Despina is a 72-year-old dressmaker who is zealous about her job, she thinks that "sewing is part of her life", and she does not see it as work. In fact, she loves her job so much that she is still working as hard as she did 20 years ago.
Despina's passion is to make dresses. She loves to sit on her old school sewing machine, sewing and chatting to her friends, sometimes for over 12 hours a day. Now that her and her friends are older, they are unable to make it to their workshop and have to work on their own.
Despina is a social person and likes to gossip while sewing, so she found it lonely when she was sewing. We wanted to create a networked object to help her stay in touch with her friends while sewing, but with Despina's dislike for new technology we had to use traditional interactions to enhance her working environment. She left that he life is manageable the way it is, and didn't want to change it, just improve it.
Our concept is to bring back the way Despina worked, with her and her friends socializing while sewing. Our idea involved making a networked object that lets her and friends interact without being face to face. This allows them to gossip and chat about their creations as they do them. Each friend would be represented by a mini sewing machine, that is a transmitter and a receiver.
When Despina sits down to begin sewing, a sensor is triggered on the seat that will turn on the transmitters and begin communicating. The wheels on the mini sewing machines will turn if one of her friends is on the receiving hand so she can thoughtlessly see which of her friends are about. There is no extra effort for Despina to put into her routine, but it allows her to continue communicating with her friends. We call this "Social Sewing"Launch Concept Video
Instead of introducing a new technology to our grandperson, we intend to provide them with a networked object that connects to others around them and enables them to continue working after retirement.
Our vision is to design a service that is not obtrusive to the user, yet enhances their working environment. We will do this by using traditional interactions our user is already accustomed with.
Throughout our time working on this project we came up with many challenges, from small problems such as what glue to use to deciding the shape of our models.
Our first problem we encountered was with where to put the electronics. We wanted to have all the electronics in the models but this would have compromised the size of the sewing machines, which we thought was more important in the objects visual language. Although, if we had fitted the models with the electronics it would have allowed us to produce the true interaction we wanted to portray of being able to carry the sewing machines about, and if she was fed up with one of her friends she could simply just put the sewing machine in a drawer!
We also had issues with the lights we used in the models. At first we had normal LEDs in use, but they were not bright enough to shine onto the material. We found super bright LEDs which reflected a lot better onto the material, but we were unsure if they fitted in with our models. After discussing we decided this was the best way to go.
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