Final Project Journal

As my final project for this class, I would like to investigate the relationship experienced in people, between music and their experience with the outside world. As music is such an important part of my life, undeniably affecting my day-to-day experience, I want to investigate if music affects other people’s lives, even if subconsciously.

My experiment is simple. I will find several volunteers, six to be exact, and take them to our campus here at CU Boulder. Then, I will give them a pair of Bluetooth headphones, as high quality as I have available to me, and instruct that particular participant to walk around the campus listening to a set of songs, or playlist, of their choice. Given that they are equipped with Bluetooth headphones, I will take the audio device paired to the headphones, and stay as far away from the participant as possible, while still maintaining Bluetooth connectivity.

Side note, my phone has the ability to output audio to two different devices simultaneously, allowing me to experience the same music experience as the participant, and keep the volume withing safe listening levels.

So this participant will wander through campus listening to their song of choice, while I creepily follow them and control their listening experience through my audio player. Unbeknownst to them, I will be adjusting their volume based on one specific condition: their proximity to others around them. CU Boulder’s campus provides a perfect setting for this experiment, as there exist strong fluctuations in people-per-space in different areas on campus. I figure this is a good condition to explore because from the participant’s perspective, they will have no idea why their volume would be fluctuating, and their reactions to the adjusting volume would be genuine.

The reason I chose six participants is due to the fact that I will split them up into two distinct groups, with three participants each. These two groups will be held identical in every way possible, except that for the first group I will decrease their volume as they approach others, and for the second group I will increase their volume as they approach others.

After about a 15 minute walk with each participant, I will emerge from whatever bush I happen to be hiding in, and touch base with that participant about their experience. I will ask them three questions:

  1. How was your walk? Did you enjoy walking around campus with music, as opposed to without?
  2. Is there any particular reason you followed the path that you did? Given the opportunity to do this again, would you follow the same path?
  3. Do you know why I was adjusting your volume? Why do you think your volume was changed during your walk?

Based on their responses, and the overall path of their walk, I can observe any trends between my volume adjustment, and their walking experience. Do they tend to walk in a straight line, or do they make sudden turns? Do they walk nearer/further from others around them, in order to boost/reduce their volume? Is there any correlation between time of volume adjustment, and changes in their walking path? Do their responses coincide/contradict their walking tendencies?

As far as documentation, I will be sure to record the volume of the music at every point during the study, including any and all volume adjustments I make. I will also document their path as they walk across the campus, taking careful note of areas of high and low people-density. I will also take careful note of their response, making clear their responses’ correlation with my own recorded data.

If my participants are anything like me and enjoy their music as loud as possible, I predict that 15 minutes is long enough for the participant to grasp the fact that I am changing their volume for a particular reason, and though they might not know the reason, they would try to head towards a higher volume level. This relationship could also be inverted, as some people do not enjoy loud volumes, and begin searching for a way to lower their volume. It is not unlikely, however, that some participants will actually understand that their volume is directly related to their proximity to others; I am interested in seeing how this realization affects their walking path.

This experiment provides a sufficient way to expose people’s hidden relationships with their music, and their conscious/subconscious decisions to take a certain path across campus. If I were to test this idea in the future, given the time to refine and improve it, I would see how music would affect a person’s performance in other tasks – including, but not limited to: cooking, cleaning, working out, relaxing, doing homework, driving, etc. Do people react a certain way to their music in any of these activities? Would a certain participant perform any differently at something, given their constantly altered music experience? Using data from this study, I hope to explore these avenues and find possible trends/tendencies across an even larger sample size of participants.

Time spent at this point: 2.5 hours

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Experiment Day!

The following documentation will be regarding any information taken the day of experimentation. Group A consists of those volunteers subject to higher volume as they approach others, while Group B consists of volunteers subject to lower volume as they approach others. All participants were randomly chosen to be in their respective groups.

Participant #1: Ethan Albro – Group A

Ethan is a student and a good friend of mine here at CU. I’ve chosen Ethan as a good candidate for this experiment as he is an avid music listener; rarely will I see him wandering campus without his earbuds. With this already constructed relationship involving music and his perception of life, his results should prove adequate insight into his experience.

Songs chosen:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

Interview:

-How was your walk?

-Is there any particular reason you followed the path that you did? Given the opportunity to do this again, would you follow the same path?

-Do you know why I was adjusting your volume? Why do you think your volume was changed during your walk?

