Design Sketches 2011

Here are several design sketches produced by students in 2011:

Barry, Dan – The HARM(less) Alarm

In an attempt to reduce the potentially harmful results of cell phone radiation, this project assumes a future legal implication (from an agency such as the Surgeon General) in which cell phone manufacturers must provide similar warnings to that of other potentially biologically harmful products such as cigarettes and alcohol.  While phones currently provide warnings hidden deep within the owner’s manual, this would rectify the warning whenever the device is being improperly used for phone calls and carrying as a means for promoting the dialogue and desire for a  safer consumer product.
Proximity and conductivity sensors detect whenever a phone is being held within someone’s pants pocket or when held directly to the ear and head when in phone use.    When the 5-15mm range (depending on phone type) is broken when carried in the pocket, the phone begins to sound an alarm and vibrate rapidly in order to indicate that it is currently posing a biological risk to your body.  Similarly, when the phone is being used for calls within this range, a thermal imaging camera photographs the user’s head both as the phone is being brought towards the ear when initiating calls and when the call has ended and being brought away from the head.  If the proximity range is broken during the call, the phone alerts the user with a notification alarm.  Following the call, the thermal recording of the user’s head is displayed on screen to notify them of the harm they are doing through not following the user guidelines.

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Duncan, Heather – “Oh, Deer!” Deer Tracker SmartPhone App

Suburban sprawl has resulted in not only the displacement of urban populations but also of native species in northern Virginia. All of their natural predators having been eliminated through human intervention, the deer population causes major inconveniences and sometimes even death (through traffic collisions) for local residents. Forced to migrate away from the city into developing areas, deer are especially susceptible to death by motor vehicle because the grassy areas alongside rural/suburban roads are prime grazing real estate.  What is proposed is a smart phone application that would crowdsource data about deer whereabouts, leading to real-time information about the location of deer herds so that motorists can exercise additional caution along motorways that are in close proximity. This information could also be used by medical professionals to predict occurrences of Lyme disease, which is spread by deer ticks. This app is also incentivized through the addition of a “Farmville”-esque game that allows users to track and maintain virtual herds of deer. Users are asked to snap a picture of the deer that they spot (dead or alive, as the case may be) and upload it. Once the photo is uploaded, they are rewarded with a new virtual deer. This game will not only provide an entertainment incentive, but will also force users to confront the realities of suburban sprawl and its impact on native populations of wildlife. Players will navigate their herds through an increasingly developed environment, searching for resources with which to supply their herds while avoiding the dangers that motor vehicles and hunters present. Once a certain number of “deer” are collected, players will also confront the dangers of overpopulation.

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Duncan, Heather – Personal Water Usage Monitor

This year’s record breaking drought in Texas has focused media attention on a glaringly obvious fact: water is essential to life. Global climate change has raised new fears about the decline of the world’s supply of potable freshwater. In the near future, it will likely be essential that individuals monitor and carefully regulate their personal water consumption. To prepare for this eventuality, I propose a personal water usage monitor which could be attached to faucets, pipes and showerheads. This monitor would power itself by converting the kinetic energy of the water itself into electricity. If more power were necessary, a small lithium battery could be included in the design (lithium for their relative longevity, producing less unnecessary waste). A simple digital readout would alert the user to his/her water usage after every water-consuming activity, the assumption being that confronting the reality of over-consumption as a number, rather than an abstract concept, is likely to motivate the user to conserve. To strengthen this motivation, the sensors could be equipped with wireless internet radios and data could be uploaded to a website and collated. This data could then be submitted to a social networking site such as Facebook via an application, where it would be visible to the user’s social contacts. Contests could be held for most water saved in a week, month, year, etc., and rewards could be distributed in the form of badges or other currency. This concept is rooted in the cultures of self-monitoring and quantification as well as the green living movement. The device is not intended as a mandatory measure (yet), though presumably it could be. Rather, the success of the personal water usage monitor relies on the userís sense of social responsibility and reputation amongst his/her peer group.

