Tim Devine

Faraday Handkerchief

Device Shifting shift the behaviour of how a human relates to a device by either occupying it, lowering its level of possible engagement or transforming its input or output with a mass produceable accessory.

Device Shifting is applied critical design. By designing accessories it is possible to affect and engage with established interrelationships, interdependencies and behaviours with the devices. The four accessories documented in this thesis are as close as I could come to creating the appearance of mass produced accessories for mass produced products. Being not designed for a gallery, they are designed to be consumed in the same environments we purchase our devices. By achieving a high standard of production they engage with the rhetoric of consumption and can be effectively critical. The more believable they are as ‘real’ products the more functional they are as applied critical design.

The first Device Shifting accessory is the Faraday Handkerchief. Using the inherent faraday properties of conductive fabric it is able to block network signals to a mobile device. A faraday cage functions by creating a lattice that is smaller than the wavelength of frequencies it is intended to block, acting as a net that disperses and absorbs the signal.

The weave of the conductive fabric used for the handkerchief is Med Tex 130 ? 99% pure silver plated polyamide and elastomer. Med Tex 130 has natural antimicrobial properties and is normally used in medical applications. The silver absorbs the radio waves and the nylon gives it soft fabric qualities. The resulting effect is mysterious whereby wrapping a seemingly normal piece of cloth around a mobile phone cloaks all of its functionality except for maybe an alarm clock.

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