Category Archives: _Secondary Research

Secondary Tech Research

SenseTech Halo Helmet

A wireless device designed to fit into the air vent on the top of a helmet is used in combination with sensors in the fabric of the helmet. Specific data analysis algorithms process injury information from the sensors to quantify clinically significant impacts. Then the wireless device transmits a signal to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth technology. The phone is programmed to alert medical services. The SenseTech hardware will also use  data from personal information on the phone or other personal IDs to provide emergency contact information and medical information. This is particularly useful when a cyclist is riding alone.


Stink Helmet

Another innovative idea to help with helmet safety is to build in a motivator for cyclists to realize when they need to buy a new helmet. Helmets often get damaged when they prevent impacts which can continuously reduce the effectiveness of the helmet in protecting against head injury. There’s almost no point of wearing a helmet if its structural integrity is too compromised. Therefore, a way to motivate cyclists to replace their helmets and let them know when the equipment is too compromised, is to make it stink by inserting chemical capsules into the foam of a helmet. When the foam cracks or moves too much, the capsules will rupture and release an odor around the cyclist’s head. Each time the structure is compromised it will stink and remind the cyclist that they should buy a new helmet.


Bike Safety in Chicago – Research Statement

Danny Tirado, Rob Schulz, Kimi Oyama

“Bike Safety in Chicago”


In the last decade, Chicago has majorly evolved as a bike friendly city . This may correspond to recent improvements in bike lane structures, or the newly implemented bike share program Divvy. Since 2000, the number of bicycle commuters has increased by 150 percent with an estimated 15,000 cyclists daily. However, growth in cycling has not come without challenges and tragedies. There has been an increased concerned about bicycle safety as motorists have been forced to share the road more and more. An average of 1,500 bicycle crashes are reported each year and that number has been rising. While crashes that result in major injuries or fatalities are reported, minor crashes are often not reported or recorded by the cyclist community. Although focused programs and efforts by the city to improve bicycle safety are underway, more can be done to highlight and reduce preventable hazards. By continuing to support and improve bike safety in Chicago, cyclists can be freer to enjoy the healthy, environmentally friendly trend of cycling in Chicago.


Primary Research Questions:

1)   To Law Enforcement: Can traffic camera footage be pulled up to investigate hit and run cycling accidents if a specific time frame and location is given? (What is the standard procedure for investigating hit and run incidents involving cyclists?)

2)   To Cyclists: How many times have you been hit or doored by a vehicle this year? Out of those incidents, how many have you officially reported. How many were serious injuries?

3)   Whom or what is responsible for crash incidents? Motorists? Cyclists? Road conditions? A combination?

4)   What current initiatives or plans are in place to help reduce the number of bike accidents around the city?

5)   What neighborhoods of Chicago or specific intersections have the heaviest rate of bicycle accidents, categorized by fatality or level of injury?

6)   What times of the day are accidents happening the most?


Secondary Research Synthesis – Nicky

Guiding Questions


Threats to water quality and quantity are gaining increasing attention worldwide, as climate change and other major environmental concerns have led to detrimental water shortages in drier areas, such as California and the American southwest, as well as impending shortages in areas of relative abundance, such as the Great Lakes region. Although the Great Lake represent a massive transboundary water system that contains 20% of the world’s fresh water supply, scientists have predicted that major Great Lakes cities like Chicago could face water shortages as early as 2050. For the 26 million people in the United States and Canada who obtain their drinking water from the Great Lakes, the preservation and protection of this precious natural resource is essential for their survival.

However, citizens of the Great Lakes basin are often either unaware of potential threats to their water supply, or immobile in terms of civic action that could protect it. To this point, a notable issue facing the Great Lakes in recent years is the possibility of contamination by oil spills, as associated with existing and proposed refineries, pipelines, and transport routes that operate on and around the lakes. Although citizens of the Great Lakes basin have both the right and the ability to participate in discussions and decisions regarding the operation of oil companies in the Great Lakes region, many citizens remain unaware of the issue or uninvolved in it. While it is possible that the citizens are simply apathetic, it is also possible that they are entirely unaware of the issue or lacking information that would empower them to formulate an opinion upon which to act. If citizens understood the rising significance the Great Lakes as a fresh water resource—as well as the risks it faces by the operations of oil companies, relative the benefits of the oil—perhaps protection and stewardship of the lakes would seem more relevant.


