People rarely get to experience the world through other perspectives. Especially on the bus where the rush and commotion does not lend itself to interaction. Our design counters this, allowing bus riders to slow down and describe their surroundings in a very profound way. Later, when another rider listens to this message, it allows the listener to see their city in a way they have never seen it before.
We based our original design around the needs of blind people. We wanted to make something that would allow the blind to see in a way they rarely get to do. Although there are different processes that allow blind people to experience sight, our design allows for blind people to experience the instantaneous and fast-moving nature of our surroundings.
Our design has two main components. First, there are two buttons directly below the chair handle. these buttons start the recording and display a prompt that encourages users to describe certain aspects of their surroundings. We sewed this onto a fabric frame which provides a comfortable alternative to the hard and cold design of bus seats. This process of sewing electronics into the fabric was difficult but ultimately paid off because of its soft and aesthetically pleasing design The second component has the two speakers on either side of the listener. This is all made of fabric and stuffing that serves as not only a speaker but a comfortable head rest. It also allows us to contain the electronics and wires inside of the frame itself.
We based our first iteration on two of our major precedents. We took design principles from both an old-fashioned phone and a playground speaker tube. It was going to have a cone-shaped listening device and a recording station designed to look like and old-fashioned phone base and dial. We all really liked this idea of having a concise theme that was consistent throughout our design, but we decided against this iteration because we wanted to create something both made of fabric and that was static. This cone design didn't lend itself to these parameters.
Our second iteration was very similar to our final iteration, but had some key differences. We were originally thinking we would include a number of support beams arrayed evenly throughout the frame holding it in place. This design didn't allow for enough space for all the electronics and wires. It also was just going to contain the speakers and not the recording device. We realized that it would be better if we could combine both components in one area.
Our third and final iteration took a lot of inspiration from the third design. It had the same shape and still had support beams, but we arranged the beams differently. We put them into an "A" design and strapped onto the chair handle with Velcro. This provided a structurally sound frame while still allowing space for the electronics. This also joined both components, all in the area above the chair. This was the first iteration that we added stuffing to and it improved the design tremendously. It hid the wires and provided a lovely headrest so you can truly enjoy our design.