Individual Reflection

It has been an amazing journey. Initially, I proposed the idea of an attachable shoe bag because I myself experienced the inconvenience of carrying my gym shoes around a lot, and I was so glad that Mari also became interested and we could further develop the idea. I also feel so gratified to witness our little “babies” coming out.

Mari and I made a great team as we are both self-motivated and we made equal contributions throughout the production process in different ways, such as I focus more on the practicality and Mari is more concerned with the appearance, and I was mainly in charge of Chinese conversations and she mainly English. We purchased quite a few items from Taobao and went through many comparisons and discussions. After we selected the final concept and used Tinkercad to sketch our first 3d model, Mari created an improved and polished version with Fusion 360. Meanwhile I started to contact vendors on Taobao in search of potential partners to outsource our design.

The existence of Taobao is one of the greatest things about making in China because there is such a big variety we could refer to and for each item we pick, there are usually many other similar goods with more competitive prices or credibility so it’s very convenient to find the best deal. It is also one of the worst things because of the exact same reason. The market is very competitive and most vendors are doing small profit business, therefore it was really difficult to get them disclose any information on their sources and invest time in a partnership with us.

After several attempts, we moved on to Alibaba. This time Mari was majorly in charge of the negotiations, and luckily we received many positive feedbacks and were able to narrow down on two factories in the end. We examined the samples they send us and decided to work solely with Roy. Mari passed the conversation with Roy to me because we thought talking Chinese would be more convenient for both of us. However, we later sensed Roy’s attitude became slightly sloppy, probably because we were using our mother languages and became less formal.

One important skill we both learned from working on this project was how to communicate. We practice drafting English messages/letters for Alibaba together, and I always explained and discussed with Mari about the Chinese conversations I had on Taobao or Wechat before responding. We found that although we had a rather clear idea in our mind, there could still be difficulties to realize it from time to time due to inefficient communication. I think it’s also because of the less formal way we’ve been communicating with our partners that sometimes we have to repeat and reassure that our messages come across. The journey isn’t over yet as the third batch of samples with 2 sizes to choose from and more ideal straps are on their way. I am looking forward to them!

(Here are some of the conversations I’ve had:

Our tag person isn’t very patient…

Not quite hospitable either…

Mari and I were surprised by how the logo turned out

So the next time we learned to do double check

)

 

Final Documentation

  1. Mission statement: Offering simple alternatives to maintain an active lifestyle.
  2. Description of product: Yidai is an attachable shoe bag that can be easily clipped on onto any backpack. With the addition of two straps on either side of the bag, it can serve multiple purposes. When its straps are expanded to their maximum length, Yidai can be worn as a side bag. It can also be used as a fanny pack if needed.
  3. Bill of materials

The following is our BOM if we had chosen to produce our bag on our own. As can be noted, the total price per each bag would approximately be 65RMB. After pondering upon this amount and communicating with possible suppliers in terms of the cost for each bag, including our customizations, we established that it would be more economical to order the bags instead of producing our own.

Cost per unit for an order of 1000: 8.6RMB

Cost per unit for an order of 10000: 6.8RMB

4. Suppliers/partners: The part of the process that turned out to be the most crucial in the development of our product was that of contacting possible suppliers and obtaining a quota with our specifications. We started contacting possible suppliers through Taobao first. However, the suppliers showed little interest in disclosing information regarding their sources, so we turned to Alibaba instead. We then searched for suppliers in Alibaba that sold shoe bags similar in appearance to the one we envisioned, to ease our communication and minimize the number of customizations. We contacted about ten different vendors, describing how we were interested in collaborating with them to create our own, customized bag. When communicating with them, we showed them our 3D models, our specifications in terms of shape, size, and other features. We ultimately narrowed down our suppliers to two different factories: Toolya Accessory Co., LTD and Xiamen Relink Imp. and Exp. Co. Ltd. We ordered a sample from both and after further examination decided to work solely with Toolya Accessory Co., LTD. After obtaining the sample, we discussed with our contact from that factory through WeChat and requested several changes to our initial sample, including the addition of our logo. Even though further changes are needed, we are positive about our partnership with Toolya Accessory Co., as responses from them are always punctual and cooperative.