Path Walked/Data Collected:

 

 

 

Participant #2: Abhi Sahariah – Group A

Abhi is also a student here at CU, but he was my first and only roommate freshman year. I’ve chosen Abhi as a good candidate from this experiment because he consistently astounds me with how loud he likes his music – whenever he listens to music, he turns it up as loud as possible, and self-identifies as a ‘volume fiend’. I am interested to see how this hunger for loud audio plays into this experiment and his reactions to the volume knob being in someone else’s hands.

Songs chosen:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

Interview:

-How was your walk?

-Is there any particular reason you followed the path that you did? Given the opportunity to do this again, would you follow the same path?

-Do you know why I was adjusting your volume? Why do you think your volume was changed during your walk?

Path Walked/Data Collected:

 

 

Participant #3: Laurel Bloszies- Group A

Laurel is also a student here at CU, but our friendship started in high school. Back in high school, she was known for having an extremely wide-spread music preference – she does not restrict her music tastes to a single genre or aesthetic. This makes her a good candidate for this experiment because the variety in the songs she chooses to listen to might play an additional role in her experience.

Songs chosen:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

Interview:

-How was your walk?

-Is there any particular reason you followed the path that you did? Given the opportunity to do this again, would you follow the same path?

-Do you know why I was adjusting your volume? Why do you think your volume was changed during your walk?

Path Walked/Data Collected:

 

 

Participant #4: Damian Njuguna – Group B

Damian is also a student here at CU, and is my current roommate. I’ve chosen Damian as a worthy candidate for this experiment because, unlike Abhi (Participant #2), Damian enjoys his music quiet. In his words, music should be “easy to listen to”, and music that is too loud or aggressive in any respect is not pleasurable to him. I am interested in seeing how this attribute plays into his results from this experiment, as well as how his results compare/contrast with Abhi’s.

Songs chosen:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

Interview:

-How was your walk?

-Is there any particular reason you followed the path that you did? Given the opportunity to do this again, would you follow the same path?

-Do you know why I was adjusting your volume? Why do you think your volume was changed during your walk?

Path Walked/Data Collected:

Participant #5: Chris Jillson – Group B

Chris is also a student here at CU, musician, and a self-proclaimed audiophile. This means that when he listens to music, he takes every aspect of the experience seriously. With his finely-tuned ears, he seems to be the most likely to be affected by any changes I make to his listening experience, which I find to be an interesting attribute to explore in this experiment.

Songs chosen:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

Interview:

-How was your walk?

-Is there any particular reason you followed the path that you did? Given the opportunity to do this again, would you follow the same path?

-Do you know why I was adjusting your volume? Why do you think your volume was changed during your walk?

Path Walked/Data Collected:

Participant #6: Kenzo Horiuchi – Group B

Kenzo is also a student here at CU, but his participation in this experiment came with one interesting condition – he requested to perform the ‘walk’ on a longboard. Given that both he and I are fairly competent at riding longboards, I agreed to conduct this particular trial on wheels with him. On longboards, the pace of the ‘walk’ will be increased dramatically, but with this increase in speed, I predict his path will be a lot more straightforward, featuring wider/fewer turns than the other five participants. This makes Kenzo a sort of a wildcard for this experiment, and hopefully this will lead to different, yet just as meaningful, tendencies in traversing the campus in response to the music.

Songs chosen:

1)

2)

3)

4)

5)

Interview:

-How was your walk?

-Is there any particular reason you followed the path that you did? Given the opportunity to do this again, would you follow the same path?

-Do you know why I was adjusting your volume? Why do you think your volume was changed during your walk?

Path Walked/Data Collected:

 

Time spent up to this point: 6.5 hours

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Final Project Proposal

  1. The question that I would like to study is how does our interactions with our mobile devices change our perception of private and public space?
  2. The methods/ idea that I will engage to study this question is some research through design elements through a technology probe. I will also be referencing some of the ideas found in politics and design where we explored how we can expose the power implicitly in a technology.
  3. For the first week I will create a prototype of the probe I want to use in my study. I want to have a final prototype probe system by the middle of week one. Then during the second week have people interact with the probe and answer a series of questions about their feelings and thought while interacting with the probe.  During the first week I will also need to compile a list of questions for participants to answer during and after their interactions with the probe. The prototype will involve some type of way to project what’s on our phone screens into the real world.
  4. I plan to document the work through photographs, video, and written documentation. I will share the process of creating the probe along with how people interact with the probe. I will also be documenting the participants’ responses to the questions.

