As society integrates with technology, the increase of digital information has become normalised, it’s effects have been linked to anxiety and depression among teens and young adults.
This project focusses on our relationship with the technology around us, specifically smartphones. I wanted to create a collection of objects that addresses our mental health in relation to our digital presence, showing that it’s ok to turn off our digital selves but also remind us that constant updates can become a nuisance no matter how important the information might be. As technology becomes more and more a part of our life, it is important to remember that it is simply there to help us, not there to think or feel for us. I believe that we should embrace new technologies, but also learn to find our boundaries within those spaces. Through this project I have created four objects that help answer these problem areas, Object 1 and 2 are functional mass produced products for use in the home and Object 3 and 4 are critical pieces of design that help create conversation around our digital habits.
Object 1: Wall Printer
Object 1 prints out the physical length the user scrolls in a day. Designed to bring awareness to the users scrolling habits, a large pile of paper will build up as the user continues to use the product, indirectly bringing awareness to the issue of habitual scrolling. Once the printer has run out, the device remains a conversation piece to remind the user that their scrolling habits can be quantified.
Object 1: Product Video
Object 2: Phone Box
Object 2 is a cement cast phone box that is insulated internally to block out any vibrations or notifications. The soft Sherpa (fabric) helps protect the phone and leave the user’s mind at ease while the shape of the box requires the user to use two hand and focus on how they hold the lid, breaking the cycle of habitually checking one’s phone. The size of the box it can easily fit on someone’s desk both at work and at home, but does not visually translate as something that should be carried or is portable, becoming a part of your furniture. Studies have repeatedly shown that when a user’s phone is in their view, cognitive capacity and the user’s attention span is significantly lowered. Object 2 allows the user to have their phone near them with the added benefits of having their phone in another room.
Object 2: Product Video
Object 3: Notification Centre
Object 3 is a “Ready Made” design focussed on creating a whimsical response to the over saturation of notifications we receive daily. This product consists of a “Bubble Gun” cast in concrete where the gun is rigged to blow bubbles when the user receives a notification. Object 3 is focussed on how we receive our notifications but also how we consume that information. When the bubbles disappear the notification disappears with it, meaning if the user is not in the same room as the sculpture, the user would not be aware of the notification.
Object 3: Product Video
Object 4: Reflection Chair
Object 4 is a “Ready Made” design focussed on user’s awareness of their scrolling habits. I wanted to create a deterrent for scrolling in public. The product has a steel flat bar that is attached to the back of the chair which holds a mirror above a seated user that creates a reflection of the user’s lap. When the user pulls out their phone, people around them can see their phone and see what the user is looking at. They would not initially realise this until they see other people using the chair.