This week there was a lot of pressure to come up with a big idea. And I definitely buckled under it. To help me come up with ideas I started with Bill Buxton’s 10 plus 10 system. It was helpful. Nonetheless, after a lot of thinking, I’m still not completely in love with any of my proposals, but hopefully one of them will evolve into something that I do love. Here goes:
1. A pulse sensor for aerial performance.
This device straps on to the performer’s chest and uses a pulse sensor and lilypad (and bluetooth?) (or other sensor and transmitter) to send the performer’s pulse to either an audio or lighting system (or both!). The strapped device is meant to be comfortable and stable during extreme physical activity. And it will hide well under a leotard.
The idea is that the performer will be performing to their own heartbeat. It is meant to be humanizing as it takes away the glass wall and “effortlessness” that performers often strive for. It also is a moment by moment reminder of physical barriers of life. Each moment of human life depends on that beating heart.
Interesting uses could be having multiple performers using the device to create a mashup of pulses related in light or sound. Alternately, an audience member could be invited to wear the monitor. Or one audience member and one performer.
2. The random-acts-of-kindness water cooler
It’s really easy to get caught up in thinking that change only comes from seemingly “big” people/things–MLK, Gandhi, rocketships, polio vaccines–but in my own life I find that it’s the little things that affect me most often. I especially love the random acts of kindness–the person holding the door, the person letting you go before you in line, the person who gives you a huge smile. I started thinking it would be nice to have a reminder to do a random act of kindness every day. Then I thought it would be nice if it weren’t tied to you computer or smartphone. That’s what led me to the water cooler. It’s a place that you go several times a day and you have to stand there for about 20 seconds while you fill your cup/mug/bottle.
I thought it could work something like this: When a person starts filling, the cooler is triggered to ask if they’ve done something kind yet today. The screen is close to the floor and angled up so it’s in the line of view of the user. Using the foot petals the user responds yes or no. Then it asks if s/he wants a suggestion. If yes, it displays one.
It might be a good way to cheer up office life. And hopefully, if people are being nicer to each other at work/school, it would have a ripple effect outside of the office/school. On the other hand, it could just end up annoying people.
3. Jordan — USA Communications Booth
I really value putting a human face on topics that feel faraway. I think it’s key to helping us evolve evolve socially. I was thinking that it would be pretty powerful to have a conversation with someone currently experiencing the Middle East refugee crisis. In this idea there are two inconspicuous booths. One placed in a refugee camp in Jordan. One placed somewhere else — like at NYU. In the booth you first watch the most recent message that has come in from the other location. Then you record yours to send out.
There is a motion sensor on the booth so that when there is a message waiting in the booth, it can try to get the attention of anyone walking by.
I originally thought this should be a live feed. So you could go into the booth and try to get the attention of someone on the other side. But with time differences and all, I thought it would be difficult.
I don’t think this is my best idea, but some version of it could be impactful.