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Gripko, Rob – Habit Breaker


Quitting bad habits can be very difficult, but the Habit Breaker can help.  Studies have shown that seventy percent of people who currently smoke want to quit.  The Habit Breaker looks similar to a wrist watch, so it is unobtrusive in appearance, but utilizes an infrared sensor as well as a skin ethanol sensor to monitor when a person slips into habits such as drinking or smoking.  The sensors are set to go off when their readings reach certain levels.  The warnings that are triggered are triggered in stages.  In the first stage, the Habit Breaker becomes warm to the touch and beeps.  This is a gentle signal to warn the person of what they are doing.  If they continue and the second level is triggered, the Habit Breaker becomes hotter and beeps louder.  If the third stage is reached, the Habit Breaker becomes uncomfortably hot, and beeps loudly.

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Hernandez, Marjorie – manada_

tags_data visualization, self-organization processes, biological organization.

data visualization project for contemporary human migratory movements, seeking to detect possible patterns or behavior behind it.

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 Jaramillo, Alba – Bedbug Watch

As the quintessential urban parasite, the bedbug thrives in high-density populations, becoming a multifaceted case study of urban patterns of behavior in contemporary life. The Bedbug Watch is a device, a social network and app that centralizes the main approaches in fighting the infestation of bedbugs. The Bedbug Watch connects a database of crowd-sourced reports of bedbugs with real sensor information performed during targeted inspections performed by exterminators and people themselves. Bedbug Watch provides a peace of mind for the looming fear of an invisible infestation. It operates as a unified system that brings together all the agents involved in eradicating infestations. Using geolocation data, biosensors, and an open-sourced database people can take a more proactive position in the handling of bedbug infestations.

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 Jaramillo, Alba – Carnival Sense

Carnival Sense is an app that measures collective behavior through wearable sensor nodes. It uses sensors on mobile phones to collect data that show group dynamics during a carnival. By studying location, movement, orientation, heading and body temperature as well as heart beat and stress. By collecting information on a massive group in a particular situation that is known to be quintessentially chaotic, we can find out better understand crowd dynamics.

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Lee, Nicole – The Electronic Organ Donor Registry


The Electronic Organ Donor Registry is a community for the communication between those in need of an electronic organ and those that are willing to donate their electronic organ. The identification of participants can lead to further investigations into social, environmental, and genetic conditions of specific locations considered high risk. The information in correlation to census data can begin to expose trends. The registry is promoting communication on a global scale and through revealed trends, prompt action and changes in policy. When the time comes, participants who have given consent, will have their electronic organ donated to another who is in need. The reuse of an electronic organ is based on a strict process of sterilization and battery life assessment. The registry hopes to discuss and alleviate the issues concerned with explantation and the growing concern about medical electronic waste.

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Lee, Nicole – Time Warp : For A More Punctual Future


Time Warp is for the repeat offender of time. The device will attempt to curb the behavior of the habitually late individual and make offenders more responsible for their empty promises and missed obligations. Mobile technology has changed the way society communicates and time has become an abstraction in the networked society. Time Warp will show the user an abstracted time that will prompt action or in some instances give a clear command, “Leave In 5 Minutes”. The device is a wrist watch that can sync with the user’s digital calendar that will update the device of locations and times of meetings and tasks. Utilizing GPS technology in coordination with an accelerometer, heart rate sensor, and galvanic skin response sensor the user’s location and movements can be detected. An analysis of the user’s stress levels and movement patterns can predict if the user is late because of traffic or if they are elsewhere strolling. The repercussions of being late can be one of embarrassment, such as reporting their truancies to social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.

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Lee, Nicole – Facebook Vision


Do You Suffer From FACEBOOK VISION?
Facebook Vision, when you do not even realize what you have just commented on or updated your status to but as an emotional therapy, you click on the Post button with gratification. These emotionally fueled posts allow the user to voice their opinion. However, these comments can also put our career and reputation in jeopardy. To filter out these possibly damaging comments and images, the Facebook Vision background application will monitor the speed in which a comment is posted. As well as, with pressure sensors and galvanic skin response sensors on the keyboard and mouse the intensity of key presses and a prediction of psychological state can be inferred. Using the results of these measurements, the user will still receive the gratification of “posting” their comment, but it will be stored by the Facebook Vision application. And at a later time, when the user is in a different psychological state, the user will be asked to review the comment made earlier. If they still would like to post the comment or image, then it will be posted and broadcasted for the Facebook community to view.

