Kristina Höök, an interaction design professor from the department Media Technology and Interaction design where I worked earlier, started off the day by talking about soma design. In the picture above you can see her “Soma design manifesto” which will be discussed in her upcoming book on interaction design. Her talk was very inspiring and focused a lot on movement and how we can design with movement in mind. Several examples of design koncepts based on movement were brought up to discussion and fact is that I have tried some of them at KTH during an open house session a few years ago. One example was a design solution with a lamp which light intensity varied with your breathing – it really made it possible to experience breathing in a different way. Another example was a device you laid down, which generated heat based on pressure. The common theme of all examples was that the developed products give an awareness of the body and how it moves. The lecture also contained a practical exercise in which we should sit down relaxed and focus on the state of different body parts as well as the relation between them. This was a very interesting experience especially when it came to thinking about what mechanisms we use when we start and stop breathing. We can do this in soo many ways, but we hardly ever think about it. It became clear that we are different. Most of us are not really symmetrical, especially not if we experience some kind of pain, and we should design with this in mind. After this lecture I’m really curious about that book! 🙂
The other lecture was held by Elina Eriksson, who is also a former colleague, and from the same department as Kristina. Elina focused on ICT and sustainability and her talk was also very engaging. She started out with a very important and serious subject: what is the state of our planet and where are we going (my own interpretation, not a quote)? We definitely have a problem today – the emissions (especially carbon dioxide) are increasing which in turn causes all sorts of highly problematic chain reactions. We also have a problem with resources – e.g. just recently we passed the world overshoot day and it’s not even autumn yet! This is an important topic to really think hard about, but I will not delve deeper into it here. In the other part of her talk she focused more on sustainable development and gave several intereresting examples. It was especially pointed out that the whole life cycle is of importance – not just the usage of a product. We need to consider how and with which resources products are manufactured. The issues in the production or in waste handling might cost much more, in terms of effect on environment, than the actual usage. This is of course problematic when it comes to computers and phones which are often thrown out way before they actually stop functioning (sometimes due to incompatible new software). The lecture also contained group discussions about e.g. development goals which we were adressing and goals that were conflicting. Those who are interested in this topic (should be everyone!) may also be interested in this earlier blog post about a recent talk by Ulf Danielsson (professor from Uppsala University) about the fragile system we are all part of.
The rest of the day was devoted to project work, which started today. I will just mention the main steps here. We started with defining clear goals, after which we formulated important questions to answer. We also discussed what is needed for success as well as pitfalls that could lead to failure. The next step was a mapping activity, where we defined all stakeholders, data gathering and other key steps in the design cycle. The next main task was to choose a small part of the idea mapped out and generate several design ideas based on it (everyone in the project group produced 8 examples under time pressure). Each person than expanded on one of the ideas which was than shown to the entire group. The group than decided what parts from everyone’s solutions that should be a part of the final group design. The last project task today was that we started on a story board.
The day ended with a nice dinner with the entire group of participants and organizers.