Critical objects: Final proposal

Team: Arnab Chakravarty, Gilad Dor.


For our final, we are working the topic of more-than-human centered design. As we collectively face environmental degradation in the context of the Anthropocene, the question we are asking ourselves is whether we can build systems that include non-human voices and agendas. Can we design everyday technologies to amplify our connection with the non-human instead of hiding them away? Is there any space for designing objects of technology with principles of empathy and kindness instead of efficiency and usability? Here, we would like to anchor our project in the principles of Para-functionality as defined by Anthony Dunne in the book “Hertzian tales“ and the idea of eccentric engineering by Tega-brain.

The form of our final project is tentatively titled ‘Plant radio‘ where the functionality of a radio and a plant is intertwined into its form and function. The plant is embedded with moisture, light and humidity sensors and the users have a big dial with which they can change the radio station. The radio station plays as expected when the plant is being kept well. However, if the plant is not being taken care of it will randomly change the radio station to another station that is close to it’s mood (sadness, hurt, melancholy). The user and the plant engage in a subtle tug of war which doesn’t have a fix apart from taking care of the plant. The aim is to make the viewers and users think about the nature of out computationally mediated interfaces.


  • Soil/moisture/light sensors -> Arduino -> VS0153 mp3 board -> FM transmitter


  • Attribute: Household object

  • Device: Transmission

  • Mood: Eccentric


  • Tabletop object with 1 to 1 interaction between the user and the device.

  • No acrylic