Level 5 Field Fayre

Term 1:

Disobedient Objects

Project Leader: Paul Granjon

Disobedient Objects was the title of an exhibition in the V&A in September 2014. The exhibition examined the powerful role of objects in movements for social change. It demonstrated how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity and collective creativity that defy standard definitions of art and design.

This Field project will combine a reflection on the disruptive potential of objects. The notion of disobedience will be explored in two main strands:

  • as a stance against authority, where the object or its use challenges established order and power structures, facilitates expression of protest, contributes to social change or disseminates ideas.
  • as a feature of the objects, where the function and functionality is not what would be expected from the object, the gadget rebels, the connected gizmo is irreverent.

The disobedient objects in the V&A exhibition share a DIY aesthetic, they were often made in urgency on a shoestring budget, compensating low-tech quality with high inventiveness. Similarly, the objects that will be constructed during the field project will be largely made from recycled and cheap materials, with a “quick and dirty” approach.

Paul Granjon and Jon Pigott both make active objects using a combination of techniques that include programmable electronics. Although not a compulsory aspect of the project, you will be supported to use DIY electronics and open source coding using the Arduino (a non-commercial, community-driven set of technologies designed for people from all backgrounds, not only for engineers).


The sessions will mostly take place in the FabLab where you will be able to access laser cutting, 3D printing and other digital manufacturing technologies.


Overall we will encourage upcycling, recycling, lateral thinking, reverse engineering and dirty hands.

Expected Outcomes/Deliverables:

The participants in this project will work in small teams and make one or more disobedient objects that will be demonstrated at the end. First they will be asked to identify a situation that needs addressing, an imbalance that needs balancing, a voice that needs to be amplified, a force that needs to be resisted, a design thet needs to be laughed at. They will imagine, design and build an object, set, or device to put things right or break things even more using a wide range of hand-made technologies ranging from gaffer tape to programmable LEDs to crisp wrappers to servo motors.

Throughout the project an open, critical, sharing and questioning attitude will be required. Participants must be prepared to work in small groups (4 to 5 students). Technical demonstrators will provide fabrication and programming support throughout. A series of short thematic lectures will delivered by the academic staff. You will be encouraged and supported to include Arduino and open source programmable electronics in your object. You will be equally encouraged to used found and recycled/upcycled materials and adhoc construction techniques.


The Sustainable Artisan

Project Leader: Huw Williams

This project will focus on the use of sustainable materials in the design and production of  artefacts for the domestic context, this will  include furniture, lighting, storage etc

Focusing on a mixture of contemporary and traditional hand making processes students will develop a skill set, working with tools, equipment, increasing their tacit knowledge of  materials and processes and their understanding on how these impact the environment

These skills will be made relevant to professional contexts and there will be an emphasis on applying knowledge to  practice as a professional furniture designer maker. This project would be supported by studio visit to practitioners and also investigate existing markets for such skills and products.

Also available through the medium of Welsh

Expected Outcomes/Deliverables:

Working prototypes and artefacts of a professional quality.


Term 2:

Art & The Conscious Mind

Project Leader: Professor Rob Pepperell

This project will consider the links between the nature of art and the human mind, in particular the conscious mind. Using examples from several creative fields, the course will investigate some key debates in contemporary science and philosophy about the function and operation of the mind, the place of consciousness in the world, and how creative practitioners can contribute to these debates. Key topics to be covered include perception (especially visual perception), awareness and self-awareness, the location of consciousness, how reality is understood and represented, and how artists and designers have modified and manipulated our minds.


The project will be delivered through a series of presentations and workshops, and will include practical activities designed to elicit creative responses to the issues being discussed. Practical activities will include workshops on mindfulness and Eastern theories of consciousness, immersive technologies and artworks, and how design objects can affect our states of mind, including through humour.


Expected Outcomes:

  • A wide understanding of contemporary and historical debates about the human mind
  • A deep understanding of how artists have interpreted and affected the human mind
  • Practical experience of different conscious states
  • Practical work based on the students’ interests and the ideas presented


The Grand British Tour

Project Leader: Duncan Ayscough

The Grand British Tour is an opportunity to visit some of the the most renowned museums of Britain and work with their collections to create your own cabinet of curiosities – a Wunderkammer.


