Sonic Architect: Wilson

A tribute to the brilliant Progressive Rockstar Steven Wilson!

Satisfy your inner audiophile with this hand crafted wooden audio system! The Sonic Architect Wilson is handmade using Teak and Pine wood with a handwoven fabric grill. Each unit is hand assembled based on “Less is More” approach. A power switch and an aluminum volume knob makes the system easy to use.

Specifications
– 20 Watt Class D Amplifier
– 2.2″ Full Range Driver
– Passive Radiator
– 3.5mm AUX Input
– Aluminum Volume Knob
– Stained Teak Enclosure
– Handwoven Fabric Grill
– 12 Volt DC Power Adapter

Siempre Senna

Ayrton Senna

He actually believed that he had a God-given right to win.
-Murray Walker

Senna was not just another Formula 1 driver. Senna was a Force of Nature. No one in the history of Formula 1 dedicated more to this sport. He had something in him which set him apart from everyone else in the sport. There was something different in him; he had the looks of a hero, a rock solid determination, charisma that could smite anyone, expressiveness of a poet, spirituality of a healer and above all the love for humanity
I’ve been an admirer of Senna for quite a lot time and I’ve seen lot of documentaries, races and read numerous article on him. And I’ve always wondered how someone could have such determination?

He was born in a rich Brazilian family. Since childhood he was passionate about racing and this passion for most of his life kept him away from his family. Since his go kart days he saw himself as someone who could be the fastest person in the world. He trained his brain in such a way that racing became everything to him. He was so determined
to win that he would go on to say “When you are fitted in a racing car and you race to win, second or third place is not enough”

Because of this determination and his own knowledge about how proficient he was; there came another side of him which would lead him to take actions that would put his and his opponents’ life at risk. He was ruthless on the circuit; he would come up from behind and put the other driver in a situation which would either lead to a crash or him overtaking. He took racing from mere mechanical prowess to psychological warfare. Senna’s arch rival and teammate Alain Prost once said “Ayrton has a small problem. He thinks he can’t kill himself, because he believes in god, and I think that’s very dangerous”

It’s not that he was a lunatic who would put his and others life at risk. He had transcended to such a level in racing that he could make decisions in split seconds which others couldn’t. He had overcome his fear of unknown, he went on to push all the limits that existed in the sports of racing. He would become one with the car and outperform his own teammate who was driving the same car. And a lot of time he described his driving in a metaphysical manner, a kind of out-of-body experience. Others perceived driving to be sort of mechanical but Senna perceived driving as spiritual and extension of his determination.

He never left the cars up to the mechanics. He would work with them and was in fact one of the few drivers who knew the cars so well. He constantly updated himself about what the cars were capable of doing and then he would go on to drive in a manner which was never witnessed before. In terms of neuroscience he was constantly bombarding his brain and body with new information and experiences. Our perception is the most adaptable cognitive function. Ayrton in a way was altering his perception about racing with every single experience and by pushing his body and brain to the limit he was able to break free of the entire perception and fear cycle. Maybe his neural pathways for perception and motor skills were so highly developed that they sort of fired a lot stronger than it happens in an average racing driver.

Because of his sheer determination to win people thought he was cold at heart. But this was not true. He was one of the biggest believers in humanity. People often saw Senna pushing people to the edge while racing; but there was another side to him. Once in a race Senna ran from his car in front of upcoming traffic to save fellow driver Erik Comas who had a dreadful crash and was knocked unconscious in his car. He felt devastated by the death of fellow driver Roland Ratzenberger and wanted to start an association of drivers to push for more safety norms. But he died on the same racetrack the following day.

He always felt sad at the condition of his fellow countrymen especially kids. He felt that cause of his nice upbringing he could pursue his passion for racing but at the same time felt that a lot of kids in Brazil don’t have access to proper education and facilities. While he was alive he donated an estimated $400 million of his personal fortune to children welfare charity, without anyone knowing about it. He brought pride and joy to the people of Brazil. He was a demi-god in his country because of his humility and his love for others. And people loved him in return and it was evident when a three day official mourning was declared across Brazil and a record three million people lined the streets for his funeral procession. Senna have affected the life of so many people.

Senna took racing to a new level of commitment and dedication and he operated on physiological and psychological limits which were beyond the reach of any of his counterparts at the time when Formula 1 was the strongest since its inception.

I read somewhere “Ayrton Senna was the ultimate drivers’ driver”

I’ll end this section with a quote from Senna

“Once you are in it you are in it, you have to go all the way to the end because you commit yourself to such a level where there is no compromise. You give everything you have absolutely everything. Sometimes you find even more because you require more if you want to stay ahead and you want to win.”

