PhysiKit

I worked on this project while working as a visiting lecturer at the University College London. The project was carried out at UCLIC and ICRI, together with Steven Houben, Connie Golsteijn, Sarah Gallacher, Rose Johnson, Yvonne Rogers, Licia Capra and Nicolai Marquardt.

PhysiKit is a tangible visualisation platform that makes data tangible in the home context. Ubiquitous urban sensors can give us rich information about the world around us, such as current temperature, humidity, air quality, or noise levels. This information can help us make decisions in our everyday lives and can make us more aware of our environment and how we contribute to it.

While sensor platforms are commercially available and sensors have been placed in our cities and our streets, data from these sensors is usually only available through websites or is stored in large data sheets that are hidden or unengaging to inexperienced users. Furthermore, direct representations of sensor readings do not always make sense to us: what unit are readings presented in, and when are readings out of the ordinary?

Physikit aims to make data from sensors more visible in our everyday lives by providing physical and embedded data visualisations in our homes. Through its comprehensive web interface and its different modes for showing data continuously, showing relative levels, and alerting when thresholds are reached, Physikit also aims to give people a better feel for how their environment changes over time and what can be considered 'normal'.

Related publications:

Houben, S., Golsteijn, C., Gallacher, S., Johnson, R., Bakker, S., Marquardt, N., Capra, L. and Rogers, Y. (2016). Physikit: Data Engagement Through Physical Ambient Visualizations in the Home. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '16), ACM Press, pp. 1608-1619. Access online. This paper received a Best Paper Honorable Mention.