Team: Cecilia Katzeff (Research Direction), Daniel Torstensson (Research), Stina Wessman (Research, Design), Tanuja Mishra (Research, Design, Prototyping), Marius Johansen (Design, Prototyping), Sara Colombo (Research, Design)
Company: RISE Interactive (formerly Interactive Institute), Eskilstuna, Sweden


In the future energy system, households are envisioned to take on a more active role in using electricity. With the advent of the smart electrical grid, they would be able to adjust their use of electricity in accordance with the accessibility of environmentally friendly energy sources. The project ‘FlexibEl’ intends to understand how this experience of shifting one’s domestic electricity activities could be made more meaningful. The main goals have been: communication to the users about (forecasted) times best suited to energy consumption; behavior change of the users towards adopting a more flexible energy consumption pattern; and users’ access to planning tools that would help them organize their activities in environmentally responsible ways.

The courses of action have involved a series of brainstorming sessions, concept development phases, workshops & user tests and an iterative creation of prototypes of varying fidelities. The outcome of this process has led to the concept of ‘Peace Time.’ Instead of asking people to refrain from engaging in certain activities during ‘bad’ electricity times, it uses a positive motivational trigger by provoking them to take a break! It encourages them to spend this time outdoors or in other activities that would bring them closer to nature (and to themselves).

The design, consisting of a bird nest and associated birds, incorporates a multi-sensory approach: the chirping of the birds from different corners of the house would alert the users about the onset of 'Peace Time'; a (natural) smell of their choice would fill up the room to set the mood; and the nest would slowly come down - the distance travelled by it would indicate the duration of the 'Peace Time.' Moreover, an associated mobile application would help them plan their 'Peace Time' activities 7-10 days into the future.

Copyright © 2021 Tanuja Mishra. All rights reserved.