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FRUGALITY Degree process book by Gayatri Gaekwad


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The process of creating a device that empowers consumers with useful information about their energy consumption in a quiet and non-interruptive display, helping them save money and conserve electricity effectively.

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Sections

01 pg.7

02

Developing a project proposal

Preliminary studies

pg.17

03

Visually representing consumption

04

Visualizing the use of electricity in real time

pg.27

pg.37

05 pg.45

Frugality


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01 Developing a project proposal

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Main Ideas

+ How different cultures spend their money and consume products. + The dynamics of what makes products work are interesting and mapping why they work could possibly reveal some patterns or Create a database that would help me analyze how the data can be used. + Money is a concept overall that everyone is familiar with and it makes the world go round. Work by Karl Marx explores how Capitalist economy makes us want more things that we might need.

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Project proposal Version 1

I am interested in marketing and how different cultures spend their money and consume products, we dictate a lot of time on how we spend our money. And, I have noticed from living in two completely different cultures on how people chose and make their buying decisions and in a growing economy where people crib about money all, actually if we really think about it if there is one thing that everyone does - is crib about money - every one

wants "things" and these things are attainable through money. It would be interesting to see How much money people spend on certain things. I think money is a concept overall that everyone is familiar with and it makes the world go round. Work by Karl Marx explores how capitalist economy makes us want more things that we might need. It traps us into thinking we might be able to survive without material things.

Version 2

Global market today is full of products that are really hard to distinguish amongst its competitors. Of these products which are successful stand out and the truth is that there are very few. Something like Spotify until it came around everyone though Pandora was “the� software for streaming music online. Until Facebook came about everyone thought nothing could be better than myspace. The dynamics of what makes products work are interesting and mapping why

they work could possibly reveal some patterns or help me create a database that would make it easier to analyze the trends in consumer products in this generation. With this data I hope to create a new product or market my study somehow. Maybe the research will make it abundantly clear to me on what kind of product is the best ďŹ t for a launch in a certain industry and it can be used as marketing tool.

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Where does the crossover between cultures occur when it comes to monetary decisions? What influences lifestyles in different parts of the world and patterns of consumption? What role does design play in the pattern of consumption?

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What are the environmental concerns in history? How can people change their behavior and help the environment? How can awareness be generated effectively with a drive to action?

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Researchable Question

How can apply design to inform the western community in the Art of adding more use value to the things that they consume and develop a more sustainable pattern of consumption?

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Project proposal

The globalization of markets has resulted in an exponential increase the cross-cultural consumption of commodities such as Coca-Cola, L’oreal products, IBM computers, and of services like credit cards and package tours. There are a lot of issues that arise from globalization of the consumer society, I’m particularly interested in the effect of high (and low) levels of consumption on the environment and the society. The “domestication” or “afterlife of the commodity” is of primary interest to my study of consumption. Traditional models of consumer behavior fail to recognize how creative and indeed “productive” this process of domestication-through-consumption can be. Consumers may find uses for products never imagined by their manufacturers, or may reject products for similarly “obscure” reasons.

Consumers show significant creativity in terms of the range of meanings they add to commodities they buy. By way of example, in Lifebuoy Men, Lux Women, Zimbabweans have redefined the use-value of Western personal care products. He found that Zimbabweans not only use Western cosmetics and toiletries, such as Lifebuoy soap, in the ways intended by their manufacturers, but also use them in smearing practices, as medicine, and as fish bait. As another example, in an research on low-income households in Cairo it was found that women prefer kerosene burners to gas or electric stoves because the former (being portable) allow the women to cook out of doors on their balconies, where they can socialize with their neighbors. There are novel uses and alternative meanings found in or for commodities when they cross cultural borders .

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02 Preliminary studies

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Understanding consumption +What does it arise from? +Is it a conscious decision? Exploitation of natural resources + caused by daily activities + people are very detached thinking about the environment

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Consumption The Impact of consumption It puts a pressure on resources due to which the natural habitual of animals is destroyed. People have no attachment with the environmenteveryone is so focused on themselves and buying things that no body even stops to think about how the things we buy come from. We buy things that have picture of cute furry animals on them - while those products themselves are responsible for the depletion in the natural habits of those animals. I want to create an relationship between the environment and the ani+ mals. Only when people begin to care about the things they destroy - would they be interested in changing their habits.

