Weeknote#7 : SVA Digital Design Class Studio Tour

We had our first educational studio tour. Geetika Agrawal, adjunct professor at SVA came in with her class of 6 undergraduate students from the Digital Design Program. Coming to our studio is an experience, one doesn’t just happen to be at the doorstep of Urban Matter Inc., we are in Red Hook, on Van Brunt Street, (the only street in NYC that sometimes makes you miss a proper street light crossing). We love it here but it is an effort to get here, but the group arrived on time and all seemed happy to be at the ‘Chandelier Factory’. After a quick tour and introductions we went ahead and presented our work projected on an impromptu screen that Rick had set beforehand  with the mylar we have left from Silent Lights (we knew it would come handy).

Photo Feb 18, 8 06 24 PM_usestudiovisit2

As we described our various projects, we had a few tricks up our sleeve. We progressed into the presentation using the leap motion device so each stroke of my hand changed slides. As we introduced each project, we displayed the working prototypes that we keep in the studio: from ‘Silent Lamp’ to ‘Fireflies’. It never ceases to surprise me how much more effective it is to show a simple physical prototype versus dozen of sketches and polished 3D renderings. Silent Lamp has the same components as Silent Lights (LEDs, an arduino, a microphone) – our visiting students got to see the color changing lights by clapping their hands. One could see when they had an ‘aha moment’.

We have been using several open source technologies which we integrate with more traditional components, as a product designer it allows me to re-think objects in a new way. I couldn’t help but feel a bit envious of these students, I didn’t have all those exciting toys when I graduated well over a decade ago. At the same time, the availability of these innovative devices raises the bar to create something truly innovative and original.

As our presentation ended we hope we were able to instill some of our enthusiasm for the field of experience design by showing some of the tools behind our concepts. The students seemed happy with what came out of our off the beaten path studio. The next day we were glad to see submissions for internships in our inbox.