Are people aware of oil spills in the Great Lakes basin? How do they understand and explain the potential threats posed by these spills, if they perceive there to be a threat at all?

How, if at all, do people feel they can participate in the management of their fresh water resources? Do they understand how water in the Great Lakes is governed, and where citizens can become involved?

What do people see as the value of oil operations in the Great Lakes? How do they feel about the benefits or risks of proposed pipelines and transport routes in the Great Lakes area? Do they see these developments in a positive, negative, or ambivalent way?

Secondary Research Synthesis

Secondary Research Guiding Questions

Issue / Problem Statement 

Chicago has seen a recent influx in the installation of surveillance systems with an estimated 24,000 cameras installed as of recent throughout the city, including the CTA, streets and schools. In fact, Chicago has the most red light cameras installed than any other city. Officials explain that the increase is a matter of public safety and used to protect citizens against violent crimes and traffic violations, but statistics show otherwise. In reality, surveillance cameras contribute to less than 1% of arrests. The facts and numbers prove that these surveillance cameras are being used more for revenue than they are actually protecting the citizens of Chicago. Even red light cameras are being used as pure speed traps, setting the speed limit lower than what is actually posted. With a system of overwhelming monitoring capabilities, many Chicagoans are subject to unknown surveillance by the city and they are not aware of it. While those in power reassure the public that the system will not be abused, there is still no legislation that requires any transparency when it comes to the use of these cameras. Chicagoans and their privacy are at risk on a grand scale in a city that has a history of abusive surveillance techniques used against its citizens. If Chicagoans could see the facts and numbers associated with this issue visually represented somehow, then maybe the citizens of Chicago will be more aware of the potential impact of this abuse in their private lives.


1. How are the traffic/crime rates affected in areas where cameras are installed?

2. What areas of Chicago have the most density of surveillance systems? Why is that? Is there some correlation between where these cameras are being installed and the demographics of certain areas in Chicago?

3. In what ways are these surveillance systems being abused and used against us? Has anyone been affected negatively by camera surveillance in ways other than traffic tickets? How are they used to invade our personal privacy instead of protecting us as they are originally intended for?

Secondary Tech Research

arch3 Translated-1


A New Concept for Shape-Shifting Architecture That Responds to Heat

A project from three students at Barcelona’s Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalunya continues that exploration by looking at how physical spaces could someday morph based on various environmental inputs. The project, Translated Geometries, tackles the idea by developing a new use for Shape Memory Polymers, a composite material that can deform and return to its original state when activated by cues like heat, humidity and light. In its proposal, the team (Ece TankalEfilena Baseta and Ramin Shambayati) created a modular component that expands and contracts based on temperature. The idea is that by attaching a SMP joint to a tessellation of material (in this case plywood), you can expand that component’s surface area to four times its original footprint.

Secondary Tech Research


Monolitt was created by Syver Lauritzsen and Eirik Haugen Murvoll in Oslo. It is a small obelisk that is intended to portray the mood of a city through color. The structure is filled with different colors of paint, each corresponding to a different mood. It runs on a software that spots keywords on twitter and portrays them by releasing paint from the top of the obelisk. The result is a colorful way of determining the mood of an area via social media.


Tech Secondary Research

My tech research is a little old but it’s still a fascinating idea to me. Dead Drops is a project by Aram Bartholl and is featured throughout New York City in five different locations. At these locations, USB drives are embedded into brick walls, curbs and buildings functioning essentially as a data gloryhole. These Dead Drops allow for a completely anonymous, peer-to-peer, file-sharing network in a public space.

I personally, don’t think I’d hook my computer up to it however the concept of sharing information under the condition of anonymity is interesting. I do wonder how practical it might be to have the hardware sticking directly out of the mortar. Or what if someone were to drop some corrupt files onto it? This seems like it would be an intimate exchange based on trusting the files that are on the thumbdrive.

