Chris Motz

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Designing an artefact for a future world

What will the world be like in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? No one really knows, which is why this is the billion-dollar question. However, while nothing is certain, as designers we can use certain tools to guess what the world may be like. Future techniques are design methodologies that encourage us to extend the vectors of global progress so that we might envision what kind of world we are heading toward. Motus is design futures project that explores what the world might look like in 2038. Who is living in this world? How do they interact with one another? What are their problems? How do they feel?

We began by looking at where certain global progress trajectories were heading in 5, 10, and 20 years to get an understanding of what some characteristics of the future world may be. This included explorations into technological, political, and economic changes, but also ones to do with human nature. As an example, “How might the nature of relationships and love change in 20 years?” After this, we progressed through a series of design methodologies, ending with 4 personas that we used to define our future world. From these, we wrote our purpose statement:

In 2038, people will have a harder time expressing their emotions because they…
  • have less human contact
  • have less sense of self, and
  • are more accustomed to instant gratification
Because of this, we aim to design a solution that empowers people to be mentally prepared to express their emotions AND to consciously digest the emotions of other.

The artefact we designed was MOTUS, a tool that allows you to translate your emotions into a physical form, giving you a new way to understand your feelings and share them with others. In a world where people are further apart physically and emotionally, MOTUS allows you to create representations of your emotions through interacting with it. You can then share this shape with friends, family, and loved ones who can feel this emotion through their own MOTUS and put in their own touch.

In renderings, we showed MOTUS to be made of a foam core then covered with smart plastics and a sensor-woven fabric that would allow the user to feel emotions through it. Below are stills from a video illustrating the intended interaction.

Completed with Eva Oosterlaken, Anthony Wu & Violet Zhuang
London, UK | October 2018