Beyond DIY Internet of things: A design workshop for air quality sensors #dfiot

Get hands on with the Internet of Things!

When technology continues expanding itself exponentially, we gradually fall into a precarious dilemma: a world full of “black boxes”. Even a specialist wouldn’t be able to fully grasp the technical details inside a smartphone. The more technology is developed, the more we feel abandoned subconsciously, and hence less and less room is left for an individual to make any difference back in his yard.

Beyond technical professionals, we see nowadays a burgeoning growth of DIY and hacking culture organized by amateurs. Following this trend, our design workshop aims at inviting participants to have a meaningful conversation with these everyday “black boxes”, and creatively unfold both their concepts and physical boxes, as a designer and builder. We would like people to re­think the role of technology on their daily use. It intends to open a door for participants to generate both critical thoughts and experience the journey of design products as a practice.

With the development of Internet of things (IoT), the general public can easily access air quality information from urban sensors installed by the government or made by themselves. How to present massive amounts of real-time data to the public is a new design challenge.

The workshop begins with choosing a frequently used air quality app on smartphone and discussing the limitation of “total digitalization”. Participants will come up with ideas on how to move away from that app, and perform the same tasks with ordinary IoT air quality boxes. By sharing and blending different minds, they will be immersed into interesting physical box ideas.

After that, a set of successful IoT cases will be demonstrated as inspirations. We will ask people to brainstorm and discuss how to use technology and Internet of Things to build the air quality boxes they have envisioned.

At the end of the design workshop, we would like to see some great air quality boxes ideas, which will be simple, real and with powerful technology inside. New ideas along with pictures will be posted on our twitter timeline (with previous consent). At the end of the festival, we expect to see lots of interesting box ideas. Participants are free to take away their own creative work, including sketches and cardboard boxes they made.

More importantly, as a group of people who like researching, hacking and sharing, we would like to work with participants during and after the festival to make the box. Participants are more than welcome to get involved in our further creative design process. With our social network activity, we believe that we can gather more people with diverse skills to work on something together.


Note: To participate in this session fully, you will need to bring your own smartphone and laptop. Please also bring an arduino or raspberry pi board if you have one.


About your session hosts:

Ang Li just finished his master’s study in Human-Computer Interaction with Ergonomics. He is an experienced UI programmer, who has an interest in studying user experience through making and hacking. He is currently designing a series of interactive boxes to deliver intriguing and meaningful information. He loves Chinese food, and taking pictures of the world.

Ji Hu just finished her master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction with Ergonomics. With her past study experience on interactive media, she has a particular interest in designing novel interactive installations and interfaces to critically assess culture related computer systems. She likes sci-fi and dreaming about everything that others call weird.

CC-BY Janina Dewitz
CC-BY Janina Dewitz

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