hour-belt
– a sense of time –

Hi, I am Hannes Wilke (24), design student (3rd semester) and examined nurse. The reason why I study integrated design in Dessau is to solve real problems and help real people. Because to me, design is everything, but making things just pretty.
Do you know that shock, when you take a look at your watch and it’s already two hours later, than you thought it was? The comfort of civilization disturbed our natural sense of time dramatically over the last century. Through electric light, night shifts and 24/7-available coffee-to-go our biological clocks became almost unreadable.
The theory of neuroplasticity says, that our brain can learn to handle any information it gets, no matter through which channel. Our brain is absolutely  brilliant in detecting patterns and find sense in them. This means, that we can use our 7 natural given sensors (visual, acoustic, kinesthetic, olfactory, gustatory, temperature-feeling and sense of balance) to sense completely unintended information. If we just code these information as a constant patterned impulse, which can be read by one of our sensory organs, our brains will figure out how to interpret these impulses by itself and decode the information.
Spoken clearly this means, we are able to augment our sensorial experienced world and add new senses to the ones, we were already given by nature.
This sounds unbelievable, but researchers in Osnabrück have proven this theory right.
And now, scientists and designers around the globe are figuring out, how
much potential this mind-blowing exploration has in contexts like prosthetics for the sensory disabled [see here]. As well as adding some more comfort to our lives and make all the digital information feel much more natural [see here].

This seems to be a way to get back, what we almost lost: our sense of time.

The questions was, how to transform the information of time into a feeling.
I did some research and decided, that temperature would be the best way to do that. Because as an permanent impulse, vibration would be too annoying, pressure could harm your skin and sound would overlay other more important information.
So my goal was to build a device, which the user is wearing around his wrist instead of a usual watch. The device should have 12 single heating elements, one for each hour on the clock. So that the heat is running synchronized to the real time around the users wrist. If worn permanent, this will give you a subtile feeling of time and if you focus your concentration, you can „read“ it.
I know this is hard to imagine, and once you pictured it, you want to have the experience. There for I have build an experience prototype, which now is an elastic chest belt with 12 heating foils stitched on it, controlled by a microcontroller. To get the idea faster, I made an interactive 24h time-lapse video. You can now put the chest belt on and as you scroll through the timeline of the video, the heating foil which is related to this hour will become warm.
The next steps would be an intense testing phase and the miniaturization of the device. Therefore I already found a company, based in Saxony, which can produce customized heating foils, fitting my requirements.
If you are now interested in the hour-belt, do not hesitate to contact me.
e-mail: wilkehannes@web.de
/e-mail: hannes.wilke@student.design.hs-anhalt.de

Hannes Wilke
Supervising tutor: Prof. Hermann Klöckner
Institute: Anhalt University of Applied Science – Departement of Design