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Charging your e-Car while Driving February 23, 2012

Posted by reto wettach in new technologies, physical interaction design, sustainable interaction design.
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One of the big project we at IxDS did last year was about the user experience of owning an e-car. Of course the charging (and the fear of running out of energy) were important aspects of our design research.

Today, I found an interesting concept for a racing car described in the NewScientist: most exciting to me is the idea of charging the car while driving. Based on the wireless charging technology developed by HaloIPT, the idea of the concept car is to embed this technology in the racing track:
Drayson wants to populate the racing line on racetracks with the pads, so cars charge from the track during races.

(image source)

Imagine, what this means for the user experience!!!


Smart Phones vs. Dedicated Hardware… November 26, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in making the invisible visible, physical interaction design, sustainable interaction design.
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At the event “Positions on Interaction Design” this year at my university I tried to explain why I moved from Physical Interaction Design to Service Design. One of the reasons is that the hope in dedicated mobile devices with innovative forms of physical interaction did not really happen – and that mobile device – thanks to Smart Phones – went the same way as the PC world: one hardware – many applications!

Today I found this nice collection of images of disassembeld gadgets, which are not only very beautiful, but which also remind me on how much waste is produced for theses single application devices:

(image source)(via boingboing)

Research Project “EcoViz” at FHP wins price!!! September 19, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in ecoviz, gamification, sustainable interaction design.
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(image source)(left: Frank Heidmann (FHP), center: Timm Kekeritz (Rauhreif)

I am very proud to announce that one of the projects within the larger research project “Eco-Viz“, which I am heading with my colleague Frank Heidmann, won the German “clean tech media award” in the category “communication”:

The winning project is called “Eco Challenge” and has been developed by Rauhreif, an interface design company started by two alumnis from the “Interface Design” department where I am teaching. Eco Challenge consists of carefully designed info-graphics to help to raise the awareness, a included calculator which enables the user to quantify his own behavior and so called »Challenges« which provide the users with a small assignments. These assignments are small steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle. (source)




Two in One: Sustainability and Efficiency in Dutch Supermarkets September 19, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in gamification, service design, sustainable interaction design.
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(image source)

Jumbo, a supermarket chain from the Netherland, came up with a nice solution for two aspects of their business: avoiding to throw away food and reducing the workload of their employees:

Every costumer, who finds a product, which is expiring on the same or on the next day, can take it home – for free.(here the rule in dutch)

Maybe I am wrong with the title “two in one” – because actually I forgot to count the joy of shopping!


(via FAZ Supermarktblog, a nice blog on food and large supermarket chains by one of the leading German newspapers.)

Energy Visualization in Japan August 3, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in ecoviz, gamification, innovative interfaces, sustainable interaction design.





Because of the horrible disaster in Japan only 17 out of 55 nuclear plants are currently operating. Therefore there is a high need of reducing energy consumption.


One oft the measures taken is a visualization of the current energy consumption. On this website, TEPCO, the company operating the broken plants of Fukushima, is showing real time data about energy consumption, and comparing it with last year’s consumption, the day’s maximum supply and demand from the day before:

(image source, screenshot taken today)

According to this article in the New York Times, so far forecasts and actual use have hovered around 75 percent of maximum capacity, “thanks to unseasonably cool weather brought on by a typhoon”.

I doubt whether this tool will really make people change their behavior. It does not really help to understand one’s personal impact on reduction of energy consumption as the graph is displaying the total Electricity use within TEPCO’s service area. This includes not only a huge population, but also many industrial facilities.

So, I guess it would make more sense to break this information down to individual consumption of households and companies. Furthermore, I suggest that applying simple rules of gamification (goal setting, comparison to similar units, communicating personal behaviors, etc.) would help to support the good will of the motivated population. Especially in Japan, where the society is very transparent (just think of paper doors and walls), I assume that making one’s energy consumption more transparent would motivate people – and not make them feel like living in Orwell’s 1984 – at least when the form of displaying this information is designed correctly.

E-Mobility Hub July 20, 2011

Posted by reto wettach in making the invisible visible, service design, sustainable interaction design.
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One of our current projects with a major German car manufacturer is the development of a unique experiences when charging an electronic vehicle.

This is in fact a great service touch point, which offers e-car manufacturers the opportunity to distinguish from other brands.

Fraunhofer, one of Germany’s largest research organizations, has been looking into e-mobility since 2009. In this presentation Florian Rothfuss, the leader of this area, discusses various aspects of e-mobiliy. I particulary like his concept “From the car park to e-Mobility Hub (Aus Parkhaus und Auto wird der E-Mobility Hub)”, where he turns the spot for charging an e-car into a rich experience:

(image source)

In this concept I do not only like the idea of extending the e-car-experience into novel services (as e.g. renting a segway), but also that the facility itself turns into an extension of the philosophy of an e-car: with transforming the car park building into a green support for the city, the good deed of driving an e-car gets expanded, which is a nice additional service for the drivers!