Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Interview with Care Taker

Today I met up with the main University of Limerick care taker for a chat about the litter issue around the campus. This was very informative because it reshaped all my original ideas surrounding my initial designs. It turns out that the living bridge is very clean in comparison to other hot areas around campus that have a very severe litter problem. Tom Flaherty was very helpful in explaining in great detail the main concerns on campus. He took time to walk me about the campus to highlight certain issues that would go unnoticed to the everyday student.
In our discussion he explained that the living bridge is cleaned twice a day and that there is next to no litter issue there, only for cigarette buts and the occasional dog droppings. However he did go on to explain that the main hot areas are firstly the courtyard at the students union were the shop is. As we walked around the court yard he explained that the area had been cleaned only within hours and he pointed all the litter that had generated in such a short space of time. He even pointed out all the bins and showed me how much litter there was in them. I asked the question what he felt was the percentage of rubbish in bins compared to litter found around the campus and he explained that at least 20% is found around the campus in various locations and that 80% is actually bined. He went on to further explain that it was the new students that were starting in year 1 that littered the most and that as they progressed through the years they actually got cleaner. When I asked him about foreign students, he said that in his experience they were very good at disposing of their rubbish.
I questioned him about his concern of what litter was of the biggest concern. He explained that it was general waste and plastic around the court yard and the pavilion. Also another issue was glass and cans on the Thomond bridge because of the large number of students that live near by that socialize.
He explained that a bin that takes general waste which has a compartment for plastic would be helpful. When I asked about other recyclable materials he explained that there was not enough time for him to individually go through the materials for recycling. In the court yard he explained that there was not a concern about glass only litter and plastic. When we talked about the Pavilion and how there is two cigarette disposal bins at the doors of the concert hall he explained that people still prefer to use the ground to dispose of their butts. He felt that around the Library, all though there was litter about, cigarettes were the main problem.
We had a chat about the most appropriate bins that would help promote students and staff of disposing their rubbish and he explained that the on the Clare side of campus they have implemented a double bin that takes plastic and general litter. This he felt was a great idea because when the bins are emptied, all that is needed is the plastic to be bagged and tagged and the rubbish to be disposed off. However he was concerned about the size of the bins and felt that they would need to be emptied more than two or three times a day so that they don't overflow with rubbish because of their size. The good news was that he said within two weeks the University would be implementing these bins in the area of the students union and shop. However as I mentioned, he felt these were too small to deal with the heavy flow of rubbish. He explained that his day is over loaded and indeed the team of workers around the campus with just cleaning, starting early in the morning to get rid of Glass before college starts for health and safety issues to late in the evening to clean up the end of day traces of litter. Furthermore he said that Friday mornings he would always get a lot of glass because Thursday evening would be the busiest night out for students. 
When I look through my notes from the meeting, he did mention that the areas of most traffic of walking were the areas of most litter, and the areas of less traffic like the living bridge would be cleaner.  To finish off the meeting Tom showed me the tools he would use and the quantity of rubbish that would be gathered daily which really was huge. When I asked Tom would he like to see newer ways for people on campus to become more aware to dispose of their litter, he welcomed the idea. Furthermore when we chatted about the prospect of an interactive bin in the court yard were the shop is, he defiantly felt this could help students to dispose of their litter, however the main concern was the location of bin. 
Considering my initial observation, I felt that the bins are easily enough to miss, although they are big, they are not exactly inviting or on the main path of heavy traffic. I feel that further research would be needed to understand the flow of people better in the court yard so that bins could be properly placed strategically to help encourage the disposal of rubbish and two, making the bin more inviting and engaging to the public.  

Monday, 30 January 2012

The Bin Turbine (TurBin)

Today we got into groups for the class of contemporary art in the public realm. As I mentioned on the last post from Saturday, the main theme is recycling with the fun factor. I had an idea of a kinetic moving bin that would rotate using the wind and would generate small voltage using an alternator. This in turn would power the LEDs that would be mounted onto the side of the bin to give an optic effect or illusion of arrows moving upwards to the top of the bin to suggest and encourage people to put rubbish in the bin. 

I was excited about the prospect of using light as opposed to sound. The reason for this is because there seems to be a lot of research out in the public realm that supports sound in the use to promote binning rubbish. From my research there seems to be little use of light and I feel the element of using the wind could be very productive, depending of course on the location.

This leads me on to the final point. The project has to be situated on campus. So this had me thinking of what locations would be great to study the element of recycling and rubbish. The living bridge that links Limerick to Clare got me thinking of light and movement. The bridge moves and is also a spectacular sight at night because of how it is illlumanated. This is what triggered my initial idea of a kinetic moving bin that could be illuminated. Whoa! I have been exploring many different design ideas but this I think might be the most engaging and encouraging to help focus peoples attention to bin litter. The bridge is also an excellent location for a source of wind as it is directly above a strong moving river (Shannon) so there is always a mild degree of wind even on the calmest of days.

Bellow is some initial links that has helped me develop my ideas on the kinetic moving bin idea. I have drawings to explore my theory but I shall scan them tonight and upload them tomorrow when I get a chance and explore them in detail of how each part will operate. I have planed to have the Alternator inside the bin so that I don't have to play around with a slip ring for getting the DC voltage inside the moving parts. This week I plan to look at the research of how people use the bridge, where are the nearest bins to the bridge!!! And interview the caretakers who look after this department to see what is the most common rubbish to be found on this beautiful piece of engineering other than dog poop (which believe me you is no laughing joke!!!). 

So for tonight, if your looking at this the link above, it gives you a good inside on how the mechanics of the bin could work and the link bellow will give you an idea of how the lighting of the LEDs intend to work as night fall descends upon the bridge with kinetic bins (The Turbine Bin) spinning.

