the glass bottom float - embodied collective intelligence for environmental engagement

the glass bottom float - embodied collective intelligence for environmental engagement

Nathan Labhart's picture
United States

People know things computers cannot, and some aspects of this intelligence are directly related to bodily experience. Collecting and analyzing body-centric data from large groups of people can open a window onto qualitatively new kinds of insights: embodied collective intelligence.

The GlassBottomFloat project collects embodied collective intelligence on swimming water quality and builds with it a new metric by which to gauge the health of beach waters and the potential pleasure of swimming in them. The core body-centric input is the swimming pleasure measure (spm), found by interviewing swimmers at the beach. The spm is part of a 30 dimensional water quality evaluation vector that includes weather data, water parameters (e-coli, turbidity, chlorophyll and others), wave motion, and beach usage to a comprehensive environmental descriptor, one that combines the advantages of hard numeric data with soft, intuitive judgment.

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Presenter Information: 

Marc Böhlen, artist-engineer, has been contributing to diversity in machine culture since 1986. His contributions include artworks and installations as well as peer reviewed publications. Böhlen's work has received numerous awards, including the ALIFE/VIDA 7.0 prize, and has been discussed in the New York Times and the Discovery Channel, amongst other venues.
Böhlen is currently associate professor in the department of Media Study, director of graduate studies and associate editor of JAISE (Journal for Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments). Recent art shows include MicroPublicPlaces: RepairCenter (Ars Electronica, Linz, 2010) and WaterBar (FluidCulture, Buffalo, 2011). Recent publications include Ambient Intelligence in the City (Springer 2009), Micro Public Places (Architectural League, New York, 2010), and Ambient Intelligence at the Beach (IEEE 2011).
Current research is geared towards imagining the future of large scale sensor systems in everyday life, including the new culture of numeracy that will accompany it. See! for more information.


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