WORKSHOP COURSE

26 02 2008

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www.stigogstein.no

Today we have had a very good introduction to how we can go about one of the main challenges of being an industrial designer or interaction designer, THE CREATIVE WORKSHOP. As this being a major part of our work and profession it is important to know this field in and out.

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The lecture was held by two co-workers of the Oslo based ideation firm, Stig and Stein Idea lab AS. During the over 6 hours long lecture/workshop they led us through the steps of a good ideation workshop in a playful and professional way. Showing us methods and techniques not completely new to us, but surely important to repeat over and over.  Now I feel prepared to”design” my own workshop and develop my own project, Design for Elders further this Thursday and Friday! I’m sure it will lead to many good and far out ideas which I can build further on!

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LECTURE, WHALE TRACKING, LARS KLEIVAN

25 02 2008

Lars Kleivan works with locating whales and following them around out on the open seas. In fact he is the only one in Norway working with marking whales. He works in his own company towards the university in Bergen and currently is in collaboration with FFI, (forsvarets forsknings institutt), to work against whales and their life spandex.   

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www.whalecenter.org 

Seemingly the biggest problems in the business of tracking whales are the size if the batteries used for the transmitters and making the RFID tag stick to the whales for as long as possible without causing harm. Satellite tagging has been tried out for the last ten years, but problems have occurred with the tagging of the whales due to the bad range of GPS technology. But present, a man called Ed Bryant, are working on a system that might work.  Some of the main issues for wanting to track the whale’s life and movement are questions concerning their life and behaviour as very little data is collected in this field. Another issue is the low frequencies of new sounds being exposed in the sea by the army and their submarines.  – What happens to the whales when being exposed to low frequencies sound over a long period of time. Will their hearing be damaged, will they loose their ability to navigate and therefore strand?  To find the answers to these questions there are three key issues waiting to be solved, duration of tag, signals and reading. Apparently one needs about three months to have good satellite read of the tags. As the tags being very expensive, and still getting more expensive, this is a highly costly project and the methods must become more reliable.  So, these are the main issues of modern day research into whales. Especially military activity with submarines using sonar’s is being investigated. What about the oil companies using sonar’s to locate oil.  In the end, the main question is, HOW CAN WE GET THE TAGS TO SIT ON THE ANIMALS FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE?  

Clearly, the use of industrial designers can be used to work out these questions, however it seems a long way before any of the research institutes understand this. Lets hope the whales survive this waiting.. From a tangible interaction and ubiqutes computing view this is a highly interesting field involving both research and developing!





DESIGN FOR ELDERS – my Major TASK

25 02 2008

The stage is set for taking the step into developing our own thoughts about what tangible interactions and ubiquitous computing can and should be about. Personally I have had a lot of ideas and possible directions I want to go in, and the decision about a defined direction and approach has not been an easy one. However I feel I have made the right choice when deciding upon designing for the elders.

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My exact problem definition is the following;How to make solutions and concepts that are DESIRABLE, EXPERIMENTAL and “JOYABLE” to so called ELDERLY PEOPLE???  FOCUS will be on LIFESTYLE and HEALTHCARE….. PHYSICAL INTERACTION, ECOLOGY and AESTHETICS will function as OVERALL RULERS..   My main reason for choosing this target group are maybe best expressed by a short quote by interaction GURU John Tackara; “Imagine a world where every second European adult is over fifty years old. And where two-thirds of disposable consumer income is held by this age-group. By 2020 this will be a reality. There will be huge demand for services that enable older people to live independently in their own communities as they age. But although it is potentially huge – health care alone represents nearly eight per cent of Europe’s GDP – few people or companies understand this emerging market. There is no category in the DOW index for services in which elderly people communicate and care for each other using new information tools and services; investors and entrepreneurs seem blind to the potential of new markets fuelled by the changing lifestyles and considerable financial resources of many elderly people.” 

http://www.doorsofperception.com/archives/2000/01/design_and_elde.php

Well, there it is. The challenge is clearly mighty, but I am positive and look forward to exploring this emerging field more thoroughly. I wish to dig deep and come up with concepts more far fetched from the normal for these kinds of products, traditionally concerning healthcare. My sketchbook is all ready filing with ideas, soon to be posted and I`m really looking forward to the next couple of weeks!  For more info, click on the link below and get a look into my first iteration.

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Arduino Course

15 02 2008

Yesterday and today we will get introductions in the use of Arduino. A long desired and a bit frightful step for me, as I have never worked with coding and programming ever before. However it proved to be both funny and quite easy to use, so now I just look forward to get more inputs.

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http://www.arduino.cc/

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.  

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Yesterday I made a a so called Nightrider, blinking lights in a row!





ELECTRONICS WORKSHOP

13 02 2008

  

This week we will start looking in to how simple electronics work or doesn’t work, will see. An introduction into main electronic elements and simple set ups were given by the excellent Einar Sneve today, Wednesday. Starting of by sorting all the different components and differentiate them before we put together our own little LED light setup. Personally I have never explored this field much, feeling it was out of my interest, however I see it different now. Electronics isn’t that complex after all, when explained in the right order.. Thank you Einar!

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Her are a couple of pictures from our try outs, it sure looks messy, so it is, but there is learning going on, no doubt. Now I must set up a little plan for the next weeks, as the work begins to get more and more intense. The major project is also under planning so now I have to make up my mind!





