Thursday, July 17, 2014

INDN 312: Brand & Identity

The project that we're presented with in this new course is to look at using new technologies to add value and to promote NZ resources, in the global marketplace. This has the potential to sound a little bit wishy-washy, but I think that it holds significant interest, and the technologies that we might get to use sound exceedingly interesting. The way the project is structured is that it is laid out in two ways, allowing for two different paths a student can take to develop a project.

The nature of the project is very much up to us, but we have to involve the respective technology of one of the different branches we get to pursue. The two different scenarios we get to choose from involve two different types of technologies, each amazing and very interesting in their own right.

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The first technology or set of technologies is a large mass of research being done by Scion, a biomaterials research facility that is making really interesting forays into the area of wood-fibre enhanced plastics, allowing for them to be strengthened as well as having some really interesting properties. The interest factor fer me behind this set of possibilities is what might be possible with them. Apparently Scion has figured out how to extrude the materials into some really interesting shapes, as well as 3D-printing filament, which is one of the things that possibly at this point has the most potential for me.

Stretch sensor mounted to a hand and used to capture motion.
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The second technology that we'll be hearing more about tomorrow is called StretchSense, a wireless stretchable sensor setup that can work via Bluetooth with mobile phones and computers, and has a still-not-entirely-known potential uses. Supposedly the sensors are able to tell how much they have been stretched, allowing for measuring the human body, as well as small-scale robotics and other projects.

Both sets of technologies have lots of potential, and both I can see interesting and innovative uses for, however, this project is quite specific in the way that it allows us to approach it, as it calls for us to investigate and develop our projects with New Zealand and the NZ identity specifically in mind. The result of this is that depending on which scenario I choose to pursue, I have to seek to add value and promote NZ resources through either looking at NZ culture or NZ commodities.

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Looking at NZ culture I have to consider how my project might apply to the present NZ fashion trends, or perhaps how it might relate to our identity as an arts-and-craftsy nation. It could also look at the intertwining of many cultures, considering how the project might appropriate all of these cultures or develop their ties. New Zealand has a certain identity when it comes to our lifestyle, and this could also be something that the Scion research applies to, as well as considering how research like that might fit in around this 100% green (total bullshit) national identity we've built around ourselves.

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The NZ commodities angle looks at how NZ is defined by the commodities that we produce. Certain materials and goods shape our national identity, and allow us to have a distinctive individuality. A lot of materials and commodities have a certain cultural and historical heritage, such as flax (Maori culture) and wool (European culture). These materials, when used appropriately, can be distinctly New Zealand. The exports that drive our economy identify us in the global marketplace, while the distinctive material identify us through slightly more cultural means.

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