Week 9  Tuesday, 10/23

Based on the feedback I got from the last playtest, people focus more on the knitting process instead of what they are going to make. But for people who don't have experience in knitting, even a small knitting loom could be difficult for them to use. So for this week, I am thinking about how to simplify the existing tools. Take the knitting loom as an example, many people don't know what is the right way to wind the yarn on the tool. There are no clues about the direction and how many loops need to be made in the existing tool. So I decided to break down the steps. 

As for the meditation part, I found there is an exercise called walking meditation which is the subdomain of mindfulness meditation. When people focus on their every step and walk slowly, the repetitive action also helps them to clear their mind. So this prototype is for testing if the combination makes sense to explain the idea about knitting and meditation. Besides, I want to know if my design actually makes knitting easier.

Week 8  Thursday, 10/18


The first draft of my concept statement:

Medi-knitter is a tool for people to clear their mind and relax by making use of knitting. During the interaction process, the repetitive action brings people's attention to experiences occurring in the present moment so that they are able to attain inner peace in meditation.

Week 8  Tuesday, 10/16

In my playtest, I taught testers about how to use the knitting loom and let them knit by themselves. Observing is an important part of my playtest. I found that people actually enjoy the knitting process instead of the outcome. However, even though knitting loom is much easier than needle knitting, it is still difficult for people who don't know how to knit to do that with my instructions.

I think my playtest is successful because it helps me to identify what I am going to do for the next step. I should invent a new way to knit so that the knitting process can be relaxing but not that difficult for beginners.

In my previous, I thought about making use of a simple action to trigger the knitting process. But now I found the audiences might like the knitting process with different procedures. So one of the possible direction is disassembling the existing knitting techniques, another one is designing a new method or tool to knit.

Next Steps:
I am going to make a technical prototype.


Week 8  Tuesday, 10/16

Goal: What do I want to learn from this playtest? What questions do I have that I want to answer?
I want to know how the audiences feel after the interaction with my prototype, especially people who are not familiar with knitting. Can they feel the same way I feel? Or will they bring me a new perspective? 

Assumptions: What assumptions do I have about my project? Knowing that my audience is all DT, what biases do I need to be aware of? 
I think for people who don't have experience in knitting, they might have fun during the process of interaction, but the key point is not knitting but what kind of response they can get (sound? visual elements?) It is easy to explain to DTers about how I convey my idea through the project, however, it might be difficult for other audiences to make connections between the format and my idea.

Survey: Prepare a survey for your playtesters to fill out. Create 3 questions you want your playtesters to answer.

1. Do you know how to knit? If yes, do you take knitting as a way to relax? If not, what is your first impression of knitting?

2. Please use 3 adjectives to describe your experience during the playtest.

3. Which part of the experience attracts you most? The process? The outcome?

Week 7  Tuesday, 10/9



In the playtest, I show the pictures of the second prototype and explain my ideas to my fellows. Since it is just a paper prototype, they gave me some useful suggestions about the final format. For example, if it is necessary to show the mechanical device to the audience so that they can see how it works, which depends on what kind of experience I want my audiences to feel. Besides, it will be interesting to record the different sounds, such as the sound of knitting or Tibetan singing bowl, and test if the audiences feel the connection between my project and meditation. I will try to make a different type of prototype in the next stage to test the variables that my fellows mentioned during our playtest.


Next prototype:


I am thinking about make an aesthetic prototype or a technical prototype next week to test different variables. An aesthetic prototype will help me to figure how does the project look like. And a technical prototype is related to the solution of solving the technical problem. It is good to start thinking about the technical aspect and testing different possibilities.

Week 6  Thursday, 10/4

In my first prototype, I want to test it is better to let the audiences enjoy the process of needle knitting by themselves or make use of a simple action(such as rotation, press, and push) to create a knitting piece so that people who don't know about knitting can interact with it as well.

I express my idea about combine Tibetan singing bowl and knitting installation to the audiences. However, most of the people don't really know what is a Tibetan singing bowl and the function of this tool. There is a  confusion about the Tibetan singing bowl and the mortar. So I am 

thinking about maybe meditation and its tools are not quite familiar to the audiences so people can't get the idea of relaxing directly.

New questions:
1. What is the direct way to express the idea of relaxing and pressure release?
2. It is better for the audiences to knit a piece by themselves?
3. What are the input and the output in this project?

Week 6  Tuesday, 10/2


Why did you choose to make this prototypes? 
I tried to come up with an idea to combine knitting and pressure release. And because the interaction is all about input and output, so I thought about the action of my audiences first. What kind of action will the audiences do play? Push? Pull? Rotate? And which one is related to meditation activities? Then I realized the Tibetan singing bowl is a good start because it is a tool(or music instrument) people use during their meditation or therapy. And rotate is the only thing people need to do. So I am thinking about can I combine knitting loom and the Tibetan singing bowl, so that people can not only see the outcome but also listen to the sound of their action.

