Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Children are the hero’s of our enviroment

February 26, 2009

a sneak preview of our service concept on how schools can promote sustainable awareness

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I will write a full post this weekend about the whole project and idea 🙂

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Getting Around:data vizualization

February 21, 2009

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A very clear, yet playful data vizualization of fuel used in various types of transportation.  I especially like how it gives you the amount of “fuel” ie burgers in this case that is needed when it is a person cycling or walking! See here for the fuel size version. Via GOOD.is

“Meet the Food You eat”

February 2, 2009

On friday we presented our final work for our TUI course……

main-image1-663x497completed working prototype in exhibition space

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Custom built “weights” to represent the number of trees needed to offset the co2 emissions produced during food transportation.

What is it?
Our project is a scale that measures a food product’s environmental impact. It looks at the carbon emitted as a result of transporting the food and measures this in terms of how many trees would be required to offset that carbon over one year.

Who is it for?
The scale is an exhibition piece intended to make the general public think about the environmental implications of the food they purchase.

Why is it valuable?
This scale is an exploration in how tangible interfaces can be used to interact with data on the web. With the increase in usage of RFID technology and as “everday” objects become networked, we anticipate access to untold amounts of information for things as simple as an apple. With appropriate ways to interact with this data, we hope people will be able to make more informed decisions that will help build a sustainable world.

As an exhibition piece, this scale will raise questions about the food you buy, where it comes from and how it is transported. With a subject as complex as carbon emissions and the global food economy, our scale is only an entry point and is intended to raise more questions than it will answer.

This scale can also be viewed as a hypothetical kitchen appliance or point to a future grocery store service. The data it uses is important but remains hidden to most people, and we hope this will not be the case for much longer.

How does it work?
The scale works by looking at the carbon emitted by transporting a particular product from it’s country of origin to Denmark. Place an RFID tagged product on the appropriate arm and try to balance the scale with the tree shaped weights. The amount of trees used to balance the scale represents the number of actual trees it would take to offset that product’s carbon emissions over one year. Swap items on the scale and compare different items from a particular country or similar items from different countries.

What were your key learnings?
Our team experienced many challenges in assembling the scale and in gathering the data behind the products, but most of our key learnings came in the beginning of the project. Rapid prototyping and user testing were essential for our team. We learned that building rudimentary models is the best way to test rudimentary ideas. Some models told us when an idea was going in the wrong direction while other models told us this only when in the hands of people outside our team. From the beginning, our project was heavy with metaphors – a scale and weights to measure data, and trees to represent this data. User testing was the only way to know if these metaphors were the right choice.

Illustration Instructions for the exhibition

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step-3Our process documented in a book (printed for exhibition)


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!

Last weeks bookmarks

January 18, 2009