Environments Studio IV: Social Systems
7 Weeks | Spring 2021
How does intelligence shape our experience in a physical, digital, or hybrid environment? In this project, we focus on investigating, understanding, and materializing intelligence through new forms of probes, prototypes, or speculative design.
When thinking of intelligence, we hardly give enough credit to one of the oldest intelligent systems that surrounds us - the natural environment. This project focuses on showcasing nature's intelligence to kids of all ages - specifically leveraging technology to highlight the invisible processes we do not see.
How might we design an educational experience for kids in Pittsburgh that demonstrates the intelligence of nature?
The way I define nature’s intelligence comes from the fact that it is something that grows, something that responds to external changes, and something that learns
My target users and their goals for this experience rest on both adults - like parents and teachers and the students themselves. This experience is designed with groups in mind - like either families or field trip groups.
Here is an overview of the entire user journey - there are 5 main parts of the experience - each with its own purpose and educational goal.
The group will get a ticket at the Schenley park visitor center, which they can scan. This will take them to the app which will have them input basic information, determine if they are starting or joining a team, and then name that team. They will get an overview of the journey, zooming in, and then will be prompted to head to the first stop on their journey.
Output: Buzzes & Lights up
Input: Students squeezing Buddi
When the group is nearing a stop, they will hear their phones buzz, telling them they’re near a marker. Once they spot it they can head towards it and activate it, which will give them a card that tells them about the spot they are at. It will then trigger an AR interaction, that they can play with and explore.
The first 4 stops in the journey are about collecting factors that set up the physical environment of the forest - specifically sunlight, water, oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Water Vapor Visuals
Carbon Dioxide Visual
Stops About the Forest
Then the next 4 stops are about the living elements of the forest - specifically the layers of the forest, transpiration, photosynthesis, and finally flowering & pollination.
Prompts for Noticing
On the second half of the journey, on the trip back to the visitor center, the users are just given prompts for noticing the natural world around them, with minimal use of their phone.
Something the team can do through the entire experience is document things they find interesting throughout the journey. When they see something they are curious about, they can pull down the camera app and take a picture of things they find interesting. At that moment, they will be told what type of plant it is, and it will be added to their team notes section.
Once the team makes it back to the visitor center they will receive a star for completing this journey, they will be prompted to create a profile that saves all the information from their journey. The spring section will be filled in in the adventure log, which can be filled out through the rest of the seasons. They can click into it and look back at all the stops they collected and read through the gathered information again. They can also look throw their notes and learn more about the plants they documented, as well as where they found them, so if they wanted to see them again in a different season they could