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Figure 2: Main Image

Exploring & Inspiration electric-neuron-unit

Joshua June Ho Suh

on-the-grid vs neurons

on-the-grid vs visual inspiration

Exploring & Inspiration #1 : Neurons as metaphor and principles of electricity Neurons are most important elements for human moving and feeling. Of course they must have energy from bloods and veins which have oxygen and other energy for human body. Like this, neurons’ role is like a communication with each other neurons. Yes. This is really similar with human communication. It also looks like a net, structures of socials, communities and lights & wires.

videoclip of neurons network ............Neurons communicate with one another via synapses, where the axon terminal or en passant boutons (terminals located along the length of the axon) of one cell impinges upon another neuron’s dendrite, soma or, less commonly, axon. Neurons such as Purkinje cells in the cerebellum can have over 1000 dendritic branches, making connections with tens of thousands of other cells; other neurons, such as the magnocellular neurons of the supraoptic nucleus, have only one or two dendrites, each of which receives thousands of synapses. Synapses can be excitatory or inhibitory and will either increase or decrease activity in the target neuron. Some neurons also communicate via electrical synapses, which are direct, electrically-conductive junctions between cells............

Complete neuron cell diagram


Gap cell junction

Exploring & Inspiration #2 : Visual Electricity Carbon Nanotubes, Installations, Exhibition Works, Patterns, Walls,

Types_of_Carbon_Nanotubes I think this looks like a net, perfect matching with my thinking and exploring to find some meanings, metaphor, iconic structures and symbols. etc.

Patterns let me think of the net. How about this? It looks like we can attach and detach this patterns for adding some information for social communities, of course, on the grid.

Walls of retail shop Looks like waves of electricity. Of course as metaphor.

The installation runs during london design week One of interesting ‘neurons and electricity looking structure things’. I guess I can add something and meanings to this structures.

Life-style for Electric Cars Most of car makers show electric cars and new life styles. One of interesting things is the color for electricity, Blue.

Projects of Visual Electricity from ‘visual voltage exhibition at design vlaanderen, brussels’

exploring & inspiration neurons visual inspiration electric-neuron-unit

1. Abstract

Energy is for public use and limited. Especially, most our energy is concentrated on making electricity. Generally we have a lot of appliances using electric energy and actually without electricity we cannot keep our lives even for one day. This is the reason why we should save our energy and control our consumption of limited energy like electricity. Thus we have been developing and making product and controller for saving electricity by several ways to control the time like saving water. ‘Control the time to use’ is the main concept for my work. Most users just plug and play their appliances without thinking about controlling the time. It might make huge consumption and waste of energy. Thus it needs to control every outlet and plug in houses or offices. Not for just ‘plug and play’ I have inserted the term ‘control’ between them, ‘Plug and Control and Play’. It shows what before playing any appliances you can save energy, especially public energy through using small control device after plug it. That’s it. And you can control the time to use easy and efficiently. However it is very hard to control the time of numerous outlets and plugs manually. In many cases you use multi-plug and most outlets are hidden behind furniture. Of course, controlling every plug might make you annoying and crazy. But if you can use smart grid and Wi-Fi, it can be easy and interesting. It means that they can have communications among themselves. It is very easy to use smart pugs and central unit. You can just put your plugs to smart plugs and just handle the central unit that control all the smart plugs and that have communication with each other for scheduling and saving energy. Rotating knob and touch the screen is only the way to use. The central unit looks very simple. It is round and has a big knob for control the unit and smart plugs. Each plug control the time to use appliances efficiently and send information to the central unit. The central unit and smart plugs make you can save energy.

Keywords: saving energy, patterns of consumption, control the time, smart plug, central unit

2. Introduction 2-1. Framework Is energy for public or private in small energy community like buildings, residence? Why should we consider energy waste and energy saving? Because all king of energy is for everyone and, of course, resource is limited. That is the reason why we should save energy and resources always. But most of us feel annoying plugging and unplugging whenever we finish use our appliances.

Figure 3: Question, Is Energy for public or private?

Figure 4: Considering for Public

What is the matter? I think ‘Plug & Play’ makes matters. Electricity, especially, is always ready to use like tap water. You always can get water by just turning on the tap and can turn off the tap after using. However, how about the lamp? You always unplug the lamp after using it? The water tap can help us to control the use of water. That is so easy to handle the tap for turning on or off. Besides, in many public places there are water taps with sensors for save the water because water is very important resource and energy for our lives and limited.

