Humans accumulate many objects that are paid attention for their specific utility. Some objects have playful inclinations that are often overlooked. A childlike imagination can breathe life into everyday inanimate objects, giving them character and voice. For this project, the design team was assigned to reinvent an ordinary object by adding a new, or reimagining its existing, interactivity that considers a beyond-the-user scale.

Sensemaker is a kit of sensory devices that make fun of human-object relationships by characterising and giving voice to a user’s inanimate work tools. Sensemaker features a medley of companions that accompany a human’s daily chores, like ‘Hackey’ the (broom) handle and ‘Tom’ the plant tuner. Hackey turns a regular sweeping into a heated dance-off, while Tom enjoys the company of both human and plant listeners. Attention seeking objects leave messages through a retro mailbox. After a day at work the human returns home to find what mischief is in the storeroom.

The design team conducted desk research and rapid prototyping as a vehicle for inspiration and exploration of different form factors. In the process the team decided to assemble a sense making kit to explore different interactions and play with different circuits, code and physical form factors. The team prepared a state machine to outline key interactions and logic for coding and circuitry. User testing at various stages prompted the design team to reconsider the coherence of the concept and core interactions.