Summer update: Outdoor mobility & Pachuino

I will try to update on my research more frequently from now on like when I used to write about my WiiPaint project. At the end of the week, it really helps to regroup my thoughts and remind myself what I have (or haven’t) accomplished.

Outdoor mobility project
People spend 5% of their time outdoors. This statistic from my Living Green Page-A-Day calendar struck me as awfully low. Per day, it translates to 1.2 hours of being outside, which may seem high or low depending on where you live. I’m currently working on a survey to better understand the activities people do indoors and outdoors, how their home and work lives play a part in indoor/outdoor habits, and the reasons why we are not spending more time outdoors. There is a lot of research on how physical activity, being outdoors, and nature have positive effects on physical and mental health, the factors that promote popularity of certain urban areas, and literature that focuses on specific populations: children, particularly overweight children, the elderly, and the mobility impaired.

Along with the broad survey I’m conducting to get a better idea of this area (and hope to find some interesting correlations), I’m also designing a second survey based on the literature on outdoor mobility and social interaction for the elderly. I hope to create an intervention for the home that brings the outdoors to those who are mobility impaired and might not be able to go out often. More to come on that soon.

Current: IRB undergoing review
Next: Hope to deploy by the end of the week

References I’ve collected:
Outdoor mobility, urban and public spaces
Outdoor mobility and social interaction for the elderly and mobility impaired

Pachuino
RFID/WiShield on ArduinoMeanwhile, I’m continuing building simple sensors using the Arduino as part of my engagement in public spaces research. I’m currently working on combining an RFID reader with a WiShield to upload tagged items to Pachube. I built this with logging elevator data in mind: the probe would be placed unobtrusively near an elevator door, and whenever it reaches a new floor, the RFID reader will read that floor’s tag and uploaded it to the Pachube server. The idea is that manually logging elevator activity for observation in public spaces is very time consuming, and this is one way to automate it.

I’m currently in the process of getting the WiShield to communicate with Pachube, but it’s a little harder than I thought. The tutorial on Pachube for connecting WiShield to Pachube is incomplete, and seems to be missing a chunk of code that’s present in the Arduino Ethernet to Pachube tutorial.

Current: Connecting WiShield to Pachube
Next: Create casing for probe, deploy in elevators

That’s all for this week. I’ll be visiting family in China for 2 weeks and will be back in early July. Will post later this week an update on some things related to public spaces.

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