Design Project III

Name: Shrishti Tijaria
(Industrial Design Student, 6th Semester)
Institution: National Institute of Design, Andhra Pradesh
Course: Techno-Aesthetic Detailing (TAD)
Duration: 9 weeks
Guide: Kuntal De
Miro Link: https://miro.com/app/board/o9J_lRvMOCI=/

Here’s another exciting design project!

Initially, techno-aesthetic detailing was seen as enhancing an existing product with the help of technology and detailing to enhance a product’s function, making it aesthetically pleasing.

But this project allowed us to explore a new dimension by choosing an area or domain of concern and introducing TAD into it.

So as a starting point, we chose a broad domain to peek into the varied possibilities or opportunities that branch under it.

The main keyword that interested me was ENGAGEMENT. So I started to write down the possibilities, contexts, and related keywords and opportunities to guide me further.

Brainstorming to find a possible direction

After this brainstorming, I wanted to venture into the broad domains: WELLNESS & WELL-BEING and GAMIFICATION.

So along with some of my batchmates with similar interests, we listed down various keywords to connect the broad domains.

And then we looked at how an ISSUE converts into a CONCERN and we put users into different contexts to diversify more.

So I started to look at my keyword ‘engagement’ and listed users who I felt requires engagement.

I related the lack of engagement and productivity with lack of motivation and increased procrastination, especially in times of the pandemic.

Procrastination is a voluntary delay of an intended course of action. It is a type of self-regulatory failure to execute an intended work task.

This was followed by brief research on the keywords engagement, performance, and procrastination.

This helped me understand the relation between the three terms and how they correlate with each other.

I then listed down some keywords as to why people procrastinate and wrote the ill effects of procrastination.

Why do people procrastinate?
Effects of procrastination

While doing this research, I stumbled upon the difference between procrastination and laziness and found that they are completely different terms often misused in alternation.

This difference made me ponder that if I'm creating a product to reduce procrastination, I’ll be asking the person to engage with the new product which can, in turn, result in procrastination because the person will not be engaging in the task that he/she is supposed to do.

So, I changed my approach and looked at the listed user group to see what possibilities and opportunities can be looked at, in terms of engagement, with that user group. The user group included:
- Old people living alone
- Children in nuclear families
- Kids with single parent
- Working people on weekends
- Introverts
- Play/ gaming organizations
- Astronauts in a spaceship (long missions)
- College students
- Community centres and common public meeting spots

After a discussion with my guide, I came to know that lack of engagement and productivity is not only because of procrastination but the ability to use free time effectively.

The two directions from the discussion were:
1. How to use free/ idle time better or productively?
2. How to stay away from unnecessary habits and stay engaged/ busy?

This led me to explore the keyword TIME MANAGEMENT.

Why are we not able to manage time?
- Thinking about tomorrow
- Starting day late
- Focussing on doing wrong things
- Getting distracted along the way
- No aims, targets, or goals
- No rest, all work
- Being too free
- Being a perfectionist
- Small task addiction

Wasting time doesn’t just mean doing nothing, surfing the web and social media, handling personal tasks during work hours, or zoning out, but we are wasting time anytime we aren’t giving quality attention to the task we believe will create the most value.

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” You’re not bored, you are afraid of being alone by yourself.

The most common activity to avoid boredom is to resort to phones/ laptops/ computers for online gaming, reading, binge-watching, social media, and instant messaging. This leads to increased screen time.

Here are some habits to avoid for better productivity and time management.

Time management tips:

The Daily Highlight is an important time management tip. It can be the most urgent, or the most satisfying, or the most fun thing that you have to do, and it often gets done since it’s the highlight of your schedule.

Summarising it, the main tips for better time management include decluttering, planning, prioritizing, being effective, focussing, finishing the job, reducing procrastination, and staying organized.

The research branched out various scenarios that could be worked upon.

This was followed by a contextual analysis of all the scenarios (taking the contexts to products- physical manifestation), and creating problem-solution sets by asking questions around its product ecology. The product ecology included the products that are not directly related as well to expand the scope of finding the problem statements.

I listed down keywords from all the problem-solution sets and tried to find connections between them. This was done by overlapping the common keywords (marked with black) from the scenarios mapped above (marked with grey) in the below diagram and finding possibilities that connected all scenarios for a broader scope.

After listing the main keywords, I found that most of my scenarios were actually driven by our state of mind, making them subjective. Therefore, I went ahead with the two that offered maximum scope for this project- sitting for extended hours in a static position and boredom in the pandemic.

