The goal of this assignment to conduct basic observations of a biology context and learn about the people, contexts, and existing tools in this area.
The final project for this class is to prototype a bio-electronic interface. Think about how technology might interface with biology in the next 10 years and create a prototype that demonstrates your vision. Your project will will use the tangible interaction techniques from this class to engage with biological processes. Your project can interface with any aspect of biology, including:
• organic inputs into digital systems—you might consider systems where biological processes serve as inputs into digital systems. For instance, your project might monitor and/or report on organic processes (e.g., citizen science tools for monitoring environmental factors such as air, soil, or water quality). Handheld, wearable, or public sensors would reveal aspects of the biological world.
• digital inputs into organic systems—complimentary to the above, you might think about how digital devices could serve as inputs into organic systems. For example, you might consider digital technologies that alter the biological world, by, for example, providing nutrients or care.
• creatively interfacing with food —tangible interaction might engage with food-specific processes such as fermentation, gardening, or scientifically-oriented meal preparation (e.g., molecular gastronomy). Think about how (bio)technology might shape the future of urban gardens, supermarkets, restaurants, or kitchens.
• bio-electronic materials—your explorations might focus on creating a new materials that combine organic and digital components. You might think about incorporating organic materials into textiles (e.g., composites of regular and conductive thread and organic fibers, similar to the natto actuation paper); or developing materials that mimic biological activity (similar to the 3D printing hair paper).
• bio-electronic interfaces and humans—your project might explore how biotechnology might interface with human beings. You can think about the future of genetic testing, insertable devices, or medical applications.
To prepare for the final project, this assignment asks you to conduct some basic field observations for your final project.
Pick a biology setting that will provide context, inspiration, or a problem space for your project. If this setting is not public, make sure to get permission from the people involved. Apply IDEO’s look, ask, try, learn methods:
look: what are people doing and saying?
ask: elicit feedback or participation from someone
try: simulate or participate in an activity yourself
learn: identify ‘thoughtless acts’, patterns, problems, or opportunities. you can learn from what you observed in context, or you might do a quick search to find related information online.
Write up your observations and notes. Describe where you went, what you saw, asked, tried, and learned. Include photographs or sketches of what happened.
Upload your writeup to the class blog under the “field observation” category.
This assignment is worth 4 points
1 point for describing what you saw
1 point for describing what you asked
1 point for describing what you tried
1 point for describing what you learned
Include pictures and/or sketches!!