Powertype: A User Experience Map
Powertype would use the kinetic energy from typing on a keyboard to power offices. In this case, specifically to light up a Living Wall recently installed by the San Francisco IDEO office. In order to get a better sense of what this idea might look like like, we mapped what a day long experience might look like for an end user, named Marie, an operations manager at the San Francisco IDEO office.
Powertype has potential to succeed because it draws upon behaviors that already exist. There are not a lot of barriers to adoption. However, the feasibility of this idea has much to be discovered.
An ideal user of Powertype: Marie , an Operations Manager at IDEO.
Marie arrives for her first day of work with Powertype and doesn't notice much difference except the satisfaction of not only sending emails, but illuminating the Living Wall.
Things take a dark turn when Marie isn't show how to keep the wall lit up during lunch or during her research project.
The day ends well with Marie finishing emails and effortlessly conserving energy all night.
The unexpected questions that came up while thinking through Marie actually using Powertype.
Our Living Wall during Thanksgiving
Keen to try our a User Experience Map for your Renewable Energy Idea? Check this handy template we created to get you mapping!
What community does this idea benefit and who are the main players?
The community is the San Francisco IDEO office. The average age is probably 35 and in general people are aware of the importance of renewable energy, but not necessarily of the energy we use in the office.
How does your idea specifically help your community rapidly transition to renewables?
This idea identifies a friction point in our office - the lights that power our Living Wall and attempts to maintain their function of providing the right amount of intensity for our plants while taking into consideration how much energy they use. Through Powertype, we'll be able to keep our plants happy in a way that utilizes behaviors that already meet community needs - typing. If we can power the Living Wall lights through our typing, what else might that be applied to? And how can we think beyond typing to other kinetic activities happening in our office? Powertype creates awareness and functionality around switching to a renewable energy source by providing a readily visible result.
What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?
Talk to end users, such as the IDEO operations manager, and create a prototype of a button creating energy in order to determine if a keyboard, or network of keyboards, could in fact generate sufficient energy to power light bulbs. We could also observe analagous situations such as treadmill desks, or some of the Cycle Cinema contributions we saw during the Research phase.
What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea further?
I'd love to hear if the community has seen this happen anywhere or happens to know how much energy keyboard keys might generate. I'd also love to brainstorm around ways to use other office-driven habits (opening the fridge door, walking between printers and desks, refilling water bottles) as sources of renewable energy.
Please indicate which type of energy is most relevant to this post:
A type of energy not listed