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Levin, Adam – Lab-On-a-Tick

Labs-On-a-Tick (LOT) are dispersed in large arrays in environments of interest. Their primary goal is to analyze animal migration patterns and potential ecological conditions affecting these patterns. Each LOT is equipped with three small needles, interfaced with three Labs-On-a-Chip, which analyze DNA, Pathogens and Nutrients. Once a sample has been gathered, the LOT communicates its findings to its nearest neighbor. This process continues until the information reaches a primary communications hub, from which it is sent to regional researchers for further analysis. If the sample is of limited interest, the information is stored in a database for future comparative analysis. The LOT is then issued an “Evacuate” order, resetting the LOT for its next sample. Conversely, if the sample shows unique markers for its area and/or the species in question, it is issued a “Hold” order. The LOT then transmits its location, and a flashing light helps researchers find the unit in question.

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Levin, Adam – Nano-Weavers

Nano-Weavers are nano-sized protein restoration and rejuvenation units. They are specialists, designed to recognize specific amino-acid chains associated with particular protein groups. Once injected into the body, they seek out their target protein groups, and set to work analyzing their amino-acid sequences. Cilia-like chemical testers allow Nano-Weavers to determine the chemical composition of amino-acid chains. If a Nano-Weaver discovers an “error” in the amino-acid code, it secretes a chemical agent disassembling the problem area and uses knitting needle-like, omnidirectional prehensile tails to remove and replace damaged, potentially malignant sequences, stitching together a healthy protein structure out of the chemical compounds in its environment. They thus work as inhibitors and catalysts for healthy protein growth, ensuring both healthy protein function and extended longevity for Nano-Weaver patients.

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Pfister, Jodi – Animal Monitor

The animal tracking RFID bracelet has been enhanced to include information more about the animal wearing it. From birth, farm animals are fitted with the anklet, which adjusts with growth. Chemical and enzyme sensors are embedded into the bracelet to detect e-coli and salmonella if in the ground surrounding the animal including manure or on the animal. Others sensors will check for antibiotics in the animals system or if any bacteria starts to build up a resistance. And other sensors will check for cleaning agents such as ammonia to get rid of bacteria. The type of feed, such as forage or corn, in which the animals consume, is also recorded daily. All of this information is transmitted from the bracelet to a server. Each animal is given a name and a bar code, which will change, based on the sensor encoding. Once the animal is sent to the slaughterhouse, the animal information is embedded into the final bar code and sent to the local market. The new bar code is provided for each specific animal that was recorded on the farmís software and made available to the consumer. Any smart phone, tablet or computer can read the bar code.

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Pfister, Jodi – Garden Sensor

The garden sensor and software provides an easy way to monitor and promote plant growth without prior gardening knowledge. Sign onto the software provided. Then enter in the plants you would like to grow. The program will provide you with a step-by-step tutorial of when to plant the seeds, and how to grow the plant. The process includes daily monitoring of the garden through several embedded sensors. The sensors will measure the amount of daily sunlight and water levels. Underground sensors will measure the soil temperature for optimal plant performance. If the sensors detect a problem, it will be transmitted to your computer. A message will prompt you to click for more details providing instructions on what measures are required in order to improve the garden bed and promote healthy crops.

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Piedrahita, Angelica – The Tourist Singing Bull

This project seeks to visualize tourist corporeal interactions by mapping DNA data left when touching the Charging Bull Sculpture at the World Trade Center in New York City. A sound map could be downloaded as an application for Iphone that allows visitors to scan the sculpture searching for DNA traces translated to sound.

An observation of tourist activities on site would determine the spots for sampling. Samples would be gathered with a hand held vacuum device for Touch DNA and labeled depending on the previous studied spots for transportation to the lab. The laboratory readings would be translated to sound frequencies and mapped to a 3D model of the sculpture in order to visualize data according to the sampled spots.

Topics: data mining, numeracy, data collection, privacy.

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Piedrahita, Angelica – The Connected Souvenir

The Connected Souvenir is specifically designed for Niagara Falls State Park establishing a real-time communication with touristic practices on the site. Resembling a snow globe design, this souvenir contains water from the Niagara River, an LED panel, a below pump and a micro ultrasonic nebulizer. Each souvenir would be connected through the Internet to a network of web cameras at the park, programmed to sense drastic light changes produced by camera flashes. Every time a flash is sensed at a main sightseeing point of the park, the LED panel, the nebulizer and the pump would turn on, producing light and mist effect reminiscent of the Niagara Falls landscape.