The project will be launched with a series of lectures, seminars and workshops exploring ways to engage creatively with museum collections.


This will be followed by a series of museum visits you will generate research, ideas and inspiration for further development. While documenting a range of artefacts, you will be invited to focus on three from each collection that have particular significance for you.


Possible museum visits may include, Pitt Rivers, Ashmolean, Welcomme Trust, Courtauld Institute, Wallace Institute, Fitzwilliam, Kettles Yard, Hanley Museum Stoke-on-Trent, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, York City Art Gallery, Manchester City Art Gallery, and Whitworth Gallery Manchester.


The work will be developed through group tutorials and directed towards subject specific project development.

Expected Outcomes/Deliverables:

  • A body of research work pre and post visits.
  • A reflective blog.
  • Clearly articulated project proposal related to subject area appropriately evidenced in presentation.



Important information! This project involves a study visit which will be of an additional cost to students:

• Location: Locations around the UK
• Duration: approximately 2 x 2/3 nights
• Estimated cost to students: £100 (+ daily subsistence)

NB. the cost above is an estimate only and may be subject to change.


These Level 5 modules are the ones that primarily interested me from the Field Fayre. I found this beneficial as I got to speak directly to the people who ran each module and feel I can make a fully educated decision.

My main choices are:
Term 1 – Disobedient Objects
Term 2 – Art and the Conscious Mind

My secondary choices are:
Term 1: The Sustainable Artisan
Term 2: The Grand British Tour

I am thoroughly interested in my main choices, because for Term 1, I want a more hands-on project that involves Arduinos and a practical, physical outcome. Also, this module looked a great deal of fun and after dabbling this year into the basics of Arduinos and Capacitive Sensors, I am intrigued to branch out into this area a bit more.

For Term 2, I am very interested in a more theoretical, philosophical and physics based module. I feel this choice would be highly beneficial, as it would help develop critical, theoretical, spiritual, philosophical and physics based way of thinking, and would help support Dissertation Proposal and Constellation.

My secondary choices do not appeal to me as much as my first choices, but, it is always good to have a backup plan as there’s no guarantee a module I wanted would be picked up for next year if numbers are low.

Adolf Hitler.

Dictator Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria, on April 20, 1889, and was the fourth of six children born to Alois Hitler and Klara Polzl. As a child, Hitler clashed frequently with his emotionally harsh father, who also didn’t approve of his son’s later interest in fine art as a career. Following the death of his younger brother, Edmund, in 1900, Hitler became detached and introverted. He also showed an early interest in German nationalism, rejecting the authority of Austria-Hungary. This nationalism would become the motivating force of Hitler’s life.

Alois died suddenly in 1903. Two years later, Adolf’s mother allowed her son to drop out of school. After her death in December 1907, he moved to Vienna and worked as a casual laborer and watercolor painter. Hitler applied to the Academy of Fine Arts twice and was rejected both times. Lacking money outside of an orphan’s pension and funds from selling postcards, he stayed in homeless shelters. Hitler later pointed to these years as the time when he first cultivated his anti-Semitism, though there is some debate about this account.

In 1913, Hitler relocated to Munich. At the outbreak of World War I, he applied to serve in the German army. He was accepted in August 1914, though he was still an Austrian citizen. Although Hitler spent much of his time away from the front lines (with some reports that his recollections of his time on the field were generally exaggerated), he was present at a number of significant battles and was wounded at the Somme. He was decorated for bravery, receiving the Iron Cross First Class and the Black Wound Badge.

Hitler became embittered over the collapse of the war effort. The experience reinforced his passionate German patriotism, and he was shocked by Germany’s surrender in 1918. Like other German nationalists, he purportedly believed that the German army had been betrayed by civilian leaders and Marxists. He found the Treaty of Versailles degrading, particularly the demilitarization of the Rhineland and the stipulation that Germany accept responsibility for starting the war.

Party Leadership and Imprisonment

After World War I, Hitler returned to Munich and continued to work for the military as an intelligence officer. While monitoring the activities of the German Workers’ Party (DAP), Hitler adopted many of the anti-Semitic, nationalist and anti-Marxist ideas of party founder Anton Drexler. Hitler joined the DAP in September 1919.

