Urban Nomad

Provotypes – provocative prototypes. The designer as an agent provocateur – provocation as communication.

The term of the “prototype” is a wordplay for provocative prototypes which means to use a prototype in a provocative way as a method to define outstanding questions in research. The provotype helps us to understand how people handle phenomena they hadn’t questioned before – by confronting them with situations which represent a new experience. The difference from other creativity-methods which analyse the views of people relating to future questions is that the provotype allows a tangible and interactive discussion. The distinction from a design-prototype consists in the extraordinary and provocative functionality of the provotype which doesn’t have to be transferable to the market but shows new possibilities in applied technology-research. The term “provotype” was developed by Preben Morgensen in his paper “Towards a Provotyping approach in systems development” in 1992.


Urban nomads live in a lot of cities at the same time, traveling only with a few things, which they want to use efficiently. For work they don’t need anything more than a laptop and a smartphone, but they still want to have the objects they use the most with them at all time. So they’re having a custom all-in-one object made, that includes a useful household article, a personal free time article and a helpful travel tool, because they wouldn’t even use more than these three articles from these three categories. The all-in-one objects will produce energy by themselves so that they don’t need any external power supply.

The urban nomad #1 decided to combine a flat iron, a table tennis racket and a luggage scale. With his “Bügeltenniswaage” he can produce energy while playing table tennis, which than can be used for ironing and weighing.

Using an Arduino Pro Mini, a Peltier, a motor driver, a piezo, a pressure sensor and few LEDs I made a prototype for the first urban nomad object.


Skills used:

Arduino, Prototyping

Completed in:



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