Dead Drops


New Tech Secondary Research

I found a couple different projects that interpret visual data to provide meaningful interactions that enhance the users interaction with their surroundings. The first one is called sixthsense which is a wearable technology that allows the user to interact with their environment to do a variety of tasks. Some of these include taking a picture by simply miming the frame of a photo with one’s hands, drawing via projected light with pointing motions, and accessing reviews by placing a book in front of the device’s camera. Although there is a moderate delay between the gestures and the desired action, the emergence of this type of technology seems to a good indicator of how we might move away from technology centered around a phone and more deeply integrated into our natural movements.


Another example of this kind of technology that responds to visual data is PO-MO’s Interactive Building Projection that utilizes a projector and Kinect sensor to allow people passing by on the street to see themselves magnified on a building and interact with digital bubbles. This does not have the practicality of everyday use but does afford some easy access to impromptu play.

Interactive Building

While I’m on the topic of food…

Also related to food availability is the presence (or the lack thereof) and shaming of “Ugly Produce”. Despite being equally nutritious and perfectly safe to eat According to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations: “30 percent of global food production is lost after harvest, or wasted in shops.. representing $750 billion worth of food every year” just because it doesn’t meet the visual aesthetics of what people want to eat. A french supermarket is aiming to sell all that “Ugly Produce” by offering a discount on the produce (about 20-30% off) and have been pleased with the success.

Intermarche – “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables” Clip

Failed LemonUgly CarrotHideous OrangeGrotesque AppleWeird Fruits & Vegetables

Secondary Research

Noise Pollution

Thesis:  “While airport noise pollution has always been problem in the Chicago land area , the O’Hare expansion project has threatened the vitality of local communities.”

Data:  Everyday approximately 2500 flights land and take off at O’Hare, with more than      66 million passengers passing through its terminals in 2012.

O’Hare currently generates 450,000 jobs and 38$ Billion in economic activity for Chicago and Illinois.


Thesis:  “With record breaking noise complaints hitting city hall, Mayor Emmanuel has issued an initial installation of 8 noise monitors in the areas surrounding O’Hare airport to measure the decibel level and to further consider a re-evaluation of the potential environmental hazards of high noise level surrounding the airport.”

Data:  The city received a record 29,493 noise complaints last year. Within the first four months of 2014 35,899 complaints were received regarding high level of noise from the O’Hare expansion project.


Thesis:   “The ‘L’ is often considered an acceptable noise hazard in the city. While the CTA lines are exempted from the noise ordinance in Chicago noise measurements show extremely high amounts of noise.”

Data:  The in a series of measurements, the brown line hit around 90 decibels whilke the noise ordinance declares 55 to be dangerous levels.


Thesis:  “The first full year of Divvy’s introduction has displayed promising expansion opportunities as the bike-sharing company reaches it 300th station which has given much data on which stations are the favorite and which gender rides the most and the longest.”

Data: In 2013, Women made 21% of the trips, which increased to 23% of trips in 2014 through June.

2/3 of Divvy Trips in the first half of 2014 were made by subscribers, up from 53% in the second half of 2013.

Women whom subscribe take longer trips then men. This year, up to June, female subscribers cycled on average of 14mins and 23 sec., while males cycled for 11mins. and 33sec.


Thesis: “Preparing for the demand of more stations, Divvy plans to site an additional 175 stations that will continue to reach farther from the loop. This has caused Divvy site planners to become more aware of areas with excessive potholes, manholes, and other unsafe road conditioned areas.”

Data: Of these new stations, about 20% will be “infill”, reducing the space between stations, and 80% will be “expansion”, increasing Divvy’s reach into new areas.


Thesis: “Divvy has now granted branding opportunities to Blue Cross Blue Shield which will bring in millions to the city.”

Data: Divvy has topped 1 million trips and 2.5 million mile marks.


Creative Project

The info-graphic displays the average amount of time it takes to commute to work in the UK by different modes of transportation. It shows the data separated by UK regions.