We initially described our D-Dome system as a “deployable self-defense mechanism for a near-future, highly dangerous environment.” For our original exposition, we crafted an anarchical world, which had formed after a severe political revolution. Inhabitants of this world were nothing short of savage towards one another due to the limiting supply of natural resources and the people’s inability to gather everything they need to survive. The criminalized nature of this world led us to D-Dome. In short, we wanted to develop a system that would provide people with instantaneous safety and security.
Essentially, we envisioned D-Dome as a self-deploying shield that would activate as soon as the wearer’s heart rate raised passed a specific threshold, denoting that the wearer was under high pressure or stress. Once the system is in motion, the user is enveloped by a 360 degree protective barrier. Once the user’s stress level has returned to a relaxed state, the shield will close back into itself, allowing the user to continue on their way.
Re-Draft of System:
After our radical initial pitch, we realized that there were too many hypothetical scenarios that we would not be able to adequately address given the time and scope of this class. Many members of the class brought up concerns about the feasibility of the immediate deployment of the device, the strength of the material, and how people would feel “protected” by the device in long-term situations.
We still wanted to keep our government-devoid world with a collapsed economy, but we withdrew our emphasis on an always dangerous, hostile environment (though raids are still a possibility). Our new idea still involved a wearable, but this time it was a suit, named D-DOME, that could automatically inflate into a tent which would serve as a temporary shelter. This would be vital in our world as resources are rapidly depleting and frequent migration would be necessary for an individual to location himself near pools of resources. Additionally, the tent would feature extra fabric to link other D-DOMEs, enabling other nomads to establish communities. This is an act of resistance/revolution to the current system of self-reliance and hostility towards one another.
We created a survey that provided feedback on how people perceive camping and socializing with strangers while camping. We asked for their general information of who they are, as well as their camping knowledge. This information allowed us to scope who would use this product today. We mainly found that people are willing socializing while camping but have a hard time trusting someone within your camp site. The other primary research we performed was interviewing a mechanical engineer and a material engineer, which helped build our idea. They pointed us towards what material we would use along with how it would transform from wearable suit to the shelter.
Once we developed our idea of what our system will solve, within the world we created, we then conducted research on various topics. These topics included materials, technologies, as well as research that helped bring depth to our world. For the product D-Dome, we needed to know what materials it would be made of, and how it would be held together. We found similar ‘survival suits/kits’ that are currently on the market which lead us to form a suit that transforms into a shelter. The next big issue we needed to address was a power source to deploy the dome as well as the security system. We found clothing that has solar panels stitched into it, which feeds a battery that holds the power. Our world, was more focused on a future where society is collapsing, which to gather research for we focused on how the homeless community lives. We found the poor mistreatment and lack of care for this population helped guide our world as well as our product. By including the connector between D-Dome’s we hoped to build a sense of community that changes people’s view of others, therefore changing they way they are treated.
Critiques & Refinement of System:
We already responded to the feedback we received in our guest critiques here: https://creativecomputing.wordpress.com/2016/04/12/group-8-critique-responses/
Essentially, the refinement of our system involved redefining our world’s time period to justify the demand for such a product in desperate times. Here’s a description of our updated world:
Our company created a suit that conveniently and effortlessly transforms into a temporary shelter, with the ability to link tents together to metaphorically and physically establish communities. It was originally marketed towards groups of enthusiast campers and homeless communities who would appreciate the convenience of quickly establishing a shelter as needed. For campers, the primary motivator of the linking feature was to ward off bear attacks. Statistically, bears are less likely to attack groups in the wilderness than individuals traveling on their own. For the homeless communities, if several homeless individuals were linked up, the authorities of an area would be less likely to disband these large groups and address this problem in a more benevolent way.
However, research has shown that the world is on the verge of economic collapse. Our company decides that this is a good opportunity to market our product for a “post-apocalyptic” world where resources are scarce and survival is dependent on migrating frequently. Communities that band together for mutual survival will last much longer than individuals attempting to subsist on their own (like the bear analogy). Therefore, our current product was the perfect fit for a future world where resources are rapidly depleting, forcing the population to migrate often to locate themselves near pools of resources. Additionally, the linking feature would lend itself well to individuals establishing communities for mutual survival.
Prototype Design and Implementation:
Since the time remaining after we confirmed our idea was somewhat limited, we knew that creating one full-scale prototype that could actually demonstrate the suit-to-tent transformation just wasn’t realistic. Instead, we settled on making two separate doll-scale prototypes to showcase the aesthetic and functionality of both the suit and tent forms.
The suit prototype was simply a representation of what the physical suit would look like when worn. To implement this, we first cut out a larger piece of canvas cloth that was comparable to the amount of cloth used for the walls on the tent prototype. Then we fitted the cloth to our doll by folding back and pinning excessive cloth using the safety pins. Next, we measured and cut out the pieces of cloth that we would use for the sleeves and hood on the suit prototype. We attached them to the suit using a hot glue gun. Finally, to represent the straps that would allow a D-Dome user to transform the suit into the backpack form, we glued two adjustable velcro straps to the back of the suit prototype.
Additionally, we wanted to represent our Intrusion Detection System within our abstract prototype. When the D-Domes are linked, a circuit is formed between the shelters, not dissimilar to the “Wagon Wheel” established during the American frontier.. Once the D-Dome circuit has been created, any pressure applied from the outside of the community onto the tented wall (i.e. an outsider attempts to rip open the D-Dome’s walls) an alarm sounds, and lights flash so that people living together within the D-Dome community will be alerted to the intrusion. In order to demonstrate this idea within our prototype, we decided to utilize the LittleBits kit. We wired LEDs, a pressure sensor, and a harsh buzzer throughout the hidden wall of the tent. The pressure sensor is located directly behind the wall that “links” the two D-Domes together. When someone presses against this wall, LEDs inside the D-Domes light up, and the buzzer continually sounds in order to demonstrate the overall alarm system.
In lieu of a Kickstarter-esque trailer for our product, we decided to craft a small story concerning the characters used in our various prototypes: Ken and Barbie. Essentially, we wanted to convey the idea that in our imagined reality, people do not last long by themselves. However, the technology behind D-Dome enables people to commune around one another, promoting an overall sense of camaraderie. The initial storyboard called for a small story that takes place over two days. On day one, Ken is wandering alone through a hostile environment. The D-Dome strips away any concerns of shelter he might have on the first night, though he is still left alone to fend for himself. During the course of the following day, Ken meets Barbie and the two “link” up their D-Domes with the knowledge that they will be safer together.
For our evaluation we talked to other engineering majors that applied to our prototype and deliverable. We had them fill out a survey that was comprised of a series of questions that pertained to design. For example ideal materials for the D-Dome, how should the shelter deploy automatically, and what should be the primary power source. This is to check other possibilities that we might not have thought of as well as reinforce the design process our group had already gone through. The second part of the evaluation was for the participants to watch the short film created about D-Dome, then followed by a few questions that made sure the message and problem would be solved by our prototype. The response backed up our ideas and thoughts that went into the making of D-Dome, for instance being able to carry your shelter wherever you go and being able to create a sense of community.