Figure 5: Tangible, Interaction Institute, Visual Voltage Exhibition, Brussels

Sensors help us to save the water by controlling the time to use. And we can see the consumption of water through the tap attached digital meter. I think we can control electricity energy as same as the way to save the water if we can control the time to use electricity and to make it tangible. Because we can see and hear the water, we can control it. Thus we should make water tangible.

Figure 6: Relation between Water Tap and Switch

2-2. Objectives

Figure 7: Functions and Roles between controllers and outlets

‘Plug & Control & Play’ make energy control. Days and nights, home and office, bedroom and living room, and every outlets even in the restroom there are so much plugs and outlets that we have to control schedules for efficient using energy depending on conditions. However we cannot control every electric product and every plug in everywhere. Only we, end-user can control the energy consumption by using particular interactive interface units for communication with tangible electricity. It should have some functions and elements as below.

- Controlling time to use for scheduling using energy - Controlling every plug and outlet in each places - Easy way to interactive-interface control - Having connections and distributing for neighbors and community

3. Project Description 3-1. Design Solution ‘eKnob’ has simple interaction modality, rotating and click, and it has a traditional interface, knob. Most users have experienced ‘knob control’ with the radio or TV. Knob is very familiar to users, from young and to old people. It is so simple. However it works by the neural network technology, it called AI, and on the grid for communication.

3-1-1. What is it? This is the small controller with knob that can help you to save your energy through scheduling the time to use electric appliances plugged all outlets in your place. Like water tap, you can use knob controller to schedule the time of all kind of electrics. You can rotate the knob to select some menu and just click to confirm specific function.

3-1-2. How does it work? Using neural network technology, ‘eKnob’ can get patterns of user’s consumption habit and analyze it. On the grid ‘eKnob’ gather data from smart plugs and it can recommend better pattern for saving energy to users. Central unit can communicate with all plugs and send new schedule for using appliances efficiently.

Figure 8: eKnob and its Modality

3-2. Concept The main concept is ‘control the time to use’. Most users just plug and play their appliances without thinking about controlling the time. It might make huge consumption and waste of energy. Thus it needs to control every outlet and plug in houses or offices. Not for just ‘plug and play’ I have inserted the term ‘control’ between them, ‘Plug and Control and Play’. It shows what before playing any appliances you can save energy, especially public energy through using small control device after plug it. That’s it. And you can control the time to use easy and efficiently. However it is very hard to control the time of numerous outlets and plugs manually. In many cases you use multi-plug and most outlets are hidden behind furniture. Of course, controlling every plug might make you annoying and crazy. But if you can use smart grid and Wi-Fi, it can be easy and interesting. On the grid we can make new communication way with each other. Thus I wanted to make something that use both grid and Wi-Fi network. It means that they can have communications among themselves.

3-2-1. Smart plugs

Figure 9: Concept Diagram for Smart Plug

The main principle is neuron unit as a metaphor. Neurons in human body have communication with backbone by ions. Their terminals send and receive data from each neuron in the body. Smart plugs are like neurons on the grid. In the same grid they can connect with each other and have self-learning through neural network. They always link with outlets in a house or small community like buildings, residences and so on. They have analog and digital interaction modality, so users can handle it easily. Especially analog-interactive-interface, knob can make it. The smart plug has three main roles as below. - Scheduling for using energy

- Connecting with grid community (other plugs) - Sharing information and energy through scheduling and connecting

3-2-2. Central unit

Figure 10: Relation between Smart plugs and Central Unit

How can users handle hundreds of plugs in a house? Central unit is a solution for that matter. Users just control the central unit for handling plugs. Central unit is like media center. All smart plugs are linked with central unit through communication plug. They send data of appliances’ status to central unit and central unit send to them new order to control the time to use. And on the grid each central unit can be linked with each other for communication. Like neurons and their networks systems and structures for big society are available.

3-2-3. System In the phases of system there are three stages, learning stage on the grid, control & feedback stage on the grid, and interactive communication stage. a. Learning stage on the grid This is what smart plugs and connected appliances make learning patterns by users behaviors. Whenever users use their appliances, connected plugs gather data about events like turn-on and off. Depending on these data, plugs can make patterns of

users’ consumption repeatedly. This repeated process make new patterns for saving energy and can give recommendation to users.

