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Posts in category 'Prototype'

6 December 2013

UK Cabinet Office policy lab aims to create designer public services

Airport design

Public service design is about to hit the mainstream. In December the Cabinet Office will launch a new policy lab tasked with using design to “re-invigorate policymaking in the UK civil service”, reports The Guardian.

The new lab to be launched in December will work with departments on their toughest problems, drawing on design methods such as ethnography to shed new light on what services people really need, and what a better solution might look like.

“Most design in the public sector is focused on transactions with government, such as applying for a passport. Much less has been done on design for improving human services such as drug rehabilitation. Even where design is deployed, it is usually only used to reshape a particular service not redesign the system surrounding it. So although some have designed to cut reoffending, designers have not yet had the chance to explore why offending is happening in the first place.

Moreover, design needs to learn from other public service fields, such as behavioural economics and social finance. The public service design revolution is just beginning.”

27 October 2013

Book: Speculative Everything

speculative_everything

Speculative Everything
Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming
By Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby
MIT Press
Jan 2014, 200 pages
[Amazon link]

Today designers often focus on making technology easy to use, sexy, and consumable. In Speculative Everything, Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby propose a kind of design that is used as a tool to create not only things but ideas. For them, design is a means of speculating about how things could be—to imagine possible futures. This is not the usual sort of predicting or forecasting, spotting trends and extrapolating; these kinds of predictions have been proven wrong, again and again. Instead, Dunne and Raby pose “what if” questions that are intended to open debate and discussion about the kind of future people want (and do not want).

Speculative Everything offers a tour through an emerging cultural landscape of design ideas, ideals, and approaches. Dunne and Raby cite examples from their own design and teaching and from other projects from fine art, design, architecture, cinema, and photography. They also draw on futurology, political theory, the philosophy of technology, and literary fiction. They show us, for example, ideas for a solar kitchen restaurant; a flypaper robotic clock; a menstruation machine; a cloud-seeding truck; a phantom-limb sensation recorder; and devices for food foraging that use the tools of synthetic biology. Dunne and Raby contend that if we speculate more—about everything—reality will become more malleable. The ideas freed by speculative design increase the odds of achieving desirable futures.

Anthony Dunne is Professor and Head of Interaction Design at the Royal College of Art. He is also a Partner in the design practice Dunne & Raby, London.

Fiona Raby is Professor of Industrial Design at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, and Reader in Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art.

> Video of Speculative Everything lecture by Anthony Dunne

9 September 2013

From nice view to amazing journey: UNstudio and Experientia transforming the observation wheel experience

 

An architectural rendering of the Giant Observation Wheel, to be built in an undisclosed location in Japan.
Click on image to view slideshow
 

Recently, Fast Company, Dezeen Magazine and Wired have featured articles about UNStudio’s design for the Nippon Moon, a Giant Observation Wheel (GOW) to be located in Japan that could rival the London Eye and Singapore Flyer. To make the Nippon Moon unique, UNStudio teamed up with Experientia to create a journey that takes the customer into the heart of the view, and helps to bring the landscape to life in an immersive, innovative experience.

UNStudio invited Experientia to develop the interactive aspects of the project, while engineers Arup and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are collaborating on the technical specifications. From a distance, UNStudio’s concept may look similar to the well-known observation wheels of London and Singapore. As UNStudio notes, the wheel’s look is governed by structural constraints (defined by Arup and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries — two of the world’s most specialised wheel engineers), as well as by the location and the size of the wheel. But closer up, the concept is highly innovative, creating a complete user experience where the journey is much more enduring than the 40-minute rotation on the wheel itself.

Architecturally speaking, there are several innovations which make the Nippon Moon stand out. Although the size and location are currently undisclosed publically, UNStudio confirms that it will be nearly twice the scale of the London Eye. It also features double-decker capsules – a world first. But it is the focus on user experience aspects that make the wheel concept truly unique.

