— Tommy Dykes | Design





Kyle Vanhemert from Wired.com kindly wrote a nice article about my PhD work.


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Scrabble Flickr Slideshow from Tommy Dykes on Vimeo.

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PhotoScrabbler Kitten Fajita


The PhotoScrabbler prototype is a slowly transitioning and gently fading slideshow of Flickr images that change to reflect the words created with wooden Scrabble tiles on a letter holder.  It was designed as a way of bringing the joy of exploring Flickr to small groups of people living with dementia in an Adult Day Centre.  It is hoped that this open and playful design will fuel diverse conversations and become a point of interest.  The aim was to create a crafted design that is sociable and incorporates interactions that are familiar, un-intimidating and easily shared by small groups of people who don’t use digital technology. We found people needing encouragement to get hands on with other designs and so hope that the use of Scrabble tiles will invite people to interact due to the tactility of the wooden pieces and a playful tendency for people to make words out of lettered tiles.  Words can range from open-ended terms that bring up unexpected images (i.e. laugh or rush) to more specific terms such as particular towns and cities of interest (i.e. Tynemouth or London).

The lettered tiles have a small resistor inside them that is connected to two magnets that make contact with the magnets on the letter holder. I then identify letters with unique resistance values. When you bring the lettered tile to the holder it is drawn towards it due to the magnets and makes a gentle but satisfying physical click sound.  With each new word Flickr is searched for the most popular images and these are then filtered.

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Paper Street View Demo from Tommy Dykes on Vimeo.

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The Northern Neurological Alliance have featured my work.  This very important service is doing wonderful work for those living with dementia and other neurological conditions.



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Paper Street View Test

This is the most recent version of Paper Street View.  It is working really well now and a video is on the way shortly.  I’m now using it as part of my PhD research and with the wonderful people who visit Adult Day Care.

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Marker And Compass

This is the final compass with an  engraved face, it now also used a gyro which is not affected by magnets and has a button sunk into the leather.  Everything is now being aged and feels heavy and sturdy so that people don’t feel too precious about using it.

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Compass and Marker

The new compass and marker for Paper Street View (see below for more info), more to come shortly including new strings pots in nicer wooden boxes and a much better interaction with the images.  Still to sort out a face for the compass as you can see.  There is also a tiny little extrusion on the bottom which makes the compass turn more fluidly on the table.  Thanks to Danny Duquemin-Sheil for machining my parts.

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Paper Street View – Version 2 Demo from Tommy Dykes on Vimeo.

Getting close to a testable version of Paper Street View. I am now using a magnetic board and a smaller marker with a magnet in its base. The retracting bobbins will be attached to the board using magnets, they can also be moved around to accommodate different sized maps and will help hold these flat. The only issue with the magnets is the use of a compass for looking around, this would have to be on a long mast so that it is not too close to the board. After much debate and trial and error I am going to have a marker for location and a device which i’m working on for looking around. This will likely use a gyroscope instead of a compass.

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Interactive Tea Ware

Interactive Teaware was exhibited and presented at the Research Through Design 2013 conference (Praxis and Poetics).  Here is the abstract and paper for anyone that’s interested.  More photos and video are here.


Interactive Teaware was designed to support conversation and socialisation while having tea and coffee.  We discuss themes emerging from the design of Interactive Teaware in order to propose characteristics that we believe constitute appropriate, meaningful and useable interaction design for older people living in care homes.  These include the integration of digital artefacts into a resident’s daily life, as opposed to scheduled activities.  Given that life in the care home is often associated with disempowerment, we propose augmenting residents’ existing abilities.  We also assert that digital artefacts need to avoid negative stigmas through medical styling and instead enforce a positive and familiar identity through the use of associated materials, such as porcelain.  Implications for design stem from insights gained through time spent in the care home.


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