Data Play 2019: Design Informatics Pavilion


We can’t design the future. But we can try it out, test it and play with it. We can explore the currency of our transactions and the bonds of our relationships. Discover what moves global markets and local buses. Understand the power to light up homes, control national grids and improve healthcare. By playing with data, we can examine the interwoven ideas that will shape our lives for years to come.

The Design Informatics Pavilion is a pop-up exhibition space designed by biomorphis architects featuring a range of objects and experiences that invite you to step into the future. The exhibition will be interactive, mixing design with technology and exploring a number of themes aimed at provoking discussions on what it means to “design with data”. The Pavilion will feature work from the research centre, Design Informatics Master students and Tesco Bank who have been collaborating with us on their Mercury project for the second year running.

Featured projects include: Payful (Shopping habits in digital age from Project Mercury for Tesco Bank), Karma Kettles (distributed energy systems), Jerry Lin (health of smart objects), PizzaBlock (blockchain technologies and volunteering), GeoPact (location based smart contracts, Pip Thornton ({poem}.py),Chatty Factories (intenrt of things) and Siyao Zhou (Wheesht, playing silence).


Chatty Products  IoT products are embedded with sensors that transmit live data about their use and environment. A key challenge for designers is to gather useful insights from this data in order to accelerate product research, which can be time consuming and labour intensive. Through the Chatty Products dashboard we aim to explore how virtual representations of IoT products and their sensor data, also known as digital twins, can support insight gathering. This demo will present a series of Bluetooth IoT speakers, which are connected to the Chatty Products dashboard, a data exploration and visualisation research tool containing supervisory digital twins of the speakers.

Artists: Dan Burnett, Katerina Gorkovenko, Daniel Richards, Dave Murray-Rust. Part of a research project funded by the EPSCR


GeoPact has been developed to explore new urban transport and delivery solutions. The system collects and verifies location data from smart objects with certainty and security, unlocking its potential for everyday use. Smart contracts help us harness this data, linking it to real-life transactions, with a variety of possible applications.

Artists: Dave Murray-Rust, Ella Tallyn, Evan Morgan, Joe Revans. Part of a research project funded by EPSRC and PETRAS.


‘Health’ of Smart Objects: This interdisciplinary project investigates the health of Smart objects within an Internet of Things. The final outcome is an object-oriented system in which Smart Home objects are connected to the Internet and ‘take care of themselves’.

Artists: Design Informatics MFA Student- Zidong (Jerry) Lin


Karma Kettles The Karma Kettle simulates a context of distributed energy generation where domestic batteries contribute to store part of the energy available in the grid, ultimately helping to balance on and off-peak times and prices.

Artists: Larissa Pschetz, Luis Soares, Billy Dixon. Project part of PETRAS Internet of Things Research Hub


PizzaBlock is a bespoke game we have developed to introduce and explore the future of decentralised identity, based on blockchain technologies, in the context of volunteering. During the game, participants play the role of volunteers, training centres and social enterprises with a mission to make more pizza in Edinburgh. However to complete the necessary tasks, players must rely on a distributed ledger to prove and validate who has the skills required. In this exhibition, we share some of the artefacts produced, and invite you to help us find any invalid transactions on this blockchain!

Artists: Chris Elsden, Jonathan Rankin, Chris Speed. Part of EPSRC funded research project Ox-Chain


{poem}.py: a critique of linguistic capitalism {poem}.py explores the concept of ‘linguistic capitalism’; the commodification of language on which Google’s empire is built. Google’s AdWords platform auctions words to advertisers in exchange for prime positions in its search results. Opening bids are guided by algorithmically calculated ‘suggested bid prices’. Each time a word is searched for on Google a mini-auction takes place, and the keyword is sold to the highest bidder.

Fusing poetry, code and Google price data, the project exposes Google’s power over the context and value of language as it flows through the search engine by producing poem-receipts, thus taking back control of poetic language, reclaiming it from the algorithmic market, and returning it to art.

Artists: Pip Thornton


Tesco Project Mercury 2019: Payful: An exploration of how new technology could improve everyone’s financial well-being. Ever bought a pair of trainers and immediately regretted it? Technology is transforming the ways that we spend, save and manage money – how can we help people make good decisions.

Artists: Tesco Bank, Design Informatics, Modern Human, AWS (amazon web services)


Wheesht! Silence is not empty but a beautiful place full of random answers and potentials. Based on the experience of tinnitus, a turntable is created to “play” silence, to encourage a choice and appreciation of silence in this noisy world.

Artists: Design Informatics Advanced MSc Student- Siyao Zhou


Alongside the exhibits will be a number of supported events in Inspace.