Figure 11: System Concept

b. Control & feedback stage on the grid This stage is between communication plug, one of smart plugs, and central unit. In this stage central unit and plug have several sorts of communication. Plug sends data about consumption patterns, alert and information of the amount and connection status to central unit on the grid and Wi-Fi. Then central unit sends new schedules and orders for appliances. c. Interaction communication stage Mainly this stage is for my project. All interactions and modality are in this stage. In this stage users can get pattern suggestions, information of the amount, schedule, comparison, credit and alert. Users also send to central unit new data about adjusted schedules and contributions. While users using central unit, they can control it by rotating and click knob that I applied my concept about analog plus digital interface, knob.

3-3. System System is very simple. There are 4 main elements in the system. First is smart plug. It is connected appliance and linked to other plugs on the grid. Second is communication plug that make smart plus communicate with central unit. Central unit is third one that is center in the system, and it has analog plus digital interface for control several functions by users. And the last forth is user. User might be familiar to handle the knob. Using it, user can control the amount of energy and his/her habit of overusing electricity. Especially, central unit and users have 4 main communications; setting system, getting information, adjust consumption pattern and getting report. Each communication has interactions by rotating and click, and directly user can access each process of plug-central unit.

Figure 12: System map

3-4. Scenario as detail process There are three episodes in scenario. You can see the context and a couple of situations of usages of ‘eKnob’ in your house. First episode ‘activate it!’ shows from start to end of setting and what learning pattern is. You can also check toe process of adjust setting. Second one is ‘alert!’ In this episode there is a specific situation ‘party’. Usually at the party you might use all of lamps and audio component for all night. Thus you can see the process of alert, ignore and checking the information.

3-4-1. Episode #1: Activate it! – part 1 Scenario starts from the scene that user just bought new smart plug for his/her new appliance. Before plugging your new appliance, use puts smart plug to outlet and turns on. Smart plugs can detect users’ consumption pattern through learning process. They have communication with each other and send information to central unit through communication plug. And then user checks central unit for detecting new appliance. Of course, ‘eKnob’ can find new appliance and recognize what new thing is. However if it cannot do that, you can browse it by rotating knob manually. After this, you cans see a couple of slides about what learning pattern and neural network are.

Figure 13: Episode #1 Activate it, part 1

3-4-2. Episode #1: Activate it! – part 2 After a week, user can get suggestions from eKnob. Because the learning pattern process is repeated continually after starting your appliance, you will get recommendations everyday actually. It helps you to check your energy consumption pattern and bad habits. It is very easy to get information and adjust your schedules of all plugs. Just rotating and clicking knob can access all the functions. You can check the list of appliances that need to adjust the time to use. After select what you want to do, you just rotate knob for new schedule.

Figure 14: Episode #1 Activate it, part 2

3-4-3. Episode #2: Alert! Episode #2 is about the alert message from ‘eKnob’. The situation is a party. Usually people spend too much electricity all night. User and his/her friends drink and enjoy their night using lamps and appliances without concern. Suddenly ‘eKnob’ report alert to them. However user decide to keep using more energy for his/her party. Thus user select ‘Remind me later’, which means ‘eKnob’ will report again after hours. In the morning he/she find alert report from it. User can check the report about your overuse.

Figure 15: Episode #2 Alert!

3-4-4. Episode #3: Lock it! In episode #3 you can find the way to lock the smart plug without learning-pattern process and how to get detail report through email or social-web. Like fridge and alarm system for fire or gas, a couple of house-maintain-system must keep on being on the grid and using energy for safe. ‘eKnob’ is very easy to lock this. First you can get message or recommendation from ‘eKnob’ about locking some system. Then just lock the smart plug. Rotating the ring of plug till the indicator lamp color change from red to green. For getting detail information, you can just select information-report menu and choose the one of email or social-web. Of course you can get almost information from ‘eKnob’.

Figure 16: Episode #3 Lock it

3-5. Interaction Flow ‘Interaction Flow’ starts from activating smart plug. The smart plug is like a terminal of neuron system. It can get the status of linked appliance and send information to central unit for direct communication of consumption analysis. As you see the process of activating in scenario section, all plugs have communication with central unit and user just control ‘eKnob’ for handling all outlets in a house or office.

Figure 17: From activating to Menu Screen of Central Unit

Interaction Modality is very simple. Only ‘rotating the knob’ and ‘click the knob’ are modality for ‘eKnob’. User can see all the information about plugs and central unit in the base panel and by rotating the knob you can select menu and click to confirm.

