To better contextualize and understand the suit’s different functions, it was important for the group to construct a fidelity prototype that would explain the physical aspects of Bubble Pop Electric. The group needed to visualize and get a better grasp of the gravitational consequences, especially that of the bubbles, and discuss relative positions of the many gadgets we planned to construct. We used all kinds of materials from construction papers to balloons to explain the suit’s functions at the most basic level. 

As shown in the pictures, we constructed the hat and the activation belt. We also used balloons to represent the stretch sensors on the suit. The hat was to serve as a decorative and interactive component of the suit. It would read the noise level of the crowd and translate it to different levels of LEDs. However, the presentation during class challenged the design to reconsider the necessity and the functionality of the hat. The appearance, even considering that it was a fidelity prototype, did not harmonize with the suit and had too little to do with the actual musical component of the rest of the suit. So we decided to get rid of the hat and bring the LEDs on to the suit.

The bubble belt posed a problem with fitting. Bubbles would have to be firmly attached to the suit to ensure flexibility. Also, the weight of each bubble, the number, and the distribution would have to be compromised with how much the fabric can handle. We needed to construct an easy-to-reach and -carry bubbles. The stretch suit was highly representational and would later be sewed on to the suit. The demonstration also emphasized the need to sync music and assign bubbles with appropriate music clips to ensure that the suit created beautifully mixed music instead of an ill-synchronized mash.

The prototyping process and the class discussion paved a nice road to the next step of the design process: the horizontal and feasibility prototype. We encountered far more realistic problems and concerns regarding the actual construction synced with functionality.

The most important component of the suit was the bubble: one that can be manipulated with a potentiometer. The potentiometer’s range was syned to the volume of the music as well as the LED’s brightness. We decided to use plastic Christmas tree ornaments as the main structure because they represented the smooth, light, and transparent surface we had originally envisioned. And using the laser cutter, we created an acrylic backing on to which the potentiometer was to be situated. With Alex working on the Logochip to program the bubble through pymedia, the bubble functioned quite well. In order to diffuse the LED light, we spray-painted the the bubble mainly from the inside with pearl spray.

We came across some major concerns: the bubble was too heavy and appeared heavy as well.

The acrylic backing especially didn’t hang  well to the suit, and imagining 12 of them on one suit seemed impossible.We needed to reconstruct the bubble with lighter material and resize the bubble for a better grasp. Later in class discussion, we also decided to replace the bulky breadboard with Arduino Lilypad for weight and appearance reasons. Both the fidelity and feasibility prototypes brought up practical and realistic problems. We were glad they were addressed before the actual construction, and the prevention saved us costs and time, with a realization of how important prototyping is for TUI.