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Real-time archaeology: Visualizing urban waste.

People viewing the installation of Jetsam.
Source: http://www.urban-atmospheres.net/UrbanProbes/Jetsam/artifact.htm

In the paper “Jetsam: Exposing our Everyday Discarded Objects,” authors Eric Paulos and Tom Jenkins propose an “urban probe” as a tool to solicit thought, wonderment, and contemplation. The project aims to solicit a conversation around the use of technology in urban environments and how this might influence our behaviour in cities.

Source: http://www.urban-atmospheres.net/UrbanProbes/Jetsam/artifact.htm

The project include an “augmented trashcan” called Jetsam, which is able to sense a variety of activities commonly experienced by urban trash cans (i.e. throwing things out, removing trash from the can, and rummaging in the can). Moreover, a camera is able to record the top layer of trash in the can, which can be modified and then projected onto the city street, making the hidden visible. The exterior visualization of the trash is influenced by the weight of the objects found within it, and how long they have been in the can.

“As time elapses, the orbiting “trash images” slowly progress outward, away from the trashcan eventually disappearing completely. The resulting visualization depicts a layering of trashcan activities and patterns, not unlike the archeological layers typically found during years of drought or significant change.”

The authors envision increasing the interaction of the piece by enabling it such that people are able to text the trash can, allowing for words to mingle with the refuse – allowing for further and more direct commentary on the nature of urban garbage. Ultimately, the project proposes a way for design and technology to further contemplation of habitual processes that could use some reflection.

You can see a video of the project here.

Paulos, E., & Jenkins, T. (2006). Jetsam: exposing our everyday discarded objects. Demo Ubicomp’06
Posted in Conceptual, Public space, Research, Waste and tagged as , , , ,

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