Over the last few weeks I’ve been doing phone call interviews to find ‘people stories’ behind what motivates researchers to get involved in designing these technologies. When I looked at most of the researchers websites, it talks about the technology, but not about the people behind it. It has been insightful and inspiring to hear why researchers came up with their ideas.
Each project seems to address a social need by providing simple, technology and skills to provide an innovative solution to the problem. The researchers clearly engage with potential users to design and test the solutions. Techniques include creating networks, spaces (e.g. virtual platforms and maps) to help people to communicate, relate and share information.
So for example, Aberdeen researcher, Edoardo Pignotti’s GetThereBus app (http://www.gettherebus.com/), crowd sources information from bus users to provide real-time bus schedules in rural areas where travel information is often sparse or out of date.
Common themes seem to be emerging in making low cost, simple solutions to enable skills development, communication and access to information, often in remote areas.
The other projects I’ve been in touch with, include Mike Santer and Blupoint (http://www.blupoint.org/), Mike Wright and Anna Kronenburg who worked on Cloudmaker (http://www.fact.co.uk/projects/cloudmaker-making-minecraft-real.aspx) and I visited Pat Langdon who is working on the Upland Rescue and Resilience project.
It will be interesting to discover what else people have learned as a result of being involved in their projects – but that might be beyond the scope of a ten minute film.
Filming is scheduled for the two weeks in June and includes, weather permitting, a visit to the Lake District to see the Upland Rescue team in action with the Coniston Mountain rescue team and volunteers, doing a field test.