Mini Challenge 2: Magic Machines

Welcome to the second Mini Challenge for the OzCHI Student Design Challenge 2017.

The aim of this mini challenge is to help you find different ways and ideas to solve the problem that your team has identified during the first hours of this competition. In this mini challenge, you will utilise an adaptation of the “magic machine” method described in this paper.

The “magic machine” method is a design fiction method that can be used for fostering the creation of new design concepts to solve a problem, by creating absurd solutions from lo-fi materials. Magic machines are imaginary devices that can do anything that you imagine, even if it is not realistic or feasible as a real technology.

For this mini challenge, your team will create a magic machine to solve a problem relating to the challenge topic of design for sharing. Drawing on your team’s brainstorming and discussion, you should choose a problem or issue and use this as a starting point for the creation of the magic machine.

Mini challenge 2 is due to 5PM AEST.

Here is a description of the steps to follow for this mini challenge, the expected outcome, and an example of what you should post to your blog:


Step 1: Define your problem together in one sentence or two.

Step 2: Create a lo-fi prototype of “magic machine” that can solve this problem (and tell us how). It can be a simple drawing, or an imaginary device made of cardboard, or made up of existing objects.

Step 3: Create a blog post that presents your magic machine and summarises the features you like and dislike about it. Make a list of the things that make this magic machine solve your problem, and of what you think that can contribute to finding a feasible solution for your project.

Expected outcome:

You must publish the following on your blog:

  1. Photos and brief descriptions (a couple of sentences) of your magic machine
  2. A table with the things you like and dislike about your magic machine, and a list of things that you learnt from the magic machine that can contribute to your solution.


Things we like Things we dislike Things that could contribute to our solution


In this example, we present an imaginary problem, a photos that show the magic machine and how it works, and a filled table as the presented above.

Problem: Sometimes a person needs to make important decisions that can affect his/her partner, and it is not possible to get the other person’s opinion on that moment.

Magic machine:

This glasses-gloves set can make you take control of your partner’s movements. The glasses allow you to see in real time everything that your partner is seeing. The glove allows you to take full control of the partner’s right hand movement.

Example Magic Machine

Photos taken with an iPhone, collage made with the Photo Collage Editor app on Android.


Things we like

– Real-time connection

– Real-time influence

Things we dislike

– Privacy issues

– Too much power for who controls movement

Things that could contribute to our solution:

– Real-time awareness of opinion

– It would be good to find a way to subtly communicate opinions in real time


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