Hi there, Thank you for inviting me. My name is Alex and I am a product and interaction designer. I’ll be taking through some thoughts for students responding to the “living Responsibly theme” and hopefully will inspire them to take up this particular challenge. Most of these examples will come from what one might qualify as a technology-enamoured approach. Living Responsibly means making a difference in the world and in my own life, socially and environmentally. Research themes could include; Healthy Planet, Healthy Me (increased consciousness of what I put in and on my body and the importance of sustainable choices); increasing self-reliance / DIY textiles/fashion; and continual self improvement / enhanced performance.
http://www.rt80.net/seed/ This is 2011, asking the question “who are you” is difficult. There are several answers.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/timo/6502729/sizes/o/in/photostream/ Are you your name? your friends on Facebook? the friends you went to school with? The things you buy? The party you vote for? The things you wear? The books you read or want to read? The food you eat?
http://www.denimarchive.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/MassaContestCut.jpg Once you're defined that, how do you keep track of who you are and how you change, how you evolve? When you're young, the present is all encompassing, but when you grow a little older the sense of time starts to matter, keeping track matters, your impact on the world matters. We are now surrounded with more useful technologies than ever before, smaller, more invisible technologies. How they allow us to become better is the 21st century's biggest question. We harnessed them for our economies, our nations and our homes, but how they reach us and make us better, healthier and more responsible is where the real challenge happens.
http://www.cubancouncil.com/ Health is about what you say and what you don’t say. What you share and what you don’t. Moodstats is an online community-based visualisation from the early 2000s that enabled people to share their mood over time.
http://kickbee.net/ The Kickbee is a stretchable band worn by a pregnant mother. Vibration sensors are attached directly to the band, and are triggered by movement underneath. The band and electronics are covered in a soft fabric cover for design and comfort. A microcontroller in the garment captures the movement and transmits the signals wirelessly to a computer running a custom application.The application receives the sensor values and analyzes them. When a kick is detected, a message is posted to the social messaging service Twitter via its API (Application Programming Interface). Twitter makes it easy to share these short messages of &quot;I kicked Mommy!&quot; with family and friends, and allows them to be sent as text messages to any mobile phone in the world. The Twitter account can also act as a data log that can be accessed later for visualization or archiving.
Another project from Mouna Andraos is these lovely Winter blankets which reveal their patterns only when exposed to light, forcing picnics or winter adventures outdoors. This is a small way of connecting us to nature.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffhoward/5372586246/sizes/l/in/photostream/ http://blog.nienlam.com/tag/warning-signs/ Warning Signs is a visualization of the pollution that exists invisibly all around us. When the wearable senses carbon monoxide, the piece subtly changes color and pattern to indicate higher levels of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere to the wearer and those around him or her. This piece was designed and created by Nien Lam and Sue Ngo.
http://hehe.org.free.fr/ The green cloud project highlights pollution at the source, creating a debate between consumption and pollution.
Myriel milicevic designerd neighbourhood satellites, a mobile game with physical objects that you could only play if you were near pollution.
Sangbyum Kim is an engineer and created Melt tag which is a tag that is made of soap and dissolves in the wash. A small piece of the puzzle which only really has the power to change things if it is deployed at a large scale but this is fascinating to think of things that could dissapear when you use them or are done with them. Textiles you can only wash in cold water because if exposed to hot water they dissapear.
http://www.dana-gordon.com/blog/undercover/ A blanket which contains a system of 24 wireless speakers and provides a special physical sound experience.
http://casualdata.com/newsknitter/ To address ourselves as evolving creatures is also to admit we are bombarded with passing events that we forget to remember. Important events are everywhere, and being reminded of them creates for us alternative ways of evolving. News Knitter is a data visualization project which focuses on knitted garments as an alternative medium to visualize large scale data. News Knitter converts information gathered from the daily political news into clothing. Live news feed from the Internet that is broadcasted within 24 hours or a particular period is analyzed, filtered and converted into a unique visual pattern for a knitted sweater.
http://missmoun.com/index.php?/lab/address-necklace/ Address is a handmade electronic jewelry piece. When you first acquire the pendant, you select a place that you consider to be your anchor – where you were born, your home, or perhaps the place you long to be. Once the jewelry is initialized, every time you wear the piece it displays how many kilometers you are from that location, using a GPS component built into the pendant. As you take Address around the world with you, it serves as a personal connection to that place, making the world a little smaller or maybe a little bigger. Mouna Andraos
http://www.satellitebureau.net/ Sometimes we can build rich relationships to each other that make us go further with our decision to have an impact. This is the Running Stitch project by Hamilton, Southern and St Amand that explores mapping GPS information of tourists in Brighton for a day by stitching their trips in real time.
http://www.designswarm.com/stint/index.html Stint is a project I developed around rethinking music sharing. Both in terms of our interactions to the devices and the business models. Using leather instead of plastic highlights our relationships with certain people in music sharing. Each little bird-like element or stint represented a friend who would send me music. To play their songs, I pressed the device.
http://www.vitality.net/ Our health is our responsibility but technology is making us into children again. This is the GlowCaps project by Vitality. A series of medication capsules that text you when you haven’t taken your medication properly or rings a tune if you do not respond to the text message. This is nagging power at its best.
Ethics of use. We can also create relationships that seem meaningful but force us into an unsustainable behaviour. The Nike Mayfly project is a pair of trainers that will only last 100K of running. This means you are probably careful about when you decide to strap those on and contribute to the start of their life, but once you’re done, you will have an unusable product you will discard. The average shoe probably doesn’t last much longer but this questions whether ignorance is bliss. If we know how long it really lasts, do we run less or run faster.
Science vs science fiction The tricky thing about that world is that we can be fooled into believing we are doing all we can. As designers we have a responsibility to inform and educate our audience about the impact of our design. The best example of this is the star-friendly Power Balance bracelets said to &quot;have an embedded frequency that reacts positively to the frequencies in the body, helping to align the body’s natural energy field.&quot; Anyone who can remember their biology classes from school knows that this sounds like rubbish. http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/power-balance-confirm-that-scientific-benefits-are-unconfirmed
A simple Arduino kit will cost you £100 and allow you the opportunity to explore embedding electronics in your projects. Beware though, as I’ve said here, technology doesn’t solve all of your design problems. Make these tools relevant. Make them count.
Go read these things http://www.slideshare.net/blackbeltjones/polite-pertinent-and-pretty-designing-for-the-newwave-of-personal-informatics-493301 http://quantifiedself.com/