Data into Art (2008-2011)

The opportunity:  Create a lobby display that conveys building performance information without numbers.

In collaboration with glass artist Steve Feren, I designed the software and hardware interface for a sculpture designed by Steve.   The information system drives a lobby display in the pediatric waiting area of primary care clinic.  The sculpture consists of cast glass columns, with LED lights programmed to reflect 5-minute electricity use, solar hot water production and avoided CO2 emissions--reflecting the sustainable design features of the facility.   Here is the detailed documentationthat describes the information design and display operations.

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Solar Chicken (2010-present)

The opportunity:  engage pre-school and elementary school-age children and their adults with a solar energy system at a children’s museum.

Solar electricity systems don't have moving parts and the usual information designs relies on graphs and numbers.  Such displays don't make much sense nor invite four year old visitors to linger.  We designed the Solar Chicken concept, developed the algorithm and worked with contractors to design and install the custom electronics and the physical display at the Madison Children’s Museum in 2010.   The display lays an egg when the system detects accumulation of about 10 watt-hours of energy--enough energy to run a compact fluorescent lamp for about an hour.   On a sunny day in summer, the display lays an egg approximately every 30 seconds--on a cloudy day or early morning or late afternoon, fewer eggs!  Here's a link to a short video produced by Madison Gas and Electric that shows the display in context and in action.