【 Gelatine – Designing for Digital Encounters in Coworking Spaces 】
Nowadays, people tend to bury themselves in work every day without noticing what others do. However, coworking spaces seek for means to assist peer collaboration. It is rather unfortunate to lose the chances to cross-pollination of skills and creativity due to the unawareness of and uninspired by others’ field.
The idea behind ‘Gelatine’ was to create a system that facilitates coworkers to share each other’s information such as skills, interests and needs of currently present coworkers by displaying on a public screen when they check-in at a workspace. Once the personal information is created on an online/mobile website, people are capable of using their RFID membership card to swipe at one of the ‘check-points’ at the entrance or other sub location.
For the purpose above, Gelatine is designed in digital devices and composed of 4 modules:
1) User Profile Website / Database / Backend
Based on Ruby on Rails, which is an open-source web framework, the website and backend system enable users to create, edit and maintain their user account and profile information.
2) Checkin Points
Checkin Point comprises an RFID reader and a microcontroller, which reads the user’s card and uploads a check-in timestamp to database.
3) Public Screen Application / Visualisation
Adopting the WordCram open-source solution for word clouds, the public screen application visualizes the shared information of users in aesthetically pleasing way.
4) Thermal Printer
Sparkfun thermal printer “listens” to the Gelatine RSS which supports PubSubHubbub (a pubsub protocol for any web accessible resources). The RSS feed contains recent checkins and provides a thermal printer with a sophisticated solution connecting to network.
Nevertheless, we may inquiry into Gelatine according to the 4 criteria of “Research Through Design as a Method for Interaction Design Research in HCI”.
As for process, Gelatine well combines digital devices and social learning in a rather simple way, and produces various unexpected effects upon users.
Furthermore, in terms of invention, the advancement in technology does result in a significant influence on Gelatine since it utilizes numerous state of the art techniques.
When talking about relevance, however, Gelatine did not mention much about the performance increase and the detail on current situation and the preferred state.
Last but not least, Gelatine potentiates interaction between unfamiliar coworkers, and makes invisible social aspects of a coworking space visible.
In conclusion, Gelatine truly broadens our horizon of how to enhance coworking efficiency with Human Computer Interaction. It aims at tracking others’ footprint, making closer relationship between unfamiliar people, and, most importantly, accelerating the co-working process.