Project #2 Proposal: Stress Catcher

A drawing of how the bubbles would look.
A drawing of how the bubbles would look.

For project two, we are planning to make a stress catcher. The design of the project will be to have an electronic representation of bubbles.  Within each bubble, there will be an image or word that conveys something stressful. For example, common stressful elements that are relatable to students include tests, homework, alarm clocks, parents, tuition bills etc. This will help display specific stressful aspects in a clear way to the user.

This acts as a catcher because it is transferring the user’s stress away from their body to the program. When the user clicks on the bubble, it will pop and disappear, providing a simple reaction to their input. We decided to choose bubbles since bubble wrap is commonly associated with relieving stress. Many find popping bubble wrap to be a therapeutic act, and so we wanted to recreate this interaction to catch the stress of others. In addition, we chose to use bubbles to act as the catcher because when people feel stressed, they often describe they way they are feeling as being physically trapped. A bubble is the perfect representation because it acts as a confinement.

This project connects to Anthony Dunne’s project descriptions in his book. In Hertzian Tales, Dunne points out that ‘Informance’ aims to persuade an audience that a product fits and has a place. But here the aim was not to convince an audience of need, but to draw them into a ‘what if…’ scenario, a ‘value fiction’ to stimulate desire for change” (Dunne, 128-129). This relates to the idea of a catcher because the purpose of this project is to create an object that can figuratively catch something that isn’t necessarily valued. Our design involves bubbles that capture a person’s stress. This project isn’t based on need, but is a “what if” scenario because stress is an emotion and therefore isn’t tangible. This increases the desire for change because people will want to change the levels of stress they feel by popping the bubbles. The idea of capturing people’s stress in an electronic representation follows Dunne’s guidelines in this chapter.

Popping bubble wrap is  common stress reliever.
Popping bubble wrap is common a stress reliever.

The project is interactive for the user because they will be able to visually make the “stress” go away. The program will provide a continuous supply of bubbles for any amount of users and any amount of stress.