To increase its appeal, the DAP changed its name to the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (NSDAP), often abbreviated to Nazi. Hitler personally designed the party banner, appropriating the swastika symbol and placing it in a white circle on a red background. He soon gained notoriety for his vitriolic speeches against the Treaty of Versailles, rival politicians, Marxists and Jews. In 1921, Hitler replaced Drexler as NSDAP chairman.

Hitler’s fervid beer-hall speeches began attracting regular audiences. Early followers included army captain Ernst Rohm, the head of the Nazi paramilitary organization the Sturmabteilung (SA), which protected meetings and frequently attacked political opponents.

On November 8, 1923, Hitler and the SA stormed a public meeting featuring Bavarian prime minister Gustav Kahr at a large beer hall in Munich. Hitler announced that the national revolution had begun and declared the formation of a new government. After a short struggle that led to several deaths, the coup known as the “Beer Hall Putsch” failed.

Hitler was arrested and tried for high treason. He served nine months in prison, during which time he dictated most of the first volume of Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”) to his deputy, Rudolf Hess. A work of propaganda and falsehoods, the book laid out Hitler’s plans for transforming German society into one based on race.

Rise to Power

With millions unemployed, the Great Depression in Germany provided a political opportunity for Hitler. Germans were ambivalent to the parliamentary republic and increasingly open to extremist options. In 1932, Hitler ran against 84-year-old Paul von Hindenburg for the presidency. Hitler came in second in both rounds of the election, garnering more than 36 percent of the vote in the final count. The results established Hitler as a strong force in German politics. Hindenburg reluctantly agreed to appoint Hitler as chancellor in order to promote political balance.

Hitler used his position as chancellor to form a de facto legal dictatorship. The Reichstag Fire Decree, announced after a suspicious fire at parliament, suspended basic rights and allowed detention without trial. Hitler also engineered the passage of the Enabling Act, which gave his cabinet full legislative powers for a period of four years and allowed for deviations from the constitution.

Having achieved full control over the legislative and executive branches of government, Hitler and his political allies embarked on a systematic suppression of the remaining political opposition. By the end of June, the other parties had been intimidated into disbanding. On July 14, 1933, Hitler’s Nazi Party was declared the only legal political party in Germany. In October of that year, Hitler ordered Germany’s withdrawal from the League of Nations.

Military opposition was also punished. The demands of the SA for more political and military power led to the Night of the Long Knives, which took place from June 30 to July 2, 1934. Rohm, a perceived rival, and other SA leaders, along with a number of Hitler’s political enemies, were rounded up and shot.

The day before Hindenburg’s death in August 1934, the cabinet had enacted a law abolishing the office of president, combining its powers with those of the chancellor. Hitler thus became head of state as well as head of government and was formally named leader and chancellor. As head of state, Hitler became supreme commander of the armed forces.

The Rise of Anti-Semitism

From 1933 until the start of the war in 1939, Hitler and his Nazi regime instituted hundreds of laws and regulations to restrict and exclude Jews in society. The Anti-Semitic laws were issued throughout all levels of government, making good on the Nazis’ pledge to persecute Jews if the party came to power. On April 1, 1933, Hitler implemented a national boycott of Jewish businesses, followed by the introduction of the ”Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” of April 7, 1933, which was one of the first laws to persecute Jews by excluding them from state service. This was a Nazi implementation of the Aryan Paragraph, a clause calling for the exclusion of Jews and non-Aryans from organizations, employment and eventually all aspects of public life.

In April 1933, additional legislation furthered the persecution of Jews including laws restricting the number of Jewish students at schools and universities, limiting Jews working in medical and legal professions, and revoking the licenses of Jewish tax consultants. In April 1933, the Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Union called for “Action Against the Un-German Spirit,” prompting students to burn more than 25,000 “Un-German” books, ushering in an era of censorship and Nazi propaganda. In 1934, Jewish actors were forbidden from performing in film or in the theater.

On September 15, 1935, the Reichstag introduced the Nuremberg Laws which defined a “Jew” as anyone with three or four grandparents who were Jewish, regardless of whether the person considered themselves Jewish or observed the religion. The Nuremberg Laws also set forth the “Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour,” which banned marriage between non-Jewish and Jewish Germans; and the Reich Citizenship Law, which deprived “non-Aryans” of the benefits of German citizenship.

