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    Animal Superpowers: Ant, Bird, Giraffe, & Rabbit
    Project: The great enhancement debate


    Rather than creating a series of toys and super-heros with weapons, we are interested in experimenting with the qualities of changing the perception as well as sensory enhancements changing your perspective or creating empathy with animals.

    We believe curiosity and exploration is one of the major desires of children and our goal is not just to create a series of devices for exploration and curiosity that might be just fun for one afternoon. Much more we are interested in providing tools seeing the world through a different lens and to learn more about ourselves. We believe those devices could possibly create empathy with animals, experiencing what they experience as well as providing an interface to communicate with them.

    This is just a start of the experiment and we believe it is possible to create also tools for play with deeper layers, learning levels and more layered interactivity that could even become an extension of your body rather than just an traditional play-object.

    ~ Kenichi Okada + Chris Woebken ~


    Animals have senses beyond human experience, they instinctively feel approaching tsunamis through low frequencies, communicate through pheromones or can navigate through magnetic fields.

    Students of Design Interactions Chris Woebken and Kenichi Okada, in collaboration with MBA students from the Oxford Said Business-school, have been developing a series of sensory enhancements toys for children to experience "animal superpowers." Each prototype allows the kid to change perspective or feel empathy with animals.

    At the work in progress show of the Royal College of Art in London a few weeks ago there were showing 3 of their prototypes:



    Ant - feeling like an ant magnifying your vision 50x through microscope antennas on your hands
    Bird - gaining a sense for magnetic fields
    Giraffe - a child to adult converter changing your voice & perspective

    They are also developing Elephant shoes that pick up transmitting vibrations from fellows and a head mounted Theremin (!) to provide children with an enhanced spatial vision similar to the one of an electric Eel.

    I played with the ant and giraffe devices while visiting the RCA show and found out that the objects do exactly what their description says: i felt humbled by the ant devices (i could not see anything of what was around me but could perceive all the tiny cracks and details on the surface of of the table i was exploring) and while doning the giraffe helmet i could only perceive the head of the tallest people in the room...


    Designed by Rokos in collaboration with Kathrin Bohm and Andreas Lang, the object lowered your vision to ground level, and outwards, by the use of periscopes. The device was set off centre on a wheel to create the sensation of hopping. The device comes with ears and a tail, so that onlookers can also understand the product's purpose.


    { Continued at we make money not art & there & here }

    Sun, Mar 2, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: $, ^
    Sent to project: The great enhancement debate
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