Hello, I am Chiaying. Marsha and I have been partners since the first class. In the past several weeks, we learned about the basics of electronics and programming, and now the two of us are working on a project that’s specifically for Marsha. The process of incorporating Arduino allowed us to consider what her real needs are and explore different solutions to one problem.
Mike and I made a trip to Marsha’s apartment on Tuesday, September 6th, 2011. In addition to getting a better idea of the environment, I was really excited to visit Marsha’s place out of genuine curiosity. She appears to be very independent and have a sophisticated lifestyle. I appreciate her personality and her as an artist; I simply think she is a really cool person!
Although Marsha’s building is accessible for wheelchairs, her apartment is not an accessible apartment. Therefore, she has to do a lot of tasks sideways, and she has gotten used to these inconveniences.
The hallway and the doorways are barely wide enough for her wheelchair to go through. It took Marsha a lot of practice to get good at moving around in her apartment.
One big problem that Marsha has is that she has to back into her bedroom from the hallway in the dark. So there are two problems here. First, because her apartment is not designed to be accessible the hallway is very narrow and it is impossible to turn left directly into her bedroom. So instead she has to turn right and then back into her bedroom. See below –
Doing field research like this also allows other influences and even accidental findings to affect the design process. For instance, Marsha’s apartment is full of interesting objects and artwork she has created. Marsha has this tray near her bed that was overloaded with nic-knacks. I picked up the square that says “HI” (see photo below). She said a friend had knitted it but that she knits too and could make something like it. Later it inspired me to consider that Marsha might be able to knit or make some parts of this project herself. So I think her artistry may eventually become a factor in what we create together.
So the trip to Marsha’s house gave me a much better understanding of her and her life. Seeing the environment and her artwork definitely helped me to imagine our project. I am excited to collaborate with her on designing a bedroom lighting system that is perfect for her functionally and aesthetically.