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RETHINKING THE PEDESTRIAN EXPERIENCE
MIT Design Lab
MIT mobile experience lab
A project of the
MIT mobile experience lab at
MIT Design Laboratory.
blog, wiki-platform, charrette,
logy resources, prototype fab-
rication shops, network, user
experience, afﬁliated research
groups, academic guidance,
international activities, ethno-
graphies, mobile devices
How can governments and
civic institutions become
more responsive and offer
better services to urban
citizens and visitors through
use of mobile, wireless,
location aware techonologies?
Mobile devices can function as an interests and social empathy, and
„electronic lens“, eLens; citizens share information, opinions, experien-
use it to investigate and explore the ces, passions. eLens interaction
urban environment. Imagine you enriches the physical environment;
simply point your mobile phone at a formal and institutional information
building or landmark in order to are combined with informal com-
access historical and cultural infor- munication and personal annotations.
mation. eLens users can post Local communities post their
messages in physical locations, tag experiences in the physical environ-
buildings and places, create ments and create afﬁnity based social
social networks based on common networks. The city as “Wikicity”.
MIT Design Lab
MIT mobile experience lab
Concept, design, implem
A ﬁrst workshop helped to layout
In collaboration with the Government
a concept and develop parts of the
of Catalunia, the Manresa city
technologies that were used.
government and the kind support of
the Lacetania school in Manresa,
A second workshop with a dedicated
the electronic Lens project has been
core team led to the development
designed and implemented for a
and the prototype implementation.
test in May 2006.
Lowtech stickers function as visual
tags. Each sticker is unique and
With your camera phone and the
eLens software, you can recognize
each speciﬁc tag by „scanning“ it,
and you may leave or retrieve
information – for example voice
messages, photos, music or movies.
The information is stored in a databa-
se and can be accessed by another
user when scanning this speciﬁc tag.
Databases can be connected to
governmental databases for example
or authors can feed the databases
to address speciﬁc user groups, such
as tourists, doctors, joggers, teachers,
friends, family, ….
“Take a wireless device with a bit of location-
and direction awareness and use it to unlock
the secrets of the city.“
information about attractions
and resources of a city.
MIT workshop fall 2005
In a ﬁrst design workshop we deve-
loped ideas and a concepts how
to design an electronic lens.
It should provide pedestrians with
immediate, on-the-spot, geogra-
phically and temporarily contextuali-
zed information about the attractions
and resources that a city offers.
A trip to Barcelona with the group
allowed to do a workshop with
the Government of Catalonia, ethno-
graphies as well as on site research
about culture, citizens needs and
MIT workshop spring 2006
With a small core group of collabora-
ting students from different back-
grounds in disciplines such as media
arts and sciences, software engine-
ering, cognitive science, computer
science, information design, architec-
ture and urban planning, the eLens
was developed as a prototype.
During a one-week workshop in
Manresa, the tool was tested with a
group of Spanish high-school
students that explored their city while
using eLens for personal networking
as well as an alternative way of
The Electronic Lens project was
deployed and tested in Manrasa,
Spain in spring 2006. The primary
goal was to redesign the three tourist
routes in Manresa. The secondary
goal was to test explore contextuali-
Students redesigned the tourist routes with
zed learning with mobile devices.
A group of students were given an
subjective content, posting personal
eLens each for ﬁve days.
thoughts, music, and participating in different
The idea for eLens was to act as tool
for learning through location based
discussion. In small groups the
Users added experiential and informal content
students placed tags on historical
buildings of different époques by
to the existing formal information provided
following three architectural routes:
Baroque, Medieval and Modernist.
The ﬁrst task was to tag buildings
creating a new map of the city.
The second task to leave formal mes-
sages about history, architecture
and the city.
Place a tag, scan it, name it, leave a
message and add categories.
Deﬁne your social groups, share
information, participate in asyn-
chronous location based discussion
forums and learn about places
Experience location based networking,
in-situ learning and new forms of
communication, and explore the city
and its activities.
Add and retrieve content.
Voice messages, images, text,
songs or movies.
“… elens can be a great forum that can stay at one place
for years and leave a great history… It is also great as
a tool to use for collaborative learning – the tag could
basically incorporate the content of a whole book.“
Marc, Lacetania School, Manresa, Spain
“… elens would be great when travelling.
You can get information the spot wherever
you are. Also, you can get insider infor-
mation with eLens and get to know the
opinion of other people.“
Tania, Lacetania School, Manresa, Spain
Class instructors Thanks to our partners
William J. Mitchell Generalitat de Catalunya, Spain
Federico Casalegno Cisco
Technical development team
Aaron Zinman, Enrico Constanza, Jie-Eun Hwang,
Jae-woo Chung, Jonathan Gips, Miguel Menchu,
Mirja Leinss, Sajid Sadi, Tad Hirsch Federico Casalegno
MIT Design Laboratory
MIT mobile experience lab
Semester I participants 238 Main Street, E48-319
02142 Cambridge, MA, USA
Allison Novak, Anne Dodge, Ommed Sathe, email email@example.com
Raoul David Poblano, Stephanie Groll, Vanessa Bertozzi,
The MIT mobile experience lab takes a multidiscipli-
nary approach at understanding people’s experience
using wireless communication technologies, while
exploring how mobile media impact societies, commu-
nities and spaces. http://mobile.mit.edu
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