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  • Originally, the prompt we were given was to find a way to create an experience that would help humans empathize with the plight of animals that are going extinct. We brainstormed for a quite a long time as a group, and then we eventually made a list of ideas and then put our name next to the ideas we thought were interesting to us.  Sam and I really liked one of the precedents that we saw which was a periscope that allowed people to see at the height of a giraffe, and we were interested in creating a similar experience.  We wanted to have people see things for a small animal’s point of view.

    The next step was the research, and that is when I found documentation to be very helpful, we created a doc and shared it and this allowed us to collaborate.  For Sam and I research is our strong suit, and we had worked together prior to this which made this an easy step.

    The hard part was combining our intentions and what we had learned through our research into something tangible. Our first step in the build process, as was suggested by Ms.Rosa, our coach, was to look at some precedents. We googled around and decided that we wanted to use a camera instead of a periscope mechanism, and so naturally we started looking at camera.  We quickly developed the idea of wanting two camera, one that was at the level of the endangered species we were advocating for, black footed ferret.  The second camera would be at the viewer’s natural eye level, and would allow them to see as if they were incredibly low the ground. Our first instinct was to try and attach the camera directly to the leg, but as was to be expected a person walking jostled the camera way too much.  We then tried to make a harness, although this did not work we learned a lot about Rhino as a program and what it took to take an idea in your head sketch it and then lazer cut it though Rhino.

    Although, we scrapped a lot of our ideas and we were nervous about finishing on time, we managed to finish as final mock up.  In short, we built a iphone case on wheels that could be manually pushed by the observer, and another participant could watch the monitor of the computer screen.  (We wanted to have the viewing camera in a box that the viewer could hold, using the google glass open source plans, but we did not have the lenses we needed).  Despite this Sam and I did quite an amazing presentation, if we do say so ourselves, and people really enjoyed the live demonstrations. I was really excited about this studio and I definitely learned so much, and I can not say for sure but I think Sam would say the same.

  • This video has some ambient or background noise.

  • There are currently 13,306 plant and animal species threatened with extinction. Although one may feel sympathy for these species, this is not conducive to action. If humans could feel empathy for them, they would be more likely to take action. However, the experiences of the endangered species are very different from ours. This collapsing coffee table would allow one to have an experience similar to that of the polar bear. When one places their drink on the coaster, the coffee table falls apart, revealing an iceberg, and any food on it is lost. When the ice melts and breaks apart in the arctic, polar bears are unable to hunt for prey in the sea, and that food is lost.

  • In Extending Empathy, students will create devices that help humans have empathy for endangered animals. Students will be working with Gabe Miller from the San Diego Zoo to design projects that include servos, arduinos, coding and sensors.

  • There are currently 13,306 plant and animal species threatened with extinction. Although one may feel sympathy for these species, this is not conducive to action. If humans could feel empathy for them, they would be more likely to take action. However, the experiences of the endangered species are very different from ours. This collapsing coffee table would allow one to have an experience similar to that of the polar bear. When one places their drink on the coaster, the coffee table falls apart, revealing an iceberg, and any food on it is lost. When the ice melts and breaks apart in the arctic, polar bears are unable to hunt for prey in the sea, and that food is lost.

    The coaster is connected to a force sensor, which acts as a pressure plate. When triggered, electromagnets in the piece below turn on and repulse magnets in the iceberg, causing the piece to detach. This project has changed significantly throughout the course of the studio, beginning with the idea for a mat to simulate ice breaking apart beneath one's feet. After learning that polar bears could live on land and needed the ice to hunt on, it was changed to a table and chairs on an iceberg which would break apart, then the table and chairs themselves breaking apart. By then, the table was imagined to be a dinner table with a solid base. After, it was decided that only the table should be designed. The table was going to break apart similarly to an iceberg, but ultimately it was deemed too complicated, requiring the table to tilt and many small parts to be designed. To bring the table down to a reasonable size, it became a coffee table, and to keep the iceberg symbolism, there would be an iceberg inside. Originally the coffee table would be round, but because our material is in flat sheets, it was made hexagonal. It would feature 6 parts which fall off, but due to time constraints the number was reduced to 3. After that, it was decided that the trigger for the table to fall apart would be a coaster pressure plate. When triggered, electromagnets in the iceberg would deactivate and cause the other pieces to fall. However, because the pressure plate would have to be situated above one of the pieces which fall off, it was decided that the electromagnets would be inside the falloff piece. Then, because having the electromagnets always on would constantly generate heat and use energy, it was decided that the electromagnets would always be off and when activated repulse magnets attached to the iceberg.

    One major challenge was the scale of the entire project. The first ideas for the project would fill an entire room. Even when downsized to only a table and chairs, there simply were not enough materials. Another major hinderance was time. Designing an iceberg, even a low-polygon one, was a complicated and time-consuming process. Assembling the material, resupplying the material, and constructing the iceberg took a long time after that. The same process needed to be repeated for the falloff piece as well, and there simply was not enough time to create all three. 

    The first iteration was very simple: two identical halves of a table connected by magnets on the inside. To make one part detach from the other, a second iteration was made in which one of the halves featured two separate pieces. Without the magnets attaching the top piece to the other half, the top piece would slide off. Although the third iteration doesn't resemble the first two, it operates on the same principle. The falloff piece would be attached to the iceberg with magnets, and fall off without them.

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  • Many endangered animals are forced into the illegal wildlife trade because of their rarity and economic value. They are held in tight cages for long periods of time and are deprived of their natural habitat. From this idea we crafted our studio title: Stuck. From this we thought about how we wanted to represent the poor habitat of the animal. We wanted a dress that symbolized a cage and a tight environment. The dress we made features these elements and while still a beautiful dress. Our thought process was that since animals are trapped by their own beauty, we made the dress to do the same thing. On lookers just admire the beauty of the spots of the dress, but do not even think about how the person wearing the dress feels. 

  • The resistor is a interactive experience that creates empathy  for endangered species like the Bluefin Tuna. The Bluefin Tuna often feel the experience of swimming freely in the ocean without trouble but suddenly gets taken from that moment to get caught on a fishing line. The way the resistor creates this experience is that we created stationary pedals that when someone pedals for a certain amount of time, a rope tightens and stops the pedaling just like a fish gets stopped from swimming.

  • Problem:

    The problem we faced was to try and create empathy for endangered animals. We looked into sea turtles and how more than 250,000 of them a year get caught in fisherman's net. Their flippers get caught in the net so they can not swim up for air and drown. We wanted to replicate the feeling of being caught and not being able to move.

    Solution:

    We created an exoskeleton that tightens around your back and arms so you feel restricted and can sympathize with caught turtles. The exoskeleton has string connecting each arm piece one side of the body piece. The two body pieces are connected by string as well.