Design > A View with a Room: GFRY 2013

The GFRY is a collaborative, interdisciplinary design and fabrication studio at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). The course actively collaborated with design professionals from a variety of backgrounds to investigate how new technologies, social forms, and materials can be integrated to produce innovative objects, media, environments, and experiences for the challenges of an increasingly complex world.

Throughout the GFRY studio I focused on the idea of navigation. How does one navigate their environment every day? This question led me to investigate the basic senses we use to connect to our environment daily. Throughout my process I focused my research into two areas of human cognition: aural and tactile.

The exhibit presented two methods for thinking about and understanding navigation in our environment. The first, was a gallery specific exhibit which tracked and presented real time user movement throughout the gallery. A series of RFID card scan stations where strategically placed throughout the gallery where users 'checked in' with their unique cards. This instillation pushed the user to question how people move through space, and what draws and pushes them.

The second method for understanding urban navigation was titled Haptic Wayfinding. The project attempts to aid the visually impaired in way finding. Immediate obstacle avoidance is secondary to navigation from point A to point B. The Haptic Belt utilizes the urban street as the context. The device is not meant to be relied upon as the sole method for orientation, but to be used in conjunction with ones sense of hearing or other aids such as a cane or guide dog. The device focuses on a series of physical ques through a vibration belt in order to indicate when to turn or maintain a strait path. The mobility infrastructure is the specific urban context for this project.

More info about the research studio as a whole can be found here.