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p-comp / week03

for this week, we had some different activities to complete. Making a circuit with digital input or outuput and an analog input, completing a quiz about the content we’ve been learning and observing some kind of interactive situation open to public. The first two ones complemented each other, so it was actually good to review and think more about some parts of the electricity in the circuit that sometimes we go by just because we know it works (but we actually don’t know why it does). I was able to play a little with the digital input, working with a “digital” response (light on / off) and an “analog” response (creating a dimmer the light).


For the observation task, I decided I wanted to observe a recycling machine near a supermarket in Prospect Park. I’ve walked by here a few times since I moved in, but I never really stopped to understand how it works. Basically people go there with bottles and cans made of recyclable materials (glass, plastic, aluminum), and they’ll be paid for recycling it. One thing that I noticed at first was that there’s always a line there of 3/4 people with big carts full of recyclable cans/bottles. Anyone can come and use it, but there are people that make a living of it – so they come with a huge volume of mateiral and it takes a while to put all they’ve been collecting in the machines. Being an interactive situation like Crwaford’s describer, the process happens in 5 steps: 1) the person put the can inside the proper machine (whether is a can, plastic or glass recipient), 2) waits for the machine to understand that the can went through, 3)repeat it until there are no cans left, 4)finishes the “operation” and 5)get a certain amount of money depending on the volume of recyclable material you brought and the percentage of the kinds of materials. I didn’t use the machine but from what i observed it is definitely a slow process – specially if you consider also the amount of time people spend gathering the recyclable materials. This interactive experience is very interesting because it motivates a change related to usage of material and how we treat our garbage, but also because it ends up having a bigger function than just the recycle one: it is actually a source of income for some people. I think that this part of the experience is very related with Graham’s point of view over how design evolutes because an initial idea of people being rewarded for recycling their garbage actually became something bigger, in which people will take it as an income source.

I find it very interesting when products evolutes after their core idea, letting the public to resignify it in a way that is more functional/makes more sense to them. In portuguese we have a word for it: gambiarra. Google it, and you’ll see what I’m talking about the creativity the user can have to input information over a product or process and change it for a better use.

Published in fall 2015 p-comp


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