Mapping sensors


I am making some props for workshops -ways of introducing concepts of sensing into students’ design process. After interviewing students last week, I’ve decided to make 2 things. 1 is a map of the sensors we have in our bog standard phones. The second are some “human breadboards” which are connectable sensors that you can wear.

So far I’ve mapped the phone sensors. I got 3 “working” and 1 broken mobile phones for a fiver from my local car-boot sale this weekend and took them to bits on the kitchen table. On closer inspection 2 of the phones were not working, and one did not have a battery.

I’ve made a very simple map, and will test it this week to see how I can develop it further.


In the process of mapping the phone sensors I have come across 2 other mapping projects which I find fascinating. The first is the toaster project by Thomas Thwaits

The project maps the components of a toaster through attempting to make a toaster from scratch. It was inspired by section from “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” where the protagonist realised that “Left to his own devices he couldn’t build a toaster. He could just about make a sandwich and that was it.” (Mostly Harmless, Douglas Adams, 1992). The project also address the idea that “technology” is developed through large scale production and global networks.


The second mapping is kind of the reverse of Thwiats’ project -where artist Christien Meindertsma maps the whereabouts of all the products made from one pig. She finds that there are 185 products made from one pig in total and finds that we actually don’t have a clue what many of products that surround us are made of.

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