Posts Tagged ‘Tangible User Interfaces (TUI)’

Meet the food you eat at NEXT

March 4, 2009


We got some Super exciting news today that Adam, Sid and I are getting to exhibit meet the food you eat at the NEXT exhibition in April organised by the innovation lab. Now we just need to get our prototype stable enough to last 5 days 🙂

Along with us Bunny Bot, CALEN3DAR and compound eye will also be exhibiting.

“Meet the food you eat” on Treehugger

February 16, 2009


Today Adam, Sid and i were super excited to see that our Project had been featured on Treehugger, this was really great for us, as throughout the project we had used this website as one of our keys sources of information, data and inspiration. Since the end of our TUI project we have been overwhelmed by the support and feedback we have been given with regards to our idea. It’s really great to see people getting excited about sustainability, and really caring about how their actions are having an affect on society.  I am also very excited to say that i think we will be exhibiting our project at the NEXT conference in april, run by the Innovation lab…i will keep you updated with that though!

“Meet the Food we eat” video

February 11, 2009

Now our TUI project is over we have had time to get our prototype up and running and make a video of it.

TUI links

February 4, 2009


Here are some links for posts and photos from the TUI course, i will update as more appear….,,, Ujjval’s flickr, Eilidh’s flickr, Tobias’s flickr, David’s flickr 🙂

“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


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



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

TUI exhibition

February 2, 2009

On friday we ended our TUI block with presentations, and a brilliant exhibition organised by Alie and Heather. During the  presentations we got some great feedback from our internal CIID faculty as well as Durrell Bishop, Christopher Scales and Yasmine Abbas.   Throughout the course each group generated, developed  and refined ideas and worked towards building a technically working prototype. We over came problems of aesthetics V’s function, using the correct metaphors and creating the right affordances, managing our time to achieve the deliverable and general nightmare issues around electronics and programming!! But in the end we pulled through and really learned a lot form the four weeks……Some photos from the exhibition

3246850865_af5dabf203Eline and Nunzia’s interactive alice and wonderland game

tui_dubmate_main-663x497Jacob,Francesco and Alice’s Dubmate for remote file sharing

fg_01-663x497Kevin and Ashwins Frontline Gloves for Firemen

the-finished-product-with-two-different-skins1-663x497Jason and Magnus’s “Easy run” making your Iphone tangible for running

tui-compound-eye-main-compound-eye-at-exhibition-663x497Marcin and Ujjval’s networked cameras

More photos on Ujjval’s, David’s and my flickr.

Fridays Presentation Photos….

January 19, 2009





Dinner Meeting….

January 19, 2009



Last night Adam, Sid  and myself had a night of risotto, america cookies and some project work. Over the course of the evening we discussed the feedback be were given on friday during our crit and refined our idea and tweaked our idea. During our presentation, there were still elements of confusion with the metaphor of the scale we were using…So we also brainstormed ideas that took the visual of the scale away and really simplified the functions of it. Today we will get feedback on whch is the best approach to take and hopefully get down to some more electronics prototyping!!

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.


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.


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..




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!