Experientia researched the various experiences of the customer journey from “Discovery” and “Ride” to “Return”, and designed various touchpoints and applications. The discovery moment starts as people begin to find out information about the wheel and purchase tickets online. With the Nippon Moon app, interactive features allow people to choose the time of their ride and their capsule, each of which has a unique internal theme. The app also builds excitement over the interim, sharing views from the top of the wheel and counting down to when customers start their rides. On the day of the ride, people can use the app to keep track of how long until it is their turn to board, allowing them to move within the facility freely, and avoiding queues.

Once on board, the experience of looking out at a city landscape is transformed by augmented reality techniques, built into the transparent skin of the capsules. Imagine looking out at a city skyscraper, for example, and being able to see how tall it is compared to towers around the world, or compared to Godzilla. The augmented reality offers viewers the option to immerse themselves in the historical and cultural relevance of the landscape they are looking at – or they can choose to simply enjoy the unenhanced view.

Experiences are shared however, and the app also allows riders to interact with each other. The Nippon Moon app lets people communicate the other capsules during the ride, or to send their own photos to the Hall of Fame, where they will see them displayed in a dynamic digital photo installation as they leave the facility. With original concepts and high-tech implementation, a ride on the wheel will become a truly unforgettable experience.

To read more about the wheel, check out the articles in Fast Company, Dezeen and Wired:
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3017693/in-wheel-life-spinning-the-worlds-largest-ferris-wheel
http://www.dezeen.com/2013/09/02/gow-nippon-moon-by-unstudio/
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-09/03/nippon-moon-giant-wheel

 

GOW Nippon Moon, Japan, 2012

Client: UNStudio
Location: Japan
Programme: Giant Observation Wheel
Building surface: Terminal and platform 7.200m2
Building volume: Terminal and platform 90.000m3
Building site: 18.000m2
Capsules: 32, single and double-decked
Platform level: 21m
Wheel type: ‘Ladder rim’, hybrid tension wheel
Pylon: 5-columned pylon
Rotation speed: 40min/rotation
Status: Design

 

Credits

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Gerard Loozekoot with Frans van Vuure, Filippo Lodi and Harlen Miller, Jan Kokol, Wendy van der Knijff, Todd Ebeltoft, Tina Kortmann, Patrik Noome, Jeroen den Hertog, Iain Jamieson

Advisors

Engineer: Arup Tokyo + Melbourne

Interactive design and customer journey: Experientia, Italy:
- Jan-Christoph Zoels | Creative Director
- Takumi Yoshida | Interaction Designer
- Renzi Guisti | Interaction Designer
- John Welch | Interaction + service designer
- Eloisa Fontana | Interaction Designer

Animation: Submarine, Amsterdam

Visualisation: MIR

12 December 2012

Designing a carsharing service that can play a truly relevant role in people’s lives

volkswagen001

Brand experience agency edenspiekermann_ and Volkswagen’s Service Innovation Team explored what it takes to define a service that would play a relevant role in people’s lives.

“We started with: Who are the people that use carsharing? How can we expand the service to exceed their expectations? How do people find, explore and adopt this new service? How can we design a service that is easy, enjoyable, useful and valuable? We mapped out and designed the customer journey along the different touchpoints of a carsharing service.

We explored every touchpoint: from the key that opens the door, to the iPhone App to find a car on the street, to the signs that indicate a reserved parking spot. We developed prototypical solutions and tested them with real users in real environments. Also, in-depth interviews brought insights into what works and what does not. We burned through thousands of post-its to record all aspects of what we learned in our tests. It was a reality check. At Edenspiekermann service design goes way beyond research. We win insights by creating refined prototypes that provide a sophisticated experience to users.”

The current commercial version of Volkswagen’s carsharing service is „Quicar“, available in Hannover.

13 November 2012

How 3 million hours of user-testing fixed the Jawbone Up

jawbone

Pulled from store shelves after a month, the first high-profile wearable activity tracker was a humiliation for Jawbone. Now, the Up is back, and anyone vying for a stake in wearable tech should pay close attention to the product’s resurrection, according to Fast Company.

