The goal of this project was to facilitate a fun and easy experience for using a fisheye lens and a smartphone to document artifacts. Finding interesting ways to showcase magnified objects was also an objective.
Primary users were those with a smartphone, a fisheye lens, and the desire to explore the world at a micro level while on the move.
This was an individual project.
Interacting with the microscope feels precise and satisfying due to the kinesthetic feedback of the rubber bands stretching. Mobility is a key attribute of fish eye lenses, thus I felt the microscope should be easily portable.
My process for this project consisted of quickly sketching and modeling different microscopes, assessing their varying qualities, and building on what I learned.
One of my first thoughts for how to lower objects slowly was using a pulley, so I began sketching and prototyping.
My first pulley design relied heavily on human skill and tape to consistently work. I did like the straightforward connection between using a pulley to lower objects, but there were clear usability issues.
I got carried away with this prototype, using two pulleys and devising a method to keep the string under tension. A conversation with my peers helped move me away from this needlessly complex design.
While working on the pulley prototypes, I was also sketching much simpler microscopes. With my first prototype, I wanted to move towards the simplest design possible which afforded an easy magnification interaction.
While this prototype was refreshingly simple, the size of observable objects was quite limited.
For my second iteration, I utilized a simple push interaction, as I felt this would retain simplicity while introducing a more enjoyable interaction compared to “Wedge 1.0”.
I examined many objects in my search for interesting ways to showcase the magnification of a fish eye lens. The lack of context surrounding these images is what inspired me to display the magnified pixels on a laptop screen at the same time as the un-magnified pixels.
The most important takeaway from this project was the power of simplicity in design.