lördag 28 september 2019

Proposals for our project course on Interactive Media Technology (course)

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Our "Advanced Project course in Interactive Media Technology" (DM2799) will be held for the third time this autumn term (primarily in November and December):

"The course is an advanced project course, where the students [in groups of 3-5 students] carry out a smaller research study in close cooperation with researchers in the field of interactive media technology."

This course (3-minute video) is interesting for various reasons and one reason is that most students who take the course are fifth-year students. That means they have lots of knowledge and experience and that they can get a lot done despite the fact that most of the work in these projects are performed over a period of less than two months. Another thing that is interesting is that the project course is followed by their master's thesis and while many students would like to do their thesis with a company as their client, it also represents a chance to recruit students to do their master's thesis in a research project.

The sustainability team that I lead together with Elina now has several new research projects up and running and we also have a strong tradition of writing project proposals for this course and getting them manned. I have personally been the advisor of five different project groups during the previous two course offerings.

This year we have a very strong line-up of sustainability-related project proposals and I will list all our proposals below. New for this year is that the students will specify their preferences and be organised into project groups a month before the course starts. This has forced us to write our project proposals earlier during the term, but, the start of the course and the start of these projects will be much smoother than before - the students and their projects will get off to a "flying start" compared to earlier years.

Below are our 12 sustainability-related proposals and further below are descriptions of all projects in terms of title, background and task (some additional information has been removed, this blog post will be long enough as it is).

[UPDATE (October 8): titles in orange have been chosen by groups of students who will work with them during the remainder of the year]

Flightminder - Gapminder for KTH’s flight data (FLIGHT advisors: Daniel Pargman and Mario Romero)
Communicating data beyond digital screens (FLIGHT advisor: Elina Eriksson)
CERO Challenge (FLIGHT advisor: Elina Eriksson)
Bringing Homo Colossus to life (KTH campus edition) (HC advisors: Daniel Pargman and Mario Romero)
Bringing Homo Colossus to life (City of Stockholm edition) (HC advisors: Daniel Pargman and Mario Romero)
Exploring human powered interaction (advisor: Anders Lundström)
Climate map - carbon budget made visible for municipalities (advisor: Elina Eriksson)
HabitWise – design of climate calculators to create sustainable habits (HABITWISE advisors: Elina Eriksson and Cecilia Katzeff)
Non-intrusive social reminders for sustainable food behaviour (KITCHEN advisor: Björn Hedin)
Sharing preference-based adjustments of online recipes (KITCHEN advisor: Björn Hedin)
Making Hippo Hip Again - Redesign of a food inventory system (KITCHEN advisor: Miriam Börjesson Rivera)
- Meat-O-Meter - changing meat consumption behavior (KITCHEN advisor: Björn Hedin and Jarmo Laaksolahti)

The majority of these project proposals are directly related to ongoing research projects in our research group (MID4). That is an advantage for students choosing these projects since each research project has a network of researchers attached to it who have a lot of goodwill towards these students projects and who are willing to spend time and energy to help the students. Also, project groups that yield interesting results could easily result in ideas for master's thesis topics that these students could work on during the spring term (2020). For more information about these research project, follow these links: FLIGHTHABITWISE and KITCHEN. The HC (Homo Colossus) project is brand new and does not yet have a homepage.

Here are the longer version of each project:

Flightminder - Gapminder for KTH’s flight data

Background
KTH has set up goals to reduce our carbon emissions. Decreasing employees’ flying is a prioritised area since researchers fly a lot (to scientific conferences etc.), but in order to decrease our flying, we first need to understand our flying.

In a MID research project that just started, “Decreased CO2-emissions in flight-intensive organisations”(a.k.a. “FLIGHT”), we have access to all data for all KTH employees’ all travel during the previous 12 months. We will analyse this data from various perspectives but need your help to develop a tool that can help us visualise the data in useful and nifty ways.

Project/Task
Your task is to find ways to visualise our data and to develop a tool that will help us researchers work with our data in better ways over the coming years (the project runs between 2019-2022). You can think of your task in terms of developing Gapminder (see link below) for KTH’s flight data.

See “additional material” below for references to two recent academic studies that analyses the academic flying at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland and the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada. We want to be able to replicate these studies and see if we get the same results when we plug our KTH data set into the tool you develop!

