The navigational approach of my object is quite abstract. I was taking from ancient civilisations and travellers who used the stars to navigate across oceans and continents.The idea being that the pins would move out to indicate the direction of a certain star. Users can then use this direction to explore in a new and unusual way, going on a journey following their star.
I began prototyping the basic structure of my navigational object so that I could get a feel for the size, shape and have a model to respond to and develop. The easiest way to represent my idea was using a polystyrene ball about the size of my palm and dressmakers pins.
Initially I had thought I would completely cover the ball in pins but this would make it hard to hold and, even though stars technically surround the earth 360 degrees, such an object would be impracticable and you have even less reason to want to know where stars are positioned in the opposite hemisphere, than in this hemisphere.
By only covering half of the ball in pins, I created an object that would be easy to hold and is very tactile. People in my reading group were eager to pick it up, see what it felt like and simply hold it.”It’s really nice to look at if you just turn it and like oooph. It’s just fascinating.” Lewis Smith, team mater. I took this as a good sign. The photograph left shows someone holding the object which shows the scale.
The object would be linked to a mobile phone app, (meaning the object would need to contain blue-tooth technology) so that the user can ‘talk’ to the object. For instance, the app would allow you to select a certain star and orientate itself, then send this information to the object so that the appropriate pin could move out and indicate the direction of the star. Obviously, the denser/the more pins on the model, then the more accurate the direction would be. The object could also be used to find constellations , which could make the uses more playful and widens the scope for use at night to stargaze.
From a practical construction point of view, I am unsure of the technical ways of the getting my object to work but I wonder if magnets could be the way to go. Ideally, when the user turns around holding the object, the object will readjust and change so a different pin is poking out, thus still pointing in the correct direction.
My navigational object is aimed primarily at locals who are looking for an alternative way to explore their surroundings out-with their usual routines because so many people live in the same place for years and often only have a very basic network of streets and routes they will use, leaving pockets of secret land that they’ve simply never discovered. Obviously, my navigational object could be used by anyone, also new arrivals who want to explore their new area from an alternative point of view.