Abrupt Encounters explore Spatial Memories in app design project

Funding has recently been awarded to the Spatial Memories project. EDINA and the Edinburgh College of Art (University of Edinburgh) to work with Artlink Central in the production of an App enabling people with disabilities to become more independent and less reliant on others in making spatially aware reminders, hints and checklists using a personalised interface.
Spatial memories lab at macrobert, University of Stirling in April 2014

Spatial memories lab at macrobert, University of Stirling in April 2014

 

By August 2014 the project will have developed a proof of concept smartphone App that will allow individual learners to record oral instructions, make text and audio notes, capture images, and associate these with locations, routes and activities. The personalisation of the App will be accomplished through a web based authoring framework which will support the creation of bespoke maps and a customized App interface.

 

The development process involves the active collaboration of end users, designers and engineers. The project is taking its direction from collaborative design events involving Artlink Central, a leading agency in participatory arts, staff undertaking creative research in art and technology at the School of Design at Edinburgh College of Art, and a group of creative participants from the Abrupt Encounters project. Iterations of the App are be developed during a number of participatory design sessions at the Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling and its surroundings through participants creating a number of “spatial memories” and providing immediate feedback on improvements to software engineers working in situ. Key to this process is the active participation and immediacy of interaction between users and engineers affording the ability to make iterative changes to the app.

 

The web-based authoring tool will allow anyone with minimal technical knowledge to adapt and customize the App to meet the needs of an individual. The App interface design themes (layout, colour schemes) and interaction mechanisms (touch vs. voice) and map content (de-cluttering symbols and colours) can all be changed. The aim is to improve the user’s confidence in different working and learning environments and assist them to live more independently.

 

Spatial Memories was one of eight projects to be awarded funding as part of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) programme, funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.

 

The project is part of the ‘Good to go’ competition managed by Jisc TechDis, a leading UK advisory service on technologies for inclusion. ‘Good to Go’ is about increasing independence in unfamiliar or challenging environments by giving people easy access to the information they need when they need it.

 

The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) programme encourages technology solutions to specific public sector needs. It is funded by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board.

 

For more information about the project please contact Ben Butchart (b.butchart@ed.ac.uk).

David McQuattComment