How will rich media, connectivity, and high bandwidth enable new kinds of learning environments and content to be produced, shared, and found by anyone anywhere? This is the question that a team of students at Carnegie Mellon University set out to answer last spring.
Professor Shelley Evenson made learning and context-aware mobile devices the main focus of her Graduate Design Studio II. For the last three years Microsoft has included the School of Design in their Global Design Expo with schools from around the world. This year Motorola collaborated with Microsoft in sponsoring the course and added context-awareness to Microsoft’s challenge to address learning.
Graduate Studio II is a team-based project course taught by Shelley Evenson (with a coordinating course taught by Bruce Hanington) in the School of Design that often includes graduate students from the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII), and the Tepper School of Business. Students in the course are typically presented with a broad challenge, and they narrow it down to develop a product or service, supporting interface/s, communications, and rough business case--all in one semester!
Professor Shelley Evansen with team members Gabe Clapper, Lesley Fleishman, Melissa Cliver, and Christina Payne in Seattle.
One team of students mastering in Human and Computer Interaction (HCI), Communication Planning and Information Design (CPID), and Interaction Design (IxD) decided to base their project on the concept of financial learning. Their solution would use mobile device context awareness to help consumers make financial decisions at the moment they are making a purchase. The result was aptly named “Current-c.”
Current-c is a dynamic card (think iPhone, but slimmer) that visualizes personal finances in a way that helps people budget and plan for the future. After some simple initial setup, the system links to all of a user’s accounts and begins to adapt to his or her spending behavior. Current-c provides immediate feedback and security to an increasingly tech-savvy, yet financially irresponsible population. In addition, Current • c acts as a universal payment card.
The five creators of Current-c, Gabe Clapper (HCI), Melissa Cliver (IxD), Lesley Fleishman (IxD), Christina Payne (CPID), and Elliott Williams (HCI), were selected by a Microsoft and Motorola to represent Carnegie Mellon at the Microsoft Research Faculty Summit.
The Summit, held each summer in Redmond, Washington, brings academic and government leaders together with Microsoft’s top design thinkers to discuss how the “maturing of the computing disciplines has opened an exciting range of opportunities for research and development.”
Representatives from each of the teams from the Studio Class will travel to Motorola in mid September to present their work to Motorola’s Customer Experience Design group.
The ingenuity of Current-c has sparked interest from prospective investors. The team is currently presenting the product to companies with the goal of taking the product to market. In addition, team member Melissa Cliver is working with Business School professor Art Boni to pursue a business development strategy. Professor Boni often collaborates on projects involving design and business students to design a business and product simultaneously. “I think this is a great example of the collaborative project environment leading to innovations incorporating technology, business, and design.”
The Current-c interface enables users to make financial decisions at the moment of choice.
Posted on Sep 19, 2008