Involuntary Pleasures

Involuntary Pleasures

Product designer Ted Wiles has a released a video showcasing the interactive household products he completed during his Design Projects course last year.

From a toaster that needs hugging before functionioning, to an alarm clock that buzzes until raised above the head, Wiles’ Involuntary Pleasures products require users to interact with them in ways that stimulate wellbeing.

Ted said: “Involuntary Pleasures developed from a research project into human understanding and interaction with technology. I wanted to design consumer electronics which through their particular use and interaction would force behaviours in the user which would make the user happier.

“My work is closely attuned to human interaction and emotion. Involuntary Pleasures takes the dystopian understanding of technology holding power over humans, and manipulates the power balance so that outcome is for the utopian good of the human user.”

Commenting on his favourite products and the tension between art and design, Ted said: “Achille Castiglioni is my favourite designer. His work is beautifully considered and executed. In particular his Lampadina table lamp is an outstanding piece of product design.

“My work sits within the discipline of Design. However, my combination of function and poetry brings it closer to the Art end of the Design spectrum, as opposed to the Industrial Design end.”

‘Design Products’ is an MA course at the Royal College of Art. The course was started by Ron Arad in the 1990s. Arad choose to name the cause ‘Design Products’ to emphasise the broadness of the course in teaching that a ‘product’ can take many forms. Ted explains: “A product in the form of a piece of furniture is just as valid as a product in the form of an electronic appliance or musical composition or written manifesto.” 

Ted's products are outlined below. 

 

Victory Alarm Clock

To turn off the alarm the user must hold the two actuators and adopt a victory pose for two 

minutes. Enclosed within the hand-held actuators, accelerometers send their position via 

bluetooth back to the base, causing the alarm to stop after two minutes of use. This 

posture increases levels of Testosterone and reduce levels of Cortisol, making the user 

feel more confident and less stressed.

 

Hugging Toaster

Toaster requires the user to embrace it with a hug for the duration of the cooking, 

activating pressure sensors in the body of the object. The act of hugging increases levels 

of Dopamine and Serotonin in the user’s brain whilst reducing heart rate. This increases 

feelings of comfort and happiness

 

Smile Telephone

The Smile Telephone uses a camera a facial metrics scanning to determine the user’s 

facial expression. The user is required to smile at their reflection in order to make and 

receive calls. The telephone forces the user to engage with a positive self image of 

themselves and courses an increase in levels of Serotonin in the brain.

 

Reflective Mirror

The amplified and distorted reflection presented to the user of the Reflective Mirror offers a 

moment of meditative contemplation.

It is a moment to consider one’s self project image. It reminds the user that everything we 

experience is from a subjective perspective.

 

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