INTERACTION WITH SNOW AND ICE

13 02 2008

Last week I participated in a workshop concerning     Snow and Ice in Målselv, North of Norway. The aim of the workshop was to bring designers, architects and artists with the love and passion for snow and ice together and start a discussion on how the gender can be lifted to new levels. Helping us with this we had two of Scandinavians best artists in Ice and Snow; Mark and Julia, Architect and fashion designer. A charismatic couple, working with snow and ice on professional bases, currently being employed at The Ice and Snow Hotel in Jokasjervi, Sweden (see pictures of the hotel below).

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THE INSTALLATION 

The installation we worked on was planed and sketched out by Mark and Julia in beforehand, but all participators were allowed to come with suggestions during the sculpturing process. The theme of the installation was MORTALITY and LIFE, expressed through both textual and shaped elements. The main characteristics involved an overlaying architecture of a labyrinth consisting of big snow walls punctured with holes and relief’s, making it massive and transparent, heavy and light at the same time. In the heart of the sculpture there was literally a heart, anatomically shaped in snow with veins in ice, creating a wonderful expression when pulsating red light where inserted in it.  

ICE AND SNOW vs. TANGIBLE INTERACTIONS 

I see the installation as being a good representation of life itself. In life there are only two things which are absolute and unchangeable, it’s the birth and the death, we are all MORTAL. Walking through the labyrinth that LIFE clearly is we experiences meeting massive walls, but still manages to slip through a whole and keep our heart beating. Our modern society are to a large extent constructed and limited in its appearance, however there are these wormholes giving us the opportunity to seek what’s hiding in our heart……  I clearly see parallels between creating an installation like this and what we are working on in Tangible interactions. As our sculpture both interacts with people, surroundings and invites to physical exploring, it touches the ground pillars of the world of Tangibility. I will keep on exploring this material and seek interesting parallels between art and design.





TASK 4 – Interactions of transactions

11 02 2008

Last week I was only able to participate in the week task in the three first days.. The reason for this were that I was involved in making a giant instillation in ice and snow in addition to the planning of next years Norwegian Championships in this unique material. The event were located up in the north of Norway, more exact, Målselv Fjellandsby in the district of Troms. More info on this project will be posted soon..  

Although I was away Thursday and Friday, I was able to participate in the task with my group to a satisfying extent and felt that we generated good ideas to answer our task to re design the ticketing system for Oslo Sporveier, NSB and SL trafikk.

The challange

Our main challange with this task was to look at the existing situation for ticketing and transactions in Oslo and nearby areas. What are the diffeculties using the system, what is good about it, and what should and could be done differently? 

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We saw it as our main task to choose parts of the system and propose adjustments in interface design, sale and use of tickets in an easy, understandable and reliable way. The main focus was set on understanding the problems former and existing systems had and then go out on a little field trip to observe the system in use, take pictures and analyse the users. It soon became clear that the existing system was way to complicated, it involved the use of many different tickets, and problems for users to have a good control on their purchase, in addition that the tickets handed out on the different public transports were small and easy to loose. We also thought it could be an idea for travellers with travel cards to be able to carry their tickets in a better and safer way through the use of RFID technology. There was also clearly good use of a new and improved system for paying and registering on the different public transports. As we knew that NSB and Sporveiene had been working on such a improvement for some years, we investigated this system and tried to suggest adjustments on this to make it work, now on the 4th year of not being put in use due to difficulties in incorporating it.

The status on Wednesday, when I had to leave the group to travel up north, was that we had been on a little field study, sheared the tasks between us and set up a scenario for the new system. We had also agreed on building our concept on top of the existing Flexus system from NSB, SL – traffic and Oslo Sporveier to connect it more to reality. However we had to change this on Thursday due to a possible conflict with the Flexus owners. This was a bit too late for my contribution as I had already made some visualisations using the Flexus brand in some of the scenario presentations (picture below). Due to this a lot of our material had to be re designed, not only the system, making it a bit hard for the two remaining group members. But off course, they are professional enough and made a new presentation involving the changes that had to be made.. Good work!

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As this is our last introduction workshop I want to use the occasion to thank Timo, Mosse and Einar for very educating four weeks. I look forward to this weeks introduction to physical engineering. Picture below is an visualisation on how we pictured how a monthly travelcard could be used in the shape of a silicone wristband, making it easier for the users to enter trams, trains and buses without having to pick out their cardholder and register all the time.

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Conclusion

Through field studies and user observations we found out that the main problems with the existing systems for public transportation in Oslo are connected to the validation of travels, number of ticket systems and diffeculties in using ticketing machines. The good part about the system is that NSB, Oslo Sporveier and SL traffic now have joined up in one

single unit, RUTER, making it possible for travellers to use their tickets on a wider range of public transporters, save money and time.

     The main challenge now is to make the transition from beeing three operators into one as smooth, easy and understandable as possible. We see the incorporation of new interfaces on ticketing machines, better ticket sulutions for every day travellers and a better overveiew of travel expences as beeing the main areas for improvement. This should be done by massive user testing, introduction of RFID travel chips and online travel accounts, making public transport not only an alternative to privat transport, but the best sulution for anyone making their way from A to B.