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+ I came across very shocking statistics layout the environment like only 40% of the worlds water is actually drinkable; only 4% of the world's original forest cover still remains. + CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels cause 'global warming' and that is the immediate danger that not only is a threat to animals but to the entire planet. In general people do not really understand their contribution to CO2. The average american family in the us produces 17tonnes of CO2, just 20 years ago this number was 7 tonnes per family. The number has double in less than 20 years. + Currently the Carbon levels are 20% higher than considered safe. + We as a community do not realize how much we contribute to the degradation of the environment and how much CO2 we put out in the air.

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Revised reasearchable question

How can I use design to create an understanding about consumption by representing CO2 visually? And, motivate people to offset their carbon footprint in a positive way.

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Research on resources that can be represented visually Meeting with Clint (computer art center) and Jamie ( sustainability officer at MassArt). From my conversations with them and reporting the data collected back to Brian and Dan - my finished product as degree project has changed. My calculator has been very over arching and not aimed at a specific audience / doesn’t really drive you to change. I took a step back and evaluated what I was really after And, how I can enlighten people about their pattern of consumption and help them develop a more sustainable pattern of consumption” in a sense drive people to make a change that is effective. Keeping in mind Nike’s ap-

proach and thinking of developing a product that gives a clear sense of how to take action. I look for work that has been done in this regard further. Some projects that I looked at were by David Rose, Hishi Ishii from MIT media lab and products like Nest ( smart meter). Upon closely studying David Rose’s projects at Ambient devices and Vitality - I found that a lot of the services and devices were based off actions that are already performed or a present need that is yet unfulfilled or not fully serviced.

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03 Visually representing consumption

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Visual Reasearch

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+ People cannot relate to numbers at a commercial scale. + There is little to no direction for people to physically perform to take action through this device. + It provides useful information without providing reasonable understanding. + It doesn’t require users to interact with repeatedly which makes it obsolete over time.

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Visual Reasearch

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Observations

Understanding consumption using CO2 wasn’t going to help users have clear sense of taking action, users need to relate to something like electricity, water or heat that is more realistic and easy to understand. Subtle clues and tools to help people change their habits would be easier to follow through and implement.

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Degree Project Abstract

The goal my project is to use design to make people conscious about the wastage of energy in their daily lives. Research has made it clear that there is enough awareness about environmental issues but there is a lack of a clear sense of taking action. I want to employ strategic design solutions to create a device that empowers its users with data they are interested in by using a quiet and noninterruptive display. Just by glancing at the device people could know about the changing energy levels and chose to save. The functionality of this device is rooted in the principle of pre-attentive processing of

cognitive psychology - where by integrating information discreetly into the environment the message can be communicated without interruption. The presence of the device would influence the users to notice the impact of their actions. Thus, providing people with a powerful tool that allows them to take ownership of their actions in a positive way towards the environment. As an added feature user can track their energy usage and chart their progress over time to set personalized goals. .

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04 Visualizing the use of electricity in real time?

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Values + the difference the levels of consumption should be clear at one glance + visual system that is obvious + keep the simplicity of colors and lines + include monetary value

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9

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this his month mont

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Representing a cycle + energy use in relation to real time +12 clear visuals instead of too many 2 6 numbers and values

1

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Objectives

This device empowers its users with information in an non-interruptive display that helps them save money and conserve electricity at the same time. The display contains the current pricing and demand levels of electricity occurring in the users home.

