In the near future, great changes in the electricity system will take place. Sustainable energy sources will demand greater flexibility in consumption, while the technological development makes it possible to create a better dialogue between the system and the user. The challenge is to change the electricity system from a closed technological system to an open communicating system.
DesignCamp2011 lasted from 3rd-14th of October. During these two weeks, students from some of the world’s top design schools with completely diverse approaches towards electricity gathered in Kolding. Led by international design thinkers we came up with proposals for how users / consumers can acquire a more clear perception of energy; a perception marked by care, reflection, submissiveness, joy and pleasure rather than indifference where electricity is only experienced second hand through the myriad of devices that need it to function.
All student project and evaluations (our project starts at 4:14).
The team I worked with for 2 weeks consisted of: Xinwo from Tongji University China, Obinna from Case Western Reserve University USA, Gregory from Kingston University England and from Kolding School of Design Denmark: Sidsel, Ida and Luciana .
Our goal was to create a concept to make electricity tangible and wonderful. In the first two days we defined our main design question and 5 subquestions:How Might We use notions associated with social inclusiveness to induce people to change their habits around electricity?
After we defined these questions there were two 'Power Days' in which experts, researchers, designers and others shared their knowledge with us, and helped us to brainstorm about solutions to the 'How Might We' questions. At the end of the week we had more than hundred ideas to make electricity tangible and wonderful.
In the second week we took all the best parts from the ideas we came up with and tried to turn them into one concept. We couldn't choose between a macro and a micro solution because we thought they where equally important. Thant's why we came up with ElectriCITY (macro) and Luna (micro).
ElectriCITY is an online community and service which increases awareness of household electricity consumption. The service aims to incentives families to adopt new habits in order to save electricity.
Among other things, visual statistics displaying household electricity consumption encourages electricity savings. The savings award points which can be exchanged into discounts in fitness centres and the zoo. For the community part, you can decide to compete for points against other families.
Via easily accessible usage information, an inverse points system, benefits and recognition within a community, the experience of saving electricity becomes more than just saving money. It becomes an integral part of your daily life. ”Friendly competition among families,” is the idea.
Luna is an ambient technology product which embodies household electricity consumption. The shape invites you to interact with it. It is abstract but draws references to sea anemones which look like plants but are actually animals.
Luna relates to both children and adults. Every time an electrical device is switched off in the home, the Luna reacts in a subtle way (a vibration, a small sigh, a pulsation of light, a woosh). This adds an ambience to the presence of electrical equipment and makes you aware of the electricity consumption in the home.
Our concept explained in a small animation.
Take a look on the DesignCamp 2011 website for more information.