Presentation and feedback

The final project presentations were held across 3 days from 10th December 2012 to 12th December 2012, planned to be finished by noon (i.e. 12:00 on 12/12/12). Each student was given 20 minutes to present after which 20 minutes of discussion was to take place and 5 minutes break for setting up by next presenter.
We all have had sleepless nights till this day. Everyone was working on many different things simultaneously at a time such as finishing up the prototype, crafting presentation, documenting the project in videos or other media and helping each other to finish up. Me and few others had our presentations on the third day, which was advantageous but certainly pressurizing. There was a great energy in the room and everyone encouraged each other by attending all the presentations with full attention and giving critical feedback no matter how much work was left or how tired everyone was.
It was also pressurizing because of the jury panel which we had for our presentations.
David Rose : Product designer, serial entrepreneur, MIT Media Lab researcher. Recently, David has been back at MIT working on ways to elegantly embed technology in furniture. David studied physics and fine art at St. Olaf College, then got his masters at Harvard. He has taught interaction design at Yale, Information visualization at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and a popular course in tangible user interfaces at the MIT Media Lab with Hiroshi Ishii.
Tom Donaldson : Tom is, at heart and in profession, an inventor. Possessing a deep technical background in electronics, software, and engineering as a whole, he specializes in turning nothing into something, and something into something valuable. Tom currently leads research and development and new technologies for Jawbone, having arrived there via his own company, Pencil Technologies, developing Bluetooth mesh-networking communication products for the poorest in the developing world.
Mette Harrestrup : Mette Harrestrup is assistant professor and head of the Department of Communication Design at Kolding School of Design. Her introduction of the term sensogram springs from her inclusion of other senses than sight in her Ph.D. project: Fra piktogram til sensogram. Here she explores sign design and wayfinding in an interactive context. She experiments with the body’s additional sensory modalities, body-phenomenology and design of atmosphere. Bridging graphic design with interaction design and practice with theory is her specialty. Most of all she wants to design happiness.
These people did not seem to be pleased easily and we needed every possible support to face these presentations.
Simona helped us create crisp presentations with an appealing flow, effective delivery and visual consistency. The presentations given to Simona before the final one helped reduce our anxiety and to get those finer details in place. Alie had supported us throughout to maintain our mental stability. She always kept us on track and arranged for inspirational and useful workshops / lectures during the final project. Anders worked as a super guide, always kept us on our feet and motivated us on every visit he made to school. He helped us in every possible way from being part of brainstormings to providing parts for prototyping. This project would not have been possible without his guidance, support and encouragement.
So, finally the time to present came. I had been taking notes and refining the presentation for past two days by looking at others' presentations. Below you can see the video of the presentation I made. It is not of great quality, as the room was dark and the camera mic was placed on a distance. It is still a quick way to get to know the project and the process that I followed.

There was a lively discussion with comments and feedback from the jury. The project was well received by all the juries and was felt relevant not only in Indian context but globally. The discussion was not captured in video but I will mention the points that I remember here.
Just after the demo David made a comment about getting a joke at the end of the phone call. This was insightful, cause this system need not be all so serious. Even though it tries to provide feedback to people from government as soon as possible, a joke at the end would be gain for the person. At least the user will have a smile on his/her making the interaction enjoyable. It is something that anyone can consume and that too very easily.
How are the people's feelings about biometric scan? Does it feel invasive to them?
- Many middle class and literate people have been opposing the biometric scans done by government for UID. But now a days we can see that many offices, workplaces and educational institutes use finger scanners for attendance and access control. People feel comfortable using them when they know that the data is secured and cannot be misused. This kind of trust does not exist while dealing with government. Also usually when an illiterate person has to make a signature he / she makes an thumb impression using ink pad. The biometric scanning might not feel invasive for them but it cannot be confirmed without testing.
Could a step be reduced from the whole interaction by scanning the finger first and automatically initiating the call?
- For this to work the finger scanner has to be switched on all the time as well as the connection to the server to verify the scan and make the call. This will definitely reduce a step but consume more electricity and bandwidth.
It is very tricky to understand how in reality the infrastructure and governmental systems work. Do you think that the infrastructure exists for such a system to work?
- If we think about the physical infrastructure then the pay-phones still exist but are not being used to the extend that they were used before due to penetration of mobile phones. But then what is to happen with the phones that are already there? They might get a little longer life than being trashed in landfill through this type of project. But the system should not only rely on the pay-phone and become multi-modal using mobile phones and other technology, so that it is adoptable even after the pay-phone are completely obsolete.
About government / municipality, it highly depends on the will of people in the office. Making the results of such a referendum binding to the government would make the system into populous democracy rather than constitutional democracy which might lead to tyranny of majority. And non-binding system sound easy to be avoided by officials, but my hope is that it will surely create a discussion and awareness about the decision being take in the office regarding the community.
In countries like India, there doesn't exist a one to one relationship with the mobile phone. A single mobile phone is used by different people. It is easy to design around assuming one to one relationship with the phone but then how do you accommodate this?
- This is very true. In villages a family owns a single mobile phone which is used by everyone in the family. Due to this there moves done to create user profiles on low cost phones. In this scenario a PIN comes handy. In the presentation I had shown that a person could register a mobile number and get a PIN by verifying finger scan to be able to vote on mobile. Multiple people could be registered from a single SIM but having different PINs associated to them.
The presentation went well. All the presentations were finished by 12:12 (making it at 12:12 on 12/12/12). Within few hours the results were to be announced, Fail, Pass or Honors. Jury members were happy to announce that no one had failed and they were happy about everyone's projects. This year they gave out two honors instead of one. One was received by Kenneth and other one was received by me. It was quite a surprise and a humbling experience. Below you can see the feedback received in written from jury members.
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After this we had our cozy graduation ceremony. We were a bunch of happy (and tired) people who had finished 100+ projects within a year. We have gone through so much within this year that we have turned into a big family which would never break no matter how far in the world we spread. A picture of all of us at our best!

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