Archived entries for SIAT

Status update

log entries have been sparse over the past few months as I’ve been focusing on completing my thesis. I’m nearly there: the final document is about 85% done, the defense is booked, my examining committee is finalized, and I’m slowly checking off the myriad paperwork items that go along with completing a graduate degree. I’m excited to be in this position after two and a half years of steady work toward it. I’m also quite pleased with how the thesis has come together. Let’s hope my committee feels the same way!

Here are the title and abstract:

Residential resource use feedback: Exploring ambient and artistic approaches

Supporting sustainable resource use in the home requires a range of feedback techniques to enable informed decision-making. These techniques include traditional screen-based interfaces, but such tools typically require significant effort and attention from residents. Though they provide precise numerical feedback, they do not support at-a-glance awareness of real-time resource use, nor are they designed to integrate cohesively with the home. An alternative approach is the provision of ambient and artistic visualizations integrated into the domestic environment. To situate this approach, we describe our involvement in the development of feedback and control systems for two sustainable homes. Following from this, we present the results of a mixed methods user study exploring four primary design requirements for ambient and artistic visualization of residential resource use: pragmatic, aesthetic, ambient and ecological. We conclude that these techniques are a viable approach to resource use feedback, and identify important considerations for their design.

The defense information is as follows:

Tuesday February 22nd, 2011
11am to 1pm
SFU Surrey, Room 4040

Chair: Dr. Marek Hatala, Associate Professor, SIAT
Senior Supervisor: Dr. Lyn Bartram, Assistant Professor, SIAT
Supervisor: Dr. Alissa Antle, Assistant Professor, SIAT
External Examiner: Dr. Melanie Tory, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Victoria

Three presentations and one rejection

irst, the bad news: my submission to the CHI 2010 Work-in-Progress stream was not accepted for publication. The reviewers gave favourable feedback about the topic, the timeliness of the contribution, and the opportunity to study these systems in context, but noted that there was not an explicit emphasis on methodology and evaluation. This is valid; however, my understanding of the Work-in-Progress stream was that this venue is specifically provided as a channel for sharing this kind of incomplete research. Nevertheless, the feedback has helped me to understand those aspects of my research that need to be articulated more fully in order to meet the requirements of peer-review. It would have been a thrill to be accepted and present in April, but I’m not crushed; CHI is difficult to get into. Here’s to other venues and to CHI next year!

The good news: I’ve recently had the opportunity to make presentations about the results of North House and the direction of my research to three different groups. It’s always enjoyable to distill ideas and results into a coherent and articulate presentation that is relevant to different audiences, including public servants and policy planners, engineers in industry, and my fellow students. Please find my slides from each presentation below.

BC Hydro is the public energy utility in British Columbia. They have funded my research to this point in my degree through a MITACS grant. In my presentation on January 8th, I presented the findings from my ongoing literature review.

Johnny Rodgers and Dr. Lyn Bartram

Halsall Associates is an engineering firm with both Canadian and international offices that is focussed on sustainability in buildings and construction. We were invited to present our work on North House to them on November 23rd at their office in North Vancouver. This presentation included a fairly detailed discussion of the home automation system by Chris Brandson of VerTech Solutions, who I worked closely with on North Hosue.

Dr. Lyn Bartram, Chris Brandson, and Johnny Rodgers

Finally, last night (February 2nd) I presented a pre├žis of my research agenda to my Qualitative Methods of Inquiry class at the School of Interactive Arts & Technology. This presentation walks through my research goals, problem, projects, methods, and questions as I am currently thinking about them.

Johnny Rodgers


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