We decided to use the most minimal of packaging. As such, we chose to use simple paper tags. Similar to the previous process, we finally obtained a reliable supplier on Taobao. Overall, since both of these suppliers are dependable, the sustainability our bag’s production in the future is secured as well.

5. Narrative of the journey 

The process of producing our bag was an arduous but gratifying one. Along the process of designing our alpha prototype, we had invested a lot of time considering the possibility of making our bag expandable and retractable. However, after talking to our peers and getting feedback from Nicolas Cinguino, we decided that establishing our own mechanism to create an expandable bag would be more retrograde than helpful. As such, we decided to focus on our original idea, which was that of simply having two straps with fasteners on either side of the shoe bag. After creating our alpha prototype based on our Fusion 360 sketch, we proceeded to establish our product specifications and even went to a fabric market to obtain possible prices for individual units of fabrics, zippers, and straps. However, we decided that it would be better to rely on suppliers instead of obtaining the different materials ourselves. After that, we went through a long process of contacting suppliers through both Taobao and Alibaba, as mentioned above. To our pleasant surprise, our final suppliers were incredibly disposed and reliable, responding promptly to our new requests and inquiries. After getting our first samples, we handed them out to several students, using their feedback for improvements in further iterations with the suppliers.

Our alpha prototype, which consisted of sewing an extra strap onto one side of this bag, which we bought on Taobao.

Final concept created in Fusion 360

A not so ideal sample we got from one supplier

 

First version of our Yidai sample

The final stage of this process pertained to its marketing. Given the simple nature of our product design, we focused a lot on our branding. After reflecting on our potential customers, specifically the NYU Shanghai community, we decided to give it a Chinese name while including its pinyin in the logo. We also created a website, whose QR code was included in our showcase poster, to obtain feedback from potential customers. Describing our partnership with a local factory also added to our credibility and to the appeal of the product, especially since it was produced based on our original design.  Fortunately, most of the feedback we obtained was positive, and people showed interest in potentially buying our product if it were a possibility. Despite this, we noticed several limitations that still should be improved upon if the project were to be carried out on a larger scale. Firstly, a wider variety of sizes should be considered, as well as a more varied length of straps to contribute to the versatility of our product. Given the time limitations for our logo design, further improvements regarding its presentation could also be done. With more time, we would also consider different fabric options to make the bag more breathable.

4 Predictions

Tencent launched new user interface for Vechat

Since Vechat, the vr version of Wechat, was released, Tencent has been working on improving this first-of-its-kind software. It finally made some significant progress in the beginning of this year and is now launching a brand new user interface that provide easy access to users of all ages and previous experiences.

shanghai police department cracked China’s biggest vr tour scam in history

Scams have been tagging along ever since the concept of VR tourism was developed. Despite its immaturity and lack of governmental control, there are people willing to pay a fortune to get a taste of this newly developed technology. Earlier this month, Shanghai Police Department cracked a 100 million rmb scam with the help of XXX and XXX, shocking the entire nation.

LONG-AWAIT cONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE

A new legislate department dedicated to ar/vr related affairs is set up to provide constitutional support to the booming vr industry.

Ar glasses first allowed in 8 experimental gaokao sites

As ar technology gradually enters our life, minister of national education announced at Monday’s press conference that 8 Gaokao sites in Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Shanghai, Fujian, and Beijing were selected as experimental sites that allow students to bring in ar glasses along with calculators. It is a big step the nation takes in normalizing ar technology, said the minister.

Concept Selection + Schedule

Below are the two low-rez prototypes we made. They were made of paper and tapes, and meant to experience possible ways of expansion for out bag. The slight difference between these two is the structure of the first one is more similar with that of the expandable water bottles we purchased, and the second one is more like a coin purse with a clasp.

