Author Archive

Massaging Cast Device

September 22, 2009






Out of the five senses, touch is one of the more important senses as it deals with our whole body. The other four senses deals more towards specific parts on the body, but our sense of touch can be felt everywhere on our bodies. There are tiny nerve endings located in our dermis that alert us of what our body comes into close contact with. This in turn sends out signals to our bodies letting us know whether something for example is too hot or too cold, too painful or too comfortable.

I’ve created this massaging cast device that can provide comfort on areas of the body that need a bit of relief from pain or soreness. This is a device that is used more for patients that have injured their bodies in some way. Similar to a typical cast that forms a protective shell to protect a broken limb from further injury as it heals, this massaging cast device provides subtle light massages to the areas around the injured area to help keep the blood flowing and circulating throughout the body. It helps alleviate the restricted movement of the injured body part and prevents it from being lifeless within the shell of the cast.

From the picture shown above, the device is wrapped around and shaped to fit the contours of the body. It is flexible and easily bendable enabling the device to massage areas of a patient’s body that needs to be massaged. The device is easily adjustable to fit the needs of everyone. The device is made up of layers of octagonal shaped units that functions as a cushion on the inside (closest to skin) and a protection shell on the outside.  The interior is made up of octagonal shaped soft cushions that are attached together with flaps that serve as tiny massagers that massage the areas of the skin it comes into contact with. The flaps can either be attached with small rollers that roll and massages on the surface of your skin or be attached with stimulating points that press gently into the skin. With a push of a button, the massager can switch modes from a stronger massage to a gentler massage all dependent on the condition of the patient’s injuries. The outside is made of a harder material like plaster or bandage (what is typically used in casts) to protect the injured limb.

Patients will definitely benefit from this massaging cast device because it can help in their recovery process. However, this device is not only drilled towards patients, anybody can use it. It is ergonomically designed so that anybody can enjoy this massaging cast device to help relieve muscle tension and loosen sore joints anywhere on their bodies.


Tapioca House

September 15, 2009





I choose to do my spatial analysis on a café that I visit quite frequently, Tapioca House. This small café is located on Guadalupe Street in between Martin Luther King and 21st Street. Whenever I want to take a break from studio, I would head to this café shop. Tapioca House offers a gateway into another world where I can relax and experience nostalgia for the past times I’ve spent in Taiwan. This café makes me feel as if I’m back in the country of Taiwan drinking tapioca drinks and eating Taiwanese crispy chicken nuggets.  Even the music they play is of the current hits by artists in Taiwan. Besides the delicious drinks Tapioca House offers, the whole atmosphere makes me feel comfortable and right at home which is why I visit this place so often.

This café measures approximately 50 ft. by 18 ft and has a rectangular shaped plan with the entrance protruding out about 4 feet. Windows line all along the entrance side which provides a view out to Guadalupe Street. When I measured the light in this space, I attained a reading of 46.5 foot candles near the entrance which is probably due to the amount of natural light coming in from the windows. A light reading of 13.9 foot candles was found near the counter and sitting area where artificial lights were hung and 27.9 foot candles was read in the area behind the counter where the ceiling lights seemed brighter than the hanging lamps. In the book, Place Advantage, Augustine writes that in warmer lights people are more relaxed and under cooler lights people are more alert. The cooler lights used behind the counter causes the staff members to be more alert on the orders they are taking and the drinks they have to make. The warmer lights in the sitting area provides a nice relaxed environment for people to enjoy. People are eating, carrying on a conversation, doing homework on their laptops or playing games with the deck of cards the café provides.  All the people combined along with the music the café plays provided me with a sound reading of 74 db(A).

The layout of Tapioca House is pretty basic and functional. Upon entering the café, a counter is located right up ahead. After taking orders, customers would proceed to the left where rectangular and circular oak tables line up against the wall. When comparing my initial thoughts with my documented knowledge of the space, my memory of the space was pretty accurate overall. The furnishings of tables and chairs that I laid out by memory were quite accurate except for a piece or two that were misplaced according to my documentation. I remembered the locations of the trash bins which are probably due to the fact that we have to throw away our trash after we eat. I also remembered the women and men’s bathroom being located in the back, but the precise location was a bit off. This was probably due to the fact that I’ve rarely used the restroom at Tapioca House. My memory of the wall colors being a peachy tone with a darker maroon color used for the wall moulding was correct. I remembered this detail because of a beautiful flower painting that is hung on the wall. The colors used on the flower blended nicely with the wall paint color. Overall, I am quite impressed that I remembered so many details in this space.  This exercise really demonstrates how being in a space so often can cause you to remember things you wouldn’t even have thought of remembering.


