I’ve been a teacher for many years and decided to take a break. I wasn’t sure at that point what I would do, but that turned out to be going back to study.
I was awarded a 4-year scholarship from EPSRC to complete a PhD in Media & Arts Technology, at Queen Mary University of London. Throughout the PhD, I was testing prototypes made with various hardware such as small circuit boards (Arduino), lights, radio frequency identification readers (RFID) and tags that are put onto your daily essential items.
I’m in the Cognitive Science research group (information on my research interests if you’re interested). It was at QMUL that I started working with Arduino and components. I’m pretty sure it’s bordering on an addiction, and looking around my house might confirm this by a number of tools, solder, wires, boards… all organized of course!
“Did you pack your keys?” Smart objects and forgetfulness.
May 2014 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems – Proceedings 539-542 (CHI) 2014 (Journal article)
Presented my work over the 4-day conference in Toronto Canada as part of the Interactivity Track.
MessageBag: Can Assistive Technology Combat Forgetfulness
2013 AH ’13 Proceedings of the 3rd Augmented Human International Conference
Presented the paper “Message Bag”, March 2013
At the 4th Annual Augmented Human Conference, Stuttgart, Germany.
Farion C., Purver M. (2013). Message Bag; Can Assistive Technology Combat Forgetfulness. in A. Schmidt, A. Bulling, C. Holz, AH ’13 Proceedings of the 3rd Augmented Human International Conference, Stuttgart, Germany, March 2013.
Please check out a selection of my portfolio.
Thesis title: Investigating the design of Smart Objects to reduce anxiety about Forgetfulness
Research: Using an everyday object (a bag) can it be augmented with a system (RFID reader and tags) to encourage an interaction that will reduce the anxiety many people feel when they forget those essential items for their day.
Skills: interface design, technology & hardware design, qualitative and quantitative methods, user studies, wearable components.
Advanced taught modules: Design for Human Interaction, Interactive Digital Multimedia Techniques, Interactive Systems Design, Digital Arts Documentary, Sound Recording & Production Techniques, Public Engagement.
FUNDING: Received joint funding from The Arts Council England and The British Council.
Additionally was successful in securing an EPSRC Off-campus Business Engagement Fund – The Wearable Technology Show 2015, and a travel grant in 2014 to go to the CHI conference in Toronto to display my work for the interactivity track.
I hold a PGCE (Post Graduate Certificate of Education) and taught for over 12 years. This was in College, on Foundation Degree courses, Degree courses and BSc at University.
I have also presented numerous talks on my various projects and research throughout many years. You can read more about these and see videso on Events & Talks.
Work in Print
Through the PhD, I learnt many new skills including using components for physical computing. My first attempt at Arduino – which inspired a love for using components and a bit of an obsession!
I’ve since been working on making bags that have RFID readers in them to track a set of items. I do this through ilyware.com
I feel so lucky to be doing what I love and this mix of fashion and technology means…..
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT MY PROCESS…
I live in the beautiful city of York, UK (I am from Winnipeg, Canada) and for me, I like to spend a lot of time searching for the right bag to modify. I get to walk down the lovely cobbled streets, where the colours themselves are inspirational, looking for wonderful materials and bags. To start with – they have to have good interiors, I want a bag that I would be happy to put my own items into. Then I look at different materials that they can be made out of, particularly I like the bags that have a really nice solid shell, and are made from leather so they are typically classic/vintage bags. I really need to find the right bag first before I can modify it.
I love to spend time thinking of creating the surface area that I will be sewing the components to. The components are sewn on with thin 3 core wire and so this does affect the material choices available to me. I also like to think of the colours of lights I might put on the bag and how they will work together.
For the bags that have circuit boards, I also have to program them. This involves hooking up the boards to my computer and using software, I plan what the board will be doing. I then write the code, check for errors – I do this a lot – and then I upload it to the board.
This can take a while especially if it is a new feature or function of the bag. Everything needs testing before it’s sewn so I have a lot of funky crocodile clips to hand as well as prototyping boards!
PROGRAMMING & PATTERNS
When it’s all planned out and programmed, I map out the bag area where the pockets will go and make the pattern. These are typically done with several pieces of fabric and I always love making the inside of the pocket with a beautiful piece of fabric. I know that this really will only be seen by you and me but I always think of it as a nice bit of luxury.
Once the materials are sewn, and then the components are sewn in, I then hook it up to the battery pack and be sure it’s all working as it should. Every time I do this I get a little buzz of how pleased I am when I see a bag working. I’ll never tire of that.
The bags are then photographed and I plan the packaging as much as I can, it may be a gift so I’ll add a hand written card too if you’d like.
The bags are always noticed when out and about, and they are a real treasure to make.
* thanks to Mr Mousseau & my Uncle John who inspired my love of computers.
I’ve published a small (100+ page) Keto Helper book, (eBook & print) that can be used as a journal when following a Keto diet. It’s a journal style book that I made for myself to use but thought I’d publish it incase anyone else might find it useful!