Uncertainties and questions:

  1. Customer needs: Do our customers want a bag that could be expandable? (Plan of action: interview)
  2. Functionality: Which one of these two structures, or maybe other mechanisms, would be the optimal option for our bag, considering our skeleton + fabrics wrapped over design? (Plan of action: experiments)
  3. Materials: What materials will we use to form the skeleton, and what fabrics will we use to wrap the skeleton? (Plan of action: research and experiments)

 

 

And here is our schedule: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1T-itdfaNbZ5kdf2rBPaGPMhbaDe5tHO2YbdFbvkNgv8/edit?usp=sharing

Customer discovery profiles + questions

 

Enhanced User Stories:

As our target customers are nyu shanghai community members who face the hassles of carrying shoes around to school/work and in the commute, here are two customer profiles we’ve created:

Customer 1: Daniel, NYU Shanghai student

  • Used to staying active – 2 football practices per week and gym 1-3 times a week
  • Lives in jinqiao residence halls
  • Often mobikes to school
  • Doesn’t have a locker
  • Story: It’s a Wednesday and Daniel has a football practice after class today. He stuffs his football clothes into the backpack, and puts his football shoes into the shoe bag and then attached it to the backpack. Because the weather was great, Daniel decided to mobike to school. Thanks to the attachableness of the shoe bag, Daniel doesn’t have to put it into the mobike basket and worries if it would jump out during the ride. At school, Daniel carries his football clothes and shoes around to classes and is barely aware of the weight. He goes straight to Yushen stadium after his last class and joins the football practice. It’s been a good day.

Customer 2: Tina, NYU Shanghai Administrative Officer, 31 years old

  • Walks to AB every working day in a pair of sneakers
  • Prefer to wear formal shoes at work
  • Goes to grocery shopping every day on her way home
  • Story: Tina’s best friend is coming to town and staying at hers, so Tina would like to welcome her with a big home-made meal. On Friday morning, Tina slides into her sneakers and put a pair of short heels into the shoe bag and attaches it to her tote bag, in preparation for guests from Shanghai education department that will visit the school in the afternoon. After a 20-minute walk, Tina arrives at her office. She then changes into the heels and starts the day. After a day of hard work, she changes back to the sneakers and goes to a nearby market to do some grocery shopping. Thanks to the attachableness of the shoe bag, Tina doesn’t have to carry another bag in addition to all the heavy plastic bags she has on her hand already.

 

User Interview

My target user will be?

NYU Shanghai community members (specifically students who like to stay active)

The problem my user wants to solve is?

Brings shoes to school without carrying a sport bag, to avoid the hassle of bringing all their clothing while commuting.

My user’s need can be solved with? 

An alternative means of carrying their shoes.

Why can’t my user solve this today?

The rigid bags with a shoe section aren’t practical

The measurable outcome my user wants to achieve is? 

Have less of a hassle when commuting.

My earliest, most visionary adopter will be?

Students in NYU Shanghai.

My primary competition will be?

Drawstring backpacks

Sports bags with compartments/more breathable material

I will beat my competitors primarily because of?

Our shoe bags attach securely to backpacks, have adjustable straps, and are visually appealing.

My biggest technical or engineering risk is?

How well the bag fits and adjusts to the button of different backpacks

What assumptions do we have that, if proven wrong, would cause this product to fail?

People prefer to carry a sport bag instead of stuffing gym clothes in their backpacks.

Shoes are the main component that makes commuting a hindrance with their gym clothes.

Journal 7: Sustainability Review

For our product, we bought a few shoe bags from taobao. Below is a black one that’s made of nylon and designed for portability. It arrived folded in half and packed in this plastic bag.

At first sight it looked nice. It was packed thin and neat. However, I still found the plastic bag a little redundant and environment-unfriendly, so I came up with another way this bag might be packaged:

It can be folded more times and wound by the side handle. In this way it looks even more portable and can be easily delivered in a small paper box instead of another plastic kuaidi bag as how it came. I believe we can apply this to our final product as well.

