Emotive Monster = DropBarrier
The Idea | the problem
A common sight in most public spaces, especially waiting areas, are people fully engrossed in their smart phones. This does not always mean that they are standing still and therefore the chance of walking into stationary objects or other people exist. While these situations do not pose any immediate danger to the individual, there are scenarios where the lack of situational awareness may result in potential injury and possibly death. One of these areas of interest is the platform of a train station. While there already exist preventive measures to avoid commuters from accidentally falling onto the tracks, occasionally there will be just this tragedy. It can be said that many of these preventive measures are generally passive in nature such as textured flooring and coloured markings on the floor and as such are not as engaging that what is happening on the smart phone.
DropBarrier | the concept
With this in mind, we propose the DROPBARRIER. The concept behind this proposal is based on the idea that sudden and unexpected movements awaken a deeper instinct in the human psyche that evolved to warn us of immediate and life threatening danger in our natural environment. This shock factor is meant to draw the target individual's attention away from their smart phone and back into his or her immediate environment making them aware of their surroundings before any bodily harm is caused.
Solution | how it works
Located on the ceiling in order to maximise visual exposure, the DROPBARRIER utilises gravity as a means of deployment. The ceiling is first divided into individual cells each covering about 1m by 1m, then covered by an expandable surface. A sensor would be embedded either above or below detecting the presence of anyone who gets too close to the edge. At the center of each cell is placed a weight that when released will fall dragging the elastic ceiling material with it in a quick and sudden motion as detected by the sensor. Once the sensor registers that no one is inside the danger area, it will retract the weight back into the ceiling resetting its position, ready to "attack" the next person. The system is placed in a standby scenario when a train is present on the platform.
Another scenario that was considered was its application in an art gallery. Using the same principle, modules may be placed in front of paintings as a deterrence to anyone who moves too close to precious artwork. The deployed form of the DROPBARRIER is this case than becomes a visual obstacle forcing the viewer to step back in order to continue his or her observation.
DropBarrier | the diagram
DropBarrier | the surface
DropBarrier | assembly process