that gives shape to time and communicates it to other people over the internet. When someone sets a personal time of let's say 1 hour, a mountain peak appears to the other boxes (that can be anywhere in the world) and starts to decrease till the time runs out. This project explores productivity in the home and uses physical inerfaces as an alternate means to screens.
Shiomi is a timer. It allows the user to set a timer specific to a goal and have peace of mind knowing that the time set is his own.
This time is given shape through a relative rising mountainous surface that suggests to the users' close ones not to interrupt his flow and focus which betters productivity. The mountain rises relatively to the set time and starts going on as it counts down indicating the decrease in the pile of work.
It reversibly suggests ambiently the availability of people he has chosen and the time they require to finish their tasks. Thus the user can also approximate when to work and when to communicate with them.
PROJECT AND WORKING PHILOSOPHY
Screens. Screens. Screens. Communication is happening behind screens.
We never sat down and said these were our philosophies. As a team, we did not want to create more distractions - more pointless technology. We were soley interested in things that were beneficial to wellbeing.
We wanted to create a seamless intervention and interaction within a world with so much information not add another piece but only to simplify it .
We chose a peaky mountain in Japan, Mount Shiomi, because it embodies the values of Zen that we were trying to convey with the object. The mountain is also symbolic of work 'a mountain fo work to do' but is also so beautiful and so realxing to look at. The product was almost against technology. From the outside it looks like an ordinary box.
THE RESEARCH : User Probing, Workshop, Interviews
1. USER PROBE
We asked participants to text us the moment they entered the home. We set a timer of thirty minutes and texted them back asking them to take a photo of everything they had touched. This exercise helped us understand what are the regular routines one has to go through before starting the work they needed to do. It took them approximately 30 minutes to settle down and get the chores done. This helps us also find common ground between participants and their actions.
The workshop was valuable to get more detailed explanations and it allowed us to discover some intricacies into the home. What objects look 'homey'? As a team we wanted to design a technological object that blended. We thought it would be a great way to figure out what are the personal objects that make the users link to home and the reasons behind it. The frequency of use, the aesthetics and the memories linking these objects to something gave us insight for the future.
Concept Creation & Further Exploration / Affinity Diagrams
After collecting the insights from the probe, the interviews, and the workshop and sorted them out it was time to come up with an inital concept. The concept of how to efficiently work at home. Tis concept was divided into some experiments
We started to generate ideas and compounds of ideas and instead of settling on one we decided to create a series of experiments to narrow it down later on in the project.
Experiment 1 : The Kettle
The Kettle Experiment served as a way to understand when it is time to trigger a break. It sensed the amount of internet activity the user had elapsed and starts to boil the kettle. Good work is done after a cup of tea.
Experiment 2 : Daylight Disco
The point of this disco ball was for working in dark and cold countries like Finland where the sun barely ever comes out. When the sensors detect the light hitting the ball it automatically starts up the inbuilt motor and makes the disco ball spin, allowing the specs of light to circulate in the room.
CHOOSING THE USER INTERFACE
Because hte interface was sewn unto fabric there were some design restrictions regarding the stitching of it. The pattern had to be simple yet indicate the motion of the hand to set time. It also needed to convey the message of the start button cross in the middle.
THE CODE, THE MECHANISM, THE INSIDE PARTS
ARDUINO YUN, TEMBOO, AND GOOGLE SPREADSHEETS
FRIEND MODULE BOX
The friend module boxes snap on magnetically to one another. The three squares on each side are covered with conductive fabric that allows for the current and code to pass from the Arduino Mega into the servo through the three pins (ground, 5V, and pin 9).
This box contains an Arduino Mega requires for the numerous pins coming from the conductive thread and the LEDS as well as the servos to sit on. It also contains an Arduino Yun responsible for the connection to the internet in order to retrieve the timer values of the other people.