Interestingly, Jawbone advocates an entirely new (and rather questionable) use of the term ‘ethnographic’.

“Their own internal product testing was coupled with what Jawbone calls “one of the largest ethnographic studies you could imagine.” While they say most consumer gadgets might see eight weeks of limited field testing, theirs lasted 46 weeks, or just short of three million hours of beta testers living with the Up.”

In fact, it was more about a huge series of iterative prototypes:

“It was ultimately ‘hundreds and hundreds of different designs, each being tested one by one’ that evolved the Up into what’s returning to store shelves today. That’s hundreds and hundreds of different designs that the end user will never see, that can’t be slapped on a box as a selling feature, and that very few small companies could ever afford to do. But in the end, the Up may go down in history as one of the first wearable devices that just works (the second time around, at least).”

18 October 2012

Spacebrew, an open source toolkit for creating interactive spaces

spacebrew

Spacebrew is a new software – currently in beta release – for prototyping and producing interactive spaces.

It was developed by the Interaction Lab at the Rockwell Group, led by the (very bearded) Co-Chiefs James Tichenor (who studied at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea) and Joshua Walton.

When looking at the various options that can enable Internet of Things environments, the team realized that they were mostly closed solutions that didn’t play well with others. In response, Spacebrew is an MIT licensed open software toolkit free for use in commercial and non-commercial projects. Their hope is that it becomes something that can bridge groups together to allow them to focus on creating new and meaningful experiences.

The downloads page contains examples for Processing, Javascript, and connecting Arduino as well as links to github and social media. Mre examples with Openframeworks, Python, Electric Imp, and Cosm will be published soon.

Although not yet publicly launched, the team is now sharing it early in order get feedback and involvement from the larger community of people interested in interactive spaces.

This video gives a sense of the kinds of projects people are able to connect together with Spacebrew.

28 May 2012

Experientia concept video for a sustainable trade fair centre

event_6

The Event project for Kortrijk Xpo, Belgium, developed concepts for how to make trade fairs and temporary events more sustainable.

Experientia® developed the resulting concepts into a video, showcasing four of the best concepts in action.

The video of these concepts is now online on Experientia’s vimeo channel.

The “Virtual Xpo” concept focused on ways to reduce travel and to encourage lower-impact travel to expositions.

“Living Kortrijk” envisioned ways to make the expo centre’s sustainable values and solutions available throughout the city.

The “Booth dashboard” visualises the carbon impact and/or savings of creating each expo booth, as well as its energy use during the event.

“Eco-fair network” proposes a collective, global movement to make expo centres more sustainable.

28 May 2012

Video online of Experientia’s mobile phone concepts for emerging markets

developing-markets_7

Experientia® has posted a new video on its vimeo channel, showcasing mobile phone concepts for emerging markets.

The video was made three years ago for a project in developing markets for Vodafone, but we can only show it now.

Set in India, the video introduces a suite of mobile phone concepts to help people at the economic Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) in emerging markets carry out daily tasks, such as package delivery, travelling home alone, or accessing the internet for the first time. It imagines solutions outside of the usual commercial alternatives, taking advantage of existing networks and workflows.

Detailed background on the project can be found in our “Developing markets” project description.

23 May 2012

Design prototypes as boundary objects in innovation processes

 

Holger Rhinow, Eva Köppen, and Christoph Meinel: Design Prototypes as Boundary Objects in Innovation Processes. Conference Paper in the Proceedings of the 2012 International Conference on Design Research Society (DRS 2012), Bangkok, Thailand, July 2012

Abstract:

In our paper we focus on how design prototypes can foster communications in organizations that deal with the development of innovations. We distinguish the impact of prototypes between two different organizational levels; we first conduct the impact of prototypes at the level of organizational design teams that develop ideas and concepts for solutions. We then focus on the impact of prototypes on the level of organizational teams and departments that have not been part of the initial design phase but are responsible for further developments in the innovation process, e.g. production, financing, and marketing.

