Tag Archives: design iterations

Design Iterations – Evaluation

As a consequence of all my testing I have drawn some conclusions on the highlights and flaws of my installation and the overall design iterations unit. The aim of this unit was to create an understanding of the iterative design process and how it can be implemented when designing and creating a product or service.  The process includes; requirements gathering, analysis, design and prototyping, testing and evaluating. I believe the design iteration process helped me create a better design for the public displays brief, as it allowed my to test and improve my work numerous times.

The first iteration included the examination of the environment and considering the given problem and requirements. In order to examine the space, we created “Independant Dorset” posters, according to what we believed would appeal to the target audience, and work well in the space. Our aim was to create a poster that would encourage the engagement of the audience, in order to understand what the audience in the space were participating in, and how to grab their attention. In order to create this poster itself, we used the iterative design process; initially we started by understanding Independent Dorset campaign, and how we could communicate the message in poster form, we then proceeded to brainstorming rough initial ideas, from which we gathered feedback and chose to develop the most effective idea as a prototype. After testing our initial idea as a prototype we discovered a lot of information about the audience of the space, and how they interacted with the space.

The information I gathered on how the audience interacted with the space, it became clear that the use of posters was not very effective.  It was obvious that there was a large flow of staff and students in the area at either 10-5 to or 10-5 past every hour, when people were rushing to get to their destinations, however at times in between, and after 5pm, the area is quite empty. We noticed that the people going through the area would not pay attention to their surroundings at all, however people waiting in the queue for Costa or sitting in the chairs were almost always in groups, and were preoccupied in conversation with each other.

We also noticed the surrounding itself was extremely busy, with already a lot of posters and activity on the walls. The walls themselves were coloured orange and white, so next time posters created could be made to contrast the colour of the walls. The posters on the wall were very brightly coloured, and due to the extensive amount, very distracting.  Our main findings showed that the space was very fast moving and heavily text based installations to not work very well. We also found the people using the space were not very interested in the visuals of the space, however did pay more attention to the digital screens.  For this reason it became clear that the use of the screens would be most effective, as they received more attention that the posters in the area.

I then began to experiment using processing, and researching previous interactive installations. It became clear to me that I would choose to create something simple, yet effective, as I found coming to grasps with the processing language quite difficult. The concept I chose was based on the social constructing of identities using social networking websites, such as Facebook. For this reason I chose to use the facebook default photo as it is easily recognisable, and will encourage engagement.

I stumbled across an existing installation where a persons image was replaced by a block coloured silhouette of their body, this influenced my idea to use Blob Detection, in order to create a blob of the persons body int eh same colours of the Facebook default photo, however after testing my Blob Detection prototype I found that it was not very effective, as instead of tracing the image, the code traced the light in the area. This created random blobs on the screen, which did not apply to my idea, as it did not create the image of the default picture like I desired.

As a consequence to Blob Detection not working, I proceeded to use Face Detection, as I found that it recognized the faces more accurately.  I chose to create an installation where a persons image would be replaced by the default Facebook photo, instead of recreating the photo itself. 

After testing the Face Detection on some classmates I found that my initial code did not fit the screen well, and also did not mirror the video feed, however flipped the image.  After this was improved I retested in the Foyer, and found that the code worked reasonable well. I found that as people walked by they paid attention to the installation, due to the fact that they saw a familiar image.

Based on my user testing I feel I was definitely able to achieve my goal of creating a familiar image that the audience could relate to and engage with. The use of a camera based installation made people passing either stop, or slow down at least, as they noticed that the image was mirroring them as they passed by. Although it wasn’t a great response, the fact that a number of people altered their usual performance in such a busy environment showed some interest.

My idea was intended to reflect the concept of online identity construction, and the unreliability of forming relationships online. The intention of replacing a persons face with Facebooks default profile picture, was to communicate the idea that self-representations online may be deceiving. I researched htese ocncepts by looking at the MTV show Catfish, where the misuse of online personas are exposed, highlighting the flaws of constructing identities online. I also looked at the work of Benjamin Gaulon, where the blurring of boundaries of online and offline are explored, and the issue of privacy online. The use of a camera based installation in such a busy space, like the foyer, challenges the notions of privacy itself, and highlights how the increase of digital media platforms is blurring the public and private spheres.

