Assignment 1 – Erin Percevault

Part 1

“Design for Dreaming” vs. Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)

Among the fantastical activities happening in ‘Design for Dreaming’ are mirrors changing people’s outfits, following a flying invitation to the Motorama, the automated kitchen-of-the-future with ‘push-button magic,’ and driving on the ‘highway of tomorrow’ which looks like the race track kits my dad has from his childhood. It’s been awhile since I watched the MCU movies, but I did just start watching Wandavision (MCU tv series), which starts out in the 1950s (Design for Dreaming is from 1956) and moves forward in time. There are several scenes of Wanda as the beleaguered 1950s housewife, although her kitchen miracles are due to her superpowers, not due to the kitchen technology. In the tv series, Wanda is married to Vision, a complicated mix of things including part machine, part organic material, plus extra powers from an artifact from the big bang and a snarky AI program who used to run Ironman’s house.

Flying is used by both women to get where they need to go, and both include the technology cliché of woman-gets-a-hand-to-finish-cooking-because-it’s-too-much-for-someone-to-do-with-without-interventions. (When I saw the machine that showed the food and already had all the ingredients for preparation in DFD, I thought of Blue Apron). After watching ‘Design For Dreaming’ I realized they use the same abrupt ‘freeze frame, next frame’ special effect editing technique for the 1950s Wandavision scenes when Vision switches from his real face to his fake human face – nice throwback detail by the crew that made Wandavision.

DFD near-future innovation is based in human technological advancements, while MCU the near-future is more imaginary, subject to outer forces including aliens, gods, and artifacts from space. The technology of the near future in the MCU includes things like armor that turns men into superman and AI with a sense of humor. The creation of Vision is a story of AI undergoing changes which continues to increase its agency and autonomy, until Vision is greater and separate from the original parts that now make up the new whole.

DFD was created as promotional material for General Motors, while MCU is for entertainment – the franchise, composed of many story lines, is the product.

Part 2


I grew up with this chant, which my parents recited – along with a series of motions that are almost a dance – as they prepared to depart the house. It is only most of the time successful in achieving what it is meant to do. Sometimes, my absent-minded father needs to come rushing back in to locate the errant item which he had managed both to find and leave behind in a matter of moments before his departure. In recent years, living in an apartment, I perform this song and dance for my metal sanity, on both my husband (it drives him nuts!) and myself.

PHONE-KEYS-WALLET! is an interactive threshold device, a doorbell-in-reverse which informs the household whether or not something is successfully on its way out. When a person opens the door, the threshold checks for the sensors attached to the phone, keys, and wallet (this can be modified depending on the person’s preferred set of items). A gentle chime indicates all 3 items have been located by the threshold (and therefore mostly likely on the person in question). A soft buzz informs the person leaving that the threshold has not been able to locate all 3 items and the phone-keys-wallet dance should be performed.

NB: There is no guarantee that your spouse will no longer be annoyed by the reminder… only that the object of annoyance will no longer be you.

Assignment 1 – Judson Kyle

Assignment 1 – Judson Kyle

Design for Dreaming:

One of the biggest differences between “Design for Dreaming” and contemporary media like the MCU or Bladerunner is the focus on travel and scope. While both have a sense of being able to travel wherever we want much easier than is possible at the current moment, more contemporary media has a large focus on space travel and exploring the unknown universe whereas “Design for Dreaming” is focused more on travel on Earth via the automobile. Another key difference is the focus on agency. In “Design for Dreaming” the main character is shown repeatedly using futuristic products for her own gain pressing a button and having a cake made or simply thinking about having binoculars and having them appear. This type of futuristic technology is portrayed as something that normal people can acquire starkly contrasting that of the MCU. The technology in the MCU is much more out of reach only accessible to the heroes possessing the money or power to wield it.


Useful Interaction:

The Idea:

As you can see from the comic below, waking up to an alarm in the morning is already very difficult let alone trying to adjust to the sudden brightness of a lamp.

While this problem could easily be solved with an adjustable light level on the lamp switch, why not take it one step further and create an artificial sunrise by slowly brightening the lamp in anticipation of the alarm. This project utilizes this concept by incorporating both the adjustable slider and the artificial sunrise  into one item. This not only helps adjust the user to the light levels but also helps them wake up in a more natural and gradual way.

Proof of Concept:

This project can easily be achieved with a lamp, an electronically controlled potentiometer, a linear motion potentiometer, a power supply, and some voltage regulators connected to an Arduino.

Assignment 1 – James Kyle

Design for Dreaming:

In Design for Dreaming, there is a large focus on technology that will make our lives more luxurious and efficient like cars and smart kitchens. The MCU focuses on efficiency as well but more so in the sense of militaristic efficiency. A lot of the advancements that drive the storylines like Iron Man’s suit and the super soldier technology from Captain America were created to make fighting battles easier, not to make baking a cake less of a hassle. Another major difference I noticed was that the machines from Design for Dreaming were a lot more practical than what is presented in the MCU. A car or kitchen gadget sounds a lot more realistic than a hammer that is sentient enough to tell if you’re worthy of holding it. Some of the futuristic things that Marvel presents are more fantastical than science fiction.


Useful interaction:

Thinking about what a smarter doorbell could look like beyond just having a camera, I came upon the idea for a doorbell that acts kind of like a doorman or front desk at an apartment complex. I think having a doorbell that communicates with anyone who stops at a door and relays their purpose to whoever they are there to see would be really useful, especially to the visually impaired who might have a harder time navigating to the doorbell (let alone the right one if there are multiple buttons for different tenants).


This design requires arduinos capable of connecting to the internet, a proximity sensor, some speakers, a microphone, and a display.

When the person approaches the door and waits there, the proximity sensor wakes up the device and produces a sound to ask the person who they are there to see. The device would record the name and both send it to the resident as a text and relay the name through speakers in the house. The resident can let the person in remotely or physically go to the door to open it.

Assignment 1 by Patricia

1. Video reflection

Design for Dreaming was a classic watch on seeing how we in the past, tried to predict the future. I felt like instead of considering the reasoning behind why design choices were made, designs were illustrated of the future based more so on aesthetics, and a futuristic aesthetic of that era. Compared to more recent futuristic movies such as Blade Runner, the props that were designed focused more on the interactions between the human to artifact, and on top of that, they modified the overall appeal to look more sleek and modern. Thinking of the modern Blade Runner movie and MCU movies, current futuristic products have a trend of resembling high-tech tools for war (probably since these movies all heavily involve combat). This is different from the Design for Dreaming future designs, where they were more geared towards future home living (although products were heavily gender-oriented).

2.  A useful interaction: Smart Bathroom Light

Thinking about day-to-day problems that I personally wish I had a solution for, one of the things that bother me at night is when I would have to go to the bathroom and have to turn on the light when I can’t see anything. The bright light immediately wakes me up and takes me out of my deep sleep mood.

With this, I hope to create a sensitive motion sensor that detects movement in a dark space and will light up a soft LED light so that there’s just enough light to see what’s in the environment but not enough to wake you up.


Proof of Concept:

Components: 1 Motion sensor, Multiple LED lights

When the motion sensor detects movement at the door frame (footsteps walking into the bathroom), the LED lights in certain areas including near the sink and toilet will light up.