I was given the theme of ‘memories’. As an urban pedestrian, I often walk by memorable locations from my past, and imagine how my memories are layered upon the city over the memories of those who lived before me. I wish I could experience these memories more clearly, so I decided to create a device that would make one’s memory traces more physical and tangible. This device tags memories to a location, gathering audio and emotional data and providing a 3d-scan of the memory space. Memory maps are created over time, as personal or shared maps, and maps of past lives can be accessed by loved ones as a form a remembrance. Later, through the use of audio and haptic feedback, while walking through the city a user is able to ‘brush up’ against a 3d-texture of a memory and feel and hear important moments from their past.
Stephanie is an amazing visual designer and largely works with data visualisation for print, so designing an inactive wearable piece was outside her comfort zone. I think she did a great job, but she wanted some help to bring her concept off the page and make a physical prototype. We spent a day together creating the pendant for her piece.
She decided to represent the interaction through a pulsing light embedded in a necklace. She designed the light pulsing pattern and colour to show different types of memories and I got an RGB LED mocked up with an Arduino and breadboard.
Once the colour and tempo was finalised, I programmed an ATtiny45 to do the same as the Arduino. We wanted the piece to be as small as the tech would allow, so I soldered the LED and resistors directly to the microcontroller. The pendant was constructed from two pieces of walnut wood sandwiching a piece of acrylic to diffuse the light. The circuit board was created from pieces of copper tape. The adhesive of the tape made a fairly strong contact against the wood.
The finished pendant had a roughly 30 second cycle of 5 memories with different attributes of being personal, shared, or in remembrance.
Stephanie turned the pendant into a full necklace along with designing two boards to explain the concept. My photos and video of the exhibition aren’t great, but hopefully sufficient to get an idea of the finished piece.
It was kinda funny, and quite characteristic of those in attendance, that everyone felt very comfortable touching the pieces. The circuit on the back of the pendant was not intended for public viewing; it was supposed to hidden against the body when worn. But the necklace kept getting flipped over by curious attendees to inspect the tech.