With the second year now coming to a close I have been reminded to produce a written evaluation of both field topics, which have been endured over the past academic year.
My year began with ‘Fab-Field’ a module based created to offer a hands on ‘making’ experience. This was brilliant and allowed me to further my understanding of several machines such as the laser cutter, 3D printer, and the CNC; this all proved to be extremely valuable over the course of the year. I also enjoyed the freedom we received in this module, and the only rule we were given was to make use of the equipment around us..
Within the next few weeks we were then assigned a partner which we would collaborate with and produce a suitable body of work which would answer the brief. The brief was to create a product fit for kickstarter (a business funding, online campaign). I was then assigned to work with an Architecture Technology student, I looked forward to this as I believed it would add something different to my work and would expand my knowledge. In the following session we produced several quick fire ideas which could be viably made in the ‘Fab-lab’, such as lights, ornaments, novelty items and so on, these would also need to appeal to consumers through a ‘kickstarter’ funding campaign. This field module therefore began extremely well, and I was excited and optimistic of what we could collectively achieve over the following weeks.
Unfortunately over the duration of this field I found several difficulties; the one major annoyance was the poor attendance of my partner. This meant that decisions which should have been made by the both of us were left solely to me. It also meant that undertaking the gruelling work in order to hand in a ‘kickstarter’ campaign was left also to me. Although understandably disappointed I felt that completing this task was a must, and took it upon myself to source the materials from both Cardiff as well as from home (West Wales), this was an extremely difficult task as I had decided on producing an elegant and valuable piece which would be bespoke and would therefore have no expense spared. I began with a simple plank of solid oak, I then brought this down to a suitable size by cutting it with a ‘chop saw’, once this was done I spent hours sanding and preparing the wood to be CNC’d, (that was a very straight forward process, which took an extremely long duration due to the market I had chosen) this needed to be perfect. Once prepared I then produced the CNC file on illustrator, this was constructed of simple lines which would then be cut by the machine. Once done it was time to produce a suitable box-shaped mould which I would place the two oak planks within; I then mixed and poured polyester casting resin in along with some blue dye, this was left for a few days to harden before sanding. After producing what would be the top half of my ‘kickstarter’ idea, I then began on the bottom half; this would be created by mig welding bright steel box sections to create a suitable stand. Once completed the stand was then painted a copper colour as this would keep with the theme I had set. After producing a suitable base which perfectly held the frame, it was then time to add decoration which followed in the form of several venetian houses, these were made by laser cutting 3mm ply wood they were then sprayed; inside these houses there would be battery-powered tea lights to create a glowing effect. These houses would comfortably fit within the CNC’d holes of the table and line up to produce a row of perfectly individual ‘light up’ houses which could be moved around in order to decorate your house. After producing the product I then went about implementing some slight improvements, and managed to source LED strip lights. These were housed on the frame, which illuminated the resin and light up the lights.
If you hadn’t guessed already, I had produced a table centrepiece based on the iconic Italian city of Venice. Produced purely in the ‘Fab-lab’ by hand this was bespoke and individual. This piece was then marketed by myself before presenting to an enthusiastic class of attentive peers. I am extremely proud of what I achieved during this field. Although disappointed by the lack of collaboration with my partner, I believe I learnt an unbelievable amount.
Design ‘n’ Snow
With my second term field project finished I found it extremely interesting and innovative, I personally believe that over the course of the next few years virtual reality will become something which we deal with on a daily basis. I believe that virtual reality could possibly make televisions obsolete if it is correctly done. VR really does have the ability to change the world as we know it; which is something that is said on a regular basis.
Personally after weeks of studying about virtual reality, and having first hand experience with new industry leading equipment whilst in Austria; I believe that it’s at that major stepping stone where it could possibly end in the same way that three-dimensional televisions did; these televisions came about quickly but didn’t seem to catch on due to the need for accessories in the form of glasses (much like VR). They therefore disappeared from the personal leisure industry quickly and rather than gracing tv’s they were sent to the cinemas as a modern and exciting alternative to the conventional two-dimensional cinema experience.
Although saying this, whilst working besides aspiring architectural design technologists I found that VR has the potential to change their way they working, and in talking to several leading architects I found that virtual reality is becoming a must, as it allows clients to visualise their buildings and spaces before major investment.
Could this therefore be something that is introduced in the future products which we design? I personally believe it could, and in the future I envisage products being marketed using virtual reality technology. VR has the potential to maximise product marketing and large products such as vehicles would benefit greatly. Could you imagine sitting in your living room watching your television, with a commercial appearing, which immediately immerses yourself in a driving experience which gives you the ability to look around, flick switches as you would in a real life situation? This would be amazing and would completely change product marketing. Although a possibility I feel as though this is one of the only ways in which VR can be incorporated into product design, this is therefore an extremely narrow industry which minimizes its chances of amounting to anything within this consumer based industry
Over the course of the second field module I undoubtedly learnt a lot, I discovered new softwares and have learnt innovative things out of my subject that I otherwise wouldn’t have. I think that what I learnt during this field is as of yet not relevant, although currently irrelevant it has the potential to change the world. At this moment in time it is only a but; but I found the prospect of it extremely exciting and will undoubtedly keep an eye out in the future for virtual reality and hopefully see it fulfill its potential. The project I endured was also interesting although at times slightly unorganised! I personally believed that we achieved more in the past two weeks than we had in the previous three, and what we have achieved really shows how amazing virtual reality is, and can be. I am also extremely impressed with the final outcome and although this final outcome doesn’t link directly to my subject, it shows how useful this software could be.
In producing a map of the Austrian area we visited this allowed me to scope ideas which could stem future projects and designs.
Although at times a strenuous and effort full task enduring a field module has its benefits. These benefits consist of working with others from varying subjects and background, this allows for a range of outcomes which otherwise wouldn’t be thought of or achieved. Field allows for a break away from the everyday practices of you chosen subject, and allows you to broaden you abilities and thinking. It allows you to try new things and experience the unknown.
Although there are several benefits, this year has been exceptionally hard for myself in both field modules; this has been down to the lack of attendance with my collaborative partners. I have therefore learnt more about my capabilities as an individual rather than what I am able to achieve as a group which is a shame. I therefore feel as though I have been slightly deprived of field due to these bad experiences.
In future I think that all attendance should be monitored across all disciplines in CSAD in order to ensure that modules such as field reach their full potential. Although happy with my experiences I believe that they could have been greatly improved if other students’ participation and attendance was monitored. I also believe that the marking was unfair; and in some cases some students are carried by their collaborative partner to achieve the same mark, this is extremely unfair, and I believe that each individual should be marked for their own contribution in the future.