1 December 2007

Intel’s Urban Atmospheres research project

Be the first to share

Urban Atmospheres
The Urban Atmospheres project (video) is exploring how people who live in cities might want to use technology, how it could help them develop a sense of community or belonging, or play into their emotional experiences of urban living.

“By gaining a better understanding of what matters most to people in the daily experience of city life, we hope to inspire useful new technologies for urban dwellers, perhaps unlike any we have seen before. We believe this is an ideal time for our research, because of the growth in urban populations; rapid expansion of ad hoc sensor networks and mobile devices with Bluetooth wireless technology; and proliferation of wireless technologies.

Part of our research involves urban probes. These are provocative interventions designed to engage people in direct discussions about their current and emerging public urban landscape-and in the process, reveal new opportunities for technology in urban spaces. For example, as part of Jetsam, an urban probe into public city trashcans, we distributed more than 100 self-addressed stamped postcards, with individual stories on them, around San Francisco. We recorded where we dropped each postcard, then waited to see how they were returned to us, what kinds of messages people left on them, and how people interacted with them.

From the Jetsam study (video) we exposed an active curiosity towards trash and the people who once owned it. Ultimately, the study revealed that a seemingly banal, yet ubiquitous, part of the urban infrastructure is actually a focus of rich human activity, a microcosm of social ecology. It influenced our final interactive trashcan design by focusing it more heavily on the use of digital technologies to reinterpret the social archaeology, presence, and movement of people and artifacts throughout the city while provoking and facilitating a public discourse about such patterns and flows.”

Urban Atmospheres is a collection of newly emerging urban based research projects being conducted across Intel Research. This included not just the work at Intel Research Berkeley but also related projects at Intel’s People and Practices (PaPR) Research group in Oregon and others.

Eric Paulos [personal site] directs the Urban Atmospheres research as a Research Scientist at Intel Corporation. Many of the projects and research conducted within Urban Atmospheres are released openly to the public through this and other web sites as part of Intel’s network of university research laboratories.

Be the first to share
30 March 2015
MIT Technology Review special report on persuasive technology
The MIT Technology Review has just published a special business report on persuasive technology, i.e. how technologies from smartphones to social media are used to influence our tastes, behavior, and even habits. Free registration is …
27 March 2015
Sharp methodological critiques on current Big Data practices
Two methodological critiques on Big Data that caught our attention: In the Financial Times, economist and journalist Tim Harford points out that sampling bias and statistical errors are, if anything, magnified in Big Data research, …
26 March 2015
Gov.uk’s open policy making toolkit – practical guidance on ethnography and more
The Gov.uk open policy making toolkit is a practical guide to techniques that can help you make better policy. The toolkit, which brings together the latest techniques to improve making and delivering policy, is based on …
24 March 2015
Ethnographic research drives IKEA’s global success
In a long Fortune Magazine article on IKEA's successful global expansion, author Beth Kowitt devotes quite a few paragraphs to the importance of qualitative, ethnographic research: "Today research is at the heart of Ikea’s expansion. “The …
24 March 2015
Presentations online of IEA energy efficiency behaviour workshop
The 11th and 12th of March, the International Energy Agency [IEA] in Paris hosted a workshop on energy efficiency and behaviour in the buildings sector. The goal of this workshop was for representatives from IEA …
23 March 2015
UK report on consumer problems in the mobile phone market
Calling the shots? is the title of a new Citizens Advice Bureau report that analyses consumer problems in the mobile phone market and explores opportunities for stronger consumer protections. From the executive summary: "The mobile phone market …
23 March 2015
Design fiction personas illustrate possible impact of educational tech
People talk about the future of technology in education as though it’s right around the corner, but most of us get to that corner and see it disappearing around the next. This innovation-obsessed cycle continues …
23 March 2015
Design fiction, not science, hints at the future we actually want
The stories we tell ourselves about technology – typically, optimistic ones from would-be innovators, pessimistic ones from their critics – are usually too simple. Making them more complex can support a richer discussion about where …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

30 October 2014
The BancoSmart ATM by Experientia for UniCredit selected for ADI Design Index

Last year Experientia designed the interface of an ATM of UniCredit, a major Italian bank. The interface is now rolled out across the bank’s ATMs in Italy, to great satisfaction of the bank and the customers alike, since interaction speed is much faster and error rates went down dramatically. Last year UniCredit and Experientia also […]

See all articles