Der Aralsee –
Eine Chronik

The assignment was the conceptional design for an information system on a topic free of choice. I was reading about the aral sea a while ago and it came into my mind that it would be great to raise awareness on what happend with it relating to the process of drying out and the contamination of the environment since the year of 1960 until now, due to the economic use of the water from the only two rivers that provided the lake. 

The assignment was the conceptional design for an information system on a topic free of choice. I was reading about the aral sea a while ago and it came into my mind that it would be great to raise awareness on what happend with it relating to the process of drying out and the contamination of the environment since the year of 1960 until now, due to the economic use of the water from the only two rivers that provided the lake. The information system we were aiming for should work in the context of a museum or exhibition and communicate its information with a playful component. That is why we decided to combine a hardware and software interface for our prototype.

The information system we were aiming for should work in the context of a museum or exhibition and communicate its information with a playful component. That is why we decided to combine a hardware and software interface for our prototype. The prototype consists of a 3-dimensional, topographic model of the aral sea, a MacBook running the software and a touch-screen.

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The information system provides the user with information in a chronological order. Starting at the year 1960, the user is looking upon a complete model of the aral sea, basically the aral sea in its original condition completely filled up with water. Whenever the user decides to remove one of the acrylic glass plates from the model, the software changes the information displayed on the touch-screen, e.g. removing the top acrylic glass, which represented the state of 1960, would change to the state of 1970. Thereby the user is able to switch between the decades by changing the level of “water” in the model right before him. For each decade, we gatherd information and summarized them into what we simply called “hotspots”. Those are the red spots the user can activate by touch on the display, providing him with information about specific happenings that took part during that decade.

The model itself is build out of 6 millimetre poplar ply wood plates which were laser cut and glued together. The acrylic glass, also 6 mm, was laser cut, too. Into every layer of wood we hand-carved two little channels for the
hook-up wires, which connect the MakeyMakey board with the acrylic glass plates, when they are inside the model. This is were electric paint came into play. On the one hand, we used the paint to fill up the gaps in the channels in which the hook-up wires are embedded, to ensure a clean and plain surface on the top of the wood layer. On every plate of wood we have now two contact points, one for the electrical grounding, one for the actual input. On the other hand, we used the electric paint on the bottom side of the acrylic glass plates. We used masking tape to create a rectangle on which we applied the electric paint. The rectangle now closes the circuit between the two contact points mentioned above whenever the acrylic glass plate is put in the model, telling the MakeyMakey board to release a signal to the MacBook. On this way, we could create all necessary output signals.
The software running on the MacBook was created with Framer Studio, which is a prototyping software based on the Javascript library Framer.js (Coffeescript) combined with a graphic user interface. We needed a code-based prototyping environment to process the output signals that were created by the MakeyMakey board. Visuals and graphics as well as the production data for the model/laser cutter were created in Adobe Illustrator CC.


LG-H815
AMM_2018_Awardauszeichnung_gr

This project was awarded with a Digital Talents Award from the Annual Mulitmedia Awards 2018.

with
Vanessa Boutzikoudi
Kai Magnus Müller
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