Data Pipe Dreams: Glimpses of a Near Future

Glimpses of a Near Future

2–25 August, 11am–6pm

What are the dreams of a data-driven future?

What if your hairdryer could buy energy at 2am and sell it to people drying their hair on a Friday night? What if you could see how sharing your YouTube comments could affect your employability? What if the Blockchain could spark thousands of micro acts of kindness to transform Edinburgh for the better?

You can experience all of this and more at the Design Informatics Pavilion, which showcases prototypes and interactive installations by Design Informatics researchers, Masters students and partners at Tesco Bank. The Pavilion’s exhibits investigate the possibilities of designing with data, and how this can enrich or challenge our personal, economic and social lives. Come and have a play and explore what are now data pipe dreams, but not for long…


Blockchain Breakfast

Blockchain Breakfast is a design project that demonstrates the actions involved in a blockchain transaction. Departing from blockchain’s software-based nature, this work makes the transaction tangible in the form of a breakfast routine, including toasting bread, cooking an egg, and blending a smoothie.

Deedit – Small actions, big impact

Tackling big issues through collective social action

Deedit is a project harnessing today’s popular activism – think mass action to reduce plastics in the sea.  We are more aware than ever of the impact of our actions and have a desire to make a positive difference to our environment and community.

Deedit enables everyone to contribute towards big social goals, through the completion of small good deeds.  The more good deeds completed, the bigger the impact and positive change.

For this alpha version we’ve partnered with SocialBite – to drive mass awareness of homelessness in Edinburgh and to show how ordinary people can get involved.  We hope Edinburgh will get behind the spirit of the project and do some deeds – no matter how small!


Would you let an artificial intelligence manage your finances for you?

Let’s be honest, for most of us, budgeting is a chore. Can we banish it in the data-driven 21st Century with a digital financial assistant?

Introducing Tess. Proactive, connected to your smart home, managing everything for you.


In a speculated future, ownership of data is shifting from businesses to individuals. Ever thought of sharing your Amazon purchases with a potential employer? What if it helped you get your dream job? Actively explore the different data sources you could leverage to build your own digital identity.


Seismic See-Saw makes physical the technology of blockchain donations, where the donations are held and depending on if there is any measurable earthquake worldwide are either sent to charity or returned to the donor.

This system not only grants donors more control over how and when their donations can be used by a charity, but also allows charities to know how much capital they would have access to immediately in the event of disaster.

Seismic See-Saw breaks the status quo of one off payments and monthly subscriptions.


How often do you read the fine print?

We sign up to new digital services every day. Would you trust a friend, a lawyer or a bot to sign on your behalf?

Play Trust Ball and see who to trust with this playful interaction exploring alternative models of consent and delegation.


QBL aims to transpose the notion of robots and artificial intelligence into an innocuous dining chair which generates unique pressure prints from the user’s body.  Using machine learning; these prints are training a network to identify various body postures and poses with the eventual hope of identifying mood and expression.


Gigbliss was designed for a context of distributed energy provision. The hairdryers track energy availability and trade it according to smart contracts in the blockchain. They provide different levels of control according to particular business models. Gigbliss Plus allows users to sell and buy energy freely, complementing their income. Gigbliss Balance’s revenues are directed to the company. When inactive, the company uses them to trade energy; which allows costs to be minimised to users. Gigbliss Auto’s transactions are defined between the corporation and a sponsoring partner; which restricts usage to certain periods of the day. See more about Giglbliss in the below video.

This event is part of the Edinburgh College of Art Festival Exhibition, which is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival 2018.

Design Informatics Pavilion, Outside Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, EH2 2LR