Having finished the Mk2 prototype and gotten a bit of feedback there is a lot to reflect on going forward. For example I think the chair might be a bit too chunky although I am going for a solid, robust design. It might be worth shedding a bit of weight here and there to make it sit better – perhaps I could make the sides a bit thinner and add a slight taper to the legs. I also thing the seat and back needs to look a lot less boxy and more inviting.
The other development I am considering is to get rid of the box altogether and embed the speakers within the chair. There are arguments for and against this but I think maybe the arguments for slightly outweigh those against. Embedding the speakers means the whole story would be contained in the chair. It maybe works better that way since the person would sit in the chair and it would be the chair that then comes to life and tells the story, rather than a box on the side. The reason for not doing it that way is that it will surely affect the aesthetics (and constriction) of the chair since there will need to be somewhere for the sound to emanate from. I would also need to design the chair in such a way that I can get access to the speakers, should there be a fault that needs my attention. From the start I always said that I wanted the technology to be invisible – that includes any features on the chair that might suggest there is something being hidden. Using the box was a solution as it kept the technology out of the chair as much as possible – but it makes more sense, I think, to have the chair tell the stories. Another reason – and this one is quite superficial – is that it took me a great deal of time and effort to get my head around the wireless communication between the box and the chair which makes it more difficult to let it go.
I’m going to use the rest of the week to play around with the design of the chair and see if I can make these developments in a way that I’m happy with and then hopefully take it from there.