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Final Project Brief


Timeline


Your final projects are comprised of 3 key deliverables:

  • Proposal
  • Presentation
  • Project

You will have ~5 weeks to work on your final projects starting with your proposal to the delivery of your project and project presentation on week 12.

Here is a timeline of the final project period:

  • Week 7: project proposals are assigned
  • Week 8: project proposals are due - presented and feedback in class
  • Week 9: project development time
  • Week 10: project development time
  • Week 11: project development time
  • Week 12: projects presented & submitted

Throughout this period, you will have the opportunity to work with your instructor to hone in on your project specific details, tackling conceptual and methodological challenges associated with your individual projects. Please be proactive about scheduling time to chat.


Final Project Prompts


For your final projects, you will draw upon your personal data collection and the insights gained from your weekly assignments to design and develop a project that critically engages with one or more (or all) of the stages of the quantified self pipeline - track, reflect, act - covered throughout this course.

Below you will find 3 prompts for final projects:

  • Option 1: Self-discovery
  • Option 2: Develop a Method or Tool
  • Option 3: Design a Self-tracking service

Option 1: Self-discovery

The final project is an opportunity for you to explore a topic within self-tracking that is most intriguing or meaningful for you. As such, you are challenged to design, develop, and implement your own self-tracking experiment about self-discovery.

In Option 1: Self-discovery, you will be focusing on yourself, collecting data about 1 or more aspects of your "self" - e.g. your health, your behaviors, your feelings, your activities, your consumption, etc - and making sense of the data and signals you've collected throughout the final project time. You may think about framing your self-discovery in a number of ways, including, but not limited to ideas around:

  • prosthetics of feeling (e.g. does collecting data help you to feel signals that otherwise you could not have felt?)
  • self-experimentation (e.g. using methods such as A/B testing to figure out how different interventions might affect you)

Outcomes of a self-discovery project might include visualizations, sculpture, performance, video, website, etc.

Option 2: Develop a Method or Tool

As we've seen in this course, many of the tools and methods for self-tracking have the potential to change peoples' lives. The problem however is that it is unclear how peoples' data are being repackaged, sold, or reappropriated by organizations that do not reflect the context or original intentions of the creation of the data in the first place.

In Option 2: Develop a Method or Tool, you have the opportunity to design a tool or method that allows people to better collect data about themselves and for themselves. You may consider developing a:

  • physical product (e.g. a hardware kit with geotracking and other sensors)
  • digital product (e.g. a digital survey tool w/ visualizations)
  • an algorithm (e.g. a set of instructions on how to do tracking a certain way)
  • a visualization tool (e.g. a tool allowing others to more easily look at their data, perhaps more creatively?)
  • pull requests or development of an existing open source software
  • you may consider to think of a service for obfuscation or "untracking"

Option 3: Design a Self-tracking service

We've seen various examples in which self-tracking tools have been integrated into many of the digital products and services that we use every day. Digital products and services are complex which integrate a wide range of stakeholders, support structures, infrastructure and more - they are systems.

In Option 2: Design a Self-tracking service, you have the opportunity to design a self-tracking service design proposal that aims to either fix a problem in the self-tracking domain or proposes a new service to address something that is missing or does not yet exist. The outcome of this exploration should include:

  • user research and community engagement
  • service design research materials (e.g. systems maps, service blueprints, user journey maps, etc)
  • proofs of concept, prototypes, and artifacts of your service proposal (e.g. make it as real as possible!)
  • you may consider to think of a service for obfuscation or "untracking"

Option 4: Something else?

Looking for something else? If none of the prompts above fit into the realm of what you have in mind, discuss with your instructor earlier to get an approval of your idea.


Final Project Deliverables


Your final project should answer these three questions which drive the Quantified Self Community:

  • What did you do?
  • How did you do it?
  • What did you learn?

Outcomes

  • Make a thing: Your final project must be made tangible in some way - in some physical or digital form - and presented to the class.
  • Talk about it: Details on the presentation structure are forthcoming, however you should be able to talk through your project conversationally. Imagine it's the winter show at ITP and you want to run someone through your project ;)

Submission

Depending on the sensitive and nature of the work you've done you will:

  • document your work on your blog, website, or on github,
  • submit the relevant links to your project and presentation materials as URLS in a structured way to the course's github issues

If the data, graphics, or images are not something you want to be living on the web, you should still document some of the work you've done for your blogs or portfolios, but submit any of the other materials through email.


Final Project Proposal


It is important that you manage your ambitions by clearly defining your research question, focusing your design concept, and keeping your project scope tight. You final project will be evaluated on how clearly your concept is communicated through your chosen media and your thoughtfulness in considering all the things that you know as well as what you don't. Therefore it is important to take the time to read, write out, sketch, moodboard, and concept your final project proposal.

Your final project proposal is an opportunity for you to do the necessary initial research to clearly state the question you seek to address and the social phenomenon you're interested to comment on and your planned methods to communicate your idea. Be prepared to convince us about your concept and the methods with which you plan to make that concept tangible.

  • Requirements:
    • Background research / Literature review: clear indication that you've researched the current state of the art, literature, existing project landscape and/or similar works. Collect references and associated visuals.
    • Moodboard: collection of images and references that point towards the style, feeling, or interactions you intend to develop through your project
    • Hypothesis / Definition of question(s): based on your research and experience define the question(s) you intend to approach / comment on through your final project.
    • Objectives: describe tangible outcomes of your final project (e.g. create a hardware installation piece, develop an open API for XYZ)
    • Goals: describe the higher level purpose of your intended project (e.g. create awareness about digital privacy issues, create hope for the future of AI in the world)
    • Sketches / Technical considerations: sketches of the ways you intend to bring your goals to fruition.
    • Presentation of Proposal: We will have a critique and feedback session next week, so please be ready to present your proposal in coherent and logical format (5 min for presentation).

Some examples from the previous year(s):

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