These scenarios were further validated by asking the key questions to create an effective problem statement.

SCENARIO 1

PROBLEM STATEMENT 1

Pandemic reduced physical activities of an individual by shifting physical interactions to online engagements, which requires hours of sitting in front of the screens, apart from the leisure/ break time activities like gaming or binge-watching. This has silently addicted the person to sit with most activities being performed while being seated.

How might we address the issue of increased inactivity in teenagers and young adults of an urban household, who spend long hours sitting at a place while engaging in online activities to tackle the negative effects on health?

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SCENARIO 2

PROBLEM STATEMENT 2

Most individuals can’t ignore their electronic devices and check them within the hour after getting emails, texts, or alerts. They prefer to spend more free time in front of screens for gaming, social media, messaging, and binge-watching, especially on weekends. This has not only affected their physical and mental health but also their productivity and quality of output.

What can we do to engage teenagers of an urban household, reduce screen time and dependency on electronic devices for boredom, and maintain positive health?

‘Validation of problem statement’ to be uploaded…

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I saw more potential in problem statement 1 in terms of techno-aesthetic detailing and went ahead to refine the statement.

DESIGN BRIEF

To create a sitting for teenagers and young adults of an urban household to reduce the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle on health.

The questions asked earlier while creating the problem-solution set acted as a starter for my main research.

Right now, you’re probably sitting down to read this and, staying seated for a few minutes to view my blog is probably okay. But the longer you stay put, the more agitated your body becomes.

No matter how much our technology has evolved past the typewriter, our commitment to sitting all day in this 90–90–90 position is the same today. And we’ve suffered tremendously for it.

What followed was pain, and we tried to fix it in every way except getting people moving.

Active Sitting: If you can’t sit less, sit better!

Active sitting occurs when seating allows or encourages the seated occupant to be active even whilst seated. Also referred to as dynamic sitting, the concept is that flexibility and movement while sitting can be beneficial to the human body and make some seated tasks easier to perform.

Creating affordances and interactions in the environment

Think when people are coming to work and taking good care of themselves so they can be optimally productive. It’s a business strategy. When there’s a culture that provides a workplace full of joy, when people like coming to work, that’s very good for the company's health.

Just appreciate that bodies are built for motion, not for stillness.
In fact, since your reading or glancing of this research is almost over, why not stand up and stretch right now? Treat your body to a walk, it will thank you later.

From the research, the below-mentioned directions emerged:

  • How can we use unconscious strategies to help us pay attention and get a healthy spine while sitting?
  • How can we make an environment that invites people to alternate physical postures and break the inactivity of sitting?

KEY INSIGHTS FROM RESEARCH

These insights were segregated into groups with similar directions so that parameters could be listed. (Affinity Mapping)

Affinity Mapping

Attributes, requirements/ parameters, and interactions were derived from affinity mapping to help in concept generation.

Attributes

REDEFINED DESIGN BRIEF

To create a sitting for teenagers & young adults of an urban household to break away from long hours of sitting in a static position to reduce the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle on health.

CONCEPT GENERATION

Initial ideation

Concept 1
Concept 2
Concept 3
Concept 4
Concept 5
Concept 6
Concept 7

After discussing the concepts, I went ahead to combine concepts 1,3 and 7 to find possibilities for an interesting and effective solution.

While revisiting the above concepts, I realised that the foldable and compact feature of the stool is actually a secondary feature to the problem statement I had, which concerned a solution for people who sit for long hours in a static position. So, I went ahead to combine the other two and did some form explorations.

The main feature that validated the saddle concept was the forward bulge that enabled a healthy and straight spine.

I landed on a concept where the two thigh support when down, created a bulge in the front to support better posture, and when folded up, the bulge dissolves for the folded leg position. Also inspired by the car seat headrests, the flaps could be adjusted according to the surface area required.

As for the base of the stool, I was looking at how to make it adjustable and foldable for storage but then realised that stool is a piece of furniture that is already compact and doesn't require much space to store (can be easily slid under the table saving space, in contrary to the conventional chairs with armrests and backrests which hinders them to slide under the table, and they take additional space for storage).

After the feedback session, this form from the above-explored forms seemed to be more interesting to work on.

Also, I was suggested to look at cycle seats with bulged tops for further form inspiration.

I decided to stick to the saddle posture because it provides a better posture.

I started drawing existing cycle seats, image (a), to look at different forms for further explorations. After sketching a few of them, the seats with two parts interested me as they not only allowed a possibility to incorporate the saddle sitting but also allowed no direct pressure on the tailbone.

