Report from the workshop Claim your smart citizenship

 

Goal of the workshop

The goal of this DIY LoraWAN workshop was to let students, citizens, designers, and policymakers work together to realise a low-fidelity working prototype of a networked (smart) device. This, to explore how networked citizens could get a grip on their own smart city and what role designers could play in enabling networked citizens to design and make their own smart application.

 We aimed for a truly transdisciplinary approach that includes participants from four backgrounds: academic, governance, industry and civic society. According to the idea of the quadruple helix, such a heterogeneous mix helps in developing knowledge that makes use of a variety of expertise and that accounts for the interests of different stakeholders (See Fig. 1).

vanwaart_fig2

Fig. 1. Quadruple Helix in the Participatory Domain (Van Waart et al., 2015)

 

Participants

At April 22nd, 2016, 13 people attended the workshop Claim your Smart Citizenship. See the list of participants in the appendix.

Participants were asked during registration to express the roles they feel most comfortable in. Table 1 shows the distribution of roles among participants.

 

Table 1. Distribution of roles among participants in the workshop Claim your smart citizenship.

Roles Expressed as 1st role Expressed as 2nd role
makers / developers / designers 4 6
governmental policy makers 3 0
academics 2 3
civic organisations and activists 3 3
industry employees / entrepreneurs 1 0
not indicated 0 1
Total 13 13

 

 

Procedure

The workshop comprised a full-day programme consisting out of the following parts:

10.00 – 11.00 Plenary session, introduction and theoretic background (ending in coffee break)

11.00 – 13.00 Think Things – concepting / design (including lunch)

13.00 – 15. 00 Make Things: prototype

15.00 – 15.30 Peer review & Tea break

15.30 – 17.30 Share Things: make an instructable to share your ideas & small expo and exchange meetup with other conference delegates

 

After the introductory presentations of professor Anne Nigten and researcher Peter van Waart from research center Creating010, a first prototype build by this research center was shown and explained to the participants by Leo Remijn and Simon de Bakker (Fig. 2).

They explained how a LoRaWAN network is created with a gateway that picks up long-range frequencies send out by a smart device that contains a LoRa-chip and sensors, mounted on an Arduino-board. The prototype furthermore contains a connection LittleBits components and dip switches to manage the data streams. The data collected by the data is send to a server from which the data stream can be picked up to embed in a custom website or (mobile) application.

 

DIY_Toolkit_prototype_v1_b

Fig. 2. The Creating010 LoraWAN DIY Toolkit prototype, version 1.0

 

In the next part of the day, participants were divided into teams according to their interests and background. The task that was assigned to them was to use the introductory presentations and the DIY Toolkit prototype as inspiration for conceptualisation, design and prototyping of an extended or alternative DIY toolkit.

 

Results

In each team, participants first started to discuss and exchange their views. After that, they started to sketch a design that illustrated the interactions between actors, data, and technology in a certain case, as described in the following (see also Fig. 3).

DATC_team1   DATC_team2   DATC_team3

Fig. 3. From left to right: Auto temperature (team 1), Cycle Connect (team 2), and Bird Feeder (team 3).

 

DATC_participants

Fig. 4. Participants reviewing team results.

At the end of the afternoon, the teams showed their results to each other and critically reviewed them (Fig. 5). After that, each team processed the feedback from the other teams to their final design and wrote a short notice of their results and take-aways, as described in the next section.

 

Team 1: Auto temperature

With current thermostats one can adjust the temperature of a house (building). However, different factors influence this temperature. By placing sensors inside and outside the house and by connecting those to the thermostat, environmental data is used to decide to start the heating on and off. In this way, environmental factors play a role in keeping down the fluctuations in temperature inside the house, resulting in a constant and comfortable temperature for the end-user. And, aggregation of this data from housing blocks will help to decide how the quality of the buildings can be improved.

 

Team 2: Cycle Connect: “Citizens connected in the environment by bicycles”

This team wanted to connect different networks within the city, between students, entrepreneurs, city workers and citizens.

This would be done by connecting people with fun, low cost, and in the physical world by using their own bicycles routes and cycling times in the city. People can meet on the same route, on a part of the route or make a detour to connect. For that, the existing system of Yellow Backie will be used and combined with a bell and sensor system. If you want to connect/interact with other citizens, you flash the color yellow and it will light up if someone is near. You can offer a ride on your carrier or cycle together. You can use this system offline or online, you can switch it on or off, you can connect it to your mobile phone to share and find profile and data with other users. You can meet by coincidence or share routes/appointments with each other. If desired, you can make an offer or ask a question by using the application on your mobile. This can lead to concrete results or follow-ups.

 

Team 3: Bird Feeder

The team started with a discussion to find a certain case and target group and then realised that in any case, the design has to create value for citizens. To visualise the adoption process they made a model that shows how to create value for the user (Fig. 5). By making data tangible to start with, and then show the people what you can do with data. Start very basically and after understanding the value, people will hopefully start with adopting the (IoT-)technology.

 

DATC_team3_valueadoptionmodel

Fig. 5. Value adoption model by team 3.

 

Finally, the team created the concept of a connected bird feeder. Such connected bird feeders in the neighbourhood can count the number of birds and how much food they consume. Efficient feeding the birds (without spoiling food) will lead to soling the rat (eating the feed surplus) problem in large cities and also create social coherence in the neighbourhood. Questions that stayed unanswered were: what exactly is being measured here?; how to recognise the birds?; how to measure the food in the feeder?, and; how to tackle the seagull problem in the city?

 

Also an interview was held with each of the participants to collect data for research conducted by Creating 010.

 

Conclusion

Participants worked a full day on the issue of designing an IoT-application based on LoRaWAN-technology. Since nearly all participants lacked programming skills, the teams worked with paper, markers and creative materials to express their ideas and concepts. From observation by the organisers it became clear that all teams came up with a concept that is very close to the daily life experience of citizens. This can be seen as a first step for citizens to experience value from IoT-applications in cities, and to start to understand wider applications of IoT for the benefit of themselves. Preliminary analysis of the interview results reveals that engagement of citizens as well as privacy issues are the main concerns among the participants for applying IoT in cities.

 

References

Van Waart, P., Mulder, I., & de Bont, C. (2015, May 18–20). Participatory prototyping for future cities. In R. Valkenburg, C. Dekkers, & J. Sluijs (Eds.), Proceedings of PIN-C 2015: Reframing design, the 4th participatory innovation conference (pp. 337–343). Hague, the Netherlands: The Hague University of Applied Sciences.