Thesis development : Recode

My thesis project is a physical wearable device. The objective of the device is to trigger feelings and sensations that are associated with the hidden difficulties that many people with paralysis have to live with. I am trying to recreate the emotional burden that comes with the below the surface complications that are not immediately visible or spoken about.

In particular I am looking at the issues around the basic human function of using a bathroom. The object I am building will give the individual using it an insight into the problem/problems people with paralysis endure and I hope this discursive design direction will give them the following feelings/emotions:

Loss of control





The device will have the following functions to create an experience that induces these feelings.

1. A signalling device or component that will alert the person having the experience to a

2. Countdown timer beginning, which will have a predetermined time set into it. The allotted time length will enable the person having the experience to react to a consequence which is

3. A servo motor or similar which activates when the countdown timer reaches zero which

4. When activated uses an implement to destroy a container/balloon filled with water/liquid.

How the person experiencing the piece will interact with it.

The interaction or lack of control of interaction with the device is the point of the experience. The individual will have to bend to the rules of the device due to this lack of control or else face consequences.

The wearer will not be able to remove the device and will need to react to the devices prompts. Not reacting to, ignoring or not getting to a bathroom on time with the device will have an adverse negative effect on the person who has chosen to have the experience.

The wearer will never know when the countdown timer will begin, they will only be alerted randomly when it does.

The wearer does have time to do something about their scenario but the time will be limited.

I already have begun experimenting with parts of this experience separated into smaller experiences/experiments in which I can test my assumptions and will be carrying these experiments out with a larger group on Friday 1st April.

For this week I have been researching Arduino sketches that have different elements of this experience.

This is a countdown timer sketch with servo activation

This device do something similar but in a different context to what I am proposing. It’s an alarm clock that shreds money if you do not deactivate it.

My challenge over the next 2 weeks is to try to recreate a similar sketch or bring other Arduino sketches such as alarm, timer and servo sketches together as a single sketch and deploy them to an Arduino Nano with the electronic components beginning to function. This will be a challenge for me!

2 thoughts on “Thesis development : Recode

  1. Hi Noel, I’m looking forward to hearing about how your experiments go on April 1st! Perhaps this will be informed by the feedback then, but with several components to combine (alarm, timer and servo) into one sketch, do you have a specific approach? For example, do you plan to incorporate them one at a time? Is there one part that is the easiest with which to start (or for which you have found the most useful reference documentation)?


    1. Hi Ellen, thanks for the feedback. My research with the experiments went well, the experiments validated my assumptions on how people felt about the different interactions they were having. In relation to the components I think that I need to look at what I am going to use again. I was originally thinking about a buzzer and leds and alarms but these are outputs that would effect people other than the person experiencing the piece which is supposed to replicate a very personal experience! The feedback I got on Friday gave me some ideas though. I plan on incorporating the outputs one at a time and trying to bring them together in one sketch for the Show a Thing event. I think I will use vibration motors instead of an alarm and some sort of other haptic feedback for the countdown. These will only be obvious to the person experiencing the object.


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