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Interactive sensored network

Summer 2009


In collaboration with Julia Tsao

"The Right Information at the Wrong Time / The Wrong Information at the Right Time" is an interactive sensored network that uses location and timing to investigate design implications of embedded systems. In a networked world, information is flowing all around us. Every electronic device is touting an easier method to gather, parse and give data to the user. This bombardment of information can be useful and other times useless. This project begins with a goal of designing a useless network. There are two dynamic data sets used in this working prototype. Infrared sensors were used in the parking lot at the South end of the Art Center building and in the cafeteria at the North end. They collected information on how many parking spots were available and how many people were in line at the cafeteria.  We created a LED sign above the main doors. As you entered the building from the South parking lot, you read:

"There are currently ___ empty spots in the parking lot."
Then when you left the building, you read:
“There are currently ___ people in line at the cafeteria."


The timing was off, why would the viewer need to know how many spaces are in the parking lot after they already parked. The location of the sign was inappropriate to the information given. Same for when a student would leave school, they find out how many people are in line to get food. This information would have been helpful 10 minutes ago, and now it becomes an annoyance of technology rather than a convenience.  There is a need for dynamic information to be in the correct context with location and time. This type of investigation is important for designers to understand how to combine and marry network information in useful and meaningful ways.