In an attempt to get beyond the static page of the prototypical dry and poorly designed academic poster, today at the John Molson School of Business Annual Graduate Research Exhibition I’m presenting an academic poster with a little feedback built into it. I’ve yet to find something like this on the web, so “Academic Poster 2.0″ might only be interesting to an audience of about about three people. Or maybe it’s just me.
The poster itself is mounted on a piece of ply-wood into which I’ve embedded some LEDs and sensors. When idle, the 15 LEDs randomly fade in and out, hopefully to attract interaction with passers by. Once a person positions themselves to read the poster, the LEDs slowly light up the left-to-right path one might take to take in the content of the poster. If another person joins this first person, in a way that sets off the second sensor, the whole board lights up very briefly before resuming it’s original path.
I recognise that this particular piece is not actually eco-feedback, but this just goes to show you what the potential impact of constantly looking at various eco-feedback tools can have on a person. It seems to me that all objects that would ask for a certain behaviour (i.e. please read my poster), should look to recognise when that behaviour or it’s best proxy are underway. At least that was the logic in the assembly of this particular piece.
I further recognise the irony of embedding electronics into a piece that is meant to speak on the issue of sustainability. This is certainly an issue that is frequently addressed in the development of eco-feedback tools. I’ll just note, for those of you who are curious, that most of the equipment used for the creation of this poster, including the arduino and wiring, were salvaged from my project Wn-Wn. Most of the rest of it (e.g. the wood, lights, wiring and arduino) is slated to be used for a second or third time in an art piece that has been in the works for a few months now.