A small montage of what Senna was

Book List

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I’m putting down a list of books which I’ve gone through the past 4 years of design education. Some of them are not design books but are worth reading. Some of them are accessible on platforms like Issuu, some could be found in libraries or some you would have to buy. This list is the one I have right now. There are a few more which I’ll add in the coming days.

ekprayog-Design Democracy and Tinkering

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.

-Ken Robinson

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This is the thesis/degree project document. Link to the document.

People construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. When we encounter something new, we have to reconcile it with our previous ideas and experiences, in the process maybe changing what we believe, or discarding the new information as irrelevant. In any case, we are active creators of our own knowledge, perception and consciousness. To do this, we must ask questions, explore, and assess what we know or shall I say what we don’t know. The best way to learn is to simply start doing and tinkering the world surrounding us.

Since the Industrial Revolution people have become used to mass manufacturing and use & throw mindset. We humans have become very consumerist and market driven, like machines devouring on natural resources without much thinking behind our actions. There is an eagerness to be better than others around; there is a need of a bigger house, a bigger car and more cash in wallet. Everything is about consumption for majority of people living on planet Earth.

This project is my way of questioning the present design practices and experimenting with the alternative practices. The core objective of the project is to explore design through the lenses of human centeredness, sustainability, intuitiveness, co-creation, collaboration, openness, making and tinkering. This project has led to creation of new products, process and systems with various stakeholders.

Why Handmade is Expensive

There are these tiny variances and idiosyncrasies in each object, each of them being soldered, assembled and then finished using hands is in a way putting your energy, effort and SOUL in it.

Since the time I started posting pictures and specifications of the handmade speakers, the response from everyone has been amazing. The speakers have been featured in Designboom, Yanko, Tuvie and numerous other blogs and articles. It is a nice feeling to get appreciated for your work. And a lot of people have shown interest in buying them and it’s all too great.

After the price of the systems is shared then comes the not so encouraging response. A lot of people respond by saying that they are a bit on the expensive side and why not buy a JBL or a Creative system at halt the price. Some friends who don’t want to be rude end up saying “Let me save money to buy them”. I don’t take offence in it and I know everyone has some or the other constrains. Some times even I wonder are the systems really expensive! But then when I look at the entire process and time which has gone into arriving at the final products, the price is spot on!

This post is not only about the speakers. It is about each and every painstakingly handmade object and system.

I agree that you can buy a system from JBL or Creative at half the price but at I’m not running megafactories consuming resource at an unprecedented rate. The components being used in big manufacturers and my systems are almost same. The systems I make are not mass produced and to make a comparison between them and counter-shelf systems is just as absurd as comparing a Prius and Pagani! (I’m no way close to the attention to detail which Pagani has but still). These systems are not meant to be sold for the purpose of instant gratification. These systems are meant for people who are patient enough for things to happen and can value the hardwork and effort which has gone behind making handmade objects and ones who are going to take care of them for a long time.

When a Handmade object is made a lot goes into it. It’s just not about putting things together.

  • Cost of materials and components
  • Labour
  • Packaging
  • Overhead
  • Profit
  • For the Greater Good

When one is making handmade and made to order objects then economy of scale becomes relevant. A small setup can never compete with giants like JBL, Bose etc when it comes to Bill of Material and labour cost.

There is an entire slow movement behind the handmade object, a movement away from instant consumption and consumerism. There are these tiny variances and idiosyncrasies in each object, each of them being soldered, assembled and then finished using hands is in a way putting your energy, effort and SOUL in it. One has to learn and improve constantly, handcraftmanship is a way of life. When people see a handmade object a lot of them think that it’s just material, why so expensive? No one has seen the work, research and efforts which have gone to take the material to a functionalist object. A lot of work goes into making mass produced objects as well but something thrown out of injection molded machines can never come close to the love and affection put in a handmade object. My friend who works closely with craftsmen once said “Each object has the stories of the makers entwined within them”. The labour is not forced, it is done out of love for the entire process and the object.

When running a small setup the overheads can be huge. There is no steady monthly cheque, no rolling forecast or assembly lines at the starting of the month! A lot of things have to be managed and the setup needs to be frugal and resilient to external factors.

At the end of the day after giving something meaningful to the world one has to fill their own stomach as well.  A setup that does not make enough profit will go out of business. Also in order to improve and create new processes and objects one has to spend money, which can only be done if some money is left.

Deciding on materials and processes which don’t end up damaging the surrounding and environment is something which is critical to me. Whenever possible components and materials are sourced and processed locally. There is a larger ecosystem and ideology at work behind the speakers, I intend to work with foundations and plant trees to give back more then what is taken. And if the ideology and objects grow to a considerable amount, I would like to include the local woodworkers into the ecosystem. Some of the systems have been open sourced as well. A lot of people who cannot afford to buy them can make them on their own in a non commercial way.

