Using physical computational tools, how might we design and prototype an interactive display that shape and influence the way people view, approach and understand the World and our environment?
The final product takes form as an interactive, informative public “Land use Calculator”, that aims at raising awareness and educating the viewers on the relationship between their dietary pattern and agriculture, consumption and sustainability.
if the Entire World Adopted Your Dietary Habits?
Here’s a scary thought…
The Global Dietary Land Use takes up approximately 50% of habitable land. Among that, livestock takes up nearly 80%. Types of foods we eat have a much stronger impact on land use than the quantity alone. There is a strong relationship between meat consumption, specifically beef and mutton, and the amount of dietary land use. In order to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, as individuals we must reduce our meat intake. If reliance on meat continuous to persist than we would require more land for livestock.
The global dietary land use takes up approximately 50% of habitable land. Among that, livestock takes up nearly 80%. Types of foods we eat have a much stronger impact on land use than the quantity alone. There is a strong relationship between meat consumption, specifically beef and mutton, and the amount of dietary land use. In order to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, as individuals we must reduce our meat intake. If reliance on meat continuous to persist than we would require more land for livestock. Several negative environmental impacts include loss of habitat and biodiversity, wasteful water consumption, pollution, climate change, among others.
My Physical Computation Journey spanned over the course of four months where I learned to use Processing and Arduino, an open source software, to help us design and create functional physical prototypes using a combination of code, sensors, motors, and many others.
Through out the course, I've experimented with light, sound, motor and sensors to craft different interactions and story telling methods. Starting with the Kissing Booth project which covered the basics of circuits and conductivity of materials, building our own instrument, sound sculptures, to designing our own little robot, I ended the course with a good understanding of physical computation and the possibilities of this medium in designing meaningful and impactful interactions.
As part of my final project, we were given the freedom to do what ever we wanted with the processes we've learned over the semester. Aside from taking studio courses, I took a course on indigenous Knowledge systems and it's relationship with ecological biodiversity preservation & global sustainability development. I was inspired by this and so I decided to work on a project revolving around this topic.
The Final Concept
I began my research looking at food consumption and production and it's impact on the environment. 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted every year while almost 1 billion people go undernourished and another 1 billion hungry. Not only are natural resources being wasted, but overconsumption of food is detrimental to our health and the environment as well.
I stumbled upon an article that illustrated "how much of the world’s land would we would need in order to feed he global population with the average diet of a given country". The idea of measuring our dietary land use interested me and so I decided to design an interactive display that can some how raise awareness and educate the viewers on their dietary impact on our planet.
Calculating Land Use
Using the data collected from the above mentioned article on land use per gram of protein along with data from USDA on average amount of protein in different food types, I was able to construct a chart illustrating the amount of land use for different dietary patterns.
^ Soldering wires to potentiometer
^ Measuring minimum projector distance
^ Constructing stand
^ Close up of circuit
^ Attaching potentiometer to projector screen
^ Refined interface
^ Setup projector
^ Decoration (very last minute so excuse the wrinkly paper)
Serial Communication: Arduino and Processing
Initially I wanted everything, from data input to data output to be made physically. However upon stumbling upon the capability for serial communication between Arduino (physical) to Processing (screen), I thought it would be more efficient and provide more opportunities if I used physical interactions to trigger digital experiences. I started by setting up a circuit using some potentiometers and a LED serial monitor to create a quick prototype. I was able to successfully use the potentiometers to input data which is shown on the serial monitor.
I was then able to use the data from the serial monitor and send it to processing to generate various graphics. As seen in the video on the right, turning the potentiometer changes the size of the circles, each knob changes a different circle indicated by the different colors. The circles represent the different food types. I did this so the viewers can get a sense of the relative impact of different food type. The red being beef/mutton, is overwhelmingly larger the the rest, making it stand out the most.
The Final Design is a Land Use Calculator that takes form as an interactive, informative public display that aims at raising awareness and educating the viewers on the relationship between their dietary pattern and agriculture, consumption and sustainability. The display consists of six potentiometer that allows users to input and define their dietary patterns. They can select the type of foods they eat weekly and how frequently. The calculator takes in this information and calculates the amount of dietary land used based on data collected by Clark & Tilman published by IOP and the USDA. The number is be displayed on a projected screen along with a visualizer overlaying the map of Providence that changes based on user input. In Addition, users have the opportunity to understand the impact of their diet in different scales by changing the number of population that would adopt their dietary habits.
Initial concept sketch: users define diet using knobs, screen calculates final land use and displays it onto the LED strip
Our world in data chard illustrating land use per gram of protein (Source)
MTA Website Redesign
Re-strategizing and Re-structuring the crazy mess that is the MTA website.
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