Previous research has indicated that prototypes have a significant influence on both organizational levels. Prototypes, in the best cases, can become so-called boundary objects between different domains and stakeholders and may deliver positive effects within the innovation process. However, the successful management of stakeholders in this context remains highly challenging. In this paper we want to address these difficulties as well as the current state of research in this field. We propose that a prototype does not only stand for an important design technique but should moreover be regarded as a management tool that can be integrated into a structured dialogue between stakeholders. We provide first insights on what a structured dialogue, based on prototypes, can mean and what it thereby should imply. We will synthesize prior research findings and begin to develop a concept on how to utilize prototypes as boundary objects from a management perspective.

23 May 2012

Ecosystems rule over products now. Here’s how Samsung’s designers are coping

 

In order for designers to navigate the complex ecosystem of digital platforms, they’ll need to master business modeling and become comfortable working across disciplines, says Samsung’s design chief, Sunghan Kim.

The big design leadership challenge is the familiar one of managing design’s input and role in large cross-functional teams. “Design is more of a community-based activity now,” he reflects. “For designers to succeed, they need to be able to collaborate with team members from different disciplines. We mull over to what extent product and service designers need to become with familiar with business modeling, or merely work effectively alongside business analysts. For Sunghan, it’s both. Just as in the Noughties, many product, UX, and service designers taught themselves how to code, in his view, designers in the coming decade will need to have a working knowledge of business modeling, especially at the concept stage, and learn multidisciplinary collaboration for the development phase.”

Read article

9 September 2011

What does it mean to design public services?

Prototyping framework
Design thinking and techniques can help create radical innovations needed to meet the challenges facing local communities and services, says Philip Colligan, executive director of Nesta‘s public services lab.

“What we’re now learning is that there are low-cost and low-risk ways to apply design techniques like prototyping to innovation for even the most sensitive of social challenges. We’re also finding it’s possible for public servants to learn those techniques and that has got to be a priority for any organisation trying to find innovative solutions to big social challenges.”

Read article

Note that Nesta and thinkpublic have recently published a framework for prototyping in public services.

28 June 2011

Achieving a sense of home for people who travel extensively

Home Awareness prototype
One of the people presenting at the DPPI conference in Milan last week was Aviaja Borup Lynggaard, an industrial Ph.D. scholar at Bang & Olufsen (B&O), attached to the Aarhus School of Architecture and Aarhus University.

Her very interesting Ph.D. project – which aims to inspire new B&O products – is called On the move – creating domesticity through experience design. It is part of the larger research project Mobile Home Center, which receives funding from Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation.

The project explores how to achieve a sense of home for people who travel extensively.

Together with researchers from The Danish School of Education, Aarhus University and the Aarhus School of Architecture, Aviaja Borup Lynggaard sets out to map how people manage a mobile lifestyle and to develop prototypes and concepts for products and services.

The project is guided by home researcher and anthropologist Ida Winther’s definition of the phenomenon home as an activity, ‘homing’, defined as something one does to achieve a sense of being at home, wherever one is currently located.

The goal is to study how interaction design can help promote this sense of home and facilitate homing.

Aviaja Borup Lynggaard’s project is focused on people who have an extremely mobile lifestyle, including B&O customers with heavy travel activity between multiple homes or hotels.

The project applies a user-centred design process that actively involves the customers in the design process from start to finish through ethnographic studies, interviews and trials of concepts and prototypes for new products.

The Ph.D. project will foster a range of products and services for subsequent development at B&O.

Three recent papers provide more background:

Home awareness – connecting people sensuously to places (pdf – 09/2010)
People living a global lifestyle connect remotely to their families while away from home. In this paper we identify a need for connecting with a home as the physical place itself. For this purpose we introduce the concept of Home Awareness that connects people sensuously to remote places through sound, light and feeling of temperature. A working prototype has been successfully tested and we present some results from early user studies.