The KTH data set includes data about all 3700 employees’ all trips between September 2018 and August 2019. You will more specifically have access to this data:
For every employee: unique identifier, year of birth, gender, title (e.g. “professor” or “ph.d. student”), salary, school and department, purpose of the trip.
For every trip: unique identifier (person travelling), date, flight number, airport codes, type of ticket, price, estimated CO2 emissions

Communicating data beyond digital screens

Background
Climate change is real and we need to act quickly and cut our carbon emissions in order to fulfil the Paris agreement. Air travel is one of the fastest growing contributors to carbon emissions, and within academia, air travel has lately begun to be discussed. In a research project that recently started at MID, “Decreased CO2-emissions in flight-intensive organisations”, we support KTH in it’s goal to reduce employees’ carbon emission from travel (which to a large extent means flying). One way of reaching the goals that KTH has set for itself is to publicly communicate and raise awareness of the historical and current state of flying/carbon emissions and how these relate to KTH’s targets.

Project/Task
In this project we invite students to explore alternative and innovative ways of communicating travel data from KTH or the implications of KTH’s air travel and we want to see innovative suggestions beyond screen-based visualizations. We want you to find ways to make historical and current data on flying engaging and provocative! How can KTH’s data set be used in ways that help employees become more aware of our emissions and more prone to start acting to decrease them? A source for inspiration could be the master thesis work by Tomás Albrecht that developed the Publikkvitto prototype (see additional material for reference), but we would also invite other types of communication such as sonification, haptic feedback or smell.

CERO Challenge

Background
Emissions from transport and travel are a substantial part of the global emissions of carbon, and even though much transport is necessary and hard to cut down on, some are possible to change. However behaviour change is hard, and changing transport behaviour is difficult since it is intertwined with everyday practices. In this situation, digital tools can be of help, and one such tool that has been developed is CERO Challenge. CERO challenge is a tool to help people choose more sustainable travel choices. But, the tool need some care and love to really become engaging and useful.

Project/Task
In this project, we want a team to do a redesign of the CERO Challenge app. This would include an evaluation of the current user interface and the creation of a new interface (a high-fidelity mock-up, an implementation for android/IOS, or a combination). We encourage the student group to take a critical perspective and for example explore what alternative motivations (besides gamification) that could be used as drivers in the application. Here it could be interesting to explore Transcendental Values (see Common Cause handbook in additional material).

Bringing Homo Colossus to life (KTH campus edition)

Background
Fossil fuels account for ≈ 85% of mankind's primary energy supply. This is problematic for several reasons (climate change etc.) and we urgently need to phase out fossil fuels. But how do we convince people in more affluent countries that much will have to change, perhaps including highly valued aspects of our taken-for-granted lifestyles? How do we show that what we have come to perceive as “normal” in fact is anything but and that we today use extravagant amounts of energy (that eventually must come to an end)?

William Catton’s idea of “homo colossus” (Catton 1986, 1987) pushes home the point that each of us would be COLOSSAL if we imagined that our everyday energy consumption – the energy we use in our daily lives (for heating our homes, driving our cars, flying on vacation trips etc.) – instead was used to fuel a Huge Creature that physically ingested (ate) and metabolised the same amount of energy. It is easy for a Swede to use 50 to 100 times more energy in our everyday lives than the energy content of the food we eat (≈ 1700 kcal or 2 kWh per day for a person who weighs 70 kilos)! But how big would we be if we were huge and ATE all that energy instead, i.e. how big is the “energy footprint” of the average Swede and of his/her lifestyle??

Project/Task
The Homo Colossus “double” or “shadow” of the average Swede would be about 12 meters tall and weight about 25.000 kilos. Imagine building a 12 meters tall statue that represents “the average Swede” (e.g. the average Swede’s energy footprint)! You will not build that statue in this project, but you will model (Maya, Blender) and 3D print giant body parts (eg. toes, fingers, ears) and find a suitable place to install them on campus (for example sticking out of a building (wall) or up from the ground). You will then develop a smartphone app (using the ARCore Augmented Reality development kit) so that the rest of Homo Colossus’ body can be seen through the smartphone’s screen and with the help of an AR app.

You will also design a method to invite people to use the AR app on the public installation. People need to be aware of the fact the giant body parts are part of an AR installation and get information about how to see the AR augmentation. Your task is thus to design an intervention/information system that gets their attention, provide them with relevant information and invites explorations - be it posters, screens, in-app advertisements or some other method.

