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Kairos Desk

How might we better track and understand large quantities of time in relation to ourselves?

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Kairos is an interactive studio desk which provides a tangible method for understanding the passage of time in relation to a user's actions. The desk consists of a series of blocks which a user works on during the day, recording information when a block is pressed down. At the end of a day, a record of a user's interactions with Kairos is saved in the form of a cube. I worked with Chris Perry on this project.

Final Concept Artifacts

The final concept was split into three artifacts: sensation, interaction, and visualization.

Sensation

The desk feels like pushing on wood blocks on top of stiff memory foam. Abstracted patterns of usage are captured by the blocks of Kairos in addition to the degree of pressure a user places on the desk.

Interaction

Interaction Demonstration

In this demonstration, the recorded movements of the desk has been simplified, as completely pushing the cube into the push platform represents 24 hours of user movements. A small movement of the cube would yield a large movement of the desk blocks.

Each cube represents a day’s worth of user interactions with the desk. The user can "play back" their recorded interactions with Kairos by pushing a cube into the desk, the blocks on the desk depressing exactly as the user depressed them during that day. The speed at which the day is played back is controlled by the speed at which the cube is pushed into the desk. 

Visualization

The desk blocks which Kairos consists of would be hexagonal, due to their capacity to reasonably capture almost all direct user interactions with the desk (forearms and elbows).

Process

Exploratory Exercise

As a class, we walked around our studio's building and marked invisible phenomena. This first exercise helped provide inspiration for what we might further investigate and sensitized us to the presence of "invisible" or unnoticed systems.

Time Lapse

Through examining one week of combined time lapse footage, I realized the importance of abstraction and uncovered interesting desk usage patterns which helped inform design decisions.

Findings

  • Much of the work environment stays constant, the human shifts around their laptop or sketch book

           Capturing organic curves of arms with the tiling design should be a main focus
  • Based purely on desk usage, it is difficult to determine what time of the day it is

           There needs to be a way to easily inform the user what time it is when playing back a day of interaction
  • People sit in almost exactly the same area relative to the desk

           Aggregating data over a month won’t be overwhelming as behavior patterns will repeat themselves

Prototypes

We chose to abstract the movements of the user through the tiling of the desk in order for patterns to be more easily comprehendible. Watching a directly translated, amorphous recording of a user’s activity over time would be overwhelming in complexity.