Final Project Post – The Developers – Joey Ng & Wendy Neo

Here is the folder to our documentation for our portable darkroom prototype! (Our print document is only in hardcopy because it is done in a scrapbook style)

Some extra notes about our prototype:

Ver 1:
Materials used: Foldable umbrella, tray and thin black cloth
Presented during class in Week 5
The cloth was attached to the umbrella with tape and the tray did not have any straps. The cloth was also very thin and translucent!

Ver 2:
Materials used: Hand-held umbrella, tray, twine, reflective material
At this stage, we had multiple factors to consider. We originally thought of using an umbrella hat so that it would be wearable and more portable. However, it was difficult to modify the umbrella to make it an umbrella hat because the mechanism to open the umbrella is completely different. We were also not able to find an umbrella hat online with a diameter large enough for the project. Thus we decided on using a tripod.

We sawed off the handle of the hand-held umbrella so that we could attempt to attached it to the tripod

We used reflective material bought from Daiso for the “walls” of the portable darkroom, by taping and sewing it onto the umbrella. There were two problems: First, the reflective material was not lightproof enough, and second, the umbrella got very bulky when it was closed because we had to fold in the reflective material that was sewn on to it

We duct-taped twine to the tray to create two very thin straps

Ver 3:
Materials used: Foldable umbrella, thick heavy cloth, tray with straps, tripod
For the tray, we drilled 2 holes and sawed in between them to create a slit for the strap to pass through. This process was repeated three times to get 4 slits for each corner of the tray. One of the straps was reused from an old duffle bag and the other was made from the vinyl banner material (from the makerspace).

We decided to scrap the hand-held umbrella prototype altogether and use the foldable umbrella (from ver 1) so that it would be more portable. We also bought thick cloth from Mustafa so that it would be more lightproof. Velcro was attached to the inside of the umbrella and sewn onto the cloth to make the prototype more portable.

One problem we had at this stage was attaching the umbrella to the tripod. We drilled a hole in the umbrella so that it could attach onto the screw on the tripod, but the screw wasn’t long enough and the umbrella was unstable especially when the heavy cloth was attached onto it. Next we tried to glue to screw to the umbrella, then screw it on the tripod but it still was not strong enough. The last thing we tried was to attach a wooden rod to the umbrella, which fit into the hole of the tripod securely. Yay!

The other elements of the prototype were quite straightforward to make, as seen from our public documentation video. Overall, this was a fulfilling experience because we finally got it our prototype to work after failing a few times! Thank you Andy for your guidance this semester and all the best in Panama 🙂 

Share Your World – Joey Ng & Wendy Neo

Wendy & I are in the group called: Developers.
We have changed and improved our Storyworld from Week 8 when we received feedback and suggestions from the class and Prof Andy.
We now present to you our new Storyworld!

(New) Storyworld:
In the distant future 2984, cameras are banned for everyone except the government and the elites. The government has super high security surveillance everywhere, on everything, on everyone.

Art, creativity and freedom of expression is banned and deemed illegal. The government and the elites determine what is art and what can be learnt. They force what they think is art down on the public and persecute all artists. Fine arts are now fined arts.

A black market exists for works of art such as photographs. They are rare illegal goods that can fetch a high price.

Jody secretly loves photography and she makes her own camera and darkroom to take and develop photos. Her camera is made from a beer can and a pencil. Her darkroom is portable. She sells these photos in the black market to earn money for her family. Because photographs are illegal, she tries not to have too many on her in case she gets caught, that’s why she needs to develop them right before she sells them with the portable darkroom. After she has the prints, she would rush to meet her dealer to get the prints off her, exchanging them for money she needs for her family.

Jody’s family
Came from a family of artists, painters, photographers, directors. They were all persecuted in the Art Cultural Revolution of 2108. They now work in the art factories of the government, doing menial labour, producing art materials for the elites and their possé.
Mom: Was a post-impressionist painter, now working in a factory producing paintbrushes
Dad: Was a renaissance painter & photographer, now a runner in the admin of art office
Brother: Wanted to be a cinematographer until the Art Revolution of ’64 happened, now working in a factory producing photo paper

Tools & Technology:
Portable Darkroom – disguisable
Developing Kit disguised as a backpack
Photo paper
Film Camera disguised as a beer can


  1. Backstory on art cultural revolution & government: The StART
  2. Almost caught at deal: Found Art
  3. Background on her family: A family that art together stays together
  4. Special client/project: Developing Feelings
  5. Difficult project – brother can’t smuggle photo paper out: Out of Print
  6. Meets fellow developer: Developing Feelings Too

The Story

Jody looks up at the wall along the staircase, staring at empty frames that used to hold photographs of happy memories. A picture of mom and dad at the beach on a sunny day when they were younger, Grandma on her favourite chair in the living room, and Jody grinning with a chocolate layer cake on her 4th birthday. Jody knew which specific frames housed these photographs, but as the years went by, these images were slowly fading from her memory. It had been 15 years ago after all, since the The People banned photography for the masses.

