A workshop on the concept of time

18 June, 2014 - 16:00

A workshop on the concept of time was held in the middle of May at SICS and MobileLife. During three days, seventeen people together explored the perception of time and the possibilities of time as a design factor.

As human beings we are dependent upon both our senses and our thinking in order to function in life and society. Most products and services surrounding us are based upon reason and measurable results. To create original and innovative applications though, we have to take the design a step further and see to both intellectual reasoning and to our senses. We need to explore and understand the perception of time for instance, in order to apply interactive technique in a way that involves the entire human being.

Elsa Vaara led the workshop, as a part of her Ph.D. thesis in Interaction Design at the KTH, Royal Institute of Technology.

During these three days the group explored different ways of manipulating time in order to develop design solutions that utilize time as a factor.

For example they worked with visualizations of different rhythms where the changes in rhythm of a low pitch soundsource created patterns in a water display (see image 1).

A second experiment explored the perception of time while sleeping: Your perception of time is a bit altered while you sleep: You can wake up and find that time either has past very quickly or hardly at all. In this system a little motor with sandpaper is connected to your breathing (image 2). When you breath in the motor starts, and when you breathe out the motor stops. In this way you can see what has happened while you slept as a result of time passing.

In another prototype they developed a way to control the speed of music through a haptic squeezing interface (kneading dough, image 3).

The result of the workshop was a range of time manipulation examples, which may be brought further into projects where the researchers can explore for example rhythms of big data, the rhythm of life with mobile devices and lifestyle behaviour. It will also feed into research papers and the doctoral thesis on Elsa Vaara.