On September 14th, a few of us had a chance to visit Dr. Philip Johns from Yale-NUS at his workplace. He introduced the concept of DNA sequencing to us which I thought was something really fresh and cool as I had zero experience or knowledge of DNA sequencing prior to this. He showed h=us the various tools needed for him to do his work, which includes tools such as a pipettor, PCR machine, his portable MinION DNA sequencer. He also raised his concern about the potential risk of contamination every time he bring his work outdoors.
Field Trip 2 – A CRAFTSMAN JOURNEY: FROM DREAM TO REALITY
For my second field trip, I attended the insect repellant and moisturiser making workshop conducted by Theodore, the founder of Theo10. It was probably my favourite field trip as the entire workshop was so hands-on! I previously documented the field trip as one of my practitioner. Please find the details of my documentation for the field trip below: http://www.wearablestudio.org/2018/10/08/exploring-practitioners-2-moisturizer-insect-repellent-charmaine-goh/?preview_id=2059&preview_nonce=11224308cc&preview=true
Field Trip 3: RED DOT DESIGN MUSEUM
For my last field trip, I visited The Red Dot Design Museum’s permanent exhibition, “A Preview of the Future – Red Dot Award: Design Concept” with the rest of the classmates. The exhibition showcased many different award-winning design concepts which was definitely an eye-opener. Particular for me and my groupmate, Stephanie, this particular exhibition really gave us inspirations in the design of our prototype.
Our workshop on sewing and embroidery was conducted during week 7 in class. For this workshop, we selected a few different kinds of stitches and embroidery methods that we thought would be useful for the class when they create their final prototype.
The rough agenda for the workshop was:
Back Stitch (more secure; useful to sew pieces of cloths together for your prototype relative to using ‘running stitches’ as it got a stronger hold)
Lazy Daisy (using the concept of chain stitch)
French Knot (can be use to create mini roses)
Satin stitch and padding (can be used to create different embroidery design. Tips: Do drawing guidelines of your design before you start embroidering)
The movie I watched was “The Titans” (2018). It is an American science fiction thriller film featuring Earth in the year 2048. Due to overpopulation, scientist are looking towards Saturn’s moon, Titan, as a possible new home for mankind. The movie entails elements of genetic manipulation to “mutate” the chosen group of military personnel into a new species that could survive in the harsh condition of Titan. (I shall not spoil the storyline further!)
A small design decision that the producer made was this mini projector which Abigail switched on in her son’s room after putting her son to sleep. Although minute, its UFO and metallic outlook with wires connected on it connotes a technologically advanced world. The galaxy image projected, was not reflected on flat surface like what we have today. The image/scene was projected through air, changing the entire ambiance and setting of the room.
Fast forward to Year 2500. To meet the demands of the competitive economy, humans work an average of 20 hours each day. With only 4 hours left remaining in each and every day, having a social life became impossible. Recreational buildings were all shut down since there was no need for them. The world was driven by numbers, results, and superficial relationships forged to enhance individual statuses. People’s daily routine have become ever more predictable – home to work and work back to home.
With so little time and so much wealth, humans started being obsessed with elevating their standard of living as much as they can during the precious 4 hours that they have each day. With less time being allocated to traveling, services were now all portable and provided in the comfort of the patient’s home.
Just like robots, humans need some maintenance too.
Microfiction #1 – Stephanie
The skyscrapers were stacked one after another, and the roads that we know today has ceased to exist. Humans zipped around in glass elevators from one place to another in a fraction of a second – there was no moment to lose.
With such little time left in a day each day, humans gradually stopped spending time on ‘frivolous’ and unimportant things like maintaining social relationships. Rather, they sought after more superficial things that they deemed would elevate their status in the eyes of society and those around them.
They had beauty and health appointments scheduled everyday. Visits to the clinics, spas and beauty treatments as we knew it have ceased to exist. With the rapid increase in demand for skyscrapers for work and housing, these spaces were gradually phased out. Instead, they had daily visits from the various beauticians so as to ensure that they are constantly in the best form possible.
As Sasha opened her front door, a ‘ding’ went off from the elevator. “Mmm.. right on time” she murmured under her breath.
The TCM practitioner, Stacy, was decked out in white and her look was complete with a lab coat.
“Hi Miss Sasha, please place your thumb here so that we can scan your heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels.”
“Have you had any discomforts since the last I saw you 48 hours ago,” Stacy continued.
Sasha sighed and lamented: “Well.. Yes. My lower back has been hurting, can you do something about that please?”
“Yes, of course! We’ll look to that right away!”
Stacy’s mobile phone beeped as the health report came back.
The aroma diffuser went off and soft slow music started to play from the speakers. Sasha sighed and lay down on her chest – it was time for rejuvenation and healing.
Microfiction #2 – Charmaine Goh
She could only arrange for a maximum of two clients a day with each appointment lasting an hour long. Catching only 2 hours of sleep on days when her appointments were fully booked. Any delay in the first appointment or mistakes made would cost Stacy her customer in this highly competitive part-time service industry.
