— Tommy Dykes | Design

Scrabble Flickr Slideshow from Tommy Dykes on Vimeo.

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Scrabble Show

Scrabble Show Detail

Scrabble Show is a continuous slideshow of images from Flickr that is influenced by the words you make on the above Scrabble Holder. There are a series of magnets along the face and on the underside of each letter. Attached to the magnet on the inside of the letter is a resistor that is unique for each letter. There is nowhere you can place letters that does not snap to a terminal and the letters can be placed in the holder upside down and widely spaced apart.

This prototype design is for an Adult Day Care Centre for older people. The aim is to bring aspects of the outside world into the center through designs that enable people to engage and share through digital content that is presented in playful and physical ways. This type of design is more appropriate to peoples abilities, whilst also encouraging play and ludic-pursuits. When presented with a set of Scrabble letters we are drawn to make words out of them, here these words are augmented with corresponding images that range from literal representations of a word (such as ‘dogs’), to more metaphoric representations (such as ‘fun’). The slideshow slowly changes, there is no direct interaction, rather other themes emerge as the words are made. For example, as you make the word ‘Tynemouth’ it will search and change the images as the word is being formed. This results in unexpected combinations of images that includes those returned from a search for ‘Tyne’ or ‘Tynemo’. The result is an open-ended design that gives you a level of control and yet does not encourage failure, there is really no right or wrong.

The device logs data as it is being used, such as time, images shown and words formed. This is will be used alongside interviews as a way of developing an understanding of the role it plays, as well as acting as a type of probe into the dynamic of the Adult Day Centre. I am also using it as a way of encouraging ownership over the prototypes by giving people the opportunity to make the Scrabble letters with me.

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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, with the wonderful people who visit an adult day care center.

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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 has been 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 have made some changes to the marker which is small, but with parts that can be added to make it easier to use. I’m also using magnets, after experimenting with weights I decided  they had to be too big and cumbersome for the marker to be nice to use – it became more like a mouse than a marker or board game piece. The magnet marker can be picked up and slid around. Should it be dropped then it is stopped by the magnet and when knocked over it bounces back up. The retracting bobbins can also be attached to the board with magnets and rolled up maps can be held flat. The only issue with the magnets is the use of a compass for looking around, this has 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. There are also lot’s of ideas for it’s future use in the project which is great.

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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.


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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I’ve been making some possible marker designs for Paper Street View.

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