For my ICM final, I created Well Tap—a water quantification system to help people be more mindful about their water consumption at home.
Well Tap is a combination of my Physical Computing final and my Computational Media final. For the computational aspect, I created a dashboard using Processing to visualize all the data from the Well Tap sensors.
Water waste is a big problem but it’s a hard one to wrap your head around for those that don’t live in affected areas. It’s very hard to know what your actual footprint is and that actually creates a lack of accountably to oneself and the greater community. By providing people with clear data on their daily and weekly usage, and comparing that data to average numbers for the various household sizes, users will immediately get some context on their water usage. The goal is not to make anyone feel bad by pointing fingers, but simply to make people more conscious as I believe we are inherently good. I hope something like Well Tap could influence people to make small efforts, and in turn, create systemic change.
A quick look at the well tap sensors
Before jumping into the Well Tap Dashboard, it’s important to have an understanding of the Well Tap sensors. Well Tap is going to be a network of sensors that attach to a household’s various water outputs (i.e. kitchen faucet, bathroom faucet, shower ect) and give users a snapshot on their daily and weekly water usage. Each sensor will send data wirelessly to dweet.io and the Well Tap Dashboard will parse the dweet JSON data and visualize it.
The Well Tap Dashboard shows a user how much water they used on a daily and weekly basis. For this initial phase, I’m only going to be tracking shower and faucet usage, however, the goal is to eventually also track water usage from the toilet, laundry machine and dishwasher as well. That’s why there are dials above “flushes”, “laundry” and “dishes” to allow the person to manually increment it up.
There are also benchmarks like the average daily water consumption per capita and the person’s previous day water usage. The goal is to go further and allow people to compare their usage to more relevant groups like neighbors or colleagues.
As mentioned, there are some good opportunities to add community elements to the dashboard. Grouping people by teams or buildings could help build pride and accountability to your fellow peers.
Beyond that, I also think you could apply this system to something like waste and recycling by simply having a network of sensors to measure the weight of the garbage and recycling in a person’s home (the ratio of garbage to recycling could be interesting to look at). This step could allow Well Tap to track some of the more intangible aspects of your carbon footprint. Many people are aware of home much energy they use because of the important financial implications, but maybe Well Tap can help people take a more mindful approach to the other aspects of their footprint.
Click here to download the Processing code.