Archive for the ‘Tangible User Interfaces (TUI)’ Category

Prototyping, Prototyping,Prototyping

January 18, 2009

More prototyping from last week…

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Statement of Intent V.2

January 18, 2009

“Meet the Food You Eat

The rise of network and RFID technology and the emergence of products like CueCat and Mir:ror are pointing to a time when everyday objects will be connected to an untold amount of information. We are interested in how people can access this information, especially when connected to consumer products, to make informed decisions and help build a sustainable world.

Our project is a hypothetical grocery store shopping tool in the form of an educational science museum piece. It is a balance scale that allows people to measure the environmental impact behind common food items from the grocery store’s produce section. In the context of a grocery store, it will allow people to find products grown locally or organically or under fair business practices. In the science museum, it will allow people to explore these issues and discover that the ingredients in a simple salad are sometimes better travelled than most people they know.

Our scale is hands-on and educational and will have the most appeal to children. As an educational tool, the intention is not to provide answers about organic agriculture, carbon emissions or the global food economy. We want to raise questions and to let people look at the food they eat in a different way. We believe this is important information and remains hidden to most people, but hopefully for not much longer.

How it works
Our scale works like a traditional analytical balance that compares objects placed on one arm to weights placed on the other arm. Using RFID, the right side arm on our balance will recognize food products placed on it. The balance will download specific data related to that product (i.e. how many miles these bananas traveled  from farm to store). This data will represent weight and the balance will adjust accordingly. To measure this data, the user will place objects that represent weights on the left side arm. A weight sensor on this arm will determine how many objects have been placed there and will adjust the balance accordingly. Once the arms are even, the user will know a relative value of that data.

The user can use the scale to weigh differenterent sets of data for one product (food miles, chemical fertilizers, etc…) and can use the scale to compare different products (different oranges, different fruits, etc…). The data sets will be predefined by us and will have to be mapped to the same values. For example, the values might be a scale of 1-10 that rates the environmental impact of a products food miles.

How we arrived here
Prototyping, user testing and the need to satisfy a particular brief have led us to where we currently are. We originally intended to create a product for the home but found little desire to see the environmental impact of a particular food after it has been purchased. On the other hand, a portable or in store device to compare different products based on these factors was desirable but needed to be compact, efficient and to the point. Through making quick and dirty prototypes we were able to get instantaneous feedback that provided meaningful results especially with understanding the mental model and metaphor of the “scale” Whilst user testing different conceptual elements of our experience, conversations led to a co-design approach were the people testing our ideas were inspired to suggest improvements that could be made.

picture-11screen shot of part of a system flow diagram

Week 2:Concept Development

January 18, 2009

Through out all of last week we have been concentrating on developing our conceptual idea and what experience we can create, this has taken place in many forms…drawing….a lot of discussion!!……storyboarding ..but most effectively prototyping and testing. All though our process has often been 1 step forwards and 2 steps back…building prototypes that people could engage with and give us feedback on has been crucial to our learning curve and how our idea has developed.  And here is a little over view of that!

At the beginning of the project our initial idea was to have a product that you would have within your home. The product would allow you to see the impact on the environment of the foods you were buying. You could make comparisons between different products and rate them against your own personal reasons for buying them. After testing this idea we sounds found that there was little desire to see the impact you were having after you bought the products, there was more interest in knowing the information while you were shopping.

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We then started to think about device that you could take shopping with  you. We felt that a device suitable for this use would have to be portable, compact, efficient and to the point. We did brainstorm around these ideas, but the more we developed them we felt that a device for this use would be best effective if it could give very specific and complex information…we there for thought that a screen based product would be far more advantageous over a purely TUI.

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And so we move on!!

Throughout the whole project we have also been exploring the metaphor of using a scale to measure the weight of the impact that the food has. Through creating different prototypes we found that people really loved to play with them, so our ideas soon developed into a tool that could be used to learn and teach people…suited for a science museum style installation. So we began to prototype ideas for this..

