Application and Implication
The General Idea
When I was brainstorming for my final project, I was thinking of a wearable that could act as a data collector that analyse and interprete your environment on the go. Something that could help you with understanding your surronding and gives you insight on the quality of your lifestyle. Maybe something like a DIY/open-source smart watch. The issue that I quickly encounter while doing the wearable weeks is that embedding electronics into small wearable object is not an easy task, it requires great design and you may be limited in the complexity of your electronics able to fit into your object/garnment depending of your ways of fabrication. Already I was anticipating issues with this general idea and then something hit me.
Life has changed in this past year, we are limited in our social interation, in our demonstration of our self to others. Were stuck at home, go to work in front of our computer..in pajamas.. Since we don't go out as much, is there really a point to develop a Wearable? We pass so much time at home, would it be more pertinent to monitor the space we pass the majority of our time. I'll think a bit more about it.
A new world
Anxiety, depression and other Mental health issues are at a all time peak right now, people loose their job, isolate themself and have personnal and financial stress all around them. It is a real challenge to keep stress under control with all these insecurities.
recent studies demonstrate that the pandemic has a huge influence on the mental health of the population. For exemple, the Canadian mental health comission has seen a decrease of 16% in the mental health quality of the Canadian citizens. Also, the self diagnosis of the mental state of Canadian is also going downhill..64% of the youth respond to the studie with a decline in their mental health situation.
Poem for a Window is a project based on the fragile reality of living in confinement. It tries to encourage an healthy environment to it's user by monitoring and outputting information such as the air quality, the temperature and the humidity index. The project is embedded in a curtain that will open and close depending on the time of the day. The curtain is also the vector in wich the data is shared, using abstract form of communication such as light, the user will be able to inform itself on it's direct surronding.
The curtain is made for people who struggles with the actual context of being stuck inside, the lack of light and therefore vitamin D would already be a solid enouph argument for realising this project in my personnal case. To create an object that pull the user onto the external light is something that I consider very valuable. The ability to monitor and therefore adapt our environment is another very important aspect of the project, It gives insight on what's going on around you.
The reason on why now is a good time to generate this kind of tool is pretty easy to understand, but let me sum it up. It's now been a year since the whole world has "shut down". The human is a social species, not being able to see and interact with others is not easy for the mind, it becomes very easy in these circumstance to forget about our well being. Also the passage to telecommuting can be hard on people, working in front of a computer all day long is not healthy, without transport the routine of a worker or a student is now pretty much limited. Studies start to show that depression and anxiety is at an all time high due to these circumstance. To illustrate this, I used KFF , this non profit organisation gives insight on health policy analysis. Here are some stats that they shared on their platform.
You can find more information about this survey here.
On top of this worrying subject, another reason why I am drawn to this kind of project is the fact that in lots of nothern countries, we have what we called Seasonal Affective Dissorder (SAD) . This is mostly due to the lack of light that winter brings on us, it is a very serious issue that many falls victim of, including myself. The number one treatment for this issue is light therapy, the curtain is again made for the user to be drawn to light, to let him contemplate the outside world for a while before going back to it's inside activity. It is a form of light therapy that encourage the participant to experience light in a more concientous way.
My final project
A window is an interesting object, it is a lense that gives you acess to the rest of the world, from the comfort of your own home. It brings you light and recomfort, but also reflects yourself from the glass, it is an extrospective and an introspective on yourself and the rest of the world.
Since we all are stuck at home more now than ever, to have a veil on this window that could able it to become something much more than what it already is, become part of your everyday tool to help you and recomfort you and inform you. In a very minimal way, I think that this project Idea has the potential to favorise a better and healthier living environment.
A wearable for your house, since right now...this is what needs to be fashionable!
There are plenty of "smart curtain" on the market, but I found nothing that does more than just open and close your curtain.
In a world where everything become automatised and connected, it is important to ask ourself why we are doing those things. This is the reason why I don't want my project to be a simple and dull self opening curtain, I want more than that and in these next step I will try to explain some of my ideas.
Light TherapyWith winter coming here in Canada, Seasonal affective dissorder (SAD) can be a real issue for some people. Since the day are shorter and tends to be cloudier, the lack of natural lightning can affect the general quality of life of some. Light therapy is normaly used with an artificial light, but I believe that having something that push you to go and enjoy your window a little bit more and attract your inner self to absorb natural light can be very beneficial.
This is for sure out of the scope of my project, but I see it more like a result of having this curtain that will act like a magnet for your soul than an actual caractheristic of the object.
I also intend to add a light tracker on the bluethoot app so that you can record the amount of time that you let yourself swim in natural light for each session.
Art TherapyArt therapy is a form of therapy that encourages participant to appreciated and instrospect themself and their surronding using art as a medium. I'm far from an expert in the domain, but I know by experience that having whatever form of art surronding you can help to decrease anxiety and appreciate life.
I want the curtain to not only be a fonctional object, but also a piece of art, where contemplation can happen. Some people are very sensible to the outside meteo, changing season for exemple are a very rouph period for many people. The curtain will take this into account, and will adapt it's colors and pattern drawing depending on the meteo outside. The goal behind this is to give a distraction of what's happening on the other side of the curtain, and encourage and period of enjoyment and appreciation of whats appearing on the actual curtain.
An other interesting aspect of this is that while contemplating the curtain, you may see yourself in the reflection of the window. The curtain can now become a frame that exposed yourself to your own reflexion.