Hitler’s eugenic policies also targeted children with physical and developmental disabilities, and later authorized a euthanasia program for disabled adults. His regime also persecuted homosexuals, arresting an estimated 100,000 men from 1933 to 1945, some of whom were imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. At the camps, gay prisoners were forced to wear pink triangles to identify their homosexuality, which Nazis considered a crime and a disease.

Hitler also promoted anti-smoking campaigns across the country. These campaigns stemmed from Hitler’s self-imposed dietary restrictions, which included abstinence from alcohol and meat. Fueled by fanaticism over what he believed was a superior Aryan race, he encouraged Germans to keep their bodies pure of any intoxicating or unclean substance.

In 1936, Hitler and his regime muted their Anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions when Germany hosted the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, in an effort to avoid criticism on the world stage and a negative impact on tourism. However, after the Olympics, the Nazi persecution of Jews intensified with the continued “Aryanization” of Jewish businesses, which involved the firing of Jewish workers and takeover by non-Jewish owners.

World War II & The Holocaust

In 1938, Hitler, along with several other European leaders, signed the Munich Agreement. The treaty ceded the Sudetenland districts to Germany, reversing part of the Versailles Treaty. As a result of the summit, Hitler was named Time magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938. This diplomatic win only whetted his appetite for a renewed German dominance.

The Nazis continued to segregate Jews from German society, banning them from public school, universities, theaters, sports events and “Aryan” zones. Jewish doctors were also barred from treating “Aryan” patients. Jews were required to carry identity cards and, in the fall of 1938, Jewish people had to have their passports stamped with a “J.”

On November 9 and 10, 1938, a wave of violent anti-Jewish pogroms swept Germany, Austria and parts of the Sudetenland. Nazis destroyed synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses, and close to 100 Jews were murdered. Called Kristallnacht, the “Night of Crystal” or the “Night of Broken Glass,” referring to the broken glass left in the wake of the destruction, the pogroms escalated the Nazi persecution of Jews to another level of brutality and violence. Almost 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps, signaling more horrors to come.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. In response, Britain and France declared war on Germany two days later. Between 1939 and 1945, Nazis and their collaborators were responsible for the deaths of at least 1 million noncombatants, including about six million Jews, representing two-thirds of the Jewish population in Europe. As part of Hitler’s “Final Solution,” the genocide enacted by the regime would come to be known as the Holocaust.

Deaths and mass executions took place in concentration and extermination camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and Treblinka, among many others. Other persecuted groups included Poles, communists, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses and trade unionists. Prisoners were used as forced laborers for SS construction projects, and in some instances they were forced to build and expand concentration camps. They were subject to starvation, torture and horrific brutalities, including having to endure gruesome and painful medical experiments. Hitler probably never visited the concentration camps and did not speak publicly about the mass killings, but Germans documented the atrocities committed at the camps on paper and in films.

Hitler escalated his military activities in 1940, invading Norway, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Belgium. By July, Hitler ordered bombing raids on the United Kingdom, with the goal of invasion. Germany’s formal alliance with Japan and Italy, known collectively as the Axis powers, was agreed upon toward the end of September to deter the United States from supporting and protecting the British.

On June 22, 1941, Hitler violated the 1939 non-aggression pact with Joseph Stalin, sending a massive army of German troops into the Soviet Union. The invading force seized a huge area of Russia before Hitler temporarily halted the invasion and diverted forces to encircle Leningrad and Kiev. The pause allowed the Red Army to regroup and conduct a counteroffensive attack, and the German advance was stopped outside Moscow in December 1941.

On December 7, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Honoring the alliance with Japan, Hitler was now at war against the Allied powers, a coalition that included Britain, the world’s largest empire, led by Prime Minister Winston Churchill; the United States, the world’s greatest financial power, led by President Franklin D. Roosevelt; and the Soviet Union, which had the world’s largest army, commanded by Stalin.

Though initially hoping that he could play the Allies off of one another, Hitler’s military judgment became increasingly erratic, and the Axis powers could not sustain his aggressive and expansive war. In late 1942, German forces failed to seize the Suez Canal, leading to the loss of German control over North Africa. The German army also suffered defeats at the Battle of Stalingrad (1942-43), seen as a turning point in the war, and the Battle of Kursk (1943). On June 6, 1944, on what would come to be known as D-Day, the Western Allied armies landed in northern France. As a result of these significant setbacks, many German officers concluded that defeat was inevitable and that Hitler’s continued rule would result in the destruction of the country. Organized efforts to assassinate the dictator gained traction, and opponents came close in 1944 with the notorious July Plot, though it ultimately proved unsuccessful.