What variable were you testing for?
I am testing it is better to let the audiences to use the needle to knit something or make use of a simple repetitive action to knit. 

What information did it give you about your project? 

I tried to use the knitting needles to make a prototype, but the needles are too small to put any sensor on it. And then I thought

about collecting data from the user. But the answer is not very

surprising, breathing or heartbeat will lead to data visualization in the end. There is no strong connection between knitting and this kind of data visualization work. So I think making a simple version of knitting is a better way for the prototype.


Did anything about the process surprise you? 
I found it is hard for the users to see the knitting outcome from the prototype I made which should be improved in the next stage.


Write out an initial set of design values for your project:
I want my audiences to feel peaceful and delight during the process of interaction. Through their repetitive simple action, there will be a visible outcome to bring them a sense of satisfaction. In the meantime, the audiences would find it is not difficult to interact with my project. For both knitting amateurs and people who feel stress towards daily life will get benefits from the processing of interaction.




Week 4  Tuesday, 9/18

Interview documentation
Audrey Fox
Audrey made the project Nettle which is a tea set for the elderly as a communication tool. I asked Audrey about the processing of narrowing down the domains and how to make a prototype. In the research stage, she chose the craft, interface, and data as her domains. Since the target audience is the elderly. Audrey thought it is better to have a tangible object as the interface instead of the digital interface of a cell phone. This is how she combined those domain words. She said she made a series of low fidelity prototypes during her first semester of the thesis studio. And she found that the best way to explore physical systems is simply to make something quickly and then test out the interaction. And she offered me some reference about how to use the ugly prototype to get feedback and improve design projects.
Yuli Cai
Yuli is a resident researcher in NYU ITP. Her work focuses on merging different emotional states and cultural contexts into natural forms of expression. Because   I think culture and tradition is a part of my thesis project as well, and it is not easy to find the intersection of cultural contexts and technology, so it will be great if I can get 

advice from her. She mentioned the process of deconstruction. When you try to integrate two different domains, it is good to see the similar part through the basic elements. Take one of her projects as an example, she made a ballon show to the experience with an ancient Chinese poem. In the project, she analyzed every word in the poem. These emotions are being translated into the programming language for the machines. The mechanism system of the machine transforms it into balloon language in the end.
Jingwen Zhao
Jingwen has founded one of the biggest online communication platforms for handicraft amateurs in China. And he also provides people with online classes about how to start their own online business. He said that making handicrafts is a social activity, so the communication skills are more important than the making skills. And it is why on his platform, people can get access to both the online tutorial videos and offline workshops. Jingwen is trying to transform his business from a communication platform into an online shopping platform because there is a demand for purchasing craft supplies so that the users are able to buy materials and watch tutorial videos from the same app. 



Week 3  Thursday, 9/13

User map
Since there are two different directions I have right now, I made 2 user maps. The first audience group is people who feel stressed towards daily life and also take handicrafts as a way to relax. Of course, there are many people do other spare time activities to release stress, they are not my target audience.
The second audience group is people who have nostalgia and think that a particular object, such as an heirloom, is a part of their old times. I think lots of people can be my target audience based on my interview on Tuesday.
However, there might be an overlap between this two groups.

Week 3  Tuesday, 9/11


Design questions this week:

Can I build a platform for people who feel stressed and make knitting as a portable delight for them to beat their daily stress?

How can I help Chinese factory workers who do repetitive work everyday to release their pressure through amateur activities?

Is it possible to arouse sympathy and recall memories of old times among people through a nostalgic object?

Two week timeline with milestones:

Sept. 13

contact the rest of people whom I want to interview

Sept. 14-16

precedents and writing assignments

Sept. 17-18

employ another creative research method;

interviewee documentation

Sept. 19

presentation preparation

Sept. 20-21

update the lists of resources of domains

Sept. 22-23

revise the first draft of the paper and research artifacts

Sept. 24-25

think about the format and the technology that I will use; sketch

Sept. 26

research presentation preparation

Week 2  Thursday, 9/06

mood board1.jpg

Creative research method: Visual Annotation

What is visual annotation?

Develop a series of visuals (photos, diagrams, storyboards, collage, etc), then ask people to write a short sentence about what they see or feel about each one.

The process of creative research:

I searched and collected a lot of images related to how I feel about the thesis project. Picture one is the mood board which contains all the images I gathered. And in picture two, I created a story about how an unhappy factory worker changes the structure of the machine in the factory and makes him happy again. So I showed this two images to different people in order to get feedback.

The feedback I got:

"The first one makes me think about the relationship between traditional handicraft and modern technology. The second one seems like people are able to generate art during the boring repetitive work."

