As mentioned before, the topic of the past two weeks has been Social Computing & Sustainability. Jay from Intel gave a brief talk on the idea of social computing and how it relates to some of the system-on-a-chip technologies that Intel may be working with. But one item from that presentation which really stuck out was this Carrotmob video. The video and concept have nothing to do with social computing per se, but I think it can be assumed it wouldn’t be possible to achieve what Carrotmob did without social computing. Showing what websites, mobile phone apps and whatever else were used would not really add anything to this video.
From this point of view and from a sustainability point of view, this video is well worth watching. And from a design point of view, it’s a great example of concept testing, experience prototyping, etc… The concept is designed for large corporations, but they were able to test it in a local market and prove its feasibility.
It makes me think of the project I am currently working on, a video scenario about a government initiative that helps reduce energy consumption. Our video focuses a lot on the touchpoints involved (websites & mobile phone apps). But can it not be assumed that any new, forward thinking service will be utilizing these? I think the Carrotmob video showed us this. So for our video, which as an Interaction Design project requires some of these touchpoints, we really have to think of some creative ways to make them new and fresh.
Taco Lab "Taco Lab is a hybrid design and engineering firm specializing in interfaces and interactions. We are designers who craft experiences people will love. We are engineers who build these experiences."
Stimulant "Stimulant conceives, designs, and develops digital experiences that inspire wonder for places, contexts, and devices where none usually exists."
Tobias showing us energy efficiency projects which he found interesting
We have begun our first “Industry Project” for which we have the privilege of collaborating with Jay Melican, a Design Researcher at Intel’s Digital Home Group. The topic of this two week project is Social Computing for Sustainability and we will be exploring “the roles of the individual and the collective in achieving sustainable behaviors change and effective residential energy/resource management.” I should mention that only half our class is working on the Intel project while the other half is working with DSB - the Danish train company. Not coincidentally, their brief is also about sustainability (read Eilidh’s blog for details about that project).
What I did find coincidental though was that the project I just finished (Meet the Food You Eat) also had to do with sustainability. However I have come across some blog articles tonight that are making me realize what a perfect challenge sustainability is for Interaction Designers.
Our medium = behavior
Sustainability = a problem of behavior
Sustainability = our problem
It’s an interesting equation and something to think about. A great example of this comes from the design consulting firm Cooper. They have done a service concept called Economizer which is very close to the sort of projects we are talking about right now. But besides being about sustainability, the following videos are also excellent examples of communication, prototyping and interaction design.
During some down time on the TUI project, Sid laser cut a camera mount for his bicycle. He let me borrow it so I could make a video of my commute to school this morning. The song is Black Power by Danish rapper Per Vers (apparently it’s about coffee). Enjoy!
In the final exhibition, the motor in this thing got so hot it started melting the acrylic and in the end we had to shut it off. But yesterday we got it working again so we could put together this video. It’s a noisy prototype, but you would be surprised how much power was required to lift that package of potatoes.
During our project Meet the Food You Eat, we often debated on whether the scale was the right metaphor for measuring the environmental impact of food. The first prototype we presented to the class resembled the traditional balance like the one pictured above. This caused a lot of confusion with our classmates because in their mind, this was not a tool for analytical measurement but a symbol of balance (good vs. evil, the scales of justice, etc…). This is why our final prototype did not use the form of a hanging balance, but instead a beam balance typically found in science classrooms, kitchens, etc…
Anyway, it is good to see this metaphor being used other places. The image above was from a French newspaper article about carbon emission and orange juice. Thanks for the link Yasmine!