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prototype6At the end of this week our idea was using the metaphor of  scale to see what impact different foods were having on the environment relating to… how far it had traveled, the amount of chemicals in it and the amount of water used during production. The user would put their chosen product on one side and have to add weights to the other side until it was balanced. The amount of weights would represented the impact that the product was having on the environment. Before our crit on friday the unit of the weights we were using was a rating system, but we soon found out that this was confusing, especially with regards to the scale metaphor.  During our crit we were also given some good suggestion to make the information more familiar to people…. for example if an apple has travelelled 1000 miles, tell them that is was the equiviliant to cycling round Copnehagen 10 times! So after our crit we definitly have some more thinking and development to do to ensure that the information we provide is accessible and engaging to the user! So i am off to the science museum for some inspiration!

Reflection so far….

January 11, 2009

s7005979Adam deep in thought

Last week was really fantastic, but also very challenging at the same time. The brief has been left very open for us to be able to focus on personal areas of interest, but this also demands us to think carefully about our conceptual design approach and decision making. I feel these challenges have really motivated me to be as open minded as possible to a different approach in working and is pushing me to get as much as possible out of these four weeks! So far my team mates Adam and Sid have been great to work with, and a real motivation and inspiration for me!

As a group we are trying to design A TUI for networked objects…to allow the user to see the impact of the food they are buying is having on the environment. Our initial idea was to give the user an overall (good/bad) rating of how their purchases are having an impact on the environment by using the metaphor of a scale. and weighing your weight in “Food Miles” The technology used for this is based on the idea that in the future, everything will be tagged and have a database of information about that product.

We want to pursue the idea of Personal Informatics and how these can provide people with meaningful and relevant data to help make more sustainable and socially responsible decisions.

After a Feedback session on Thursday with Heather, Christopher and Durrell Bishop our approach has changed slightly. We were given positive feedback on our context and approach towards social and sustainable responsibility, but we were advised to provide a deeper and more meaningful experience for the user, so it becomes more of an exploratory and useful tool for the user to see the differences in their purchases and understand how they can change their daily routines if they wish to do so!

And now comes the challenging part designing networked objects with a TUI to do so!!

This week we will be focusing on making rapid prototypes to develop our idea further and to do user testing . Building prototypes is something that has really benefited previous product design projects i have worked on especially when it comes to engaging with the user and getting feedback, so i am pretty excited about this week!

Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

TUI

January 7, 2009

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Today we were developing the idea of….. if we had more of an insight into our daily routines would this make us consider how our actions can be affecting the society we are living in. So over the course of the day we have been discussing different sets of data that we could potentially record (e.g. stress levels) different information about objects we use  throughout the day that could provoke emotional response if we new their history and impact on ourselves and others and different ways to output this information in a tangible form. We are very interested in using an existing house hold item that all ready provides the user with an analogue output when they currently use it. By doing so the user will have a familiar mental model of how it works and how you interact with it but it will have new meaning and information.

Although this still sounds vague i will give you a full concise update on our final proposal after friday when we have had a critique 🙂

Inspiration…

January 7, 2009

Over the past few days we have been collecting examples of work we like and can take inspiration from…

A great presentation giving examples on ubiquitous technology and personal informatics.

0aabypullg“Ticker Tape is an internet radio for people who suffer from Euphobia, “a persistent, abnormal and unwanted fear of hearing good news.  Using RSS feeds, Ticker Tape scans for light-hearted news stories from around the world broadcasting them to the listener” Via Design Corner

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5f_somo2_hands_lores“Social Mobiles is an exploration into mobile phone behavior. Rather than create a set of phones that addressed aesthetic concerns of mobile phones, designer and artist Crispin Jones worked as a research associate with IDEO to create five working mobile telephones that in different ways modify their users’ behavior to make it less disruptive. The intent is to provoke discussion about the social impact of mobile phones” Via Ideo

barometer“The Local Barometer seeks to provide people with a sense of the sociocultural texture around their homes. Information is culled from the web depending on the local wind direction and speed, so that want-ads, news items, or images seem to waft through the home, displayed on purpose-designed small-screen displays designed to appear as a new sort of appliance for the home” Via Goldsmiths

key_table“The Key Table gets a sense of people’s emotions from the way they dump their stuff onto it. Much as slamming doors is a crude measure of mental state, so the table uses the transient onset of a new weight to gauge mood. Reactions to emotional entrances are triggered as mechanised frames swing pictures off-center to warn other inhabitants to tread carefully” via Equator website

image06“large scale visualisation of the energy used in Helsinki, Finland, by projecting a laserbeam on the exhaust of a power station” Via www.nuagevert.org