"I saw the process of human development in the first picture. Human beings spent millions of years to explore the world, the learning process is kind of slow, so knowledge input is more than the output. However, people can satisfy their own needs by making use of the experience and technology. Take picture two as an example, the knowledge output is almost the same as the input."

Week 2  Tuesday, 9/04

Creative research methods



Visual annotation

maybe we won't get the answers we want because most of the experts only focus on their own domains, but what we are going to do is interdisciplinary

5 whys

Precedent or Literature review

Expert interviews

limit our imagination about the final project; find out that what we want to do is already made by other designers

the audiences may have too many different ideas that don't help us focus on our domains

this is the method to help us find the inner expression we want to show; get a clear idea

we are able to get professional suggestions; learn about the experience of their own domains; the most direct way to help us think about our thesis projects

we can't have all the answers to the questions we ask ourselves; make us feel confused during the process of asking

see how other people interpret the same theme as we choose and analyze how they make connections between the format and the sub-domains

help us to think about the project from an audience's perspective; narrow down our domains

Expert interviews:

She made a project called Cyberkinetics which is a garment that translates the natural rhythm of knitting into sound in order to connect the wearer more deeply to their process. She explains her thought about the similarity between coding and knitting which is a part of my domain map.



1. Why did you take sound as the translation of knitting instead of other formats?

2. Can I say that one of the purposes of the project is to eliminate the stereotype images of handicraft and technical works?

3. Do you think that Cyberkinetics is an art installation or a practical tool?

He is creative designer who made a lots of amazing physical projects. There are two reasons I want to interview him. The first one is one of his projects Synthetic Pollenizer is about species extinction which is similar to my idea about lost traditions. Besides, he has good skills about how to polish a design project.



1. At the beginning of your process, how do you narrow down your big map into a specific design proposal?

2. Do you make low fidelity prototype before you create your final project?

3. Do you think Synthetic Pollenizer is a speculative design project?

She is a fibre obsessed maker working between Melbourne and Brooklyn.  She teach students to inspire established weavers and provide skills for weavers to draw from their own experiences to create new and unique pieces. Maybe I can get some advice about weaving and loom from her.



1. As technology developed, machines are able to make delicate products, why do you think some people are still obsessed with handicraft?

2. What do your students want to learn from your class, the weaving skills or the way to relax?

3. What do you think is the most interesting part in the process of making a handicraft?

Week 1  Thursday, 8/30


About my domains:
artificial intelligence, handicraft, emotional design, science fiction,


All the words I wrote down are divided into three groups: positive, tools, negative.

Positive: relax, creativity, habits, traditional, sweater from mom, feeling, emotion, perfect, culture, efficiency;

Tools: interface, handmade, patterns, artificial intelligence, manufacture, interface, machine, interaction, factory, picture recognition;

Negative: time consuming, process, mistakes, human resources;

10 research questions:

1. How do handicraftsmen convey their emotion and idea through the process of making?

2. How audiences feel the emotion from a handicraft?

3. Does machine put emotion into the process of manufacture? 

4. Can machine make a emotional design project?

5. What kind of role does handicraft play in the history of human evolution?

6. Can we visualize the emotional expression during the making process?

7. What kind of making process are able to arise people's emotion?

8. Can human beings and machines collaborate to make a handicraft?

9. Can AI help human beings to inherit traditional cultures or replace them?

10. Can people tell the difference between handmade crafts and machine-made products?

3 refined research questions:

1. Instead of putting machines and AI in the opposite of traditional culture and human beings, can we make use of technology as a tool to advocate traditional culture and techniques?

2. Is it possible to create a cyborg tool for people to reduce the degree of difficulty and add fun during the process of making a handicraft?

3. How can we change the way of handicraft display (still and quiet) by making a handicraft express for itself (interactive and emotional)?

Week 1  Tuesday, 8/28

an interesting precedent, Cyberknitics
works from one of my favorite artist Hiné Mizushima

About my interests and domains:
I started to make handicrafts many years ago, including embroidery, origami, etc. At first, I took it as a way to relax and kill time. Then an idea came to me, what makes handiwork valuable and expensive, although machines are able make a exquisite products in a short time, some people still admire the excellent skills and ingenuity from handicraftsmen. And everyone could be a handicraftsman with ingenuity, my mom made a lot of sweaters for me and my dad. I keep all of them, even though now they are too small for me.
I think emotion makes machine and people different. And a piece of handicraft or the process of making could be an interactive object when people inject their emotion into it. Besides, I am also thinking about how to let machine to do the repetitive jobs so that people can spend their time in creative work.

About thesis:
I was in David Carroll's session last semester. And he said he make a art installation for his thesis project because he wanted to make something that he would never make it again in the future. What he said inspires me to do my thesis project. There is no barrier for us to do something we like, so I hope it could be a unique interest-driven project. But my only concern is that it always start with a brilliant idea and ends up with a shitty prototype based on my own experience.