In the home screen there are icons of each room like what ‘L’ is living room, ‘K’ is kitchen and ‘T’ is toilet. And user can recognize how much he/she is using electric energy for each place. If you want to know the amount of consumption, select the place by rotating knob and click. And also user can get information through info-icon. You can check the main menu of ‘eKnob’ as below: a. Setting

Figure 18: Setting

Setting is the first step after plugging your appliance to outlet with smart plug. ‘eKob’ can detect your new appliance through new smart plug. It shows the sort of yours immediately. If the result is wrong, by manual browsing user can select the appliance. O.K. User can start the process of learning-pattern just by click start.

b. Getting Information

Figure 19: Getting Recommendation

User can get recommendation of ‘eKnob’ everyday because the learning process is repeated every week and every month. It might make the recommendation more reliable and reasonable. At least once a day, user could get some recommendation and user can check them for adjusting schedules of all appliances. By click the knob, user can start to check the process. If user will accept the recommendation, just user can select ‘apply’, simply.

c. Check & Adjust Pattern

Figure 20: Check & Adjust Pattern

This process and flow is the main function of ‘eKnob’. Controlling the time to use is the main concept for this. Depending on the recommendation of ‘eKnob’, user can adjust the schedule of appliances by moving the start and end point. Rotating and click can make it.

d. Getting Information

Figure 21: Getting Information

Of course, user can check the all kind of information about appliances, smart plugs, central unit and the amount of consumption. In the home screen, user can choose info-icon for access to get information. User can check the status of all kinds devices and compare the amount and money, etc. If you want to get detail report about any section, you just select ‘report’. And by input text, user can customizing his ‘eKnob’ for himself.

Figure 22: Interaction Flow in the Central Unit

3-6. Detail 3-6-1. Central unit Central unit consists of two main parts, knob and base. Each part has a small screen to check the menu and information. Especially knob screen is touch screen. Central unit is mobile, wireless. It communicates with communication plug by Wi-Fi. It is small enough to handle in the palm but knob is big enough to hold and rotate. There is an indicator that helps user easily notify the direction and signal for select menu.

Figure 23: Design Drawing for Central Unit

3-6-2. Smart plugs Smart plugs have communication with each other on the grid. They can share the result of analysis and apply their schedules for linked appliances. They are able to get and send information to communication ring on the grid. The communication ring is one of smart plug that has Wi-Fi unit in there. Thus only it can connect with central unit by using Wi-Fi. Smart plugs link outlets to appliance. They gather the information of all events like turn-on and off the appliances, and they apply the result of recommendation or user’s adjustment. They have indicator lamps that user can recognize whether they work or not, and whether plug is locked or not. Red is normal and green is locked by manual.

Figure 24: Design Drawing for Smart Plug

4. Conclusions The work presented in this paper shows the way to control the time to use and how to control every plug and outlet in every place. It is easy for users to have interactions with electricity and appliances through analog controller, ‘eKnob’. It can make connections and distribute for neighbors and community like neuron system. a. Controlling time to use for scheduling using energy Using smart plugs mean it is possible to apply them without destroying walls. Just to plug it before using appliance can help to save public energy and resources. b. Controlling every plug and outlet in each places Central unit make you to handle hundreds of plugs easily. It can control all plugs in a house and arrange the time to change user’s bad habit. c. Easy way to interactive-interface control Knob is very familiar controller to everybody. ‘eKnob’ can be handled by rotating and click knob. And users can adjust the time and get what they want. d. Having connections and distributions for neighbors and community By applying neural network technology, ‘eKnob’ can be always on the grid. It means it can have connections and distributions for public. ‘eKnob’ shows the ability of appliance management in a house and small community by using simple interface through several interactions between electricity and users. Each plug control the time to use appliances efficiently and send information to the central unit. ‘eKnob’ can make you to save public energy.

5. References [1] Carlos Machado and Jose A. Mendes, “Automatic Light Control in Domotics using Artificial Neural Networks”, World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 44, 2008 [2] Philips Research – Technology Available: [August 2008], [3] Dan Saffer, “Designing for Interaction: Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices”, New Riders, 2007 [4] Interaction Institute, Works [5] Wikipedia, Neurons [6] Wikipedia, Neural Network [7] U.S. Department of Energy: Smart grid [8] Wikipedia, Domotics [9] Hager group

Final Report for Master - Process Report  

For Master of Interaction Design, Domus Academy, Milan, Italy

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