• analysis of mid-semester review

    Well-being, Industrial Design


    At this point in my thesis journey it seems that I have a valid design concept. Out of 10 reviews 5 see very little promise and 5 see great promise.
    It is clear that my research is weak and not presented well.

    Not all of research has made its way into a presentable form.

    As one reviewer commented, it seems I have been stuck in a research rut.

    My focus has been on sound,but not a clear focus. I've been picking a variety of ingredients but haven't until now understood what dish I was making.

    My initial questionings revolved around the psychology of sound, wondering how I could convince somehow that sound was affecting their cognition. What have I been trying to prove? I've been attempting to build a case against the inequality of sound transmission. Defining sound users as an involuntary,and a voluntary audience.

    The involuntary audience, is everyone whom sound comes into contact with. This is noise that equates the ambient sound around us, the unpredictable, the inevitable, and unavoidable sounds we are subjected to.

    The voluntary audience, I have defined as those whom are making sound purposefully, whether it be through speech, an instrument, or speakers.

    The voluntary audience suffers inequality, because we all have the right to a quite environment, but we don't have the right to make "unreasonable" noise. Playing an instrument can constitute as unreasonable noise.

    What my thought process has been is that we all need to make noise, some more than others. Musicians for example whose livelihood depends on their sound making, is threatened by urban density.

    In the promise of my thesis proposal, one reviewer said that my idea was great. He said a product like this speaks of urban density, and could apply not only in New York City, but Tokyo as well where Urban density is a real issue.

    How can apartment tenants live more harmoniously without sacrificing their behavior in the space they call home.

    I think this is what my project questions. The need for sanctuary from the over abundance of sound in the city. I began my surveys asking about music listening habits in the subway. Most people listened to music while on the subway. In my research I discovered that sounds inside the subway car are actually louder than outside the subway car, and exceed the ears threshold of pain. In my own observations it seems a great deal of subway riders wear head phones on the subway. This could be for personal enjoyment, or personal space. What happens is they cover already loud train noises with more noise.

    Noise is inescapable.

    I wanted to design a product for musicians and apartment dwellers alike to control their sound sources.

    This product would be a modular sound proof tile system, which creates a floor, walls ,and a ceiling to provide a place to put an instrument, or a place to escape apartment noise.

    Reviewers generally thought this to be a great concept, suggesting that it not be specific to musicians. One reviewer would like to see that I diversify the product and create a line of products for the apartment that benefit more than the musician.

    The function of the product is to contain sound, the features include sound proofing, interconnecting tiles to erect a sound space, the value is in the impermanence of the structure, and the effectiveness of sound proofing allowing the musician to rehearse in his living space, without need for a studio. Imagine being able to play your instrument in your rented apartment, without fear of offending your neighbors.

    Some reviewers see this concept as too narrow, saying that I need to research more about the subject of acoustics.

    One reviewer said he would buy this product, if it existed because he's been tortured by the problem of not being able to play his instrument.

    Suggestions included looking at other products that baffle sound. Look at products in the market for musicians and evaluate the positives and negatives of the products in relation to my thesis proposal. By doing this I will have more ammunition to convince someone that I know what I'm talking about. I've taken for granted certain knowledge that maybe some people don't understand, in terms of the products on the market for musicians that deal with the issue of sound control. It would be helpful to review these products in terms of their positive and negative aspects, so that I can look at it from a pragmatic point of view. I'm too close to the situation myself as a musician, I was told that I need to act more like a novice, pretend like I know nothing of the subject.

    What are the positive and negative aspects of a professional studio, a home studio etc. evaluate them pragmatically to have more fuel to discuss my topic.

    Perhaps looking at nature and animals that are attracted to quiet may provide some sort of inspiration, suggested one reviewer. Where do people hide, a temple for example?

    Are their any disabilities that people have which require quiet?

    It is clear that I need to be more systematic about my research. That whatever I'm looking at needs to be documented, because not all of what I read is documented. One reviewer suggested to put it all out on the table and look at it from a distance, make groupings of information, draw connections, have someone else review my work to see what they see in it.

    Emphasis was placed on further material exploration and research. Look into sound damping, the physics of this process, as well as acoustics. Material suggestions included, expanded fibers, foam blocks (igloo), sand, flexible water bag, fabric batting, foam rubber, wood (to brighten space), injecting materials.

    One reviewer suggested that my product concept was not viable because it requires you to bring in so many extra things into an apartment. This reviewer suggested taking the apartment's existing objects and re-imagining them to transform as sound proof space. This reviewer mentioned that often times products geared toward NYC are built to double as something else. One example was the Murphy bed, its a wall, and its a bed. Perhaps the rug on the floor can connect to the sofa and in someway they combine, and transform to create a sound proof space.
    This reviewer called this "Furniture for musicians." I told this reviewer that this was an interesting idea, which I had at the very beginning of my thesis processes, I thought that the objects in a space are already playing a role in absorbing sound, why not redesign them with the intention to actually perform well at absorbing sound.
    This reviewer said energetically "I think THIS(Furniture for Musicians) is your project," not this (my modular, interconnecting sound tiles).

    My design criteria as suggested, or summarized by one reviewer, Light weight, portable, collapsable, and sound proof.

    Another reviewer whom thought my project was too narrow,said "maybe you zoomed in too quickly, zoom out."

    Two reviewers had similar notions, in terms of looking at the apartment space as surfaces. Perhaps there is design opportunity in altering these surfaces temporarily. Provide temporary solutions to sound leakage areas such as cracks in a door frame. My mind saw the image of a band-aid.

    In questioning the modularity of my product, one reviewer wondered about the mass, and multitude of objects necessary to create a space. This reviewer wondered "what would it look like out of use, does it stay up most of the time where does it go when its not in use, are they always up?" " How do they modules stand up, and connect?"

    More research should be done to devise a resilient floor system, one reviewer suggested that it has to float. This reviewer said the issue is two fold. "You need to solve the issue of audible sound, and vibration which is sub-audible and very intrusive."

    Material questions about creating a reflexive space,how to slow down the speed of sound, control the air flow, with some kind of gill like material which breathes.

    Geometry of space must be questioned, is any one shape better at diffusing sound?

    Material concerns about air flow, and possibly light transmission, or the incorporation of LED light.

    Material tests should be conducted using a computer with a microphone, download a free audio analysis program to measure a mock-up's effectiveness in isolating sound.

    "What's interesting about your model is the double layer with a bone like structure. Can you think about how the felt can be layered, and be combined with some kind of support structure, so that it has structural integrity, so that it can collapse,and be erected into a room."

    Velcro and felt. Peel back layers...

    using the corner of a room, making a sound envelope...

    Talk to sound engineers about how sound waves....flow of sound waves lose power air has to come in, without sound coming out? light is least problematic, air is the same as the sound issues

    Geometry of space, a box , or not a box. Understand Urban Density, sound damping, and acoustics. look at a broader audience, a system of sound proofing, carpeting... etc., a product line which varies, "great for apartments, also good for musicians."

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