If I was to repeat this process I would definitely choose to display my work at a busier time, therefore receiving a larger amount of engagement. Researching the space led to the conclusion that the busiest times were between lessons, as people passed by to get ot their destinations, therefore I would like to display my work at an earlier time, and leave it over a few days in order to record the reactions received over time. Another aspect I would improve is the use of the whole body, as using Face Detection allowed me to only detect the face, and create an image over the face of the viewer. I would like to experiment with different libraries in order to create a full silhouette as I originally intended. Overall I was pleased with the outcome of this project, as I managed to successfully create an interactive installation, which did produce a small reaction of the audience.

Testing in foyer

While testing in the foyer, as seen in this video, the project did not fill the display fully, this was due to the small size I used in order to make the installation compatible to my laptop camera. For this reason I decided to use a macbook instead, using this code;

sizecapture

This allowed the code to fit the whole screen, filling the whole display instead of just a section.

After amending the code I was pleased with the outcome, the installation used face detection to swap the audiences face with the Facebook default picture, therefore taking away their personal identity and constructing a chosen online identity. It was formulated by Giddens (1990), the present day individual is constantly working on forming his own subjectivity by processing and interacting with masses of symbols and information. With the rapid increase of online social media websites, it is increasingly common to share and present an idealized-self online, in order to generate a response or to simply feel accepted, it is evident that “we are  becoming habituated to a culture in which we are all expected to monitor one another” (Andrejevic, 2007). I believe this message is being communicated in my installation by the removal of peoples faces, as the face is used to identify a person in day to day life, however in social media users create their own persona, all beginning with the same default image.

Andrejevic, M., 2007. iSpy Surveillance and Power in the Interactive Era. University of Kansas, 212-240.

DiMicco, J. M., & Millen, D. R., 2007. Identity management: multiple presentations of self in facebook. In Proceedings of the 2007 international ACM conference on Supporting group work (pp. 383-386). ACM.

Giddens, A., 1990. The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Testing in the foyer- the environment

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After conducting the first test in Weymouth house, it was obvious that these screens were a much more effective display. From previous research it was highlighted that there was a large flow of staff and students in the area at either 10-5 to or 10-5 past every hour, when people were rushing to get to their destinations, however at times in between, and after 5pm, the area is quite empty. We noticed that the people going through the area would not pay attention to their surroundings at all, however people waiting in the queue for Costa or sitting in the chairs were almost always in groups, and were preoccupied in conversation with each other. This came to our benefit as the screens we were displaying our work on, were placed in plain sight from the queue, and also placed very close to the sofas, therefore would grab a lot of attention.

We also noticed the surrounding itself was extremely busy, with a lot of posters and activity on the walls. The walls themselves were coloured orange and white and the posters on the wall were very brightly coloured, and due to the extensive amount, very distracting. This helped redirected the audiences attention to the screens, as they were animated and did not blend in with the vast colours already cluttering the walls.

Overall I found that the screens were situated in a place where they received a large audience, therefore more people interacted with my work. Although the space was quite fast moving, I found that the screens were placed in eye catching areas, such as when you first entered the building, and when you were queueing at Costa. People in the space were not interested in visuals such as posters, however paid more attention to the digital screens.

Test one – processing final piece

Consequent to creating my first final draft, I tested the code on a few class mates using the camera on my laptop, in order to see the different aspects of the face detection in use, and to highlight any problems.

 

In this video you will see my initial draft in action. I asked three friends to interact with the work by walking past the camera, in order to see how the code reacts to multiple faces.

This video shows how the face detection reacts when the user moves further and closer to the camera. The image placed over the face resizes according to the closeness of the user.

I believe the interaction of the face detection works well as it is specific to the users face, whereas blob detection traced the light in the room. The way the face detection interacts while the user is active is also a positive, as it picks up their distance from the camera, and the direction they are moving in. The interaction also works well as it mirrors the users actions, making the experience more personal.

I noticed that the code was only displaying in a small window, due to the small size used, however I found that using a larger screen size was not compatible with the resolution of my laptops (HP Pavillion) built in camera. I will look for a way to make the work fill the whole display.

Creating my final piece using Processing

The original code for Face Detection uses an image, however I altered this to work on a live video feed, as my installation is to be interactive. It came to my attention that the image on the screen was flipped instead of a mirror, however I desired a mirror effect as people passed by.

facemirror

After changing the width of the box in relation to the screen, and altering the code, I managed to have the face detection box mirroring the audiences positions, however the actual video feed was not. Resolving this was simple, as my initial idea concerned a block colour background the same colour as the facebook default profile picture, as it is my opinion that this colour is easily recognised by those who use facebook.

