Arch 209x, CNM 290

wed 10-1,
104 Wurster Hall

Anthony Burke, Architecture
Eric Paulos, Intel Research
Beau Trincia, GSI, IDEO


Hacking for better living


TomadaChi Bracelet


Sapien Umbrella


Venus Fly Trap








Public Review 10.06.06, 2nd Floor Lobby and Courtyard, Wurster Hall
Set up at 9:00am
Review 10:00-1:00



Matt Jones left us with this question at the Interactive City Summit. Should we design super senses or better experiences for existing ones?

This first project will explore this question through the design of a sensory apparatus that will either extend one existing sense, enabling the user to see, hear, touch, electromagnetically intuit, taste, smell, magnetize, scan, log etc, the city so that he/she may understand and engage with the city more fully.

Enabling different or heightened senses may be able to bring us closer to different perception of the city, as much as effect the way we navigate it, use it, think of it and interact with it. Conversely, these devices may allow the city to know us, to learn from our new or extended senses and so begin to develop a picture of its civic constituency, and possibly develop a personality of its own.

In order to do this, we want to start with an existing object that extends the body or augments the senses as it moves about the city. Take a device such as a walking frame, cane, orthopedic shoe, and use it as an initial scaffold to create a device that either extends a particular sensual experience of the city, or explores and develops a new sense altogether.

The apparatus you make should combine equal measures of information/data logging or recording, humor, the absurd, aesthetic appreciation, sensory enhancement, playback, portability, shininess, mobility, fashion, and so on. We are not interested in solving the sensory deficiency that the device was initially created for, but rather to use this object as a host for a more complex, but not necessarily more perfect “view” of the city.

You should define where the limits of your senses are, do they include messaging? sharing in real or near real time? Are they effected by non-present objects or people? How do they respond to shifting elements of the environment such as light, wind, bluetooth traffic, magnetic pulses, chewing gun on the sidewalk… ? How does one carry/wear, deploy or train your device? Does it have a personality? Can it respond to you …


Depending on class numbers, you will work in groups of three, ideally each team member coming from a different discipline. We will work in studio time (3 hours a week) and expect you to work at least another 6 hours a week in addition to that.

As noted in the Syllabus, each week will consist of a short presentation and discussion by a group on issues not specifically project related but addressing a reading and web research which will be shared on the wiki. After that, unless noted, we will spend the majority of the class time in desk critiques of your project, small group critiques and presentations, and working on technical and conceptual development.

As this is a short project, you should strive toward a working prototype. In some cases this may not be possible, however the following guidelines are an indication of what you will be expected to present for the review.

- 2 x 36”x48” poster boards illustrating your product, its conceptual development, its technical specifications and salient points of interest, as well as visualizations of the object itself, how it is assembled, how it works and where it is expected to work. You should show images of the product in use, being worn, deployed etc. 3d renderings, assembly diagrams, and technical drawings, and photo montages are encouraged
- 1 full scale wearable/mobile model for use in the review in the courtyard or room. This model may not be fully functional (see note below), but it should be the correct weight, size, color, fit, aesthetic etc.
- If the prototype is not fully functional, you are to produce a technical “proof of concept” display appropriate to your design.

You should make use of your respective departments facilities to create your models and posters. Laser cutters, 3d printers, CNC routers, workshops etc are generally available throughout campus.