The Rock

Lately I dived into the world of designing interactions and building rapid machine learning (ML) prototypes. By utilizing Wekinator and Processing software, multiple wearables are prototyped to interact desires and needs.

With these foldable prototypes I’m exploring new areas of social and emotional design on different scale, dimension. Exploring the limits of natural folding into a combination of programming, transformation and sensing.

During the last months I worked intensively with Julie who got stuck at home in Paris during the pandemic as Covid sensitive. Her desire; more hugs and intimacy, beyond political and geographical boundaries.

THE ROCK was born, an emotionally support tool that explores our human digital connection and physical personal desires trough a combination of wearable technology and social design. Using hand gestures to trigger lighting interactions, the wearable glows, fade in and out, change color according to gesture and mood by using Arduino, Neopixel Überguide, webcam and programmable LED’s.

During the process we’ve worked on different prototypes with heating sensors, inflatable -hugs- on the body and LEDs. Based on several interviews with beloved ones of Julie, the hugs in the prototypes are arranged to their preferences as a tight hug, the bear hug or long hug. According to scientific research we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance and 12 a day for growth. By webcam Julie (in Paris) was able to train with me the software and actuate the light (at my studio in the US) by rubbing the rock. The Rock became a magical interaction within these trying times and closed borders.

Based on several interviews with beloved ones of Julie, the hugs in the prototypes are arranged to their preferences as a tight hug, the bear hug or long hug. Scientific research debates that we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 for maintenance and 12 a day for growth. By using the Arduino, webcam and LED’s, Julie (in Paris) was able during the process and our collaboration to actuate the light (at my studio in the US). A magical interaction within these trying times and closed borders. 

Intro video The Rock, icw Julie Jolicoeur (Paris), 2020
Prototyping wearables and features, Merel Noorlander, 2020
Prototype wearable with LED’s and Origami, Merel Noorlander, 2020
Prototype wearable with LED’s and Origami, Merel Noorlander, 2020
Prototype wearable with LED’s and Origami, Merel Noorlander, 2020
Selection prototypes wearables, Merel Noorlander 2020
Prototype wearable with LED’s and Origami, fabric and paper, Merel Noorlander, 2020
Process Machine learning, Merel Noorlander, 2020
Machine learnnig with designer Elena Falomo, Merel Noorlander, 2020

This research is developed at the workshop Teachable Homes by London based designer Timi Oyedeji and Berlin based designer Elena Falomo with a guest-talk by Leslie Nooteboom (www.humanisingautonomy.com) and Tomorrow Lab, New York, 2020.