Pebble Step 2017
A pedometer-like computer system within a tactile, magnetised ceramic housing.
Through Pebble Step Rachel aimed to create awareness of physical activity through its integrated pedometer and app, giving the user more of an understanding of how to lead a healthy lifestyle. This work was partially driven by her interest to learn more about physical computing and programming.
The ceramic housing was designed to show the materiality of clay and cast solid which makes it heavier than a slip cast piece, giving it a feeling of quality as well as a grounding presence. The solid cast is high fired past vitrification, then sanded, for a tactile smooth surface. This combination of weight and texture, as well as the way the pebble shape neatly fits your palm, makes the ceramic housing comforting to hold.
The Pebble Step is made to be kept in view as a gentle reminder to act. The theory behind this is based on ‘mindful design’ which i learnt about from Dr Kristina Niedderer’s conference paper, ‘Mindful design as a Driver for social change’ (2013). In this she explains how all design, in some way, requires user responsibility/motivation and how mindful design operates by, ‘giving the user the choice of how to act, and thus requiring
the user to take responsibility’.
In Jill Walker Rettberg’s book, ‘Seeing ourselves through technology’, she discusses quantitive-self technology, explaining that as well as giving you precise measurements of every aspect of your life, it can also make you worry and question things unnecessarily. For this reason, Rachel chose to make the app without an exact display of steps taken. The display instead shows a number of heart shapes which correlate to your number of steps - this idea of using symbols, came from an interview conducted with, Cricket England's Sports Technology Consultant, Chris Peploe.