Tactics for homing in mobile life – a fieldwalk study of extremely mobile people (pdf – 09/2010)
For many people home making is an activity, which extends beyond a single house. We introduce the terminology of Homing as the act of home making, when in a primary home, secondary home or more temporary spaces. By point of departure in existing literature on home making and through ethnographic studies of extremely mobile people we identify general tactics for homing. We present the identified tactics and show how people deploy not only one but several tactics in their intention of making a homely feeling despite not being in their primary home.
Reviewing the mobile technologies currently in use we argue that several of the tactics identified are currently not well supported. We discuss how technology design can learn from this study through pointing to the potential in designing mobile technologies to better support these unsupported tactics.
We consider the tactics as a tool for deeper understanding of mobile practices and thus informing the design of more relevant future technologies for people engaged in a mobile lifestyle.

On the move : creating domesticity through experience design (pdf – 10/2010)
This paper is a summary of the Ph.D. project about home and mobility. The project concerns design for mobile life and through various prototypes it is an investigation of how to support the act of home making away from the primary home.

18 April 2011

Tech mogul? Nope. Any old hack will do.

Maker
The Washington Post describes the world and the impact of everyday hackers who use social networks, do-it-yourself-then-show-it-off Web sites, cheap parts from China, and blissfully simple microprocessors to modify or invent new electronic products for their houses, cars, offices and back yards.

“Recent studies show consumers now spend more money tweaking and inventing stuff than consumer product firms spend on research and development. It’s more than $3.75 billion a year in Britain, and U.S. studies under way now show similiar patterns. Makers are even morphing into entrepreneurs, with some of the best projects, including Kleinman’s, raising money for commercial development of self-funding Web sites such as Kickstarter, where anyone with a credit card can chip in to back cool ideas.

Major companies such as Ford are, after years of resisting inventor gadflies, inviting makers to submit product tweaks. “This is the democratization of technology,” said K. Venkatesh Prasad, a senior engineering executive at Ford.

“Policymakers and economists always assumed that consumers just consumed and that they don’t innovate,” said Eric von Hippel, who studies technological innovation and makers at MIT’s business school. “What’s clearly happening now is that all of a sudden it’s easier for us to make exactly what we want.””

Read article

11 October 2010

Experientia supporting Flemish applied research on mobility and sustainability

Flanders InShape
Experientia is excited to be working on two applied research projects for Flanders InShape, a Flemish design promotion agency that supports and advises small and mid-size companies in Flanders, Belgium on matters related to product development and design.

The ASSIST project, in collaboration with Enthoven Associates, is focused on improving mobility and communications for people with motor disabilities, whereas the EVENT project (conducted with FutureProofed) supports Kortrijk Xpo in becoming the most sustainable trade fair and congress complex in Belgium and one of the top five most sustainable fair complexes in Europe by 2020.

With these applied research projects, Flanders InShape aims to augment the efficiency and effectiveness of product development in Flanders and to improve the competitive position of Flemish companies through the development of products with higher added value for the customer.

ASSIST – Improving mobility and communications for people with motor disabilities

The Assist project, which Experientia conducts in collaboration with acclaimed Belgian design consultancy Enthoven Associates and care organisations Centrum voor Zorgtechnologie and In-HAM, aims to develop new concept ideas for assistive technologies for people with motor disabilities, using a people-centred design process. Although aimed at a Flemish context, the project focuses on international technological and design projects.

In the first phase of the project, Experientia has conducted a comprehensive benchmarking of current assistive device solutions for people with walking difficulties. The benchmark explores both on-body assistive devices, which are always in contact with motor disabled people, such as wheelchairs, rollators and standers; and assistive environments, including public transportation, mobile applications and accessibility.

Experientia will also contribute to the creation of scenarios for use during contextual observation to validate the design opportunities found in the benchmark. Enthoven Associates is currently conducting the user research and jointly the partners will then take the insights further, supported by a creative workshop to generate ideas, into design concepts.

