Domains and Precedents

Assignment 2: Domains and Precedents, Thesis Studio 1



As part of a class exercise, we were asked to write down domains, ideas and precedents on post it notes. They could or could not be related to the Grid of 9 created.

The domains are in yellow, ideas in orange and precedents or research areas in pink. Although I am interested in all three ideas, the magnetic lock for bags was researched and a proof of concept was created as part of the previous semester’s Major Studio 2 final. Thus, I focused on the other two ideas to research a little more.


The first idea was to create a smart mirror or rather a ‘digital’ mirror, as said by David Carroll. The purpose was to explore the behaviors of early adopters, their decision-making process and their motivation to try new technologies.

Mirrors, in many cultures, represent not only the visible self or the physical representation of a being. They have deeper symbolization of being reflective of a person’s karma and spiritual self. Drawing an analogy between the karma and spiritual self and decisions and motivations of early adopters, the mirror was to be reflective of their thoughts and criteria.


The digital mirror fell under three main domains or research areas:

  • People’s perspective
    • The mirror is about understanding behaviors, decision-drivers and motivators which differ based on individuals
  • Internet of Things
    • The technology that would be used to construct the mirror
  • Human Centered Design
    • The idea was to use this research to improve interactions of smart or digital mirrors and their purpose

Smaller domains included:

  • New Media Art
    • The digital mirror would be a technology based interactive installation to test with early adopters and draw inferences from the user testing
  • Speculative Design
    • The smart or digital mirror exists in the research and development phase with several companies and diy mirrors are experimented with using currently available lo-fi technology. But mass production or actual use of these mirrors is not wide and accepted as yet. It would be at least 2 to 5 years before such a design was widely used as a smart home product.


The precedents for the mirror include:

  • Amazon Echo
    • Amazon Echo is a current example of acceptance for a verbal smart home device that pulls information on demand but lacks the push of information to the user without having to ask for it
  • Rebecca Minkoff’s store in Soho, New York
    • This store is a live example of how interactive digital mirrors can positively change user experience
  • Microsoft Smart Mirror
    • Microsoft’s research and prototype for a digital mirror is in the works. This mirror replicates a Windows phone screen
  • Ikea Future Kitchen Table
    • It is an example of a speculative smart home device that changes the way people interact in their kitchens and alters the cooking experience


The second idea is to create a wearable for chronic low back pain. It is a fashionable alternative that people can wear for easing pain in public environments without having to resort to wearing a belt for back support.

The idea for the wearable originated from a personal impetus. The problem of having to wear a belt for back support but not wanting to wear it as it gave the feeling of being differently abled among friends was a motivator to create a better looking alternative. It would include options for heating and cooling for immediate pain relief and posture monitoring for long term benefits.


Among the research areas, there are:

  • Wearable Technology
    • The idea is that of a technology enabled garment for immediate pain relief and long term management
  • Internet of Things
    • The technology used would be based on Internet of Things
  • Healthcare
    • Low back pain is a growing health concern with existing alternatives, more widely medical devices but with recent advances in specific wearables for healthcare
  • Product Design
    • The wearable would be a product that had potential to serve a larger audience, beyond a personal solution. Product design was to focus on designing a more global product
  • Human Centered Design
    • The garment was to enhance human interactions with humans at the core of it.


An inspiration for the wearable is from TruPosture. It is a startup for a wearable for posture monitoring. It only focuses on posture monitoring and correction and does provide ease and relief to current back pains. It is a long term practice.

The idea is to extend this and also provide immediate relief or ease pain in realtime.