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_digital doppelganger

A critical performance piece that serves as a commentary on our addiction to digital escapism: how that affects the emergence of narcissistic personality traits, and how complacent we are as passive recipients of mediated lackluster interactions.

 

Role

Designer, creative technologist

skills

critical design, product design, Node, Web, Physical computation and 3d Fabrication

exhibited

prism: 2019 mfadt thesis showcase

 
 

“The fight isn’t about the thing. It says a lot about the relationship with the person rather than the act of texting itself. It’s more alarming to be around someone who isn’t aware of their social transgressions than someone who knowingly and apologetically commits them.”


 

Research

For more insight on person to person interactions in this new age, I turned to well renown sociologist Dr. Sherry Turkle . In her book Alone Together, Turkle coins the term the “life mix” in reference to a person’s continual co-presence through the attempt to perform in-person and online interactions simultaneously. With the increased use of mobile devices, the lines of demarcations between physical and digital social interactions become increasingly blurred. Social contracts no longer have the physical cues or restraints of a computer room with a desktop computer and fax machine or a phone restricted to a landline. But how does this affect the quality of day to day interactions with one another?

Interesting intersections began to emerge within the following domains:

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Exploration through making

Initial prototypes explored devices and systems that shaped human behavior and the human experience.

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Sketches of the human experiences facilitated through wearable devices to create digital tasting experiences.

Prototype of an AI system that uses classical conditioning to train users to make better decisions through taste.

Prototype of an AI system that uses classical conditioning to train users to make better decisions through taste.

Wearable system that encourages physical interacts through touch with haptic feedback.

Wearable system that encourages physical interacts through touch with haptic feedback.

 
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Replacement device that allows users to use takes ones place as they tend to their mobile devices.

Replacement device that allows users to use takes ones place as they tend to their mobile devices.

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User testing of replacement device. Overall responses consisted of laughter and raised awareness of the lack of attention they were getting.


 

CRITICAL NARRATIVE + project details

Why do we place greater attention on our digital devices over our physical companions in immediate proximity? The objective of this project is to highlight behavior rather than providing a solution.

_digital doppelgänger creates a digital avatar of the user that one can elect to transfigure between if one’s digital interactions takes precedence. The form is aimed to push the obscene to play more with the increasing precedence that technology takes by leveraging it in the aesthetic solution for the wearable. To best mimic what users should demand of their counterparts, I placed a digital display of the recording of my eyes playing on a loop. I added mechanized movement to further mimic the human qualities within the device, enabling it to nod and further amplifying human gestures of multitasking. In future iterations, I’d like to add auditory input as well. This will include prerecorded “mhmm’s” and “yeahs” to add more validity to my critique.

Assembly

This proof of concept prototype comprised of low fidelity materials: black foam core, black duct tape (strategic design decision for a “sleek” DIY aesthetic) and the inner head support of a hard hat.

Tech components comprises of two servo motors controlled by an Arduino. The screen used was a cell phone playing a GIF of the eye recording.

Higher fidelity plans include 3D printing the housing structure and utilizing a TFT screen for display.


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