Death and Legacy

By early 1945, Hitler realized that Germany was going to lose the war. The Soviets had driven the German army back into Western Europe and the Allies were advancing into Germany from the west. At midnight, going into April 29, 1945, Hitler married his girlfriend, Eva Braun, in a small civil ceremony in his Berlin bunker. Around this time, Hitler was informed of the execution of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Afraid of falling into the hands of enemy troops, Hitler and Braun committed suicide the day after their wedding, on April 30, 1945. Their bodies were carried to a bombed-out area outside of the Reich Chancellery, where they were burned.

Berlin fell on May 2, 1945. Five days later, on May 7, 1945, Germany surrendered unconditionally to the Allies.

Hitler’s political programs had brought about a world war, leaving behind a devastated and impoverished Eastern and Central Europe, including Germany. His policies inflicted human suffering on an unprecedented scale and resulted in the death of tens of millions of people, including more than 20 million in the Soviet Union and six million Jews in Europe. Hitler’s defeat marked the end of Germany’s dominance in European history and the defeat of fascism. A new ideological global conflict, the Cold War, emerged in the aftermath of the devastating violence of World War II.


Source Here:

Finalising Outcomes.

Following on from the Easter break, I am now finalising my outcomes for both Field and Subject for my deadline, that is in 2 weeks time. (6th June).

With time still available to me, I decided to improve one of my outcomes in Subject – the mounted hands. I painted the boards white and still felt like they needed some extra pizzazz! I have done extensive research into the Poppy Appeal and the connection between Flanders and the war, so started wondering if I could make plaster of Paris poppies for the bases of my mounted hands.

(Boards after I painted them white.)

Finding a sculptural frame for the size of poppies in mind, I wanted to create was the next task. At first, I tried pouring plaster that was in a setting state directly onto wooden boards and slowly incorporating copper wire into some of the setting pieces.

sub 9

However, I found this wasn’t quite the effect I had wanted and they were not as 3D as I had hoped for. I have set these aside and kept them around, as I have no doubt I will find another use for them. Moving on from this, I then tried using cut and shaped card to pour plaster directly into; that way, the card would act as more of a support structure for the poppies.

sub 10

These instead, looked more like fried eggs, and I was back to square one. Despite them not working out, I too, have kept these around. I felt a little dejected by the lack of an outcome I had desired, and then decided to try use objects with small, curved lips to see if that would have any effect. I also tried pouring directly onto the board again to see if there was a technique to it.

sub 11

After sometime of trying to figure out how to sculpt plaster poppies that were more 3D, I started looking at chicken wire but I felt the gaps between each hole was too far apart that the plaster would seep through. I did find a small piece of chicken wire around the studio and then went to ask Martin if he had anything similar, but with smaller gaps. This is when Martin handed me two small sheets of aluminium wire, which was a lot more bendy and flexible – perfect for sculpting!


I cut up small amounts of the aluminium mesh and with masking tape, created small meshed circles. Once I had about 6 or so of them, I went down to the plaster room to further experiment with this idea, feeling a bit more hopeful than the dejection I felt from the other ways failing.

I was very content with the outcome of these and once I removed all the excess mesh and clay, I started to smooth them off, using the grater in the plaster room. Once this was done, I took them back upstairs to my studio space to air out and dry.

sub 5

Now I have let them dry all over the weekend, I will no doubt be creating a PVA solution for them and painting them red and black to represent poppies. I feel they give the mounted hands a bit extra added to them, rather than just hands on a metal rod, mounted on plain boards. They look more finalised and polished than before and I am quite pleased with this. I enjoy being able to stack them or arrange in a variety of ways, as there’s endless possibilities and different arrangements I could try. It also breaks the metal rod away from the base when you make direct eye contact with it.

For Field, my prototype is nearly complete. I have had another two sessions with Aidan and will be meeting with him again this week, with hopes that everything is nearly programmed and accomplished. I have loaned out an Arduino from the university for my exhibition and picked this up from Mal Bennett in N-block on Thursday morning.


