Point Locus shows the way!

I must say that this very moment, right now, is my proudest moment of my entire life… so far. I know there would be more proud moment to come, but I never felt this accomplished before. This is the greatest feeling and I feel like running outside and screaming it out to the world. But it’s cold out and I’m on my jammies, so I’ll save that scream for Facebook and Twitter instead 😛

Alright, so what’s all the fuss about? Some of you may already know that I’m working on this project of which we called Point Locus, or Way Point in plain English, for the past 8 months as a part of a course called Capstone. This Capstone course is supposedly to be the highest level course that one can take in SIAT because of the course’s nature. Basically, you can create your own group of 4-5 people and decide on what you want to do on the second week of the class and work on it all throughout for the next 8 months. Our group is composed of five people and I’ve actually worked three of them before. The only addition to the people I know was David Barter. He’s a little older than us and not surprisingly, the only Caucasian. From the very beginning, we as a group know that we wanted to make something useful and not just art-based or for an installation. Not because they’re stupid or anything, but we just didn’t feel any motivation to do so. After a few explorations, we decided to do something for the visually impaired. Yep, for the visually impaired.

At that point, only one of us actually has a blind friend and the rest of us never worked/helped a blind person before. However, after our first interview with the super helpful CNIB people, we know this is the project for us. We were so touched by their stories of how they lost their sight and how difficult it was to adjust to it at first and deeply moved by how positive and enthusiastic they are now. Even now, whenever I see them, they have the biggest smile and the funniest jokes to tell. They never showed how troublesome their impairment is which moved me so deeply.

Fast forward to this month, where we were nearing to the end of the course. We were frantic to realize our project is not done. However, at this point, we were clear on what we wanted to do, the language, the method, and the form. The only thing that we needed was the GPS and it’s not like we couldn’t program a GPS but the GPS that is commercially available right now is not good enough. They have a marginal error of 5 – 10 meters. That’s not good enough. Heck, it’s a matter of life and death for these visually impaired people. That’s what we still really need to look into and need help with, so if you know someone or something that can help us overcome this, please do let me know.

Okay so now it’s time for you to watch the video.
Watch it:

or… http://vimeo.com/thedandeliontheory/pointlocus and visit the website: www.wix.com/pointlocus/web

The video and website should explain what the project is all about. If you have any more question, please tweet/comment/email me! I’d be happy to answer them.

I couldn’t be more grateful that three of the CNIB ladies (Lynn, Linda, and Monica) of whom we interviewed and tested on from the first semester, made it to our presentation and spoke about how wonderful and meaningful our project is to them. They travelled all the way to the Surrey campus, sat quietly with their guide dogs until the instructors came. The instructors were surprised, in a very good way, that our users were there and they were complimenting our project all throughout. 

A week has gone by and I still got butterflies in my stomach, but my heart just totally skipped a few beats when Ed found something I would never otherwise found out. Apparently there have been a few reviews of our project online, on actual websites and they complimented our projects over and over again. 
http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/point-locus
http://www.fashioningtech.com/profiles/blogs/point-locus-wearable-way
http://www.designlaunches.com/gadgets/point-locus-gps-jacket.php
http://dvice.com/archives/2011/04/gps-jacket-open.php

… and there were quite a handful of tweets, in multiple languages, about Point Locus too. Oh, the video that you just saw, yeah, it hit 1,364 views in just ONE WEEK. Yep. Crazy.

Screen_shot_2011-04-23_at_12Screen_shot_2011-04-23_at_12

To me, this only means one thing…… WE NEED TO CONTINUE ON WITH THIS PROJECT. We really do need a programmer that can help us overcome the silly GPS problem and I’ll be so delighted if we can patent the language that I’ve developed through the user testings as well. The past 8 months have been a great learning experience, to work in a team, but more importantly, always staying on the same page and moving forward together to reach the same goal. Though we always knew what we wanted to do, we were still quite flexible and open minded as we moved along the river and tried out several prototypes before we got to this one. It has been quite an interesting journey and I’m proud to say that this would not be a project that will just end when the class ends. We will be submitting it to competitions and maybe the Dragons’ Den one day. We will be featuring the project on the upcoming SFU Surrey’s Open House too, so please drop by and check out our prototype! (and bring the press with you!)

Thank you again for those who helped us all throughout and please wish us luck, and leave us comments on our video and website! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

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What the course instructor said about the project… (psst, you can read the reports by clicking on the titles!)
 

Hi Ken, Emily, David, Karen, Stephanie – team Via Reperio

This is your final grade:

Team: Via Reperio Grade: A+ / 98
Prototype: 40.0 /40
Oral pres: 15.0 /15
Comm. Mat: 14.0 /15
Des. rep: 15.0 /15
Ustudy rep: 14.0 /15

Your project rocks. Over the year you consistently built and moved towards your final, while remaining open and flexible throughout the whole time. Great work!

The presentation was done professionally.

Design Report 

A very well written report that leaves no wishes open. Concise, informative and comprehensive. Well balanced between images, text and diagrams, with an appropriate design.

User Study Report

a good report that demonstrates you were eager to learn and improve your system. You never state explicitely what you aim to learn, and in stating your findings you are more modest than you need to be, based on the questionnaires: one of your participants misunderstood a signal, there is a potential for refinement. There are also some conclusions on the stair navigation you can make, based on the questionnaire.

Well done guys!         

I enjoyed working with you! I hope to see you around at SIAT, and if not: I wish you all the best for your future careers! 

 

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Andres Wanner
Lecturer
Arts Chair, Computational Aesthetics conference 2011
School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT)
Simon Fraser University Surrey

 

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