My Handmade systems can never compete with the big shots and I don’t intend to contribute to the pathological consumption. My intention is to make he finest handmade audio systems. Next time you see a handmade product with a price that surprises you, hopefully this will help you understand what’s behind that price.

Encourage and support small setups during the holiday seasons and year round. They might need your love and attention!

Sonic Architect: Lasercut Series

This new line is an amalgamation of digital fabrication, DIY and handcraftsmanship. Every system is handmade using MDF lasercut panels, grill and is hand assembled. Very functionalist in its approach, the speakers fit well along the lines of “Less but Better”; A lasercut Volume Knob, a 3.5mm AUX jack and a Micro USB charging port is all that these systems have. All the systems are powered by a Class D Amplifier and uses Fullrange drivers along with a Lithium Ion Battery lasting around 10-15 hours depending on the usage.

 

Portable music back with a Classic form!

 -Efficient 6 Watt Class D Amplifier
-Small Form Factor with Big Sound
-Sealed MDF Enclosure
-2000 mAh Battery
-Fullrange Drivers
-3.5mm AUX input
-Stained Grill
-Lasercut Volume Knob

Available as built and in kit form. Made to order.

Sonic Architect: Stevie Ray Vaughan

Sonic Architect’s Stevie Ray Vaughan(SRV) is an amalgamation of digital fabrication, DIY and hand-craftsmanship. The vintage character of SRV comes from the usage of materials like wood, leather and lasercut grill. Every system is handmade using Sagwan wood and MDF lasercut grill and is hand assembled. The system is built on Dieter Rams ideology of “Less but Better”. The volume knob acts as an On/Off switch and the listener just needs to plug in the 3.5mm AUX cable and let the music play. Charging is done using a micro USB cable. SRV packs a punch with its full range drivers and an efficient class D amplifier and comes with a 25 hours worth of portable fun.

  • Efficient 6 Watt Class D Amplifier
  • Handmade to Order
  • Small Form Factor with Big Sound
  • Sealed Sagwan Enclosure
  • 4400 mAh Battery
  • 1.6″ Full-Range Drivers
  • 3.5mm AUX input
  • Detailed and Natural Sound
  • Leather Handle
  • Aluminium Knob

The Picture!

There is power in participation, co-creation and openness. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. Design is of the people, by the people and for the people.

Since the beginning of my academic time I always felt there was something missing, and that for some odd reason I was being conditioned to live a prisoned life, in an ideological and psychological prison. The way the entire education and socio economic system was built, it made people believe that our lives are about achieving certain goals, one needs to have a job, a car, a house and so on. ekprayog was a way to move out of all this.

We have seen what industrial revolution has done. We have seen what consumerism has done to this planet as well. Looking at the current advancement in science and technology we don’t seem to be leaving our planets for some other system in the distant future. So, we’ll have to design our products, process, systems and lives in such a way that there is place for every living being to thrive and be happy.

Design is not personal effects of a designer. Design is a way of life, every single person who’s trying to solve a problem or creating creative solutions is a designer. Design cannot be done in isolation; it has to be done keeping people in mind, combining form, function and meaning with a focus on user centeredness. People need to be involved in the entire process of designing otherwise it takes the very humaneness from the entire system.

When people come together to look at the problem as a collective and listen to the issues and concerns of each member, they end up forming a very holistic perspective of the problem at hand. And when the solutions are built with the participation of everyone and by building on the ideas of others the system thus formed is an open and a democratically designed one. It’s a transparent system with every single entity visible to each member.

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What the Education Systems can take from the Maker Movement

Whether you are getting started in your classroom or building a Makerspace, the most important thing to remember is that making is about making sense of the world, not about the “stuff.” Making connections and making meaning are the true results of classroom making, not the plastic or cardboard artefact.

• “Doing” Is What Matters

Makers learn to make stuff by making stuff. Schools often forget this as they continuously prepare students for something that is going to happen next week, next year, or in some future career. The affordable and accessible technology of the Maker Movement makes learning by doing a realistic approach for schools today.

• Openness

Makers share designs, code, and ideas globally but making occurs locally. Makers share their expertise with a worldwide audience. “We” are smarter than “me” is the lesson for educators. Collaboration on projects of intense personal interest drive the need to share ideas and lessons learned more than external incentives like grades.

• Give It A Go

Modern maker/tinkerer are driven to invent the solution to any problem by making things, and then making those things better. Perhaps “grit” or determination can be taught, but there is no substitute for experience. The best way for students to become deeply invested in their work is for their projects to be personally meaningful, afforded sufficient development time, given access to constructive materials, and the students themselves encouraged to overcome challenges.

