MFA Thesis Work
My "Earth Sensors" project is some of my most notable work from my thesis, completed toward my MFA in Design.
All of the projects that I have completed during the course of my thesis have been in an effort to increase empathy towards the environment and increase public understanding of science. Through all of my projects, I have aimed to give users the tools that they need to make positive changes for the benefit of themselves and the natural environment.
As part of my research for this work I ran a workshop on "The Future of Citizen Science". The workshop attendees were professional scientists, citizen scientists, and designers from the California College of the Arts. These industry experts helped me to identify the opportunities and challenges that the future holds for both scientists and the general public.
In this workshop, I asked participants to think about these topics in the context of present times, consider what they might look like in ten years, think about how we might make those futures realities, and brainstorm about how designers might work with scientists to help us get to these ideal futures.
When considering how our discussion topics related to the present times, I asked participants to use STEEP as a lens to start with. STEEP is an acronym for Social, Technological, Economical, Environmental, and Political. The STEEP structure is used for scanning developments and is well known and used worldwide as a basis for external analysis.
EARTH SENSORS: FINAL DESIGN
Earth Sensors are a series of sensor designs to monitor various forms of environmental pollution, including noise pollution, air pollution, and water pollution. Earth Sensors come in two forms. The first form is as a build-it-yourself environmental sensor kit, where the user builds the sensors from the ground up before using them. Engaging users in the building process enables them to understand the technology used to collect the data. The kit comes with a variety of instructional tools and visuals to aid the learning experience. The other form of Earth Sensors is as a set of ready to use environmental sensors, ideal for individuals ready to jump into environmental data collection. These sensors are smaller in size and can be seamlessly integrated into a regular routine. Both styles of sensors come with a user-friendly app that helps users understand the meaning of the data that they are collecting. The app also allows users to easily share data with family, fellow data-collectors, and local organizations. By placing environmental data collection in the hands of users, they have the tools that they need to make positive changes for themselves and for the environment.
EARTH SENSORS APP
The Earth Sensor app pairs with all devices that use bluetooth. If users are within range of a bluetooth device they can easily connect to it. Each user has a profile in which they can share public posts with interesting observations that they have made, if they choose. The app has a news feed so that users can easily scroll through interesting data stories from other fellow citizen scientists. There is also a section for tutorials, if users need more information on the diverse ways to use their sensors.