She can’t risk that. Not with all the debts her father left her.
In the day, Stacy works as a app developer in the information and technology industry but the pay is insufficient to sustain her living so she had little choice but to work as a part-time Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner from the 20th to the 22nd hour of the day. As a result, on days without clients, Stacy spent her time developing the most efficient medical tool box that is capable of providing her customer with an unique, quality, and therapeutic TCM experience to secure them.
The screen on her mobile lighted up, reflecting the patients’ details as the patient placed her finger on a small black box with red light emitting out of it. Background music started playing on auto and the aroma diffuser went off.
Stacy then detached a inflatable mattress from the bag and threw it into the air lightly. The mattress unfolded into a fully pumped cushion for the patient to lie on.
“We will be proceeding with our second electrolysis acupuncture session for your backache. Please feel free to take a rest during the process,” Stacy commented.
After administering the needles, Stacy pulls out the electrolysis machine powered by the portable energy stored in her bag. She then proceeds on to connect the wires to the needles.
Stacy’s eyes gradually became heavier as the aroma of No.032 slowly diffused throughout the house. Developed by Stacy, the diffuser scent is customised to each and every patient’s’ condition, which can help patients to de-stress while regulating their heart rate to the most optimal level for treatment.
Right when the alarm signifying the end of treatment rings off, Stacy’s eyes sprung open. Relieved that her patient did not find out that she dozed off, Stacy quickly started packing up whilst letting her patient know, “The prescription will be delivered to you as per usual, do follow the same instructions and within two weeks and your backache should fully recover fully!”
“Thanks Dr. Stacy. It was the best and most efficient TCM experience I’ve ever had! Will definitely refer you to my friends and family members,” replied the patient.
Stacy smiled and walks off with a heavy feet to her next appointment…
After much discussion, Charmaine and I decided to focus on the TCM practice as we felt that it was a gap that is being overlooked by the younger generation. However, we both saw the value in preserving this practice as our Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong noted that as our population ages, TCM will potentially be able to meet the healthcare needs of the elderly as they tend to fuse Western and Eastern medical care. Our Health Ministry has also allocated extra funding to develop and support the Traditional Chinese Medicine sector and this includes S$5 million over the next five years for the TCM Research Grant.
This also led us to think about how we can make TCM more appealing to the younger generation as Derrick had also pointed out that the younger generation generally only seeks TCM for sports injuries like sprains.
Cultural Probes: We designed a cultural probe and requested the help of Dr Soh to complete it. The probe consists of two “worksheets” for Dr Soh to fill in. One is focused specifically on him as a TCM practitioner and the services that he provides, tools he needs for his practice and his pain points. The other one focuses on the home visit patients and consists of questions that document the services that he provides for home visit patients, tools required and their pain points as well as any additional comments and feedback that he has received from them.
In addition, we provided an MRT map and stickers, asking him to mark out the area of his patients’ place where he has to travel to as well as the clinic that he practices in to see how much he had to travel.
Lastly, a pen was provided as well as a notepad for additional notes that he has with regards to his practice.
Services: Dr Soh noted that the services provided in the patient’s home is limited as compared to the services in the clinic. He said that internal treatment, which refers to something that is similar to a usual visit to a doctor to diagnose ailments for the stomach or respiratory system or sicknesses such as flu, fevers is limited for home visits as the practitioner is unable to carry all the medications that can range up to 60-70 different types.
Pain Points: The pain points Dr Soh wrote was mainly for the house visits as he mentioned that generally practicing TCM in the clinic itself is conducive as everything is at reach. However, for house visits, due to limited bag space, he could only limit the tools to bring along based on patients’ description of their illnesses to him prior to their appointment through phone calls or Whatsapp. Because there is no standard TCM bag, it sometimes can be disorganized and troublesome to have so many tools contained in his personal bag pack with limited slots that are catered to TCM tools. His bag was often heavy. He also talked about how certain treatments are limited such as the electrolysis machines stimulation due to difficulties in finding a power source that is of reach to the area where he carries out the treatment during house visits
Patients: He noted that his patients generally did not have any complaints about receiving treatment at home, and services like acupuncture and cupping is done on the patient’s bed. Dr Soh said that these patients are in their own homes and hence are in an environment that they are already familiar and comfortable with.
Our thoughts andfindings: We felt that there is definitely a gap that is overlooked for TCM practitioners. Photographers have special bags that are designed for their convenience and comfort, why do TCM practitioners not have that? This need was something that we can potentially meet if we could make a portable TCM studio for these TCM practitioners. Furthermore, in order to elevate the patient’s treatment experience, we wanted to not just increase their comfort during this treatment process, but rather create an environment that is something similar to a spa or massage experience to elevate the status of TCM as just an Eastern medical practice.