I then proceeded to upload the default facebook image in place of the rectangle which surrounds the face when detected.

fbpic

http://walyou.com/wp-content/uploads//2010/12/facebook-profile-picture-no-pic-avatar.jpg.

fbpicimage

The addition of the image created the look I desired, replacing peoples faces with the default photo, this portrays my theme of online identities using social media. I believe as people pass by they will easily recognise this as a symbol for facebook, and will question why it is covering their face. The installation should provoke thoughts of how we represent ourselves on social media, and how social media has grown and had such an impact on our lives.

Artist Research – Benjamin Gaulon Recyclism

Benjamin Gaulon, also known as ‘recyclism’; a digital artists whose work focuses on planned obsolescence, consumerism and disposable society. Gaulon belongs to the young generation of artists in the field of technological and new media art (Altena, 2005). Through his works Benjamin makes the audience conscious of issues regarding the role of technology in culture and society.

Gaulon’s on-going project 2.4GHz was of particular interest to me as it explores the concept of privacy and how it has been altered due to the growth of social media and the increased use of surveillance cameras and devices in both public and private places. The 2.4GHz project from surveillance to broadcast was initially started in 2008. In this project Gaulon uses an affordable and widely available wireless video receiver to hack into public and private wireless surveillance cameras (Gaulon, 2012)

twopointfour

Gaulon initially collected footage received by the wireless device from different areas in Europe, then proceeded to place the device in public streets in order to display the presence of the cameras to the general public, in attempt to subvert assumptions about the nature of these public-private surveillance technologies, and to bring to attention that the signals from wireless surveillance cameras and similar popular consumer products, can in fact be received by anyone without the audiences awareness. Gaulon also presented participants the opportunity to take part in workshops where they were invited to explore CCTV and wireless networks of their city by searching for 2.4GHz surveillance video signals (Gaulon, 2012).

Goulons work relates to the rapid increase of online social media websites, and how it is increasingly common to share and present an idealized-self online, in order to generate a response or to simply feel accepted, it is evident that “we are  becoming habituated to a culture in which we are all expected to monitor one another” (Andrejevic, 2007).  Gaulon explores the merging of the public and private spheres with the escalation in surveillance, and also the rise of social media, and the constant need to reveal personal information online in order to create an online social presence. Gaulon (2012) describes it as a fascination by our own image, from reality TV shows like Big Brother to Youtube video podcasts, it looks like the human narcissistic nature is surprisingly pleased to be surrounded by cameras.

The concept of privacy and identity construction is core in my installation, as I play with the idea of removing and reconstructing the audiences identity.  Social media spaces, such as Facebook, often blur the private and public boundaries, since on the Internet users are presented an illusion of privacy. Katz and Rice (2002) explain new users and those engaged exclusively in recreational domains probably feel this illusion most strongly. Many users reveal too much personal information online, from home addresses to pictures of intimate moments with family and friends, without being aware of the dangers of online social sites (Barnes, 2006). In order to simply browse popular social media website Facebook, one must first register an account to become a user by providing their full name, email address, birthday and gender. This is explored in my installation, as the audience interacts with the installation their identity is removed and reconstructed using the default Facebook profile photo as a starting point.

 

References

Andrejevic, M., 2007. iSpy Surveillance and Power in the Interactive Era. University of Kansas, 212-240.

Altena, A., 2005. The Works of Benjamin Gaulon. Available from: http://www.recyclism.com/statement.php [Accessed 20 March 2014]

Barnes, S. B., 2006. A privacy paradox: Social networking in the United States. First Monday, 11(9).

Gaulon, B,. 2012. 2.4Ghz from Surveillance to Broadcast. Available from: http://www.recyclism.com/twopointfour.php [Accessed March 19 2014]

Katz, J. E. and Rice, R. E., 2002. Social consequences of Internet use: Access, involvement, and interaction. MIT press.

Processing using Face Detection

After looking at some of the functions in the basic open cv library, I chose to experiment with face detection to implement in my interactive piece.

It has come to my attention Face detection will work better for my idea as it clearly detects a face on an image, whereas the blob detection only highlights the edges of an object by tracing the light, rather than shapes.

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As shown in the example photo, Face Detection uses either an uploaded image, or the camera capture feature to detect faces in the frame.

 

 

 

 

References –

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 1.22.18 PM

https://github.com/atduskgreg/opencv-processing