Weekly experimenters updates #9

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

USC-UPCT-CUD-UVIGO (multiple cities Santiago de Cali / Spain)

During the past week the research team of the Technical University of Cartagena gave an interview to Telecartagena in which the mobile device was unveiled to geolocate episodes of contamination present in the environment.

Thanks to our sensors, this device captures and measures pollutant levels in real time. Our mobile device can be installed in different vehicles, for example urban transport. The objective of the project is to capture pollution zones and thus apply solutions in traffic that allow limited control of excess of these pollutants that harm the population.

Watch our interview video here.


This week the focus has been on three main areas: linking the data generated by the installed sensors to the Organicity API, finishing work on the citizen-co creation web application and improving the sensor measurements and battery life.

The data generated by the glass container sensors (currently in Herning) is now available on the data observatory and experimenters portal, together with historical data.

The web application for handling the citizen co-creation, by allowing them to guess the current filling level is complete and linking with the existing measurements database is on the way.

Work on the sensors has also been ongoing, by trying out various types of sensors, improving the software to allow for the advantages of low-power consumption during deep-sleep.

The results so far have been promising, with an improved battery life and measurement accuracy.

Additionally, work has also been done on connecting to the Aarhus LoRaWAN network. A sensor device that is located in Aarhus, is now sending information through the Aarhus LoRaWAN network and the data is being stored in our cloud platform.

Data On Site (Research[x]Design)

Citizen Dialogue Kit! Back-End Alpha and Next Deployment

First things first. After a number of brainstorm sessions and a lot of back and forth, we have purchased the domain to promote and document the outcomes of this project and our support services. There’s nothing there YET, but watch this space!

This week we are testing the alpha version of the back-end to the Data On Site hardware. We are configuring the server and writing the first version of the documentation. The back-end exists of a NodeJS API for initializing and managing displays, submitting and scheduling content and tracking the engagement and polling results during and after deployment.

We also met with the city of Leuven to make practical arrangements and agreements about the deployment here in the city. We intend to work with the LeuvenAir initiative to evaluate the complete Data On Site/Citizen Dialogue Kit, from conceptualizing the public visualizations, to building the displays and managing their deployment.

Finally, we continue to think about and iterate on the design of the casing around the Data On Site displays. With this version we try to draw attention with the bright colors and large call-to-actions, but leave some space to provide context and branding.

See the original post here.


This week we have uploaded an update of the app. In this new version, users can log in and upload information in the form of comments. On the other hand, non-logged users can only look up information.

The information of the different parks, museums, monuments and beaches can appear in two languages (Spanish or English), depending on what the user selects and, in each element, a logged user can add comments. Comments are saved directly to assets created in Organicity.

An icon also appears in order to take a picture and upload it to the timeline, but we are having problems so it is not working yet. Images, videos and sounds (both in production) must be saved externally because of the problems with storing this information in Organicity.
In the case of images, they are saved in Google Drive and videos and sounds on YouTube, storing in all cases the links that point directly to these contents in Organicity.

Besides that, we have been working to organise a round of meetings in Santander both with City Hall representatives and neighbours associations in order to publicly present our app to the target audience. We expect to arrange these meetings for the week of March 12th.


This week marked a landmark in the TalkingCity project. The whole team packed their stuff and went over to Aarhus, where the second round of validation tests with citizens took place in Dokk1, the city library. Meanwhile, a number of meetings with other local stakeholders took place, including fruitful discussion with municipality officers on the post-experiment exploitation of the results and with other experimenters (Design-People & Kanda from the Safe City experiment), sharing best practises and insight gained in the co-design phase of the respective projects. Results from the validation tests are being analysed as we speak; the feedback by users will be incorporated into the next release of the TalkingCity chatbot, which will go public within the next few weeks.

Image: Testing TalkingCity chatbot with citizens in Dokk1@Aarhus


This week has been all about finding bugs in the first app release and fixing them. The whole team has been trying the app out and pinpointing where it needs fine-tuning. Based on feedback from last weeks meeting with our Advisory board, we have also been adding a few upgrades.

Our team over at Kanda is now wrapping up the fine-tuning so that we will be ready for testing with 16 citizens of Aarhus over the course of the next 2 weeks, starting on Monday. We have managed to again recruit some of the participants from our initial focus group and are in particular very excited to hear how they will experience the concept, that has very much been based on their input.

We expect that one challenge for the user tests might be that participants perhaps will not experience an event or situation that they would perceive as unsafe / worthy of reporting in the SafeCity app in the course of the two test weeks. For the sake of the experiment, participants will be asked to still report minimum one issue/event on the platform.

Following the 2 weeks of testing, we will gather feedback in two mini groups (for half of the participants) and through a web survey (for half of the participants).

Today, we also had a good meeting with our OrganiCity mentor Sebastian and our fellow experimenter Daniele from U-hopper. We shared experiences from prototyping and insight gathering, and it was very interesting for us to hear about Daniele's approach to chatbot interfaces for accessing information and reporting into public authority systems. Bo Fristed, head of ITK (Innovation, Technology, Culture), Aarhus Municipality joined us for a part of the meeting and we had a fruitful discussion on which stakeholders in the municipality we might contact to discuss a possible detailing and implementation of our concept.

Image: Meeting at ITK Labs, Dokk1: design-people, Kanda, Daniele from U-hopper, mentor Sebastian and head of ITK, Bo.

Wear AQ

We’ve had a lot of fun this week with our Instagram takeover. To get to know more about us and our workflow head over to the Organicity Insta page. But for here, we wanted to dive a little deeper into the progress of our experiment.

We have the first of our workshops taking place next week at the Aberfeldy Centre in Tower Hamlets. To find participants we’ve been working with LoopLabs, a non-profit organisation with the objective of solving urban challenges with the power of communities. We worked with them during the first phase of the project and we’ve been extremely excited to work with them again.

We’re hoping that the experiment gives us an idea of how we can empower communities to have a voice concerning the quality of their air where they live. We want this to be a learning situation for both sides where the participants can gain a better understanding of their areas and we can understand what are the factors that affect their perceptions.

While we get ready for the workshops, we’re running through the final tests and checks. Since we’re a small team, but of quite diverse backgrounds, we’ve all had quite a lot on our plates the last few weeks. However, this week, there’s been a lot of back and forth as we work on each part of the project that overlaps with the other. Most of its been working on the actual codebase, but here are some photos of the development of the wearables.

We’re planning a test run for today (London weather permitting) and we’re excited to see how it all works out. We’ll be taking photos and hope to share some with you!

Edinburgh CitySounds

We had a great pair of workshops on using audio to monitor biodiversity on 19th February, the highlight of which was a visit plus talks by Kate Jones of UCL, who presented the work on bat monitoring that she has been carrying out in London as part of the Nature-SmartCities project.

We have been devoting a lot of energy to completing our Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for the project prior to deploying our devices in public. The PIA currently runs to 39 pages, including four Appendices. However, given all the snow currently in Edinburgh, this would have been a bad week to start installing the devices in trees!

We have just had a very useful telephone conference with Dan Stowell about opportunities and challenges for using audio data to train machine learning classifiers that will recognise a wide variety of sound sources.

We have started planning our current “sonic art” exhibition to be held around 5-8 April, and it’s beginning to look really exciting.

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