• Matthew Jose

Technology in the studio

Last year I was lucky to sign up for DS6 - in its inaugural year. Back when I was a second year in 2010 I tackled a parametric technology based studio and it did not end 0. I failed the year and vowed to avoid a technology based studio ever again . . .

When DS6 was pitched the integration of technology to design intrigued me and I was really interested in pushing myself into something that could well end in disaster.

The first ever studio meeting is always exciting. We were each asked to talk about ourselves [0], an easy task for the over talkative person like me. Following this we were given a single task to develop a piece of wearable technology that took in data about its surroundings which could be interpreted into an architectural outcome . . . .week 1 . . . do this for your assigned sense. Mine was visual and here starts a journey of self technological discovery!

1/2 Visualising Darkness

Cameras convey the visual to mathematical. So if we take the three main variables which a camera uses to construct a photograph (iso, shutter speed and aperture) and plot them on an inverse triangle for maximum visual appeal, (invert the aperture data to match shutter speed and iso, normalise all data) one can visualise the level of darkness within a photo. Essentially plotting the un-seen. Walk through university taking pictures every twenty steps and you have a visual path of said darkness!

3-6 Visual + Sound

Combining senses challenge: visual + sound. Prototype 1. Technology fun time! After days of internet scouring and failed attempts, myself and Alex Blackmore managed to get an iPhone to talk via firefly to grasshopper to then live loft a tunnel of visual sound in Rhino whilst controlling mood enhancing LEDs mounted on the face! It served very little purpose but was a great technology experiment.

7-10 Prototypes 2-6

Somehow along the thought process (shown later) my device went from collecting data to outputting data. These test devices are some of the many experiments on that path. Version 6 was tested in Venice, and was the turning point from failure to success.


Prototype 6 worked by attempting to use a rolling matrix to record a message using long exposure photography to record the letters whilst using reflective fabrics to hide the messenger. This failed.

However,the long time required for long exposure photography prompted a new idea . . .

Matrixes could be reduced to a single column and the movement of the messenger could be used instead of the scrolling matrix for the same effect


Prototype Seven worked, a much smaller more efficient device. Messages could successfully be sent anonymously. This was tested out in Tokyo. Re-coding allowed the device to even write Tokyo in Kanji by scrolling vertically instead of horizontally, proving its adaptability to new environments.


Much like the multitude of rituals over in Japan, this method was named “ritualistic refinement’ in honour to the local culture. This image and diagram hopefully explains this, as getting a successful message was in part due to a lot of trial and error. However to me it was exactly the same process one uses to take a great photograph.


Every single idea throughout my year was recorded. Inspired by Grasshopper I drew up a cause and effect diagram plotting how these ideas all influenced each other and prompted new ideas. All starting off from those keys points back in week 1, or semester 1. It was an extremely useful method to visually see the development of my technological devices, and subsequently my design project.