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Functionality

This device becomes a powerful tool that can be placed around the house on a wall. The digital display that shows the level of energy consumption taking place in real time. The tracker translates the level of energy consumption into an effective visual display using strategic design solutions. Red indicates high electricity consumption and prompts users to shift to a more frugal use of energy. Orange indicates above average consumption and encourages reduction in demand. Yellow signifies average consumption and blue stand for below average demand. Knowing that the users can themselves influence the color transformation through their actions, it acts as a great motivator and encourages users to do so more often. Also, instead of showing the mysterious looking kw hours displayed by traditional smart meters the number display in

the center keeps users tuned into changing energy prices. So, even if you don’t give damn about the environment, you are motivated to save money by using less energy. The functionality of this device is rooted in the principle of pre-attentive processing of cognitive psychology - where by integrating information discreetly into the environment the message can be communicated without interruption. The device lets the user modify the display to their preferred format of consumption for example instead of an hourly average price the device can be set to display the money spent on energy that month -so, if you are 2 weeks away from the end of the month and know that your energy bill is 45$ you can control your action to stay within your budget and save money.

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05 Frugality

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developing a user scenario

My room mates always leave the bathroom and kitchen lights on after they done in there. I have to walk around the house and turn the light off. My room mates even leave the TV running "for back ground noise" when she is doing other things around the house. There are constantly things that are being run on electricity in apartment. They frown when they have to pay 55$ a month but they don't realize they could save some money. As much as 25% which adds up over a year. People's behavior needs to be changed and people need to develop a more sustainable pattern of consumption. There needs to be device that make them perform the action effectively and consistently.

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Developing features

This device gives you an “amount” that displaying / clocks in the electricity bill at the point in time. It can display this number on the basis of “Rate per hour” e.g. “$1.30 per hour”. It starts at 0$ every time the bill is paid and starts adding onto the bill if you make the display show how much the amount is at = at the particular time. It influences behavior and makes an individual think “ well I’m paying 2$ an hour to just sit here” not only that they will realize theta even when the house is empty there a cost that they pay to keep the fridge running / leave computers on stand by etc. With a monetary amount in front of them at all times people tend to want to conserve energy more thus directly influencing their behavior. This device will effectively glow certain colors when the cost is high or low. It will make people think of using their devices on putting a load on the electricity grid when there is lower cost.

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Place around the house and stay informed of current energy usage and be empowered to make an educated choice about energy consumption.

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A clear sense of taking action towards conserving energy. Frugality empowers its consumers with information in an quiet and non-interruptive display that helps them save money and conserve electricity at the same time. The display contains the current pricing and demand levels of electricity occurring in the users home. The visual is aimed to for easy interpretation - just by glancing at the Frugality display at any time of the day, consumers can tell if and how they should be changing their behavior. If it is RED, it indicates high electricity usage and provokes consumers to shift to a more discreet use of electricity. ORANGE indicates above average pricing and encourages reduction in demand, and

YELLOW indicates average prices. Lastly, BLUE indicates below average prices. In addition to a display that can be mounted on the wall, consumers can access information of their past usage and track their progress using a phone application or an online account. Frugality allows its consumers to create custom alerts that they can receive vis e-mail of push button notifications on their phone regarding electricity prices and their usage. The screen is also doubles up as device capable of displaying the time, which mask it valuable to the consumer even when electricity usage isn’t at the top of their minds.

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Flexibility of displays allows for user defined interpretations. The device lets the user modify the display to their preferred format of consumption for example instead of an hourly average price the device can be set to display the money spent on energy that month. So, if the user is 2 weeks away from the end of the month and know that their energy bill is 78$ you can control your actions to stay within your budget and save money.

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Take ownership of your actions in a positive way towards the environment. Save more by using less.

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Cognitive Psychology When we are awake and aware our brain is continuously monitoring sights and sound and decoding them for relevant content.

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Mobile applications help users to track their progress over time. As an additional feature consumers can access information of their past usage and track their progress using an application on their phone or computer. Users can view their usage in the past months and quickly see their saving in the GREEN. Which also helps the users feel rewarded for their efforts. Keeping them motivated to continue using Frugality effectively.

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Push button notifications to plan savings in advance. Another great feature frugality provide is the ability to plan your savings in advance by creating custom alerts that users can receive via push button notifications on their phone regarding changing electricity prices. Knowing that energy prices will be cheap - users can remember to use machines with heavy electric load like the dryer during that time and save some money.

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Frugality proves to be a really effective tool to help users consume energy sustainably and save money.

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Edited and designed by Gayatri Gaekwad

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