An Urban Sensation Project

Human sensory infrastructure

Project done by recent grad student at RCA interaction design demonstrates how it is becoming increasing possible to emulate the sensory environment of an individual at any location.
This project collates data from CCVT Cameras, directional microphones and odor sensors in order to reconstruct peoples past visual, auditory and olfactory surroundings.

Project Description:
project site

This Urban Monitoring System is an open source infrastructure of networked devices collecting data. The data collected makes it possible to emulate the environmental surroundings of an individual. The system focuses on three of our six sensors; collecting visual data used to emulate sight, sound data to emulate hearing, and door data to emulate our sense of smell.

Map of a Soundscape: This map is based on the data from the directional microphones. The data is combined and used to locate noise sources which is shown as bulges on this map. When animated over time you can see sound sources moving around the streets.)

Through the amalgamation of these different data sets it becomes possible to emulate what someone would be sensing at any location. By recording the data over time and adding a position you can reconstruct past sensory experiences.
This project was developed as a research method to discover how our environmental setting affect our behaviour. Inspired by online methods of tracking and personalisation in order to optimise website layout. This project speculates how our real world personal data may be collected in order to optimise the build environment.

Visual Landscape: This map depicts what you would be seeing at a location.
Typically maps don’t show you a visual equivalent to you what you would be seeing at a location. This map tries to portray a better match to what you would be visually seeing if you where on the street.

Using the Urban Sensory Infrastructure we can reconstruct people’s sensory experiences prior to a certain type of behaviour. These experiences can then be analysed for shared environmental factors, allowing us to question whether these factors subconsciously prime people to behave in this way.
Would this holistic method then allow us to hold others responsible for effecting our actions? Could we trace what environmental factors prime opportunistic crimes, impulse purchases, break our diets or even proposing irrational undying love for some one.

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