Designing with data
Informatics is about structure, behaviour, and interactions. It’s about natural and engineered information processors. Design is about the generation, development and testing of concepts. It’s about the creation of physical objects, capabilities or services. Design Informatics focuses on designing with data. We can harness massive connectivity, analytic power and industrial-strength simulation to design tangible products and intangible services to transform the ways we work, live at home, care for each other, and play. The Centre for Design Informatics is for the agents of change who want to make a difference through computational thinking and design, to make things better, bit by bit.
Our vision is that Scotland can take a lead in designing with data, combining informatics and design, to support the augmented society; just as virtual reality is blending into augmented reality, the digital economy and the information society will evolve into the augmented society. Already, social media tools are increasing the social and economic value that can be generated by extremely varied collections of people. As the products of informatics further augment our society, natural human intelligence will intertwine with vast data-processing power.
These emerging products are revolutionising the means by which social and economic value can be generated. Old divisions and distinctions are shifting and dissolving: designers and users, producers and consumers are working together in new ways to create new value. Design is embracing adaptive devices and services that both learn and teach. At the same time, the fields of design and informatics are being enriched through research by design.
The merger between the University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh College of Art creates a unique opportunity for Scotland and the UK to realise Design Informatics. The Schools of Informatics and Design have formed the Centre to inspire, equip and nurture a new generation of design-informatics researchers, practitioners and entrepreneurs.
The Centre weaves together four threads from each school, with machine learning an overarching theme. For design: product, media, fashion and architecture. For informatics: vision and robotics, interaction, sensor networks, and synthetic biology. The academic year 2011/12 sees the Centre growing its activity in research, entrepreneurship, teaching and outreach.