So exploring in a similar direction, I went ahead to divide my sitting into two panels, image (b), which when folded, allowed the saddle sitting posture and when opened, allowed the folded leg position. This could ensure that the person is not sitting for long in one static posture that the conventional chairs afford, and the change in posture will also regulate better blood flow, not affording our legs to be suspended down for long hours.

I tried different forms that could offer both sitting positions. But while doing so, I was unsure about how much surface area is required for the folded leg position, which was restricting me to explore different forms.

So, I drew how a person sits in folded leg position and traced out the outline required for such a posture. It gave me a filleted triangular form to work on. And as I was exploring the seat to be in two panels, the form reminded me of a moth wing when separated into two parts.

I became interested to explore the movement of moth wings and if I could introduce biomimicry in my concept.

Taking reference from the giant leopard moth, I observed that when the wings are closed, they wrap on the body like an arc shape, and when the wings open up, they are much flatter.

This inspired me to find a possibility where the upper panels when folded, provide an arc form for sitting inspired by cycle and saddle, and when they open up, they lay flat with the support of lower panels which can assist in resting our foot when we sit in folded leg position.

This could cater to different body types as well since the surface area could be adjustable.

Monarchy Stool by Yiannis Ghikas

As for the base of the stool, I wanted something minimal which allowed micromovement. Thinking of a 4-legged structure with minor rocking reminded me of rocking chairs.

This made me stumble upon the monarchy stool by Yiannis Ghikas. The “Monarchy” stool (looks like an inverted crown) follows your body’s movements. It is the classic solid wood stool upgraded within rocking capabilities.

Hence, the base was derived from the monarchy stool where the rocking motion is not uni-directional but it can move in all directions, offering micro-movements like fidgeting and rocking to break away from the static sitting posture of long hours.

I then made a sketch model of the concept which helped me in understanding the form better along with the functionality of the concept.

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The opening and closing mechanism:

This is how the flaps will open and close and the mechanism will be similar to how a makeup box opens and stacks. I’m still testing out the mechanism for the final detailing.

Also, my main form inspiration was from a Giant Leopard Moth and a Horse Saddle, hence I named my stool MODDLE (MOth+saDDLE).

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This is how the stool base structure will look. I’m yet to finalise the joinery of the base with detailing.

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Why is this concept better?

  • This sitting drops our knees below our hips, bringing our spine into healthy alignment- a position that helps distribute weight to our body’s lower half, engaging our core and easing the strain on our lower back.
  • It gives our thighs all support.
  • The split seat reduces painful pressure on our back and spine.
  • It improves blood circulation and balance.
  • It also provides an even load on our spine, the same as when we are standing.
  • Since it is a stool, it can also save space in the room by just sliding it under the table.

Micromovements-

  • It affords to rock (micro-interaction) to avoid the harmful inactive position of a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Because of better spinal posture, our productivity is increased with better concentration and focus, and less physical strain.

Postures-

These are the different postures that the seating would afford, making our bodies change our postures frequently.

The sketch model is not to the scale and the dimensions are yet to be finalised.

Studying the dimensions of a stool with respect to an average height of a table, the average height of my stool will be around 18 inches ~ 460mm.

After finalising all the parts of the stool, I started to make a CAD model with wood being the main material, keeping strength and durability in mind.

This is what the stool will look like when closed and opened.

After modelling it, I reasiled that a circular disc was necessary when the stool will be opened for folded leg position because the uneven surface of the panels will cause discomfort to the hip area when sitting on it.

I was inspired by the kerf bending wood mechanism (image a) for opening and closing of the wing structure. Along with this, I decided on using the ball and socket joint (image b) for moving the outer wing in and out with ease. As for the inner wing movement, I made cavities for rails (image c) to be inserted which will allow easy sliding of panels on assembly.

This shows the mechanism from a closed stool to an open stool.

A half-lap joint is a very strong and very visually appealing joint which is the process of joining two pieces of wood together by removing half of the width from each part so that they completely overlap each other when joined. They provide reasonable strength and are durable.

The mortise and tenon joint is the one of the strongest and most widely used joinery methods. A mortise is a cavity cut into a timber to receive a tenon which is a projection on the end of another timber for insertion into the mortise. The joint can be wedged to lock it in place. In its basic form, it is both simple and strong.

The rocking base can also be detached as per the user convenience to suit the posture the user like.

Presenting MODDLE!

That is it! It was a fun experience to play around designing a furniture.

With the final detailing and proportions, I’m planning to make a full-scale prototype, once the institute opens, for user testing which will allow me to further make the necessary changes for its implementation…