Banning photography was just one part of the Arts Cultural Revolution in 2108. Drawing, painting, sculpting too, to name some from the list. Jody didn’t even know who The People were. She only knew that The People regulated the art all around the city, stamping a black shimmering emblem in the corner of every art piece to show that it was approved to be put up.

Jody’s mom and dad used to be printmakers. But 15 years ago The People in white suits barged into their home, taking away all their craft equipment and prints. The People then fined Jody’s mom and dad for making art. The only way they could pay off the fine was to work in a factory that manufactured photography equipment, something that wasn’t in their field of expertise so that they could not practice their art anymore.

When Jody’s older brother Jared turned 21, he too was sent of to the factory to work. Jody was about to turn 21 in a year, and she wasn’t letting her precious freedom go to waste. She was going to take photographs. A lot of them. And sell them on the black market for extra income for her family. It didn’t help that her mother was getting sick from breathing in toxic fumes at the factory everyday

Earning money wasn’t the only reason why Jody gravitated towards photography. She loved how she could capture beauty in a frame, how a moment in time could be immortalised forever in a photograph. As photography was illegal, there was no way Jody could purchase a proper camera, so she made one by herself. It was fashioned out of a aluminium can covered with black duct tape all over the exterior. A pencil was taped along the length of the can so that it wouldn’t roll about if placed sideways on a flat surface. There was a small hole in the middle, a few centimeters above the pencil which acted as the “lens”, and a slit where photo paper could be inserted into the can. Jared was able to help her smuggle photo paper out of the factory so she could carry on with this project.

Practice Storyworld – Joey Ng

Jiang Jun (Older Brother)
Valerie (Mom)
Robert (Dad)

Sci-Fi, distant future

In the distant future, humans are forced to live underground because the environment has been destroyed and too unliveable to live. The Leader of the world decides to reenact the flood like Noah’s Arc to “restart” the world and wash away of the sins of humanity.

The Leader thinks that technology & electricity is the root cause of all these destruction and sins of humanity so He dictates that no electricity and any form of technology will be allowed in the Underground.

Xiangyi who loves photography and art is then on a mission to quickly take photographs of everything, everyone, every sight she loves to store these photographs and keep the memories with her when she need to go to the Underground with the rest of the world.

Portable Darkroom – allowing her to develop photos on the go
Developing Tray Kit – strapped on the front of her torso, to develop photos
Photo Paper
Film Camera

Exploring Practitioners: Moisturiser Making – Joey

Taking advantage of the field trip, I decided to make the moisturiser making workshop as part of my participation with practitioners exercise.
The workshop was organised by Rachel at the Singapore Visitor Centre.
It was hosted by the company called Theo10 and the founder, Theodore, was the one who was teaching us.

Theodore introducing Theo10 and concepts behind soap making.

Process Documentation
The whole moisturiser making process was actually pretty easy.
1. Get a container
2. Fill it up to 10 drops of essential oils – can be mixed
3. Put warm aloe vera cream in
4. Stir & mix them together with glass rod
And you’re done!

Tools Used

Pain Points
It is a fairly simple activity that can be done within 15 minutes.
One possible challenge is perhaps the number of essential oils that are available. There was at least 15 bottles and they vary in size and shape.
It was also hard to get the oils from the smaller bottle as they do not have a dripper.
Another challenge could be having a big pot filled with warm water to warm and keep the aloe vera cream warm as it very bulky.
Other than these, once everything is set up, it is quite easy to get to the tools and use them.

We also participated in making our own mosquito repellent.
Apparently their mosquito repellent has been featured on CNN etc. during the dengue outbreak. (pretty cool!)
The challenge was to mask the weird scent of their own trade-secret-formulated repellent. (it smelt like fish oil to me – wouldn’t want that scent to stay on your skin for 4-6 hours…)

Process Documentation

So we had to mix in lots and lost of essential oil.
But before we did that, we had to concoct the repellent first.
With the measuring cylinder, we had to pour in 10ml of water and 2ml of their repellent using a pipette.
Once that was done, we could begin to mix in our essential oils to create a better scent for the repellent.

Pain Points
It was quite tough to mask the smell of the mosquito repellent – it took at least 100 drops of essential oils according to Theo.
An obstruction was the volume of the spray bottle. With the repellent solution taking about half of the bottle, there was only so much room for the essential oils. For me, I filled the bottle close to the brim and luckily mine worked. (Smells ok.)
The solution also had to be very precise as Theo instructed that the proportions has to be accurate in order for the repellent to work well.

I think one cool way to bring all the essential oils around is to make a coat with many many pockets storing each oil in each pocket. (looking like doctor gadget) Also a hot pocket (pun intended) to keep the aloe vera cream warm.
As the activity is fairly simple, just involving pouring liquid, once the workspace is set up, everything should go well.

Exploring Practitioners: Starbucks Barista – Joey

I went to participate in my friend’s work who is a Starbucks Barista at One-North. He has been working at Starbucks for close to 4 and a half years. 
I wanted to see how the usual Starbucks barista works around the many professional tools behind the counter, facing crowds and rushes.

