Weekly experimenters updates #6

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


It’s been a busy week at ParGarCom project.

Our developers are having some problems to solve but are advancing in order to meet our schedule. These are the main features in this area:

  • For the backend we created the API for user and login, and added user authentication for uploading comments, videos and photos.
  • Regarding the login screen, we have worked on the mechanics to start the camera of the mobile phone, take a picture and upload it next to the user data as avatar. The entire part of the data stored in the phone's internal memory has also been saved to save the user's configuration, which, in the current phase, is the language of preference (Spanish / English). The entire app has also been adapted so that the information appears in the language selected by the user.
  • In addition, a script has been programmed to convert audio files to video, because YouTube allows uploading only videos, but it is not yet in production.

We have also been in touch with our Santander contact in order to explain our situation and to start identifying beta testers for the app. Besides that, we have also started making moves to arrange some meetings in one month’s time and explain our project once it is in its final stages. Our goal is to promote its use and get critical mass to gain traction and promoting its eventual adoption by end users.

Finally, Organicity Santander’s Facebook account has done a post about us on February 8th.

Talking City

TalkingCity aims to make urban data repositories and smart city services more accessible to citizens, offering them the option of interacting through a conversational interface powered by a chatbot.

When designing services for citizens, making sure they are aligned with their priorities, needs and habits is a primary concern. That is why the project started with a co-design workshop organised in Aarhus (DK) back in November 2017. Some of the issues that emerged led to a design, radically different from most similar products in the market.

A first version of the service will be tested with Aarhus citizens starting from Feb. 12th, 2018.

The TalkingCity team will be visiting the city of Aarhus on Feb 28th and March 1st, in case you want to meet, drop us a line via

Early tests with a prototype during the co-design workshop.

Discussing personas in preparation of the co-design workshop.

Finalising the co-design workshop preparation: coffee and plenty of balloons!

Data On Site (Research[x]Design)

Analysing first results

This week, we are hard at work to analyse the results of our experiments in Aarhus.
We are evaluating the outcome and process of the DataOnSite workshop methodology to make adjustments for the next experiment here in Leuven.

We are also actively discussing the implications of the trial workshops and deployments in Aarhus for the physical, interaction and graphical design of the public visualisations.

Looking forward, we’re setting up meetings with Leuven and future potential collaborators. Meanwhile we also started to think more concretely about the business model that could support our project after OrganiCity.


Co-Creation Activities in Singapore

IoTee Lab was co-facilitators at a workshop in the IEEE World Forum on Internet Of Things in Singapore and Business Model Innovation Tools for IoT. The iRecycle experiment and OrganiCity project was presented as the primary case at the workshop. IoT experts from around the world contributed during co-creation activities, around humans with IoT, technical implementation and business modelling.

Co-Creation Activities in Aarhus (update)

A workshop was held in Aarhus with citizens who reside in houses on the streets where the bottle bank sensors and iRecycle buttons will be installed. The focus group was used in order to determine the attitude and willingness of citizens to take part in co-creation activities. It was also used as a place to ideate on various approaches for incentives.

The workshop was structured into the following focus areas:

  • Current response towards IoT (Positive/Negative)
  • Daily stories (on using the bottle banks)
  • Motivation
  • Citizen questions
  • Ideas & feedback
  • Others

The results and consequent analysis of this will be summarised into a report, while the findings will be used to tailor the implementation of the iRecycle button and QR interfaces.

Edinburgh CitySounds

We’ve been making good, incremental progress on the technical side, with two more prototype devices being built, and one of which will be deployed in another local garden. We now have our new WiFi Access Point operational (See here) so that we can more easily stream audio data to our server.

Tomorrow we are going to carry out a site survey on the Meadows with a representative from the City of Edinburgh Council’s park division. Hopefully we’ll be able to agree on a set of trees that are suitable locations for installing the monitoring devices.

We are in the process of drafting a Privacy Impact Assessment for the deployment of the devices in public. Not a huge amount of fun but a crucial step.

We are busy gearing up for public workshops on 19th February. We’re excited that we’ll be joined by Kate Jones of UCL to talk about the Nature-Smart cities project carried out in London.

The first of the two workshops will be aimed at a more technical, specialist audience, but the main one in the evening will be for local citizens interested in how IoT can help us learn about biodiversity in urban greenspaces. It will feature an interactive session where participants can give input and feedback on what biodiversity means to them.

Judging by the Eventbrite registrations that are pouring in, the events are attracting a lot of interest. For more info, see here.

Wear AQ

WearAQ Phase 2 addresses challenges of “Improving air quality” and “Connecting communities”.

Combining new perspectives to an existing understanding of air quality (AQ) issues we are aiming to innovate through perceptual experience mapping using wearable technology.

Our experiment will consist of 6 workshops with 120 participants over the course of March, and as this comes up we thought we’d give you an update on the progress and a brief rundown as this will be the first.

We’re looking to use wearable technology to measure individual's perception of air quality and check this against open data to answer the simple question - “can human perception be a good enough substitute for sensor readings”.

By testing and proving this, we hope to empower communities with hard evidence and data to make a change in their surroundings. We were part of an Experiment last year with Organicity that you can read about here.

This experiment covers a lot of bases.

  • First and foremost, the wearables needed to be built.
  • Next, we needed to create a whole backend server system to collect the data. To interface with the server, we needed to build an app.
  • Lastly, a large amount of data collection needed to take place to power a recommendation engine that generates locations to measure perceptions at and a model to compare and contrast perceived air quality to real air quality.

Over the course of the last few weeks, our team of 3 has been busy preparing the infrastructure for the platform. The wearables, server and models are all in their final stages and we’re gearing up for our first workshop where we hope everything will be up and running.

Feel free to reach out with any questions, looking forward to sharing more with you.

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