Workplace Documentation: Since our final project revolves around the profession of TCM practitioner, Stephanie and I decided to look for a TCM practitioner to find out more about their practice. For this, we contacted Dr Soh Bing Quan, Derrick, who currently practice at Richlife Chinese Medical Centre. We were given the opportunity to observe his work and what it entails but am unable to take any images due to organisational and privacy concerns. Dr Soh also works as a house physician previously, where he travels to the homes of patients to provide TCM treatments.
Common Tools Used:
Medicated Oils and Creams
Gauze and Cotton Wool
Glass cups used for cupping
Porcelain spoon for Guasha (traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is scraped to produce light petechiae)
Bin to store used needles
Process Documentation: During the interview, he told us that there are basically 3 key treatments in TCM – accupuncture, cupping, and tuina.
Acupuncture is where thin needles are inserted to patients’ body to regulate or manipulate the Qi. The process takes about 15-20 minutes according to Dr Soh. Sometimes extra stimulation is added through twisting the needles or attaching it to the electrolysis machine to pass current through it. It helps to relieve pains and reduce risk of strokes and more.
For cupping, although there’s pressure cupping machine selling in the market, Dr Soh uses the traditional fire cupping where he first dip the cotton wool into alcohol then lighting it up on fire creating the heat and pressure for the cupping process. He commented that fire cupping is more effective than simply using pressure. Medicated oil/paste is also applied to patients’ body beforehand. Cupping actually serve similar purpose with another TCM treatment called Guasha, which I was not aware of before. I thought they were two different treatments. But generally, they both serve to enhance blood flow and disperse congested energy and blood.
Lastly for Tuina, its mostly used for external injuries such as sprains, strains and other joint injuries. It involves brushing, kneading, rolling, pressing and rubbing an injured person’s body, using their hands to stimulate Qi and blood to promote healing.
During the recess week, I visited a workshop conducted by Theo10 with a few other classmates. The workshop conductor, Theodore, guided us through the process of making moisturizers and insect repellents that can be customized to serve different purposes.
The workplace for the workshop was generally well organised and was simplified to only include the bare minimum equipment that’s needed to conduct the workshop. However the actual factory or workplace houses a myriad of different machinery and technologies that helps develop the product in the most efficient and accurate manner which is a key aspect in the process. Taking the insect repellent we made for example, Theodore mentioned that is it crucial that we get the measurement of 10ml of water and 2ml of base (company’s secret ingredient) right, if not the repellent we make will not work.
Key Tools Used:
Temperature Measuring Stick
Glass Rod (to mix the mixture)
Essential Oil in glass bottles
Spoon to scoop mixture
Moisturizer – We started off by learning how to make our very own customized moisturizer. The moisturizer base is a white cream, made up of Coconut oil, Jojoba, and Aloe Vera. Theodore heated up the mixture for us to melt the cream before having us add the essential oils into the mixture, using the glass rod to mix it well. For me I chose a combination of lavender and rose scent, due to personal preference to their smell and its individual benefits.
Insect Repellent – For the insect repellent, the process was a lot more complicated whereby more measuring tools such as the pipettes and water beaker were used. The base for the insect repellent was a concoction developed by Theo10 and we were supposed to add 2 ml of it through the pipette to 10ml of water before adding essential oils to mask the smell. The smell of that base was overpowering, smelling a lot like fish sauce so all of us had difficulties trying to mask the smell with the different essential oils.
Pain Points: One pain point that Theodore mentioned was that this profession often requires a lot of trial and error in order to develop an actual working product. When he first started out, his insect repellent prototype actually ended up attracting more mosquitoes when he applied it. In general, it was also difficult to carry all the equipments outdoors as there are just too many tools required.
Personally I think as of now its not something that is mobile, but in the near future, it would definitely be beneficial if this profession could be mobile as the products developed could serve so many different types of purposes such as relieving eczema and cuts, which is perfect for outfields and more!
Related to my previous assignment on developing a prototype for a lashlift practitioner, I visited another lashlift colleague of my friend to find out more about the profession.
Elly, actually works as a home-based beautician, with her work site set up in her own room. Below is an image of her work site.
She arranges hers tools into this black multi-layered tray beside the bed.
Some of the key tools used:
Y-tool (to separate lashes)
Sharp tool with hook
I actually got a chance to observe the process at the side while having Elly explain to me the procedures step by step. It was an enriching experience as I got to realize the purpose of the different tools. One of the key pain point for a lash lift beautician is really the large number of tools required which can be messy at times.
Edge of Silicon Pads are too thick to fit perfectly.
Certain tools such as the Y-tool and sharp hook tool can be combined to maximise efficiency
Worksite area is too small which can be inconvenient at times resulting in tools dropping frequently.
Tool organisation area can be messy at times as there are no specific slots allocated for each different kinds of equipment.
Because of the number of tools required, it is almost impossible to bring the service outdoors on-the-go.
A significant amount of time is also required to set up before each customers comes.