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Experiments

Weekly experimenters updates #11

Catch up on what the experimenters have been up to this week.

CaMon

On March 5th, the CAMoN team in Colombia organized the first event with one of the co-creation groups on the Santiago de Cali University campus. The dynamics consisted of simulating the city of Santiago de Cali within the university, in order to find a set of clues and generate a series of environmental reports with the CAMoN app according to the track found. This way, players could interact with the mobile application.

The activities were guided by a gincana that motivated people creativity, which allowed people express their ideas easily through the game.

Part of the strategies of the work with the co-creation group were to motivate the imagination, ingenuity, innovation and creativity with the aim of knowing the expectations of the users with the app.

One of the biggest challenges was knowing the expectations of the users and inviting the end user to improve the app usability. In this sense, after finishing the activity, the groups were interviewed to find out their opinions and experiences with the app.

iRecycle

It has been a busy week for IoTeeLab, a lot of work has been done both in Denmark but also in Spain.

In Denmark the team has been working hard on improving and deploying the improved sensors. Also work has been done on the cloud based web application that is used in the co-creation, this was translated into both Danish and Spanish, together with a description of the project.

ParGarCom

It has been a busy week for the ParGarCom team, not only in the technological area, but also in the issues related to the co-creation and promotion of the experiment.

Regarding the technological side, we have improved the API making it more robust and allowing the fast implementation of additional functionalities, as well as new open data sources. We have uploaded a new update of the app to Play Store, we are now in the fourth update, implementing new features, such as the ability to upload videos, improvements in the timeline and several bugs are fixed.

In relation to the section on co-creation and promotion of the experiment, we have received feedback from Santander City Council, but the dates for closing an official presentation are very tight. For this reason, we have opened up new communication channels in Santander, contacting several neighbourhood associations, the mass media (written press and radio) and a professional training centre linked to landscaping and gardening.

Last but not least, we are closing a day of presentation of the ParGarCom project at the ParcBit (Mallorca Technology Park), to explain the experiment, talk about the possibilities offered by open data and co-creation, and of course about Organicity. Contacts are ongoing and it is expected that Smart City Santander project managers as well as several representatives of the Government of the Balearic Islands together with the ParGarCom team will participate in the event.

Data On Site (Research[x]Design)

Casing Iterations and Front-End Prototype

We are continuing to explore casing options for our Citizen Dialog Kit displays. The current prototype is made out of multiple layers of laser cut plexiglass for an easy DIY building process that can be completed at any Fab Lab equipped with a lasercutter. The design is modular with the intent of being open to various shapes, e.g. fitting with the theme that is being addressed through the CDK.

The front of the casing can easily be adapted as well through a paper insert containing call-to-actions (like here “Are you worried about air quality in Leuven?”) and branding of the organization or city behind the deployment.

The combination of the DIY aesthetic of the laser cut plexiglas, the easy assembly with a only a few bolts, and the transparent back that exposes all the components is intended to walk the line between appealing design and appearing serviceable, doable and obtainable. The goal is for the CDK to balance a professional design with visibly easy construction.

Furthermore, we are exploring how multiple of these prototypes can be mounted together in a modular way that reinforces the presented narrative with a clear structure and reading order.

Finally, we are also experimenting with the front-end side of the display management API of the Citizen Dialog Kit. The basic functionalities (registering a new display and setting content for each one) have successfully been implemented in a basic layout. In the following weeks we will continue to improve this display management interface as new features are added to the API (e.g. scheduling and visualising polling results).

Edinburgh CitySounds

Monday 12th March was something of a landmark for us: Simon finally got to install one of our Audio Capture Devices (ACDs) on a tree in the Meadows! He is using a clever combination of bungee cords and bike cables to make sure that they are firmly attached.

We now have two Audio Capture Devices (ACDs) delivering encrypted audio data successfully to our CitySounds server. Interestingly, every now and again one of the ACDs loses some WiFi signal and goes dark for a minute or so — perhaps a delivery truck or other vehicle in the adjacent street is blocking the signal.

A separate server script picks up the audio data files as soon as they arrive and moves them to a separate, inaccessible file partition and re-encrypts them with a wholly separate encryption key.

WearAQ

This week we hosted our first workshop and we were so excited to have it run without any problems. Just goes to show how much of a difference an extra week of testing can make.

However, that’s not to say we didn’t learn from the workshop. There are definitely ways we can improve and it was good to test the server and wearables and see how it handled an (almost) full house in terms of capacity. After some debriefing we’ve fixed a plan to tweak some of the aspects of the experiment.

One of the issues we were having was that the wearables were designed to register a gesture after 5 seconds of holding a pose. However, during the walk, we asked participants to use the mobile phones we provided to take some photos. As they were doing so, we discovered looking at the data that there were some gestures incorrectly captured due to the holding the phone to take photos. This obviously skews some values, but now with some checking in place and an addition to the workshop leaders app to turn ‘recording’ on and off, we can get by that problem.

Lastly we had some connectivity problems with bluetooth connections between the phone and app dropping. We expected this and set up the system to attempt to reconnect every 5 seconds and if that failed, have LEDs light up to let us know to go and manually reconnect. To make things easier, we’ve set up the leader app to notify us of any disconnect.

As for the results, we’re crunching the numbers right now and are looking forward to sharing that with you all next week!

As we mentioned in our Instagram takeover, we’re super grateful for friends who come by to help solder, seal wearables, and sit and stress with us about code. It keep things light and happy in the WearAQ camp.

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