Also the music in this video is also quite beautiful, traditional crossed with celtic, could be fitting as you cross the bridge into Clare to the Irish World Academy of music, and just imagine, spinning bins with beautiful patterns of light. 

Sorry, I just keep posting amazing things that I come across. I find alternative forms of creating energy to be interesting and below is a great link to alternative wind turbines.

This link had me also thinking about an alternative design that could utilize this concept to make the bin Kinetic and more engaging to the idea of binning litter. A good website to check this out further is a company that develops these vertical wind turbines. It is called Wild Nature Solutions. This is a good link to understand the physics behind how a vertical wind turbine works.

Another Name for the project that came to mind, "The Bin Winder".

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Interactive recycling bin

Late night ideas led me to researching some interactive projects that are out in the wider public. I came across this you tube video of another research team who were also designing an interactive approach to make recycling fun and easy. I think the process that they go through to be very interesting as you get to see early drawings and sketches that are turned into prototypes to be tested. They really come from the user centered design process. Good work guys : )

I was also reading about bins that thanks you when you put rubbish into them. This was one of Britians ways of tackling the ongoing solution to clean the cities. The article can be read at Singing Rubbish BinsSing London's director, Colette Hiller, told Sky News: "Its ambition is to actually make people care about the place where they live and we want to do that by using fun as a way to bring the best out in people." This has been done in Sweden and a talking bin took three times more rubbish than a normal bin. 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Social Media

Today we had  Dr Avram Gabriela and were discussing social media, the concepts, application and impact. A good web site to explore these ideas is at the Interaction-Design.org website. There is a good video that interviews Tom Erickson who is an Interaction designer for IBM. Tom talks about the ways in which as a society we interact with one another and the many different levels in which we do this and how this needs be taken into consideration when designing.

The primary goal for social computing is to create online applications or places  that will have some elements of the real world included in them.  The general term is about a group of people, collectively computing something like the price, auction or adding to Wikipedia, collectively bidding etc. Social media is more about people having a rich communication between one another whereas social computing like ebay has not a rich communication like in bidding or other sites. 

This brings us to the notion of the web 2.0 which is about the development of web based communities and hosted services such as social networks and wiki’s which allow communication and coloration between many users. The term refers to the way users are changing the use of the world wide web. On this last note I came across an interesting video were Clay Shirky speaks out against social networking, in particular FaceBook. He talks about were to draw the line between personal and public on line and how our privacy in many ways is being invaded.

Finally today I was trying to clarify what Interactive media is to me so that I can better understand my design approach to my research area. I feel that interaction to me is the ability for a person to engage and express themselves with another person or an object however interactive media involves the same engagment but with the support of existing technology to enhace the interaction process in an easier and more enjoyabe experience.

An example of ways in which an interactive approach using computers is used whithin  therapy  is the use of Google SketchUp with children who may have autism. Advancment in technology/software has enabled interaction to become easier to facilate those who might find self expression and interaction difficult.

From Cathy Malchiodi’s research I found that Sketch-Up has been more successful in aiding children with autism than using the traditional approach. She stated that,

 “The results of Sketch-Up impress me because they not only underscore that people with autism tend to respond through visual and/or spatial intelligence, but also that using a computer drawing program is actually much more gratifying than a pencil on paper for most participants.”

This I feel underpins my original idea about interactive media that it is taking our interactions and ways of expressing to newer levels of interactivity using technology to enhance the interaction process and make it become a more enjoyable experience.

Finally I have just updated my video diary which can be followed on my student video diary blog page. I will also link the video to this page as part of my daily posting however for the extensive archive of videos please view my video blog page. 

Thursday, 26 January 2012

This is the first week back to semester two of doing the Masters in Interactive Media at the University of Limerick. Last semester I documented my progress using a video diary that I embedded on my website http://cambellp.richie.idc.ul.ie/index.html. However, I found that once a week was not enough to map my new findings and so I decided to create this blog so that I could update my research and what I am learning through out this second term daily. I will continue to do my once a week 3 min video diary to touch base with my main findings, thoughts and feeling of the week, however I intend to use this blog and have my videos posted at the end of the week along side another blog which I will dedicate solely to the video diary which can be viewed at http://studentvideodiary.blogspot.com/

This week was mainly touching base with all the tutors and exploring the new electives that we can choose from. The three main classes are the Interactive Media work Workshop with Mikael Fernstrom, Principles of Interactive design with Dr Avram Gabriela and Professional Issues in Interactive Media with Dr Joe Griffin. The electives are broad from business to programing and contemporary art in conjunction with interactive design. Between this evening and tomorrow I will choose my elective and that will be me set for the term.

I have been thinking now in closer detail about what my final design area will be and at present I feel more inclined to look at the area of computer supported art therapy as opposed to an interactive art project. Both areas would be great starting points for a dissertation, however  I feel that I will stay now with the art therapy area and continue the research that I have started. 

For today I came across a link that made me consider new ways of displaying art work in a very interactive approach. Considering one of my earlier observations were I worked as an assistant in using art for therapeutic purpose in a hospital with patients with mental illnesses, one of the problems was the display of the work that they created. It was the case that the work of the patients only got displayed once a year at an exhibition and after this it went into storage. My concern was that through my observations I found that the patients were more enthusiastic and happier (which could help in the treatment of mental health) when their work was present in the environment that they spent most of their time. My earlier observations were only at a surface level and it is clear that much more in-depth observation and research would be required to understand if a new interactive approach to displaying patients work would be beneficial to their their recovery or not. When I came across the link below it sparked off new thought on how an interactive space can be used for the display of large amounts of archived work. I feel this was a cleaver solution to help people view large amounts of data that could be otherwise never seen and could be potentially developed further within more everyday situations like a DVD store or tourism office to provide information clearly and efficiently to the wider community.