Information is Power

I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this module. Through the duration of this project we are exploring and drawing on knowledge from a broad range of visual systems involving data and how it is communicated to different audiences. Before I started the module I devolved into doing some research into the subject and found that there is many varied and beautiful ways that data has been displayed. No pie charts or bar graphs, which is what you think of initially when we think about how data is being displayed. I started to look at infographics which is brilliant way to display data using physical objects, a technique that can simplify information. Real Life Inforgraphics or data that is represented by physical objects, is an up and coming trend in the way we share information. In fact, it is so new there isn’t really a word for it yet. We can call them ‘physical infographics’ or ‘real world visualization’ as well. They visualize data with real objects, often combined with typography. Real Life Infographics are different than other inforgraphics in that they rely much more on photographs instead of a purely digital medium. As designers we like to come up with creative ways to display information that will still blow your mind, despite any technical limitations. The real world isn’t perfect, and therefore it may not be as accurate as abstract shapes like graph bars. Even though these visualizations still strive for accuracy, you will notice that the context of these graphics will become much more important than precision.


Fresh water withdrawal per capita. The graphic mostly plays on emotions; the suspense of the balloon that is about to hit the nail and explode is forbidding, and warns us we’re not heading in the right direction. I enjoy looking at this piece (could not find the original artist) It feels a lot more playful than just looking at a chart or graph.


This graphic is a creative way of spreading awareness about how much of our medicine ends up in fish. Made by Oliver Uberti, who is a design editor at the National Geographic magazine. A simple idea, which is effective and interesting to look at.

Real life infographics is just one of the ways that data can be displayed and visualised. Ranging from short animations to installations this way of visualising data has got audiences more engaged with data. Looking ahead in our project over this module I wanted to create something that is both visually appealing and possibly interactive with the audiences.

RoCo end result

I didn’t quite know what to expect from part of my course……but Im pleased overall that I chose Disobedient Objects. Not only because I learnt a whole new set of skills but I was actually  please with our final outcome. At the beginning of the project I didn’t quite know how it was going to all come together. There were moments when I didn’t think that it was even look like a dog. Even though the final concept doesn’t do what we first intended, I have learnt so many new skills, which can be applied to back to graphics. Processing in particular, is something that I am going to learn more about, mostly because you are able to use sensors to create interaction with the users or viewer, something that I would like to explore more within my work.  As well as this I found the Arduino’s fascinating, Im still getting my head around how it all works, but have picked up the basics. It has opened up a new process of thought, especially when it comes to looking my children’s electrical toys, I’m finding that I want to know how it all works inside.

Our Robot dog Roco is disobedient in itself and which I found humorous. There is a lot more tweaking that needs to be done to the robot dog, he has difficulty walking properly, its a bit random, could be fixed with reprogramming the Arduino. However put some music to him, he looks like he’s dancing.


To go with the project I made a short advert for Roco the dog. Hopefully you will get the idea behind the Robot Dog. I produced it in AfterEffects, not meant as anything to serious, but it was nice practice to use it again.

As part of the deliverables we were asked to produce a 2 sided Operating Manuel for our final outcome. It was created in InDesign, all the pictures drawn in illustrator. The typeface used was Futura, which is also used in the Advert.

Operating Manual _Page_1Operating Manual _Page_2

Overall I found this part of the course really great. It was enjoyable to be more hands on with my work, as opposed to be sitting at the computer. Im going to try and incorporate some more practical elements into my work. Looking forward to using the 3D and laser printers again soon.

Robot Dog Design process and programming

I found it a slow process from design to getting the model for the dog made. There was a lot to think about when it came to the motors and how the legs where going to move. We decided to make a small model to test out how the motors would turn to make the legs move. Below is a model that we made from cardboard and wood.

We found this movement inside was not as good as first anticipated. There was also issues with the movement of the legs as they were not able to freely move as we had glued it into place, making it difficult for it to walk. The idea was only to have the one motor powering the legs, but after this experiment with the mechanics inside we felt that two motors would be conducive.

Also thoughts on using a bluetooth signal for the dog to hone into. From our Arduino workshop we had a pretty good idea of how to programme the motors. It was getting the legs to move that was going to be the hard one. IMG_7305

This is the model that was made to fit the Arduino onto, with the motors slotting inside the case to hold it all in place. After making this model was decided to make the casing bigger to take into account the batteries and switch that was going to be added later on in the process. After we got this point we starting to delve into the ascetics of the actual dog itself.

Aurdino motor programming

We were able to write the coding for the movement of the legs, for Forwards, Backwards, turn left, turn right and stop.

Originally the idea was to 3D print all of the parts of the dog and fit together. We found a file at  and had a go at 3D printing it to get an idea of time scale and how t would look for our own robotic dog.

3D printing

Unfortunately the file that was downloaded from the site was not as good as anticipated. As well as this we found out that 3D printing can be a little temperamental. As you can see below the finish on the dogs head was not as clean as we needed.


Was a good experience using the 3D printer, but we swayed towards the possibility of laser cutting instead, as 3D was a lot more time consuming and we were able to adapt our design more efficiently using the laser cutter.

Laser cutting – casing for the Arduino

This video shows the laser cutter cutting out the box for housing the electronics in the body of the dog. The files for the printer were produced in illustrator. I found it difficult to get the measurements correct, but got there in the end. The rest of the dog including the body, head and legs were all produced with the laser cutter, it was just a matter of fitting them altogether.

This is the head of the dog, taken from d-torso template, which was traced in illustrator so that we could send it to the laser cutter.

IMG_7395 2

Once all was put together we tried to change the power cable to batteries, however once the batteries were fitted there was not enough power to get any movement out of the dog itself. We had to go back to the original power cable for our presentation unfortunately. Probably should have given ourselves more time to tinker around with the electronics, but time was consumed with the ascetics of the Dog head and body, which took longer than expected. However in the time that we had to produce this, I was pleased with the overall look of the robot.

Arduino Programming Workshop

I had never heard of an Arduino before let alone what they did! So this workshop was an eye opener for me. I have now found out that the Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs – light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and turn it into an output – activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. In the workshop we programmed what were called Neopixels or LED lights to flash and change colour. The code is fairly simple, once I got my head around the code text I was able to change the colours and flashes with confidence. In fact I was the first one in the class to get it all going with no issues – was a little bit chuffed!

Along with the coding we had to first put together the circuit from the Arduino to the Neopixels, which involved using a soldiering iron, something that I had not done since I was in early high school. The actual Arduino boards at first glance looks quite complicated, having to thinking about electronics and circuits I found daunting. However it was pretty easy to pick up and enjoyed the process. I was looking forward to incorporating this into my project.

Explore – Field – Disobedient Objects


The field part of our studies was something that I was looking forward to finding more out about. I was interested at first with the techniques and skills that I could learn whilst on the module, one of which was programmable electronics and open source coding. Something that I had not done before. Our sessions were also taking place in the FabLab where we have access to the laser cutters and 3D printers, which I was a little excited about, have been fascinated with 3D printer for a while and not had the opportunity to use one.

The outcome by the end of the module I am hoping that I will have designed, developed and made a disobedient object. An object that addresses the brief, which has to identify a situation that needs balancing. During our first session we were given examples of disobedient objects that already exist today.

This DIY tear gas mask, is made of old water bottles, you can download the instructions of how to make your own online. I like the fact that the object has been upcycled. Might be something that I would be able to do myself when working on my own disobedient object. I will be able to also use my graphics skills to be come up with a manual for the object itself and the possibility of a short animation or advert for the product itself. Looking forward to getting stuck into this project and sees what I am able to produce by the end of the module.