Also a great quote to by Alexander Manu’s ToolToys:

“The… urge to handle goods is an important learning experience. As in play, tactile
feedback increases the impact of the learning”

networking the everyday….initial proposal

January 7, 2009

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For the last few days i have been working on our new project for our tangible user interface course, after a day of research and discussing areas of interest ranging from bringing physical qualities back into digital media to encouraging social interaction between strangers, we came up with our initial statement of intent:

” Given a world in which everyday objects are networked through an internet of things and pervasive computing helps augment our lives, how can this technology help us gain insights about our daily routines? How can these insights be delivered in an emotional way that encourage us to reflect on the way we lead our lives and the affect it has on others in our society”

Obviously this is still a very open proposal, but as we develop our ideas and thinking this will become more refined and appear more as a tight design brief.

Our thinking behind our proposal is that we believe one of the greatest values of this new technology is the ease in which it can provide information about specific products and help us gain new perspective on our daily actions.  We feel if we could motivate people to take make these small changes to their lifestyle, the collaboration could have a greater affect on our society.

Behond the Desktop:Networking the Everyday

January 5, 2009

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taken from designing Interactions

Today at CIID we started our tangible user interface project! All i can say is that we have a very exciting and busy four weeks ahead of us!

For the four weeks Heather Martin will be running the course with some fantastic quests including Durrell Bishop, Christopher Scales and David Cuartielles coming to teach and critique us! and of course we will also have the fantastic CIID staff too!

Today we were given an overview of tangible user interfaces and shown great examples. Some of these included the  work of interaction designers like Bill Gaver that worked on the equator project……

“The IRC brought together researchers from eight different institutions and a variety of disciplines which address the technical, social and design issues in the development of new inter-relationships between the physical and digital.

A series of experience projects engaged with different user communities to develop new combinations of physical and digital worlds and explore how these may be exploited and how these may enhance the quality of everyday life.”

looprcahistorytablecloth

“The History Tablecloth is designed to cover a kitchen or dining room table. When objects are left on the table, the cloth starts to glow beneath them, creating a halo that expands very slowly. When items are removed, the glow fades quickly”  (www.equator.ac.uk)

After these brilliant lectures, we were  given our brief…..which can be summarized as:

Design a pair or series of networked objects that illustrate digital information in a physical form. The objects must be manipulable by your specific user group and enable people to interact directly with data through your objects.Your concepts  can be of any scale but your final concept must be  physically interactive, contain no screen or display and be produced as a fully working prototype. The solutions must show appropriate use of technology but that are also beautiful and well crafted objects which are useful, pragmatic and make sense to our users-whilst being simple and delightful to use (from course syllabus)

The brief has been left fairly open so we can focus on specific areas of personal interest and manage our project ourselves, however there are key areas we must consider and during these project….These are… tangible Computing, tangible user interfaces (TUI), physical computing, pervasive computing, ubiquitous computing, prototyping, product design, affordances, metaphors, simplicity, sensors and networks.

For this project we are working in pairs with people that compliment our own strengths, which i feel is a great opportunity to work in a team where we can really push each other, and learn from each other. I am working with Adam who has a back ground in web design and digital multimedia.  We are both super excited about the project and the opportunities that can be discovered, so i am sure something positive will happen as well as all the other great ideas from the rest of the class!

For this project the final working prototype is very important, but we will also be assesed on out process and documentation, so as always i will try and blog as much a possible 🙂

and before i end.

A big HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone, i wish you all the best for 2009!