The Typewriter in Residence was developed in collaboration with Divya Ghelani and Vinay Tailor, and was commissioned by B3 Media as part of an exhibition at Newarke Houses Museum in Leicester documenting the Strike at Imperial Typewriters in the 1970's . My role on this project included prototyping, interactions design and concept development.
The Typewriter in Residence is a hacked Imperial Model 80 - a model that would have been made in the Leicester Factory at the time. Visitors can use the Typewriter In Residence to find out more about the experiences of strikers and others working at Imperial Typewriters during the 70’s, by pressing keys and answering prompt, they can read exerts from transcribed stories of those that took part in the strikes.
After exploring a few different approaches with low fidelity prototypes, I developed the hardware for the Typerwriter using a linear touch potentiometer, several magnetic sensors, an Arduino, and an LCD screen module. The housing for the screen was custom built.
The application that recalled and displayed the stories on the screen was programmed by developer Vinay Tailor. It constituted a Python application running on a Raspberry Pi.
We wanted to make a very simple but compelling interaction with a set of rich stories, and so we used various methods to iteratively develop the concept, and communicate that development between the client, developer, and artist. Visitor experience storyboards, helped to develop the experience as a whole, from walking through the door to moving on to the rest of the exhibition. Interaction storyboards showed the communication between visitor and typewriter in more detail. These allowed a more detailed design of typewriters behaviour, such as how it would prompt visitors and display stories, and facilitated effective collaboration with the developer to implement these features.