September 8, 2009





Out of the 16 motives on Steven Reiss’s long list, tranquility was the motive I choose to talk about. All of the 16 motives can be felt by everyone in one way or another and the motives help in guiding spatial design. Tranquility is a motive that everyone nowadays overlooks. In our fast paced society, we are so busy and so caught up in what’s around us that we often forget that we need our own time, our alone time to just gather our senses and enjoy our own identity.

Steven Reiss stated in his article Multifaceted Nature of Intrinsic Motivation: The Theory of 16 Basic Desires that the motive tranquility is a “desire to avoid anxiety, fear”. It is where people can experience peace and relaxation and just get away from the everyday stress and “recharge their batteries”.  Reiss mentions animals and how they run away from danger.  Just like humans, when animals are in an environment where the space around them is uncomfortable or makes them feel overwhelmed (mental overload), they find an outlet to escape. They want to break away into an environment where their intrinsic feelings of safeness and relaxation can come into play.

Reaching for the state of tranquility is the act in which humans can again feel alive and recharged. Restorative places are often surrounded by natural features and provide views to things green. That is why hospitals and rehabilitation centers often provide windows for patients to look out into and enjoy the scenery. Large rolling lawns, rows of trees, and flowers paint the view out the window and provide an outlet for patients who spend hours and hours lying in bed sleeping or staring at the white ceiling above them. The beautiful scenery directly changes their moods and puts them in a more positive and content mood. Similarly, bathrooms and bedrooms, the two important places for people to rest, often include windows.  The space allows for people to step away from a world of anxiety/tenseness and into a state of bliss.

Another example is the bathtub. Many people nowadays come home from work exhausted and tired. Majority of the people usually take showers because it’s faster and more time efficient, but it doesn’t help them fully relax. Others take time to soak in a warm bath which is a good way to cool off physically, mentally, and emotionally. The image with a bathtub covered with rose petals and lime pieces shows how the use of nature again is involved to help one relax. The moment one spends in a bathtub can effectively help one soak away all the stress that has built up over a day. It is a time where one can enjoy oneself and be at peace in this refreshing space.  Some people choose to go to the spa, which is another good way to reach tranquility. They’ve set aside time for themselves to enjoy the experience of relaxation.

Lastly, even the simple act of decorating our homes and surrounding ourselves with objects that we hold dear to us can help us feel tranquil. Pictures of our loved ones, pets, family members back at home, and even favorite paintings can ease our stress levels.

The key thing to remember is not to be so wrapped up in what’s around us, but to set aside time for ourselves to take a breath of fresh air.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

September 1, 2009

pirates 3

pirates 2 The Popular Disney Movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, which cast the wonderful actors/actress of Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, greatly uses the set(s) to help draw out the story’s plot. This movie is about a curse that was placed upon the crew of the Black Pearl led by Captain Hector Barbossa in which they can neither die nor live. To remove this curse, Barbossa and his crew must capture the missing gold medallion that was taken away by Bootstrap Bill Turner (Will Turner’s (Orlando Bloom) father) years ago and perform a blood sacrifice from the hands of the person who took the missing medallion. Upon meeting Will Turner, as he was rescued from the sea, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) takes away the medallion around his neck, without knowledge of the dark secret behind the gold piece. Because of this, Elizabeth becomes the target for the blood sacrifice. Barbossa and his crew kidnaps her and brings her to the treasure cave in hopes of removing the treacherous curse. The drama and climax comes about as Will Turner and Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) go on the quest to rescue her.

In making the movie come to life, the set provides a vital role in convincing the audience of the story taking place. As this movie is set in the mid 18th century with pirates sailing upon the Caribbean Seas, the attention to detail and making of the set is important in allowing the audience to engage and live in this world with pirates. The ship(s) used in this movie are crucial sets as everything happens aboard the ships. From the capturing of Elizabeth and being taken onboard the Black Pearl to Jack Sparrow/Will Turner’s quest in rescuing Elizabeth, the usage of ship(s) is crucial. The Black Pearl known as the ghost ship is built with black hulls and shredded sails. The ship is made up of wood planks with signs of scratches which show signs of deterioration in the harsh conditions of the sea. Fog appears at night and the ship is camouflaged into the foggy night. The set is filled with dark and gloomy colors to draw out the evilness embedded upon the ship and sends out a frightening mood. The vastness of the ship along with its black sails provides a message of “beware” to intimidate sailors and visitors.

The ship is where all the action takes place. It provides a home for the pirates to dine, sleep, and sail, but is also used as a stage for fighting.  When Jack Sparrow and Will Turner attack the ship with weapons and cannons, pieces of the ship come apart and water from the sea flows in. Wind and water causes destruction and provides a harsh environment for the pirates and colonists to fight in. The “look” of the set creates a point in the movie where evil lurks, destruction occurs, and danger prevails. The set definitely helps drive the climax and provides added depth to the movie.