We designed this project to inverts your relationship with a chair, and invites you to invent new ways to interact with a chair. In trying to "please" the chair by sitting in a way that conforms to its own rules, we lose control of our own bodies. The chair shapes our body, instead of serving your body. On top that, we want the participants to get silly, awkward, and be entertained by their weird poses and the absurdity of this inverted relationship.
Role: Fabrication, Programming, Physical Computing, User Testing
Tools: Arduino, Mixed media
Collaborator: Carol Jingjie Chen
We want to make a grumpy chair, that will resist you sitting on it by kicking (the feeling of someone kicking your chair) and making you uncomfortable. Your goal is to calm it down, please it by changing your posture, and reaching a point where the chair doesn’t poke you or “kick” you. We want to design it in a way that the user has to explore the chair’s temper by moving around and adjusting the posture, and when they finally pleased the chair, that posture will be a very uncomfortable, weird posture for the person. We want to capture the creative poses people find to console and please this chair with their bodies.
To create a complete sensory experience, we decided to start with the possible response to express the chair’s emotional state:
Angry: motor punching/kicking the bottom of the seat, things poking out under the seat cushion (like massage chairs).
Nervous: things under seat cushion moving around, vibration, rhythmic.
Pleasure: nothing happen, chair remains static.
Also some sensors we are thinking about:
touch/distance sensor on the chair’s arms (where the user’s arms are)
pressure sensor on the seat (if the user sits down quickly/slowly)
distance/light sensor on the chair’s legs (test how far the legs are)
distance sensor/light sensor on the back (if the user is leaning back)
accelerometer on the bottom of the seat (to test if the chair is tilted)
User Testing & Prototyping
Our playtest plans:
People will sit on the chair, and feel the chair poking and kicking/shaking violently.
They are told to adjust their posture to please the chair, so they will move their body around
They will eventually find out that the more they sit uncomfortably, (tilting the chair, stretching arms, legs not touching ground…) the quieter the chair gets.
The chair becomes peaceful as the person reaches some very weird, uncomfortable pose.
Things to pay attention to when playtesting:
How will people sit down initially on this chair.
How will they react to the instruction.
How will they respond the the initial, angry chair.
Which body parts will they move the adjust their posture.
How far will they go in adjusting their posture, how much they will move around/strech.
What kind of clues to give, when to give, to get them to realize that a certain pose is working and they’ve pleased the chair.
Will anyone tilts the chair.
Then we decided to use light sensors which can detect not only if your body is over an area, but also if your body is not over an area. If we had some rules stating that people’s body not only has to cover certain parts of the chair, but also cannot cover some other parts, then we can create a system that force people do crazy weird poses while still having some choices over how to pose. Once we had this system, we started planning where to put the sensors, and how many sensors to put on the chair. After user testing, we decided on 8 lights sensors.
We drew illustrations of people’s poses on the chair during user testing, and print it into poster and stickers them to help amplify our concept to the audience.
2018 ITP and Ima WINTER SHOW
This project was selected to be presented at the Winter Show 2018, a two-day exhibition of new media art projects created by the students of ITP and IMA.
Part of content creidts to Carol Jingjie Chen.