Pittsburgh Landslide Connect

Interactive education on landslides in Pittsburgh

Completion - Spring 2020
Instructor - Marti Louw
Collaborators - Clair Sun, Ruoyi Chen

Design Research

Hybrid Environment
Chatbot Design

We worked with Carnegie Museum of Natural History (CMNH) to propose an interactive exhibition on landslide education for the Anthropocene exhibition.

Learning in museums is immersive but reaches limited audience. We aimed to design hybrid learning enviroments that can break the boundary of museums and engage more people with a comprehensive explanation about landslides and empower actions.

Working with Carnegie Museum of Natural History to develop an interactive exhibition on landslide education and address the issue of Anthropocene.
Interview ︎
We interviewed 10 visitors in CMNH to gather their familarity with landslide using rating scale (0-5) and Personal Meaning Map. We found that:

Lack of knowledge - many people don't have a clear and concrete understanding of issue;
Sense of Powerless - even people know the problem, many don't know possible actions to take;

Therefore, we set up two main goals - relate + empower the visitors to provide a comprehensive perspective about landslides.

Idea 1 - Help machine learning identify landslides

Inspired by CMU Smart Cities Institute’s exploration in machine learning to predict landslidewe invite visitors to identify landslide risks on images from Google Street View. The correct answers would be used as data for machine learning landslide prediction.

However, we also realized that non-expert contribution might introduce inaccuracy to the data set and cause real-life impact.

︎Idea 2 - Choose Your Landslide Adventure

Inspired by the game Choose Your Adventure, visitors are asked to help the characters make decisions about landslide promblems to alter the storylines. Through storytelling we introduce the complexity of landslide.

The storylines are based on real news of landslides encounters in Pittsburgh to increase relavence, and we will reveal the actual news at the end of the experinece. 

System Creation ︎
Museum learning as an immersive experience requires layers of interactions. How can we design the hybrid learning environemnt in different scales, both socially and physically?Thus we present an interaction system for the landslide education experience:

Community Scale -
Landslide Time Machine Chatbot

︎︎︎Chat Here
︎︎︎News Cover

Facebook is the most used social media across all age groups. Thus we created a landslide discussion community on Facebook to update local landslide news and host our educational chatbot (developed in Chatfeul) to encourage locals to engage in the issues as a community.
Characters ︎
We developed 3 storylines that introduce real stories about lanslides from three different perspectives.

Conversation Design ︎
One of the feedback from user testing was imagery and external links are great natural stopping points for users to take a break in the conversation and examine details about the information. 

Museum Scale -
News Time Machine

Concept ︎
Taking on the idea of time machine, we design an interactive timeline wall for the Anthropocene Living Room in CMNH.

We keep the concept of choosing real news stories about landslides to affect the storyline, and visitors can push the handle alone the timeline to affect the wall-size animation on the right, which provides a more illustrative and experiential impact on the visitors.
current Anthropocene Living Room, lack of dynamic interactions

Timeline Design ︎
For different stories, there are always 4 key stopping points for story development, which is also emphasized through background colors. As the visitors slide through the timeline, the specific date related to the key stopping points will be displayed on the slider.

Animation Prototype ︎
Since CMNH is catering to a lot of young audiences, we chose simple geometric visual language for landslides animation so that they can easily understand the cause and process of landslides; (p5.js simulation here)

Individual Scale -
Tactile Simulation
Interaction System ︎
Besides interactive animations, we also encourage kids to learn about landslides through tactile. They can simulate landlides using building blocks, which correspond to the geometric visual style in the animation.

For audience who wish to learn about landslides in details, they can access the information through the text on the right wall.
Reflection/ Next Step
Ouside The Museum ︎
While the interactive chatbot and Facebook community can provide a  dynamic learning experience, it is still relatively isolated and less immersive than the exhibition. The next step could be engage the outside community into the interactions within the museum in real time, which can potentially enrich the interactions in the museum and in the community.