For the first class assignment we had to develop a Critical Object. We decided to start the ideation process with an open brainstorm in which each member of the team (3) would choose 5 topics that she cared about and would write it in a post it and paste it on the wall.
Once the three of us wrote the post its we took some time to re group them into areas of interest, one of the most prominent topics was related to health (physical and mental) according to the interests of the group. We wanted to make sure that we were all working in a topic that passionate us so that we could have a better result.
After a long group talk we decided to focus on the reappearance of illnesses (such as Polio) due to the lack of vaccination given to kids. At that point we were aware that the topic could change while we developed the ideas, however we would like to try to stick to a similar approach.
The next phase was ideation and sketching, we sticked to the post it format since it showed good results in the first phase of the project. We allowed ourselves to freely come up with ideas about how to frame the problem that we stated in the same place.
After the first round of the ideation process and having thought about experimenting with fluids and mechanical structures, we decided that we wanted to work on a Dunk Tank to represent the amount of kids that are not being vaccinated and how that growing number of unprotected population will have an effect on vulnerable people with different conditions and weak immune system .
The last phase of the ideation process consisted on determining how to create a dunk tank with the use of an Arduino, a servomotor and some structural materials.
Once we defined the functionalities and the way the object was going to interact with the user we started the production process. The following is the description of the object: Dunk Tank that has a button that triggers a servomotor, every time a user press a button it would add +1 to the counter until it reaches three pushes then that is when the servo will rotate 80 degrees to drop the figure that is going to be on the seat.
We decided to work with balsa wood and some scrap pine wood for the structure, the figure was created with paper and the choice to make it more abstract was based on the fact that we wanted it to be identified as a human figure, however not as an specific person, but more as a group of the population that is vulnerable and will be affected by the decisions of parents who decide not to vaccinate their kids.
With the solved functionality we decided to document the project at ITP and recruit some users to help us push the button so that we could communicate effectively the idea and the meaning of our Critical Object. During the design process it was interesting to notice that we depended a lot on a video with audio or text in order to explain what our project is about, however we believe that for future assignments we would like to explore the possibility of creating an object that will speak by itself and it will not depend on an explanation.
The user interaction consist in pushing a button once, the figure in the seat will only fall until a number of user have already pushed the button. We decided to create three different figures with variable sizes and proportions to represent different groups of the population in risk, such as kids and older adults.
The final result is a visual representation of the consequences of affecting the Herd Immunity protection that the most vulnerable sections of the population suffers when parents decide not to vaccinate their children.
Herd immunity is what happens when a community has a high immunization rate, usually 90% or more, which effectively prevents the spread of a disease. Herd immunity protects those who are the most vulnerable, like children who are too young to be vaccinated and people with compromised immune systems who cannot receive vaccines, like people who have received chemotherapy.
Every drop in herd immunity--even a small one--puts the community and especially the most vulnerable members at risk for contracting the disease. This can lead to serious illness and death for these individuals.
Every choice not to vaccinate a healthy child contributes to a drop in herd immunity.
This project was developed as a project for the Critical Objects class in collaboration with Cara Neel and Alizarin Waissberg.