Final Project: the visible invisible

Here is an introductory video of my final project:

I was inspired by an artwork Clinamen by Celeste Boursier-Mougenot and would like to create a new means for the viewer to experience their selves. Initially I wanted the user to appear as one “plate ” among a group of plates and get a sense of self through the clinking sound they make when colliding with the other. However, later I realized this gives the user too little agency and they might lose their uniqueness along the way. After a lot more thoughts on possible ways to discover people’s ecological selves, I referred to the codes we learned from week 6 about the text rain and managed to generate waves of falling “balls” that could stay on viewer’s bodies and thereby reveal their existence in front of the dark canvas. I name it “the visible invisible” because I think sometimes when people feel invisible and a low self-esteem, they might feel better if they think about their interactions with the surroundings. No man is an island.

One of the problems I didn’t expect to encounter was actually the color choices. Initially I set the background white and falling ellipses blue because I’ve always found it very beautiful and romantic when the snow falls on someone’s shoulders on a crispy winter day. However, after user testing, I realized the color choice reduced the immersion of my project and it didn’t fit well with the volatility of the ellipses and the chilling background music I chose to match the main theme. After a few trials, I settled on this set of colors, pink, light turkish blue/green, and dark turkish blue/green so the display wouldn’t be that eerie. As it’s now more casual and vibrant, I also noticed that users are more willing to free themselves, move around, and play with my project.

I think this coincides with what I stated in my manifesto: “We generate the simplest things. The complexity lies in our choices. The complexity lies in interpretations. The complexity like in chance.” Technically I generate literally the simplest things, waves of ellipses, but every user would get different experiences depending on their performances and interpretations.

Another difficulty I had to deal with was the brightness detection. Because the lighting in this academic building isn’t ideal, and I wasn’t able to borrow a big enough screen, at first the project didn’t work stably because I used Cici’s methods to detect the brightness/darkness. To solve that problem, I’ve tried to offer users black coats so they could be seen by the computer vision. I changed it to color detection later so now as long as the users are colorful against a white-ish wall, which could mean dark hair or even bright color clothing, they could be detected by the computer.

I would like to continue working on sounds. So far I only have one single background music, but in the future I hope it could be manipulated by users’ movement. I’ve thought about making this project as an instrument so everytime the user moves to a new location, a new tone would be generated. However, I also thought it deviated from my initial idea of giving users a chance to experience “self”. I am still working on possible ways to bring out one’s existence through music.

import processing.video.*;
Capture webcam;

import processing.sound.*;
SoundFile file;

ArrayList balls = new ArrayList();

int startTime = 0;
int timeIntervalFlag = 4000;
int lastTimeCheck;

int bMax = 300;

boolean fall = false;

void setup() {
  fullScreen(P2D);
  noCursor();

  webcam = new Capture(this, 640, 480);
  webcam.start();  
  lastTimeCheck = millis(); 

  file = new SoundFile(this, "sound1.mp3");
  file.loop();
}

void draw() {
  if (webcam.available() == true) {
    webcam.read();
  }

  scale(2.25, 1.875);

  background(0);


  for (int i = 0; i < balls.size(); i++) {
    Ball b = (Ball) balls.get(i); 
    b.display();
    b.move();
    if (b.pos.y<=0 ||b.pos.y>=height) {
      balls.remove(i);
    }
  }
  if (millis() > lastTimeCheck + timeIntervalFlag) {
    fall = true;
  }

  if (fall == true) {

    for (int j = 10; j <= width; j = j+10) {
      if (balls.size()<bMax) { 
        balls.add( new Ball(j, 0));
      }
    }

    lastTimeCheck = millis();
    fall = false;
  }
}

class Ball {
  PVector pos;
  PVector vel;
  float rad;

  Ball(int x0, int y0) {
    pos = new PVector(x0, y0);
    vel = new PVector(0, 1);
    rad = 10;
  }

  //boolean detectCollision(PImage cam) {
  //  color slice = cam.get((int)(pos.x), (int)(pos.y));
  //  return(brightness(slice)<=128);
  //}

  boolean detectCollision(PImage cam) {
    color slice = cam.get((int)(pos.x), (int)(pos.y));

    float r = red(slice);
    float g = green(slice);
    float b = blue(slice);

    return((r+g+b)<=400);
  }

  void display() {
    noStroke();
    if (pos.y<height/7) {
      fill(230, 100, 150);
    } else if (pos.y<height/4 && pos.y>height/7) {
      fill(50, 170, 170);
    } else if ( pos.y>height/4) {
      fill(30, 70, 70);
    }

    ellipse(pos.x, pos.y, rad, rad);
  }

  void move() {
    if (detectCollision(webcam)) {
      pos.sub(vel);
      pos.sub(vel);
    }
    vel.y+=0.1;
    pos.add(vel);
  }
}

