Responses, First Thoughts

1. Tom Igoe – Igoe seems to have most of the trends covered, the only thing I could potentially see being added would just be adding any artifact to the “Internet of Things”. People have fallen in love with making things “smart” and it seems like they are willing to try it with anything and everything, which to me, seems like a bit of a fruitless venture that does not offer very high ROI in terms of helping people solve real problems. I’m sure there are still “smart” artifacts that have not been made “smart” yet and people have to push the envelope to get to those, but the concept has come up a lot in recent memory. I also think that there is some overlap in some of the concepts that Igoe mentions that have also been a major part of the interactive art installation trend that has emerged. Groups like teamlab ( and Artechouse ( have been designing and showcasing interactive experiences using physical and digital sensors that play with and affect different visual displays (*couch* LED fetishism), soundscapes and visual components. I think there will continue to be a trend to use physical computing for art’s own sake compared to having a function.

2. I feel like Banks’ thoughts on the man and and his “smart” space-suit illustrate the achievements and dangers of great design. On the more obvious end of the good stuff, the suit is able to care for and assist the man who is slowly being burdened by sickness, malnutrition and injuries, carrying him farther than he could have ever carried himself. I have always learned that good design is good design because a user doesn’t even realize it is there. Deeper than when people talk about their phones being an extension of themselves, the space-suit becomes intrinsically tied to the man’s being. By the end of the story, the lines have blurred to the point where neither “being” knows where one starts and the other begins. In some ways, that is great design in that it allows the “artifact” to best be used/know how to help the user. On the other hand, that is one of the pitfalls of great design in that sometimes the “artifact” may not give the user the space to be a user, instead forcing him or her to rely on it so much to where they lose their own sentience at the artifact’s expense. The story itself seemed to be cautionary tale for designers, to balance the role of the user and the artifact and the relationship between the two.

3. Not sure if this was supposed to be part of the blog post, but just to cover my bases… In addition to the pre-reqs, I did my undergrad in mechanical engineering with concentrations in design, manufacturing, and psychology,  I have done a semester of improv, I have worked with designers to make accessible museum exhibits and experiences, I took an Intro to EE class in undergrad about microcontrollers, my Senior Design Project was a thermal energy control system run by Arduinos, I know SolidWorks and CREO and Maya, and I’ve laser cut and 3D printed and milled and used most woodshop tools you can think of.


I'm Conor and I'm a 2nd-year grad student at the Entertainment Technology Center. I got my undergrad in Mechanical Engineering (with minors in Design and Psychology) from the University of Notre Dame. I am really interested in theme park design, experience design and integrating physical components into XR experiences. I have some Arduino programming experience (it's been a few years), have designed different experiences for ADA compliance, and have full use of the ETC woodshop.

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