Audi Is Gathering Data To Measure The Environment Around A Small Skiing Town
The Digital Points project collected and displayed data related to climate conditions, noise and solar activity
What if street furniture could also gather data about the health of a city? That’s the idea behind a project introduced during the 2017 Cortina Fashion Weekend held in the Italian mountain city of Cortina d’Ampezzo. Audi Italia commissioned Point Architects to design a series of benches with integrated sensors that collected and displayed data relating to their surroundings.
Audi formed a partnership with Ampezzo Municipality to support the goal of creating a local innovation laboratory. This project is being supported by the Cortina 2021 Foundation, which is also organizing the Alpine Ski World Championships to be held in the area in 2021. The Digital Points project aimed to raise public awareness of the local ecosystem and collect data that could be used to chart changes in the environment.
Each of benches monitored climate conditions, noise pollution and solar activity. The information gathered was displayed in real time on large screens.
The benches generated their own electrical power from solar panels and displayed the amount of energy being collected on illuminated tubes. The tubes changed color depending on the amount of energy being collected.
A few amenities were integrated into the benches for the public as well. Each served as a free Wi-Fi hotspot. Mobile devices could be recharged through USB ports. And since the benches would be out in the winter time, the seats were heated.
While the benches were a temporary installation, Audi used the project as a way to announce a permanent electric vehicle charging network that would rolled out in the surrounding territory.
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Katie Salen Tekinbas is a game designer, animator and educator. She is a professor in the DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media. Previously, she has taught at Parsons' New School for Design, the University of Texas at Austin, New York University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
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