Zuzana Liptáková

First steps in the process of finding an idea for my display was to test various inputs, the data based on which the display should work. I’ll try to monitor different aspects of person’s presence, for example sounds, movements, etc. My interest is presence on everyday co-working basis rather than some kind of intimate connection, which I believe in not possible to be transfer virtually.

Mouse movements

I was interested in simple movements, which we do subconsciously. Tracking of the mouse movements on a computer would be much easier, but the movements on computer don’t correspond with the movements of the hand. I tried to built a simple physical mouse tracking device, with help of a pencil and carbon paper.

A pencil attached to the mouse

A carbon paper print



As soon as the tracking wasn’t directly attached on the mouse, it was much harder to persuade my subject to participate in my experiments. According to this graph, he would be severely hypothermic.

Another issue I faced during this few experiments, was the nature of the data itself. The monitoring turned out to be much more invasive than I’ve previously realised. The monitoring and tracking of data such as keyboard tap is also quite problematic for security reasons, especially with the intention to send over internet.

Thanks to these experiments and your comments (now and also from the last lesson) I’ve realised some important issues

1. My former idea was to make something like this in 3D


After some initial thought about the implementation of such a project I’ve quickly realised, that with my skill level it would not be possible. So instead of a megalomaniac display I started to focus more on some simple object, which could be shared by both

2. The presence and the absence are equally important – meaning missing somebody is actually very strong way of connecting

3. The research of various advice on long distance relationship I’ve came to conclusion that what matters the most is spending time with each other, whether in form of texting, skype, playing online games together or more bizarre idea: watching a movie simultaneously.

So my new objectives are

  • a physical object used by both partners
  • the object would remind you of your partner
  • a manipulation of the object would result in a change on your partner’s object

After consideration of all these conditions I’ve returned to ideation phase and I’e come up with an idea of watch display in form of a pocket watch.

Historically, pocket watches were a small, very personal object, carried in a pocket. They frequently contained an engraving or an image of a loved one. The idea is that, instead of traditional clack hand the pointer you would set up the pointer on the time span when you are available to spend with your partner, and this would be transmitted to your partners watch. By doing the same you would see your partner’s availability as well.

I did a simple demonstration with led lights and photoresistors


Start of the making of phase

For the shape of the watch I’ve done some material sketches.







I’ve made a decision to have 2 different, but much more personal object. For me it would be a small necklace-like object, and for my boyfriend I’d make a pocket watch object with a turtle pattern on the cover.

Here are some sketches



Unfortunately, after consultation with our technical expert 😉 I’ve found out, that it won’t be possible to make the objects in this scale in a given period of time (3 weeks), so instead I’ll do a physical model of the object, to visualise my idea and a working prototype as a part of my installation on an school exhibition.

Making of the objects

A female object, intended for use as a necklace




A semi-final stage


A male object, intended for use as a pocket watch






  1. These first experiments are a good start! You literally got your hands dirty. Maybe we want to add a little research before. How do we usually stay “in touch” with other people? In what situations (time and space) do we want to “feel” somebody else’s presence? Do both partners need some sort of conscious agreement about when to share “data” or “presence” so that the experience does not feel more like spying or stalking? What objects do we traditionally use to feel somebody else (paper letters, personal notes, pictures, etc.)?

  2. Maybe there is some less invasive data that can turn out really interesting. Like, is the person in the room, yes or no, does that mean the person wants to share presence now?
    Maybe it is a different sensation of presence if the presence of the other person is not available 24/7 but only in certain situations.

  3. I really like your Arduino Experiment.
    It reminded me of a game where you have to remind a light pattern that gets more complicated with each step like this one: http://goo.gl/rEtwfb (you might have to copy the link..)
    its just simple game without using data or having a usefull meaning but mabye you dont really need a usefullness in that topic? maybe its just about manipulating (creating a light pattern) and sharing it?

  4. Excellent! I can relate to the issue of finding time for each other. It is sometimes very hard to synchronise and agree on times where both partners are available. An intuitive tool that helps you with that would not just be practical but also communicate on an emotional level: “I am there for you” … well… or not.

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