Final Project Proposal

  1. The question I would like to study is: What attributes of music do we care about, and how does different music affect perception of the quality of the music.
  2. My idea is simple: I will create a simple form, possibly even a google form, that consists of 20-30 different song samples, spanning all genres and moods. Then, beneath the sample, it will have the option to rate that sample on how good it is – whatever good is to the user. Then, using user data, I would figure out what trends in the music contributes to the general like/dislike of that song. Is it a certain chord progression? BPM? Instruments/lack of instruments used?
  3. My plan for the next two weeks consists of collecting 30 different songs, preferably not very well known, but spanning as many genres as possible, and trim them all down into 20 second samples to use for the forum. All that’s left is to create the google form, which shouldn’t be too difficult.
  4. I will document the process of choosing the songs, and for what reasons each particular song was chosen. I will also document the process of obtaining those songs, and what 20 seconds of the song I want to include in the sample.

Technology and the Traumatic

  1. The question I would like to study is: how can technology help those who have gone through traumatic events?
  2. I would like to utilize speculative design, and plan to create a physical object or booklet.
  3. I plan to spend the first week researching the affects of (mainly psychological) traumatic events on people, both mental and physical. I will then spend the second week coming up with a design, and possibly a prototype of this design.
  4. I plan to document my work my work by keeping a document with all of my research and interview results. I also plan to keep a sketchbook with my design ideas, and I will also keep any prototypes I may come up with, as well as take pictures of my design process.

Final Project Phase 1

    1. How can we make electronic devices that can be reused past it’s initial purpose?
    2. I want to explore the life of technology past when people are done using it. I will be using speculative design to try and find a way to reduce the waste technology produces.
    3. My plan for the first two weeks is do a lot of research and reviewing the essays my project relates to. After the first week or after I think I’ve gathered enough research I would like to start sketching a lot of designs.
    4. To document my work I will be getting track of all of the sources I’ve been researching and highlighting what I found interesting about each article. As for my sketches I will be sure to add descriptions so when the next person gets my work they have a detailed knowledge of what each sketch is.

 

Final Project: I Robot NS4 or the NS5?

  1. The question that I would like to explore is on the lines of this: What happens to your electronics and how do we relate to discontinued products as a consumer culture?
  2. A method that I have to engage this answer is to take inspiration from what we did in the lab. I will use the ideas from the material studies and the future catalog to help me answer this.
  3. My plan for the next two weeks is to do research on our society, especially when it comes to electronics.  Find out what happens to electronics after they are not needed. Find out what people have done with there own electronics. And from that, I would like to create some kind of catalog or something visual to help others see what I have found. I would also like to work with material things as well if I can.
  4. I plan to document my work with pictures, articles, and design applications such as illustrator or photoshop.

Project Proposal: Diversity on Campus Through Film

The question I wish to explore is the following: what will the diversity of CU look like ten years in the future? As suggested in class, I may experiment with dystopian Trump-era visions, as well as CU’s own “push” to increase its diversity. I will be engaging in speculative design, and plan to create a promotional film for the project.

In terms of envisioning a technology to integrate into the question, perhaps there is a machine that determines a prospective student’s return-on-investment, taking into account their race and income level  as determining factors? In the dystopian world, minorities and the poor would be automatically rejected, or given far less priority.

I will spend the first few days researching university admissions demographics, as well as examining recent political shifts involving diversity and classism. The next week-and-a-half will be devoted to creating a script and storyboard, shooting, and editing the final product. I will include research notes, the script, storyboard, and written observations during the filming and editing process as documentation.

Final Project Proposal

  1. What can be done to help sports fans and viewers visualize and understand concussions and other serious injuries that occur in games
  2. The method I will engage is Speculative Design because I will be discussing the future of sports broadcasting and viewership. This could also engage reflective design and political design.
  3. I would like to come up with 3 possible design ideas during the first week. During the second week, I would like to interview athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, and fans to see what their opinion on the design is. I will try to start setting up interviews in the first week because it will likely take time to arrange.
  4. I plan to document this work in sketches, interviews, and renderings of what the design could look like. I think the initial rendering could be done using Photoshop and Illustrator

Final Project Proposal: Phase 1

Please submit your proposal of your final project by Friday 11/3. Your proposal should include the following:

  1. The question that you would like to study
  2. The method/idea that you will engage to study that question
  3. Your plan for the two weeks
  4. Short description of how you plan to document the work

You will not be graded on this proposal like you were on other assignments. I will review each proposal and provide feedback to help direct your final project and make sure that your project can be successful.