RISE Interactive


At RISE (Research institute of Sweden), I was part of an ongoing two-year research project. My role as a design intern was to explore various concepts and drive the project forward. My main focus was to develop and design the physical prototypes and interface, but I also participated in conducting interviews and the study.

Invisible carbon emission goals made tangible

Research project – Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE)
2016, 6 months

In this research project, we explored how we can make the complexity of carbon footprints and climate goals relatable on a personal level by making them tangible and giving the right amount of feedback at the right time.

Using the design process in a research study with a multi-disciplinary team.

The goal was to conduct a study on how it’d feel if people got their carbon footprint instantly pointed out to them in their daily lives. The project stretched over two years. When I joined, the task was to visualise and communicate the carbon footprint to the participants. It was a process with many concept sessions in multidisciplinary teams and rapid prototyping before building the final prototypes used in the study.

How can a climate goal be manifested for an individual to increase understanding of the relationship between behaviours and the carbon footprint?

Spill time, metaphors and contextualised feedback

We designed three artefacts that, in different ways, communicate to and support the users in the experience of getting their detailed carbon footprint explained to them.

To keep within the European 2020 climate goal, you had to use less than 13,1 kg co2e/ day. If the amount was exceeded, it was communicated to the user through a spill time. This spill time became a strong metaphor in the concept as well as in the aesthetics.

Three artefacts plus one coach

The artefacts communicate the personal carbon footprint in real-time. A personalised carbon footprint can be sensitive and create a lot of climate anxiety. We didn’t want to increase this for our participants by overwhelming them with too much feedback. Therefore the feedback is given on different 

levels. First, instant haptic feedback when the participant generates co2e throughout the wearable. Later, as a snapshot through the spill time artefact and lastly, a slower and more detailed feedback is given in the shape of a reflection at the end of the day.

CO2 e Artefact

Shows the daily quota, co2 used including over usage.

CO2 e Pulse

Gives instant feedback in form of a pulse.

CO2 e Reflection

The reflective mirror shows details data from the day.

CO2 e Coach

Analyses data, give advice, and answers questions.

Realising you can only do so much. Society has the biggest impact.

The study tracked and measured participant data that all fit into the categories; food, transportation, and home. We used the wizard of oz method to allow a human to control the system that the user perceived as autonomous. While most of the participants were somewhat already aware of their carbon footprint, we found that when adding the societal impact on top of that, it triggers the most climate anxiety. You don’t have much control over the societal footprint, and it’s often the cause of the spill moment, no matter how much energy you saved during the day.

Curious for more details?

Take a look at the full paper by Lizette Reitsma, Stina Wessman, Sofie Nyström

Read the full paper
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