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Prototyping Touch Interactions with Video and Device Form

Prototyping User Experiences instructor, Clay Wiedemann, coordinated a day-long After Effects workshop for students this past Saturday. We began with an introduction to key motion graphics concepts then familiarized ourselves with the application’s user interface. Over the day, we completed two exercises: one involved compositing artwork onto footage of a stationary screen, another, a hand-held phone. I was really excited to learn how to prototype touch interactions with video. I am currently designing with the Fitbit as the sensor for my device; however, I want the ability to prototype a speculative sensor in my user journey video. This workshop gives me the flexibility to do so.

In August of last year, when I had the faintest notion that I wanted to prototype a device, I asked industrial engineer, Jen Sutton, if she would mind fielding an occasional question or two when the semester began. In January, we began an email exchange to share my initial research and thoughts on the system design. In response, she invited her colleague, Martin Sullivan, to join the conversation. This week I formally brought them both on as technical advisors.

Fig. 1. Inspiring for its mixture of cold and warm, hard and soft.

I met with the team on Sunday to review my prototyping efforts, outline the components I was prototyping with, and begin discussing the form of the device. As inspiration for form, I asked them to think of science fiction movies featuring scenes of space travelers emerging from pods that held them in deep cryo-stasis. I also shared two still images: one of a mold for manufacturing chairs (Fig. 1.) and Revital Cohen’s Biological Clock. I cited the mold for its contrast of materials—rough brushed aluminum and rubber tygon tubing—, a mixture of cold and warm, hard and soft. The following day, they sent this rendering and note:

Form in 3D

“The base and top would be made out of machined billet aluminum. The white and blue rings you see at the bottom are .032″ plexi slugs which would have LED’s imbedded in the center producing an “edge lit effect”. One could indicate when someone is wearing the fitbit, and the other indicating when ethylene is being released.”—Martin Sullivan

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