Now with one of these in my possession, I was finally able to move on with the display board for my prototype. Having the physical arduino itself was important, because I needed an approximate size to chart out where everything was going to go.

field 3

I also started to sketch out the prototype itself, where it was going to go and what section needed holes drilled into. By mapping out where I desired things to go, made my life a lot easier when it came to actually physically drilling the holes in. I just had to line the drill up with my map and proceed.

The ‘x’s are where the drill was marked to go through and the right is all mental reminders for myself when it comes to installing the wires and arduino. I am hopeful that everything will be complete by this week, or the latest, start of next week, as that way, I have about a week to do ‘damage control’ and extra tweaking, as well as create my sketchbook racks.

Pre-Easter Round Up.

I am going to discuss a breakdown of my outcomes for Subject and Field. I will discuss briefly how I have got to the point where I am at with my projects, and outline what still needs to be completed before deadlines.

Untitled (TBC). 

A two-part series of plaster cast hands, mounted on wooden boards and thick metal rods. They were made by pouring plaster into marigold rubber gloves. Once set, I sanded them down to remove the imprint of gloves. Drilled individual holes into the bottom of each cast and attached them to metal rods. The wooden boards were drilled into and they were fitted.

The next and final phase for this two-part series is lazertran process. I will image transfer newspaper clippings of headlines from the war-torn 1940s.


Winds of Change. 

An abstract sculptural piece. The concept is sails in the wind. Casted entirely out of plaster, Winds of Change was made by pouring plaster into solid square slabs, where one slab was sawn into right angular triangles. They were drilled into and are fitted together with small metal connectors, however they can still be moved and dismantled. This piece is a finished outcome.


The Camps.

Developed by walking around Llandaff Cathedral, imprinting clay into walls and trees, The Camps was then casted in plaster. The terracotta clay seeped its colour into the plaster, which gave it its earthen texture. Connected by visible metal rods, This signifies the connection between each concentration camp.

I am going to be using the lazertran process to finalise this piece. The 3D reliefs will be dismounted from the board, in order for me to image transfer the map of Poland. The plaster reliefs will then be placed back on the board. Once this is complete, this outcome will be finished.

memorial hands

Untitled (TBC).

This sculptural piece is influenced by memorial sculpture. Casted entirely out of plaster, the plaster base was casted in the same manner as Winds of Change and connected in the same manner. Through alginate casting of two people’s hands, I was able to take the hand casts into plaster. The only differentiation from my other outcomes, is this one will incorporate light.

This piece is near finalisation; the only thing left to complete is fixing the lights to the metal connectors, so they are unable to be taken, removed or altered.

sensory 2

Untitled (TBC).

A work still in progress, this prototype is designed to fixed with light and an interactive touchpad. The arduino and battery will be hidden by a wooden hut that is still to be developed, and all the wiring will be hidden underneath the wooden board. The lights will be fixed underneath, with specific holes that will be drilled. There will be a slight dip in the top of the board, so my prototype can be placed into the dip to prevent it from being able to slip or slide around the board.

There is still some considerable work to be done on this. The only things left to do is build the hut for the arduino to live in, program my lights and fixture all the wirings. Once this is done, I can see this being a sleek way to display my prototype.

Creating the Wooden Display Board for the Sensory Toy.

I went downstairs to ask Nigel if he had a piece of wood that measured 10 x 14 inches and some edging. I was successfully pleased as Nigel had exactly what I was looking for. I went upstairs to Martin’s workshop, so I could measure the edging and mark the exact amount I needed and what excess would need sawing off.

Once the excess was sawn off, I sanded down the edging I intended to use till it had a nice finish. I then assembled the edging onto the wooden board, so I would know what layout I wanted before using gorilla glue to put it in place.


Once the glue sets and it’s safe to maneuver it around, I will start working on drilling holes for the lights, before painting it.

From Research to Realisation.

Sensory Toy: How It Relates Back To Autism.