Bringing Homo Colossus to life (City of Stockholm edition)

Background
Fossil fuels account for ≈ 85% of mankind's primary energy supply. This is problematic for several reasons (climate change etc.) and we urgently need to phase out fossil fuels. But how do we convince people in more affluent countries that much will have to change, perhaps including highly valued aspects of our taken-for-granted lifestyles? How do we show that what we have come to perceive as “normal” in fact is anything but and that we today use extravagant amounts of energy (that eventually must come to an end)?

William Catton’s idea of “homo colossus” (Catton 1986, 1987) pushes home the point that each of us would be COLOSSAL if we imagined that our everyday energy consumption – the energy we use in our daily lives (for heating our homes, driving our cars, flying on vacation trips etc.) – instead was used to fuel a Huge Creature that physically ingested (ate) and metabolised the same amount of energy. It is easy for a Swede to use 50 to 100 times more energy in our everyday lives than the energy content of the food we eat (≈ 1700 kcal or 2 kWh per day for a person who weighs 70 kilos)! But how big would we be if we were huge and ATE all that energy instead, i.e. how big is the “energy footprint” of the average Swede and of his/her lifestyle??

Project/Task
The Homo Colossus “double” or “shadow” of the average Swede would be about 12 meters tall and weight about 25.000 kilos. Imagine building a 12 meters tall statue that represents “the average Swede” (e.g. the average Swede’s energy footprint)! You will not build that statue in this project, but you will “recruit” one or more pieces of public art (life-sized statues of people) in the City of Stockholm. You will then develop a smartphone app (using the ARCore Augmented Reality development kit) so that the statue/statues are endowed with huge Homo Colossus “shadows” that can be seen through the smartphone’s screen and with the help of an AR app. 

You will also design a method to invite people to use the AR app on these public sculptures. People need to be aware of the location and the identity of the statues that have been augmented and how to see the AR augmentation. Your task is thus to design an intervention/information system that gets their attention, provide them with relevant information and invites explorations - be it posters, screens, in-app advertisements or some other method.

Exploring human powered interaction

Project/Task
You will explore the potential of powering interactive artefacts through so called “human-powered interaction” (HPI). In HPI, the aim is that the power needed to run the device should be acquired through interacting with - and simultaneously “charging” - the device. “Charging” is a nice metaphor but is in fact the wrong term because as apart from “harvesting” energy from human activity (for example through a dynamo that charges a smartphone battery), there is no battery to charge in HPI. The energy that is generated by your physical activity is used up as it is generated, and in fact constitutes a design material of sorts.

One early example of HPI was “The Peppermill” [1] which describes a simple circuit and a human powered peppermill remote control for a TV. The theory around HPI has been further discussed in a paper by James Pierce and Eric Paulos (“Electric materialities and interactive technology”) [2] in which they argue that HPI originates from human physical activity and becomes a part of the interactive experience itself. Power generation is both the source of the interaction and becomes part of the interactive experience!

“If the source of power is generated only via one’s interaction with the technology and experienced as such, then one does not experience the power as external to the immediate context of use as can be the case with ordinary electric technology. Instead, one can experience this power as something able to be personally generated or created.” [2, p. 6]

Interestingly, little has been done from a design perspective to advance this research area despite the increasing interest in sustainable technology. 

Climate map - carbon budget made visible for municipalities

Background
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (PPM) can be measured with high accuracy and we know how much we can emit to keep within certain global mean temperature increases. This is also the scientific basis for what has come to be called the budget perspective: the realization that carbon dioxide accumulates and that we must limit the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere within certain relatively well-known limits in order to meet global temperature targets.

The Climate Map is a non-profit company that was formed in early 2019. We are developing a digital carbon dioxide budget tool together with the Uppsala researchers. We will in the first hand turn to Swedish municipalities, but eventually we also want to reach regions, nations and individuals.

The background to the tool is that in order to adapt our (or a municipality’s) emissions to the global remaining carbon dioxide budget (and thus indirectly to one of the two temperature targets of the Paris Agreement), we (as individuals, municipalities, regions and countries) must first determine what proportion of this global budget is ours. There are different methods for doing so. The easiest one to apply a "flat model" where all the world's current inhabitants are allocated an equal budget. We will apply this 'flat model' as a kind of default mode, or starting position, in our interface, but also allow the user to make additional assumptions and adjust their budget, for example to take into account OECD countries' historical emissions debt.

