Dave Cameron (from Bill Gaver’s Interaction Research Studio), Atau and I had our paper, “HapticWave: Presenting the Multiple Voices, Actors and Materials of a Design Research Project”, along with an exhibit, accepted at the Research Through Design Conference at Microsoft Research in Cambridge.
The conference was organised by former colleagues at Newcastle University’s Culture Lab, John Vines and Abi Durrant. They cultivated a fantastic, open atmosphere of dialogue and communication, and the whole format of the conference was very succesful (this was helped by a steady supply of remarkable pastries engineered on site in the Microsoft kitchens).
We presented a paper discussing the process of designing and building the HapticWave, describing the different interactions between the different “actors” – the community of audio engineers with visual impairments, the DEPIC researchers and the designers and makers – and the ways in which design objects and prototypes can themselves be part of a dialogue.
We also had the opportunity to exhibit the HapticWave as an artefact in and of itself, so we’ve now set it to boot with a “headless” Mac Mini and load up segments of pop songs (ranging from Carly Rae Jepson to Talking Heads, via Frankie Knuckles), and let people “feel” the volume and scrub through the track. I’m really hoping that we get the chance to present it in this context more, as it seemed to be well received, and didn’t need much explanation for people to “get” it.
RTD 2015 was a great conference that fostered debate and exchange, and I look forward to the next one.