Our medium fidelity prototype is in short, a flower pot with power sockets on the front. Consuming power from the pot will cause a light in the flower to grow dimmer, and the flower will begin to sag. Using more power will cause the light to grow dimmer still, and the flower to sag faster. The light provides an immediate feedback of your power use, while the flower "wilt" provides a view of this usage over time.
The prototype is intended to be used as a desktop or counter-top power bar. In addition, we view it as a decorative device that people may want in an area of visibility or low light. However, using the pot as a power bar will "kill" the flower sitting on it - this discourages the use of power. Our thought is that this ambiguous context may cause people to think twice about the power they consume.
Our prototype is meant to be artistic in its message and form, but also very utilitarian. It can be used as a simple power bar, or as a decorative piece, or both. It also piqued our interest as a programming challenge - how can we get the Arduino board to sense power usage? We believe we have met all three challenges admirably.
Our flower will be deployed in the home of a family of three: a mother, father and and son. The son in the family is a fellow SIAT student who is known to John. The mother is a housewife, who is very power-conscientious. The father is a retired individual, who may spend long hours at home.
Due to the presence of the mother, the family is well known for its efforts at consuming power. The household will often turn off lights that aren't in use, or devices that aren't very effective. We feel that our device suits these ideals admirably, and may prove useful in their lifestyle. We feel in will likely be deployed in a work area, such as the computer desk - though other avenues have been considered, such as a kitchen or bathroom.
We plan to introduce the flower as a decorative power bar which will react to how you use it. We will assure the family that their are no external sensors on the flower pot, and it will not keep any records of what it does. Attention will not be drawn to the exact behavior of the flower, or what stimuli it will react to. Our hope is that the family will realize this for themselves.
The prototype will be deployed Monday through Friday, with a Wednesday recording session placed in the middle. John lives within walking distance of the family, and can thus visit them as needed to give reminders and see how they are doing.
Sample questions include:
1) How often do you use extension bars?
2) What do you use them for?
3) Was our prototype useful?
4) How did it react to you?
5) Did you change your behavior while around our prototype?
When our results are retrieved we plan to use a Affinity Diagramming to find patterns. Once categories are established we will look for additional collaborating information, and use it in composing our report.