Project/Task
In this task we want to get suggestions on how we can visualize this a carbon budget with the default mode, that is an equal share of the remaining carbon budget. The prospective user/recipient is a Swedish municipality.

We would therefore like to see proposals for an interface that makes visible our remaining global carbon dioxide budget and a Swedish municipality's share of this. We want it, as visually and intuitively as possible, to show how the municipal budget is calculated (using the Greenpeace flat model where there is a division first (of all now living people), then a multiplication (by the number of inhabitants in the municipality)). In summary, we want the user to meet a visual representation of his/her municipality's carbon dioxide budget, but also as intuitively and directly as possible, understand how this is calculated, and also see its proportional relation to our remaining global budget.

HabitWise – design of climate calculators to create sustainable habits

Background
Human impact on the climate is one of our time’s biggest challenges. Consumption within Swedish households contribute to around 80% of Sweden’s consumption based climate emissions (Swedish EPA 2017). Considering the impact of different categories of consumption from the average Swede, food consumption generates the largest impact, followed by transport, housing, and other shopping. These categories can be measured and communicated to households. This communication holds
a prospect of people learning about their impact and taking steps to change their lifestyles to decrease their impact.
In one way, climate impact tools are the “culmination” of climate impact research. Through these tools, knowledge is available to people outside the scientific community. But what needs to be communicated and what aspects have a lasting impact? We aim to understand how the tools can be improved to bridge science and society toward sustainable development. Several climate calculators are available for households to use. They review climate footprint and, in some cases, suggest how to develop more sustainable consumption patterns. However, little research is available on
systematic user studies providing fruitful information on how to design of climate calculators to best fit their users.
  
The project
We want to know how climate footprint calculators can be designed and implemented to encourage users to lifestyle changes. Hence we would like to invite a group to do an evaluation study (which would be a pre-study for our larger research project), where one climate calculator is evaluated with users.
Potentially this could be a think-aloud study of c:a 5-10 individual household users of 1 selected footprint tool. Selection of test users should aim for balancing gender, age and education. It could also include an expert evaluation and (concept) design of a new interface, new features etc.
Potentially the project could meet the respondents twice, in order to after a few weeks, see what the respondents remember and/if they have started doing any changes in their life.
The work will be part of the project HabitWise – Creating Sustainable Everyday Habits.

Non-intrusive social reminders for sustainable food behaviour

Background 
Food is something we all have a relationship with, whether we like it or not. Food is also an area where we ourselves often think we could, or should behave differently. We might want to eat more vegetables for one or more reasons (health, climate issues, animal welfare etc), generate less food waste, eat less candy, follow diet X, eat more fruit, spend less money on impulse purchases and so on. However, changing such behaviours is easier said than done. 

Research on supporting behaviour change has been conducted for a long time, especially within the areas of health and medicine (i.e. stop smoking) but the technological advances have in recent years opened up the sub-field of digital behaviour change, where digital tools and services are used to support behaviour change. In my research projects we try out new digital technologies to promote more sustainable behaviour around food and for more sustainable kitchen practices. This project is about designing a device for supporting “Non-intrusive social reminders for sustainable food behaviour”.

Project/Task 
This project for the advanced course aims at designing, building and testing a digital connected device (see below) to support more sustainable kitchen- and food behaviours. The designs should be grounded in the “behaviour change wheel” model/framework and the “behaviour change taxonomy v1”. The device should preliminary use the behaviour change techniques “goal setting”, “prompts/cues”, “social support”, “information about other’s approval” from the Behaviour change taxonomy, but choosing behaviour change techniques is a part of the project work.

The basic idea that a group of friends should each have a device. The friends should all share a real interest in improving some (or preferably several) sustainability or health aspect about their food and kitchen practices, such as eat fruit before it turns bad in order to avoid food waste, clean out the fridge, eat healthier/more sustainable and so on. When a person performs some such activity that makes the person feel satisfied with themselves (in a broad sense), the person pushes a button on the device. That makes one led-light light up on the device, and on all their friends’ devices. This serves as a trigger/cue for the friends to remind them that perhaps they should also do something “good”. As more friends do something they are satisfied with, more lights light up on the groups’ devices, creating a collective feeling that the group is doing well. Each night the lights are turned off, and the procedure starts again next day. The devices should be placed in the kitchen of the participants, so that the lights are visible (but not intrusive) when the persons are located in a physical location where it is easy to do “good” food-related behaviours.

