Pleasurable Troublemaker by Jan Brechmann | 2013
Supervised by Matthias Laschke, Marc Hassenzahl and Marion Digel

The paper presents a study about ReMind. The object itself was designed in a supervised thesis project by Jan Brechmann. Jan based his project on our “Aesthetic of Friction” and we designed a beautiful pleasurable troublemaker together. Subsequently I built a fully functional prototype and conducted a study over the course of 15 days.

ReMind in its several parts

ReMind in its several parts

ReMind is a “pleasurable troublemaker” deliberately designed to make people reflect about and help them to overcome procrastination. It as a tangible, wall mounted calendar/todo-list-like object, continuously confronting its users with their self-set personal goals. It consists of a wooden ring with a diameter of about ca. 65 centimeters, a rectangular motor on the top and ten magnetic pucks fitted with post-it blocks.

Each puck represents a personal goal. As long as a central advice is to set a realistic number of personal goals, the number of pucks was deliberately limited to ten. This also facilitates a more thorough reflection on and choice of the goals to be achieved next. The wooden ring has 31 sections (i.e., days), each labeled with a number. Each section offers space for a single task to achieve at this day. Again, ReMind supports realistic goal setting by limiting the number of tasks assigned to a single day. Instead it draws attention to the period of a whole month to sequence and space personal goals. As time goes by, the ring turns clockwise one section each day (months with less than 31 days are adjusted by passing through these days). The top represents the current day. It consists of a barrier, where unattended goals heap – not unlike real life. If there are too many goals idling at the barrier, they fall down, one after the other. ReMind quite literally throws unattended goals at its user. Picking up a puck from the floor becomes picking up the goal. It creates a moment of choice: The user can complete the task now, put it back on hold by picking a new date, or abandon it altogether – by sweeping it under the carpet.

For a detailed description please watch the video and read the study in the paper.