My Idea that I have decided to go with, started off by looking into communication devices for disabilities. I wanted to look into this as most futuristic devices are presented in a utopian world where there seems to be no health problems and everyone who uses the product are young, healthy and wealthy. After looking into this subject I found there were a very small number of products for adults that were in an affordable price range. As well as mainly being marketed for children or young teenagers. A lot of the technology sold that I could find were for a sensory room or entertainment purposes.
I decided to design a device that would help with sensory disabilities. I didn’t want to stop at just a hearing device and thought about ways it could help with vision. I found a design concept called Lumigrids ( http://www.yankodesign.com/2013/05/21/lumigrids-while-cycling/ ) which portrays an “LED projector for bicycles that hopes to improve safety during night riding. It projects square grids onto the ground and by observing changes in the grids, the rider can easily comprehend the landforms ahead.”
This gave me inspiration for my device to project a grid system into the users mind so they can comprehend the environment around them and any objects are shown as blocky low poly objects in the space. This would also be able to connect to nearby devices so the users could use their phone or see the signs on shop doors and prices. I also started looking into the possible helpful benefits of this device in relation to Autism, in particular Aspergers. I took advice from a lecturer and looked into the book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. I liked how this book wasn’t written exclusively about Aspergers, but a book about a boy who sees the world in a surprising and different way, as well as his experience feeling like an outsider. I was also old about some people who regained a sense back from not having it at all, couldn’t handle the shock of it all. For instance being completely deaf, to having to combat the noise of everyday life in a busy city can be really distressing and invokes anxiety.
In the end I went quite dark with the concept of my design. I created a design that would aid disabilities and would effectively seem like a Utopian future. However, I wanted to address how there can never truly be a utopian future as there is always conflict. There can also never be a ‘ fix all/end all product as my progression of this device would result in the human body unable to handle the stress and anxiety of a dramatic change such as gaining full sight/full hearing and ultimately the user having locked in syndrome. With the device having programmed the users daily life routine it will just play through the usual routine and force what has ultimately become a shell, through a routine programmed by the repetitive nature of humankind. I also toyed around with the idea of the device living off it’s host and when one user dies it must find another one and will attach itself to them. This is why I designed my device with a parasite in mind and yet still wanted it to appeal as looking cute. I think this design may have created a Heterotopian world due to the user ending up in a place they neither want to be, nor can really escape from. The outside world looking at the user will assume this is the best thing for the user as it reduces any involvement for real people and has been marketed as something for an idealist future.