Katt Zhang

design engineering

2020 WELLNESS x EXPERIENCE DESIGN

MINUSCULE ADVENTURE
M.AD MINSUCULE ADVENTURE Activate your senses
through responsive real-time
narration and music
2020 WELLNESS x EXPERIENCE DESIGN
TEAM
x Jeremy Hulse
x Joy Zhang
x Lisa Aoyama
DURATION
12 weeks

MINUSCULE ADVENTURE activates the user’s senses through a responsive, real-time generated narration and music experience. Inspired by the lack of sensory engagement during COVID lockdown and the rapidly increasing norm of working from home, we sought to create an immersive experience that transforms a daily walk in your neighbourhood to a minuscule adventure, to feel a deeper connection with the environment and make today different from yesterday.

The project consists of a software and a hardware platform. The software platform enables taking in real-time inputs from the user’s surroundings, such as GPS location, weather, and time, as well as the user’s name and personal preferences, to generate a hyper-personalized narration of the user’s walk based on those inputs. Adaptive music is also generated real-time by layering and stitching music clips triggered by particular environmental inputs. The hardware platform has two key features: it uses bone- conduction technology that superimposes the audio onto the soundscape as an unobtrusive intervention to enhance the existing experience. The earpieces and complimentary case are integrated with sensors, a microprocessor and internet connection capability to enable screen-free, conversational voice interface interaction.

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OUR SOLUTION


INSPIRATION + IDEATION

DESIGN HYPOTHESIS : Miniscule Adventures help us to live mindfully, improving our wellbeing

As nations succumbed to COVID lockdowns around the world, life simplified into basic tasks, limited to the same few spaces each day on repeat...daily. We needed more than ever to find meaningful ways to break this cycle and alter our perception. Inspired from the phenomenological concept of subjective experiences,this project embraces the need to engage with our lifeworlds mindfully. Through amplifying our senses, our experiences can become the rewards themselves.

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RESEARCH + DEVELOPMENT

Key User : URBAN DWELLERS in SENSORIALLY DEPRIVED ENVIRONMENTS

We started by conducting numerous interviews with experts and extreme users in various sensorially deprived conditions to get a better understanding of what affects them the most and how they found ways to cope or overcome certain limitations.

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EXPERTS CONSULTED

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We conducted a Co-Design Workshop with 17 users between the ages of 20 and 45 currently working from home to gather more real-life insights and share our experiences. The aim to include potential users as early as possible and throughout the design process made sense as our premise is built upon the concept of subjective experiences and not a 'one-size-fits-all (none)' solution. Users had the opportunity to design their ideal MINUSCULE ADVENTURE.

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USER TESTING + EXPS

Our Validation Process was inspired by both Mindfulness Therapy and Pyschedelic Therapy and we used both the industry standard MAAS (Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale) and 11D-ASC (Altered State of Consciouness) surveys to conduct our user testing. This systematic surveying allowed us to gather qualitative quantitive analysis in conjuction with our user interviews.

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EXP I : CINEMATIC LIVING 100% IMMERSIVE

EXP II : SIGNS OF THE UNIVERSE AUTONOMOUS

EXP III : CUSTOMIZABLE / PERSONALIZED / REFLECTIVE SPECTRUM IMMERSIVE → AUTONOMOUS

As anticipated, our various users each had their own comfort levels and preferences so combining insights from both EXPs I + II, we realised the need and want for a customizable, personalized and reflective experience. Users can select from a spectrum - Total Immersion to Total Autonomy - broken into 4 Tiers ranging from narration only to theme only and various combinations in between. We tested Tier 3 - a combination of both narration and theme for EXP III. This resulted in an overall increase in both Mindfulness and Psychedelic research surveys showing increased presence and awareness. The results showed we accomplished what we set out to - allowing people to slow down, step outside of their minds and activate their senses.


PROTOTYPING + MVP

The hardware platform is developed to UNPLUG from the screens with a self-contained microprocessor, its own internet connectivity, gps tracking and memory card. ACTIVATE the senses using the earpieces, with embedded accelerometors and microphones in both to generate hyper live inputs. The bone conduction technology allows the user to still hear all ambient sounds. The earpieces will be worn, and the case will be kept in the pocket during the adventure.

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The current software MVP is built on NodeRed (JS + SQL featuring specific narration and music synced to specific locations geo-tagged and stitched together in real-time and narrated by a person live. If developed further, the aim is to have an autogenerated system that will call and stitch custom curated adaptive music and narration in real-time based on inputs such as GPS location, weather, time of day and user movements input from built-in sensors such as local accelerometres and microphones (embedded in the hardware platform).

CUSTOMIZE YOUR EXPERIENCE The experience has four tiers of customization, giving users the freedom to choose the degree of immersion or self-direction. The tiers range from a simple, themed walk with minimal audio to a fully narrated walk. Adaptive music is introduced in the more immersive levels.

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