Topics: wireless sensor networks, group behavior, cultural studies.

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Sargent, Paul – Drift Net

The Great Lakes Basin comprises one-fifth of the world’s supply of surface fresh water, containing a dependent population of over 30 million people. Drift_Net is a social networking platform specifically situated for regional populations connected by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The site aggregates three distinct functions—Science & Research, Advocacy & Policy, and Education & Participation—integrated into a collective think tank encouraging input and exchange between specialists and laypersons in scientific research, citizen science, and environmental justice policy. Modeled on the concept of the waterway as an interconnected network, this participatory mapping database and online community illustrates social and environmental relationships between seemingly disparate locales in a system stretching 2000 miles from Thunder Bay to Chicago to Montreal to the Atlantic Ocean.

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Sargent, Paul – Empathy Chip

As witnessed in recent military snafus in Afghanistan and Iraq, the contemporary soldier is often ill equipped for subtleties of judgment in modern warfare due to extreme cultural disparities. The Empathy Chip (TEC) is a conceptual repurposing of current Soldier-as-a-system (SaaS) wearable technologies for deployment in non-lethal Human Terrain Systems (HTS) operations. Military development of Soldier Planning Interfaces and Networked Electronics (SPINE) “smart gear” includes enhanced wireless communication, GPS, electronic vision, and other situational awareness devices. TEC exploits existing technology for non-combat initiatives by remotely connecting HTS operatives with databases of historical and geo-political data, regional social customs and etiquette, and other sociocultural information. Wireless network interface with the on-body micro-computer operating robust voice-recognition translation software to avoid escalation of cultural and linguistic conflict between the on-the-ground personnel and regional civilian populations.

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Sargent, Paul – Empathy Chip

The SexPOCkeT® Lab-on-a-Condom is a “smart condom” diagnosis device integrating microfluidics Point-of-Care-Test technology with a biomaterial prophylactic that exploits human socio-sexual behavior patterns to “spread” diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases (STD). The wearable biosensor design facilitates robust diagnosis of infection through point-of-contact between sexual partners, indicating the positive presence of disease via color change corresponding to a pre-selected set of common STDs. Because SexPOCkeT® is simultaneously a detection device and visual indicator of infection, this design maps diagnosis onto existing human sexual patterns and utilizes the social pressure of inter-personal intimate relationships to encourage treatment by a health professional of the diagnosed condition.

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Vogelsteller, Fabian – Active Sharing

This feature uses a mobile phoneís accelerometer to track movements over time and translate them into an activity status (calm or active). This could then be added to a status update showing others how physically busy one really is.

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Vogelsteller, Fabian – Pulse Mouse

The Pulse Mouse is a advanced computer mouse which measures your pulse as soon as you touch the circle. This constantly generated data can be used to enhance your social life or improve your gaming experience.
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Yuliandari, Arini – Greenbelt Buffer for E-Waste Hazards

Indonesia is one of the alleged ‘international’ electronic waste disposal zones. Also, domestic e-waste is increasing due to the short use cycle of electronic devices in an increasingly gadget-minded society. Protecting the environment as well people is a prerequisite to improving living conditions and preventing further damage from e-waste. However, the handling of e-waste in Indonesia, and in most of developing countries is performed by the ‘informal sector’ with poorly defined safety precautions and standards.
The system proposed works as a green belt that detects contaminants leaking into the environment. Sensors detecting lead and any other harmful metals are installed in certain plants that are used to collect air borne and water soluble contaminants through their leafs and roots. The data from the plants collected data by community members in a participatory fashion and used as an early warning system.
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Zaianty, Silvia – Halal Food Detector

For Muslims it is important to be able to verify the halal state of foods. In order to qualify as halal meets may not originate from pigs, snakes, rats, or dogs, for example There is actually list of not allowed animal to consume (sort of “negative list” of non-halal or haram food).
The proposed device is designed to determine whether a given food source is halal by analyzing its DNA trace. A blade-shaped biosensor is installed in a mobile phone. The user can sample the food source through the blade to detect the ingredients.  A simple user interface displays the probable list of ingredients of the source by comparing it with the recorded data in the DNA database. A final result or “halal” bubble will appear if the food has been found to originate from allowed animals. A customer will also be able to share the result as well as the vendor’s claims with an online community.

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