Challenge 5: DropTop

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrgN6Cf_EHw Umbrellas have always been seen as purely practical tools used for the functions of blocking the rain or sun. They are literally man-made methods of keeping nature at bay, designed to shelter us during the rare instances we are forced to venture outside. In addition to fulfilling this basic human concern for comfort, the DropTop umbrella is also designed to help us appreciate the wonder of the world around us by re-visualizing everyday weather. According to Desmet and Hekkert, aesthetic experience creates emotional experience. We want to bring a positive and awe-inspiring aestheic experience into people’s daily lives, allowing them to get more in touch with the beauty of the world and directly feel a positive emotional shift. Raindrops hitting the top of our clear umbrella are transformed into glowing dots, mimicking the effect of rain hitting the surface of water. Gusts of wind blowing across DropTop are seen as swirling lines, and the unmistakable beauty of a single ray of sunlight peeking through the clouds becomes an everyday experience. We turn the dreadful rainy walk to the bus stop from a low valence, low arousal experience to a pleasant, activated one, hopping entirely across the diagonal of the circumplex model. DropTop will help you go from “at least it’s not raining” to genuine excitement about the experience of immersing yourself in the rain. Disclaimer: Researchers are still actively working on the pressure-sensitive, color/opacity-changing material we’d use for our umbrellas, so unfortunately we cannot demo this product for you all today.

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