EVENT – Sustainable event management project

The Event project sees Experientia team up with Futureproofed, a sustainable design consultancy, and Kortrijk Xpo, a conference and trade fair venue in Kortrijk, Belgium, to explore ways to make events more sustainable. The ambitious goal of this project is to make Kortrijk Xpo the most sustainable trade fair and congress complex in Belgium and one of the top five most sustainable fair complexes in Europe by 2020.

Trade fairs, congresses and events are key areas of concern for sustainability, because they involve a large number of diverse players both directly and indirectly (e.g. stand builders, lighting installers, textile manufacturers, etc.) and because time criteria often become more important during assembly, disassembly and transport, than any concern for sustainability.

This project will explore how impact can be best achieved, though good planning, preparation and usage of the right materials and products.

Futureproofed will carry out a carbon footprint analysis of Kortrijk Xpo, whereas Experientia will benchmark international best practice on sustainability for trade shows, expositions, and major public events. Together with Futureproofed, we will build a behavioural change framework, and conduct participatory workshops and concept development for more sustainable practices.

This exciting project builds on the themes that Experientia is currently exploring in our Low2No project in Helsinki, and is in keeping with our overall company commitment to sustainability.

10 October 2010

Ford’s design principles for automotive interfaces

Automotive interface prototype
The New York Times reports on how car designers have recognised the challenge of keeping vehicles’ controls up to date in an era when technology evolves far more quickly than automakers can move.

“Ford’s goal in establishing a set of design principles for automotive interfaces that would be consistently applied to all models was to improve what it called the cabin experience. The program was given the internal code name HAL. [...]

The guidelines that resulted from the program, a sort of universal logic for all the cars’ switches and systems, helped shape the dashboard controls in the redesigned Ford Edge and Explorer. The standards will apply to future Ford models around the world.”

Read article

3 September 2010

The future of screen technology

Alarm
TAT, a Swedish software technology and mobile interface design company, recently ran a two-week open innovation experiment, during which they collaborate with the web community to sketch out an idea for two weeks and then build a video of the concept that gets most contribution and attention – measured in votes, ideas, and comments.

They concentrated the open innovation on three areas: the future of driving, the future of communication, and the future of screen technology.

The latter – screen technology – became the winner of the initiative. After concept design and video production, which TAT conducted internally, the movie which aims to showcase user interfaces in 2014 is now ready and available online.

Watch video

2 September 2010

Interactions magazine on human nuances

Interactions
The current issue of Interactions Magazine is generally on the nuances of what makes us human, writes co-editor-in-chief Jon Kolko, and more in particular “about authenticity, complexity, and design-and the political, social, and human qualities of our work”.

Here are the articles that are currently available for free:

interactions: authenticity, complexity, and design
by Jon Kolko
Frequently, designers find themselves reflecting on the nuances of what makes us human, including matters of cognitive psychology, social interaction, and the desire for emotional resonance. This issue of interactions unpacks all of these ideas, exploring the gestalt of interaction design’s influence.

The meaning of affinity and the importance of identity in the designed world
by Matthew Jordan
When a designer is thinking about ways to create experiences that deliver meaningful and lasting connections to users, it is helpful to consider the notion of our personal affinities and how they affect perception, adoption, and use in the designed world. In our cover story, Matthew Jordan explores the term “affinity,” leading us to consider new and useful ways of informing design thinking and ultimately help us design with more success.

Why “the conversation” isn’t necessarily a conversation
by Ben McAllister
Architects have long understood that the structures we inhabit can influence not only the way we feel, but also the way we behave. This turns out to be true in digital environments like social networks, too. Subtle differences in the underlying structures of these networks give rise to distinct patterns of behavior.

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst: interaction design and the tipping point
by Eli Blevis and Shunying Blevis
Typical interaction designers are not climate scientists, but interaction designers can make well-informed use of climate sciences and closely related sciences. Interaction design can make scientific information, interpretations, and perspectives available in an accessible and widely distributed form so that people’s consciousness is raised.