Starbucks at One-North

Process Documentation
The space is quite spacious with about 3-4 staff working behind the counter each time. There is the oven section for heating food, the frappuccino area with the machine for frozen blend goodness, the sink area for washing, the cold brew area for their latest nitro coffee and of course the coffee machines area for brewing coffee. 

To make coffee, he would pick up the cup for the right size then make the coffee by using the fancy coffee machine. The machine will then dispense the coffee into small glasses – shots.
While this is happening, my friend would pump syrup (if needed) from the syrup bottles into the cup.
After this, coffee would be poured into the cup and topped off with more syrup/milk/milk foam/whipped cream. 

Tools Used
These are some of tools he usually use.

One really interesting “machine” or appliance the dispenser for the cold nitro brew coffee – it looks like a beer tap.
Also got to try it with the courtesy of my friend!
It tasted pretty sour and acidic to me – not a fan (hahah)
But the foam is pretty cool!

Pain Points
I think one main challenge was that tools and appliances were spread out over the counter.
If the space was contrainted or if there were too many people, it would be hard to get to the tools needed and may even cause an accident as the staff walk from the fridge/oven/food area to the cashier counter to the coffee area etc.

Another problem I observed is that there are extras of tools, such as extra chocolate/vanilla/caramel syrup in bottle and pump form and they can be all over the place at crowded times like the lunch or morning rush.
There is also 2 coffee machines although they only use one. Perhaps it is in the case where one might broken/spoilt/malfunctioning.

Coconut White Mocha Macchiato 

I think a Starbucks barista has to learn how to use a lot of tools and get comfortable and used to his/her space in order to work efficiently.
From the fridge, to the cashier machine, the oven, the coffee machine, the frappuccino machine, syrup bottles and pumps and cups, lids etc, it would be a challenge to come up with a wearable tool that can do the job of a Starbucks barista. 
Perhaps it would be more worthwhile to think of a specific function that can benefit with a wearable tool and make him/her more efficient.
I was thinking a portable/movable coffee machine or even a cafe would be really cool too! (Imagine carrying chairs and open them up for your customers and you make coffee on your body)
A portable coffee grinder might work although the quality might not be machine grade and the person would have to stand near a drain/grass to get rid of excess hot water and coffee grinds.

Documentation for Prototypes vs Models – Joey

Creative Practice
Developing Film

Tools Used
Can/Bottle Opener
Spool + Tank
Trays & Tongs
Measuring Cylinders & Containers
Safety Light

These are the tools used to develop film.
1: wearable workspace to develop film
2: mobile darkroom studio


What I made was both a prototype and a model.
(cause it didn’t really work very well hurhur)
I made the mobile darkroom out of dark, black cloth stitched onto an umbrella.
The black cloth wasn’t opaque enough and light could still seep in but it was too thick, it would be too heavy and drag on the umbrella.
Also, it would be really hot inside. 
So I thought that instead, I could stick those reflective materials (like on car windows) on to the light cloth.
In addition, a safety light would need to be installed so we could see just like in normal dark rooms.
I think that would pose quite a problem to make it to not obstruct the umbrella from closing (pic below).

There were also other suggestions from classmates during the class exhibition that I could hang some ropes/lines to dry the photos on.
I think that’ll be quite feasible and makes the dark room interesting too.

The biggest problem I think would be printing of the photos (not just developing the films) as it involves the enlarger which is a large (pun intended) object. It would be a challenge to try to fit it in.

How the mobile darkroom studio looks like when closed.

Wearable Research – Joey Ng

Buoyancy Control Device (BCD)

Practice it works in

Also called the buoyancy compensator, this piece or wearable equipment is for divers.

Its specific use 

This device is used for divers to achieve neutral buoyancy underwater and positivity buoyancy (float) on surface.
It is usually attached with an oxygen tank, diving regulators (1st, 2nd and alternate) and information system tools (compass/depth/pressure gauge).


Is it fairly mobile, worn like a vest. 
Comes in sizes as well.
The only part that inhibits its mobility is the size and weight of the oxygen tank when worn together.

Utility VS Fashionability 

It is more for functionality than for fashionability as it is a very important piece of device in diving which involves delivering air supply to the diver and making sure the diver can stay afloat on surface.
In terms of fashionability, as it looks like a vest so different patterns or clothing ideas can also be applied to it as well. Although the right material would be more important. 

Hairclip Multi Tool (Clippa)

Practice it works in

It can be used generally but Clippa Blackfin was specifically manufactured for military situations and purposes.

Its specific use

It is a general tool, combining many different tools:
1. Bottle opener
2. Screwdriver/Box opener
3. Nail file
4. Ruler
5. Serrated knife 
All into one small and light tool that you can wear on your hair.


It is extremely mobile, measuring a size of 5-6cm in length and extremely lightweight, weighing at 4.5g. Furthermore, it can be worn on your hair.

Utility VS Fashionability

Besides the Clippa Blackfin (marketed for men and military uses), there is also the Clippa Lady which is pink in colour, targeted at ladies. This shows there can be room for fashionability and it can be worn as a fashion statement. However the design would be hard to change as it has to incorporate all those tools.