The prototype I have made is designed in mind to aid the needs of someone with ASC (Autism Spectrum Condition). Specifically, the prototype is designed to aid the recovery of someone in sensory overload. By programming the lights to be gentle and soothing, and with the prototype’s tactile nature, it will provide a calming effect. To tailor this prototype to someone experiencing sensory overload, I investigated a variety of sources through articles, journals and PowerPoint Presentations centered around Autism and the different signs or symptoms one may experience. Through this series of investigation, I have learned that there may be different triggers or signs or symptoms that one person with autism may demonstrate, whilst another may experience things differently. No one person is affected the same. This blog post will discuss the importance of that finding and how I am applying a specific field to the developed prototype.


^ By investigating a breakdown on the seven senses and how these are experienced differently to those on the ASC spectrum, I was able to narrow down the field and specifically design and develop the prototype to one specialisation.

Sight and Touch: the specific area of autism I selected. I chose sight and touch, because it was extensive in terms of what I could design and develop. I could add textures, apply lights, combine the two or revert back to touch and add indents and different textures.

To investigate designing a prototype, I took inspiration from a small object on the market called a Fidget Cube.

Having held a fidget cube and being able to feel the texture of each element of this object, it enabled a better understanding of the sensations of touch; what felt nice or what felt abrasive. I took inspiration from a few elements of the fidget cube and the sensations it provided when touching it and applied that to my own CAD design in Rhino.

autism 2


^ As my investigation continued, I discovered that the perceptions of someone on the ASC spectrum aren’t unified. For example, White and Oliver’s different experiences of sound demonstrate how the same situation can be perceived differently by someone on the spectrum. For this reason, I decided to not include sound in my prototype, as it would be too subjective.

autism 3

^ Discovering the intensity that someone feels on the spectrum, I took this into consideration when I started designing my prototype in Rhino. The prototype would be comfortable to hold and would be designed so that it would be a passive object. The idea would be that the prototype would be something that someone on the spectrum could interact with, but not interact with them. I wanted to minimize the possibility of someone perceiving the prototype as intrusive.

autism 4

^ Investigating sensory sensitivities was a pivotal moment in the designing process of my prototype, because the research gave me a better understanding of what to avoid or include in my design. For example, someone with hypersensitive senses dislikes dark and bright lights, whilst someone with hyposensitive senses is fascinated with reflections or brightly coloured objects. This meant I needed to consider the following things for my design: lights, smell (product material), texture, size.

Light: I needed to carefully consider how I wanted my prototype to light up. I needed to consider what could be a trigger for someone on the hyper/hyposensitive spectrum and avoid bright or dark lights. This has led to the decision that I will have gentle, soothing lights that sit in the middle of bright-dark spectrum. The colours will be pastel and not too fluorescent. The lights will be programmed to activate slowly in a calming, pulsive rhythm as to avoid triggering someone. Also, whoever is holding the product, will have full control over that process.

Smell: This was harder to consider in terms of developing with material process. I needed to consider what material I casted the product in, as long-lasting smells of materials could provide negative for someone experiencing hypersensitivity. The current prototype is made of transparent resin, which lacks any odor once the cast is dry.

Texture: By investigating market research and what currently already exists in today’s market, inspired the nodules and interactive nature of my prototype. I have a better understanding of the variables of texture now and which ones are positive and negative.

Size: This was another issue in the development stage, because I originally had the intention to design a prototype that could be portable and pocket-size. However, due to the size restrictions, it proved difficult to also apply lights if I kept it to the original concept scale. The current prototype is larger in scale than I had originally liked, but this is a good starting point. As I gain further confidence and skills in programming and designing concepts for products, I will make the product smaller in scale.

autism 5

^ When someone is experiencing sensory overload, they may utilise only one sense at a time – a Mono process. The idea behind my prototype is designed with that in mind. The prototype can provide relief by being a reliable anchor. For example, the prototype only has one function: when the button is pressed, a series of lights begin. There is no surprise elements or unexpected reactions. The user is going to know what happens and has full control over what is going to happen. For example, the prototype is like the process of breathing into a brown paper bag to prevent a panic attack getting worse.

autism 6

^ As above, my prototype will hopefully provide structure and stability; something that the user can rely on. The prototype is designed to be passive, to provide aid on a personal level.

autism 7

^ In conclusion, it is my hope that my product will be useful for those on the ASC Spectrum in a number of ways.

  • Lights to visually aid the calming process.
  • Tactile elements for those who need physical stimulation.
  • Discreet design for everyday use.