The project should make a well-grounded theoretical argument of the design they choose. Of special importance is the grounding the design in the behaviour change models and frameworks described above. The devices should be built with the aim that it should be possible for our research project to build and test the devices during the spring (a possible master’s thesis for participants in the project), and a publicly available instructable of how to build the device should be provided. The devices should then be tested on real users of the target group, and the designs and devices should be qualitatively evaluated from both a design and a behaviour change perspective.

Sharing preference-based adjustments of online recipes

Background 
In society today we today see an increased interest in what we eat, and the number of people with specific preferences (such as vegetarian, low-fat, high-fat, gluten free, climate friendly, non-from-country-x …) are rapidly increasing. In on-line recipes, users often give suggestions of how to modify recipes according such preferences or tastes, but the comments are then provided in the comment field, and a suggestion to replace for example a meat-based ingredient with a vegetarian alternative would not make the recipe appear as “vegetarian” on the recipe website, and vegetarians would probably never find the recipe even though the modified version is now vegetarian. A structured way to provide suggestions of how to modify recipes in a computer-readable way is an interesting research topic that would increase the usefulness of online recipe sites, and support users in finding new recipes that supports their personal preferences.

Project/Task 
This advanced project suggestion is about designing, developing and evaluating a web-plugin (or similar solution) that recognizes the ingredients on one (or several) recipe sites such as Tasteline.se, and allows users to in a user-friendly and structured way suggest replacing one or more ingredients by other ingredients. The suggestions should be categorized  with one or more “reasons”  (i.e. to make it vegetarian, to decrease the number of calories, to make it tastier …), and it should be possible for other users to in some way rate how good the suggestion is. Other users, using the plugin, should then be able to see that there is a suggestion when they go to the site, and if they have provided personal preferences (such as “lactose free”, “low CO2”) such suggestions should be more easily visible. Other features can be developed as part of the course (such as being able to search for all recipes that have been modified in a specific way, subscription to changes made by specific people, CO2 footprint of recipes and so on). The design should be grounded in the behaviour change wheel framework. Depending on the outcome, this project can also be developed to a master thesis project in the spring.

Making Hippo Hip Again - Redesign of a food inventory system

Background
At the MID-department, there are several research projects related to food waste and sustainable kitchen practices. Within one of these projects, HIPPO, a scanner connected to a digital inventory web application has been developed as a prototype. HIPPO helps you to keep track of what you have in your cupboards, fridge and freezer, and ultimately is a way to keep you from overbuying food that then ends up as food waste.

Project/Task
The mission, should you accept it, is the do some new design thinking around the HIPPO prototype. The prototype in its current form runs the risk of mainly attracting certain segments of consumers (e.g. Resource Man (Strengers, 2014)). Hence we wish you to in this project rethink and redesign the system so that it attracts other types of consumers. What could HIPPO look like, how could users be enticed to use it and what would its purpose be?

Meat-O-Meter - changing meat consumption behavior

Background
Production and consumption of meat, as well as dairy products, is a major source of carbon emissions globally and has a large environmental impact overall. The system sustaining meat production/consumption is complex and includes many areas including but not limited to feed production,animal husbandry, transport, and even political/economical systems regulating production and consumption, import and export, subsidies etc. While a general awareness of the fact that meat, especially imported meat, might not be the most sustainable option is growing, the scale and details of the issue often remains unclear.

Project/Task
This project revolves around creating a tool (e.g visualisation, sonification, or physical installation) that can shed light on, and raise awareness of, relevant aspects of the meat production system, its scale, and impact. Based on real-time data of meat purchases through the service Matlistan.se we want you to develop a tool that can cast light on relevant aspects of the meat production chain thereby promoting awareness/insights leading to informed choices and/or behavior change. The tool should be in the form of an artefact/visualisation/sonification that can be placed in a common space to create peripheral awareness, act as a curiosity object that piques people’s interest, a conversation piece, and something that blends into people’s everyday routine. As an initial site for the installation we imagine our own kitchen at KTH. The project will benefit from a multi-disciplinary design team including skills in coding, design, management/business.
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