Gestural interfaces: a step backwards in usability
by Donald Norman and Jakob Nielsen
The new gestural and touch interfaces can be a pleasure to use and a pleasure to see. But the lack of consistency and inability to discover operations, coupled with the ease of accidentally triggering actions from which there is no recovery, threatens the viability of these systems. We urgently need to return to our basics, developing usability guidelines for these systems that are based upon solid principles of interaction design, not on the whims of the company-interface guidelines and arbitrary ideas of developers.

All look same? A comparison of experience design and service design
by Jodi Forlizzi
The comparison of experience design (or UX, as it has been labeled) and service design seems to be a topic of interest in the interaction design community. Can we and should we articulate differences among these fields? Can the methods and knowledge of one successfully transfer to another?

Relying on failures in design research
by Nicolas Nova
The investigation of accidents within a larger process can be inspiring from a design viewpoint. Surfacing people’s problematic reactions when confronted with invisible pieces of technologies highlights their mental model and eventually has implications for design.

Solving complex problems through design
by Steve Baty
What is it about design that makes it so well suited to solving complex problems? Why is design thinking such a promising avenue for business and government tackling seemingly intractable problems?

On academic knowledge production
by Jon Kolko
Now, as design enjoys the corporate credibility of “design thinking” and with the social problems confronting the world growing increasingly intractable, the need for bridging the gap between practitioners and academics is more important than ever.

8 June 2010

Rapid prototyping at UNICEF

UNICEF
On 10-11 May, UNICEF New York organised the Design Days, where they invited designers and engineers who have worked with UNICEF to discuss the organisation, the (rapid prototyping) design process, and recommendations for future design collaborations.

They have now produced a video that is a synopsis of the projects, themes and trouble-shooting expressed at the event.

“We have edited down a conversation between UNICEF sponsored rapid design prototypers to profile what they have created in order to respond to and alleviate actual needs of families and children. This video is intended to help make transparent the iterative process that development must undergo in order to create a new device that can respond to global concerns. Also touched on are ways for the organization to make the process of creating prototypes more streamlined, and to take what is developed and make it open source in order to create a sustainable and beneficial outcome to those that need it.”

Watch video

21 May 2010

BeAware – Boosting Energy Awareness

BeAware
BeAware, an EU-supported research project, has created a solution to motivate and empower citizens to become active energy consumers, by offering them the opportunity to raise awareness of their own power consumption in real time.

Energy Life includes a mobile phone application and an ambient interface that makes use of the home lighting and lamps as a means to communicate with the user. It provides feedback about consumption habits, and empowers users to become active and responsible consumers.

The efforts are part of a European Union research project that is creating new ways to allow consumers to follow and better understand their use of energy.

The technology developed in the project is being set up in two different pilot si­tes – one Nordic (Sweden/Finland) and one Southern European (Italy). In each site, studies are carried in a home environment. The research is highly multidisciplinary and combines a variety of approaches in the area of user studies, user-centred design and evaluation.

- Read article
- View video

9 May 2010

Homesense project launched

Homesense
Tinker London (the team promoting the use of Arduino in design) started a collaboration with EDF R&D on Homesense, an open user-centered research project investigating the use of smart and networked technologies in the home.

Homesense will bring the open collaboration methods of online communities to physical infrastructures in the home. Over the course of several months, selected households across Europe (UK, France and Italy initially) will have access to the latest in open source hardware and software tools, decide what they want to do with them in the context of their home and share the results with the world. Local technology experts will be selected to support them in the development of their ideas and the whole process from start to finish. The process will be documented by users themselves in the form of blogs, videos and images taken throughout a 3 month long process in the Autumn of 2010.

The team believes that better scenarios and solutions could emerge when design and research in this area can be conducted in an open way. This breaks from tradition as users, rather than seeing products forced on them by a top-down design process, will create their own smart home and live with those technologies they have themselves developed without prior technical expertise.