Perceptual Empathy

Optical Wearable

There exists a substantial barrier between those who do and do not suffer a disability. Although it is possible to learn a​bout ​someone’s sensory profile, it is entirely different to physically experience part of his or her reality. Sharing this element of experience creates an intimate connection between two worlds. This rotatable wearable simulates abstracted aspects of visual impairment such as double vision, floaters, and blurriness. By channeling vision through various lenses, it deepens the wearer’s understanding of others’ deficiencies.

Information

Fall 2015

Studio: Architecture I, Dartmouth College

Instructor: Zenovia Toloudi

Skills: experiential modeling, rapid prototyping, sketching, user testing/feedback

Experimentation

Perceptual Empathy was a result of a study and manipulation of the senses, and its development was connected to the structures of the head, our primary sensory center. Studying the five major senses and how they can be altered and suppressed, I focused on vision because of our enormous dependence on it as a source of data. I experimented with various forms (square in first model, flared oval in second model, rotatable circle in final) and lens materials (paper, wire mesh, corrugated plastic, plastic film, empty space).

Altered perception

A wooden frame, laminated wooden lenses, and canvas straps blur the line between art piece, small-scale architecture, and educational tool. With blur, double vision, and floaters, performing simple tasks and navigating the environment becomes impressively challenging and provides just a glimpse into the life of another.

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