Week 7: 3 Mosts

  1. My most hair-raising moment in vr was when I first started playing superhot and someone (in the game) approached me from behind. Because it was virtual reality and our perceptions depend most of the time only on visual and audio inputs, I couldn’t feel the faint breeze or hear anything (if the game didn’t want me to) when someone’s getting closer, it really got my hair raised when I turned around and “ran” into someone. I think vr has a lot of potentials in the horror industry.
  2. One of the most novel innovations was the usage of vr in court, which I read about in news of the week (http://www.sixthtone.com/news/1001846/vr-technology-called-to-the-stand-in-beijing-court). Vr technology allegedly helps to “present evidence in a clearer, more visual way” than traditional media such as powepoint slides. On one hand I am astonished and confident about the help vr could bring to the courtroom, but on the other hand I am also worried that vr might be a more powerful tool to mislead and manipulate the court.
  3. Another interesting moment I had in vr was when playing long echo and for the first time I looked down and saw my “body” in a vr game. I was used to “overlooking” the presence of my body and only seeing parts I had a need for, most of the time hands. It felt a little odd to see myself in a spacesuit with the whole body and yet didn’t have any control over it. I wonder when vr becomes more prevalent, will it change our perceptions of our selves?

Manifesto

On Generative Art

  1. Generative arts are complicated.
  2. We generate the simplest things.
  3. The complexity lies in our choices.
  4. The complexity lies in the scale.
  5. The complexity lies in interpretations.
  6. The complexity lies in subtlety and unconsciousness.
  7. The complexity lies in the culture.
  8. The complexity lies in shared humanities.
  9. The complexity lies in time.
  10. The complexity lies in chance.
  11. A generative art piece could be massive, but not redundant.
  12. A generative art piece could be concise, but not simplified.

On Generative Systems

  1. Are they representations?
  2. Are they merely tools?
  3. Are they maths?
  4. Are they autonomous?
  5. Are they independent?
  6. Are they in order?
  7. Are they manually randomized?

On the Notion of “Us”

  1. “Us” is where an artist comes from, but not where their emotions reside.
  2. “Us” is what an artist feels both familiar and unfamiliar with.
  3. “Us” is what an artist relate to, but also what they fear they cannot run far away enough from.

On Artist

  1. An artist is both understandable and strange at times.
  2. An artist is full of sentiments yet insensitive.
  3. An artist is smart yet so stupid.

On Artworks

  1. They want to be appreciated by everyone.
  2. They don’t want to be appreciated by everyone.
  3. They all think they are the artist’s no.1 baby.
  4. And yes they are.
  5. Or they might not be.
  6. They are nothing more than means for an artist to open up, get emotions out of the chest in single drops, sometimes in a profusion, and exchange for a closure.
  7. Maybe they become the closure along the way.

Journal 6: Design for Physical prototyping

After a few discussions, Mari and I decided to focus on the exterior shape first and work on the interior mechanism later. Therefore, we referred to a shoe bag product we found on Taobao (https://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=521259656239&spm=a1z09.2.0.0.5ee62e8dlI4vLM&_u=72jnpd2lba3c&skuId=3105909372296) and added straps to it. At the end of the straps, there are fasteners so the bags could be attached to bags or stand as an independent handbag/shoulder bag themselves. We also allow the length of the straps to be adjustable so if they are added to a bag they can hold fast, or if they are to become shoulder bags they can be comfortable to carry. We kept the original design of the zipper.

Then I used Tinkercad to fabricate it. Here is what I got:

It’s too complicated to recreate the fasteners and length adjusters here, so I focused primarily on the shape of the bag once it’s loaded. I think this model can help us to further consider the aesthetics and comfort aspects of how this bag could connect to other bags.