• Iterative Design

Computers make designing new inventions risk-free and inexpensive. You can now tinker with designs and programs and make prototypes easily and quickly. This is a departure from the linear design methodology that assumed that mistakes were expensive and need to be avoided.

• Aesthetics Matter

Many Maker projects are indistinguishable from art. It’s human to embellish, decorate,
and seek the beauty in life. In schools, there is a movement to add the Arts to STEM subjects (STEAM). That’s a good instinct, but if school hadn’t artificially removed all traces of creativity and art from STEM subjects, we wouldn’t need to talk about STEAM. Find ways to allow students to make projects with pride and unencumbered by categorization.

• Mentoring Defies Ageism

As Sir Ken Robinson says, school is the only place in the world where we sort people by their manufacturing date. The Maker Movement honours learners of all ages and embraces the sharing of expertise. Young people are valued alongside decades-older master tinkerers and inventors. Schools may create opportunities for mentoring and apprenticeship by connecting with the greater community. Access to expertise must not be limited to the classroom teacher.

• Learning Is Intensely Personal

The current buzz about “personalized learning” is more often than not a scheme to deliver content by computerized algorithm. Not only is it magical thinking to believe that computers can teach, it confuses learning with delivering content. Learning happens inside the individual. It can’t be designed or delivered. Learning is personal—always. No one can do it for you. Giving kids the opportunity to master what they love means they will love what they learn.

• It Is About the Technology too

The Maker Movement sees tools and technology as essential elements for solving unsolvable problems and not just a tool. To makers, a 3D printer is not for learning to make 3D objects. Instead it is the raw material for solving problems, such as how to create inexpensive but custom-fit prosthetic for people anywhere in the world. The Maker philosophy prepares kids to solve problems their teachers never anticipated, with technology we can’t yet imagine.

• Ownership

One motto of the Maker Movement is “if you can’t open it, you don’t own it.” Educators often talk about how learners should own their own learning, but if the learner doesn’t have control, they can’t own it. Pre-packaged experiences for students, even in the name of efficiency, are depriving students of owning their own learning. Learning depends on learners with maximum agency over their intellectual processes.

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Why do we NEED makerspaces in Schools?

We must re-imagine school curriculum not as a way to prepare students for the next academic challenge, or a future career, but as a place where students are inventors, scientists, musicians, painter, poets and mathematicians today.

The Maker Movement, a technological and creative learning revolution underway around the globe, has exciting and vast implications for the world of education. New tools and technology, such as 3D printing, robotics, microprocessors, wearable computing, e-textiles, “smart” materials, and programming languages are being invented at an unprecedented pace. The Maker Movement creates affordable or even free versions of these inventions, while sharing tools and ideas online to create a vibrant, collaborative community of global problem-solvers.

Fortunately for teachers, the Maker Movement overlaps with the natural inclinations of children and the power of learning by doing. By embracing the lessons of the Maker Movement, educators can revamp the best student-centered (in-fact human-centered) teaching practices to engage learners of all ages.

The big game-changers of the Movement should be on every school’s radar:

• Computer Controlled Fabrication Devices

Over the past few years, devices that fabricate three-dimensional objects have become an affordable reality. These 3D printers can take a design file and output a physical object. Plastic filament is melted and deposited in intricate patterns that
build layer by layer, much like a 2D printer prints lines of dots that line by line create a printed page. With 3D design and printing, students can design and create their own objects.

• Physical Computing

New open-source micro-controllers, sensors, and interfaces connect the physical and digital worlds in ways never before possible. Wearable computing – in which circuits are made with conductive thread-makes textiles smart, flexible, and mobile. Plug-and-play devices that connect small microprocessors to the Internet, to each other, or to any number of sensors mean that low-cost, easy-to-make computational devices can test, monitor, and control your world.

• Programming

Programming is the key to controlling a new world of computational devices and the range of programming languages has never been greater. Today’s modern languages are designed for every purpose and learners of all ages.

Hard Fun and the Process of Design and the breadth of options and the “can-do” attitude espoused by the movement is exactly what students need.

Tinkering is a powerful form of “learning by doing,” an ethos shared by the rapidly expanding Maker Movement community and many educators, that inspires students to dig deeper and construct big ideas. Making learning hands-on honours the learning drive and spirit that is all too often crushed by endless worksheets and vocabulary drills.

Real science and engineering is done through tinkering. We owe it to our children to give them the tools and experiences that actual scientists and engineers use, and we are at that point in time when we can bring these tools and learning opportunities into classrooms. There are multiple pathways to learning what we have always taught, and things to do that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

There are extraordinary young people in every city, every school, and every classroom who deserve the opportunities to express themselves by inventing, creating, and making. All students need experiences that call upon their heads, hearts, and hands.