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Heks Hacks

Heks Hacks

For the challenge of Smart Cities, commissioned by the TNO, in which the objective was to help create a city whose inhabitants can survive the ecological pressure they put on it. We decided to take on this problem right at the core; the people. However, we do not judge, we do not shame and we do not embarrass; we motivate! We help people change their mind willingly, by suggesting viable alternatives in their daily life. To facilitate this, we made an application that consists of two parts.  

Energy Labels
The main part of our solution are energy labels. The current problem in daily life is that people do not know or do not know correctly how polluting certain travel modes are. We would like to solve this by putting an energy label to certain actions people perform. The energy levels are comparable with the energy levels on electronics, where an A++ machine uses the least energy and a G is the most polluting. We also use this scale for travelling. We did some research and found that cycling is the least polluting transport mode and an airplane is the most polluting.

A platform is created where users can get insights into their personal statistics, but they are also presented visualizations of their demographical areas to add a social motivational factor. The scales in this aspect, as we propose them now, are: your community, your city and your country. For each zoom level the influence of the previous level can be seen. However, as we wanted to prevent the occurrence of public shaming, we do not show concrete numbers for people other than yourself.

Motivation model
Research indicates that providing people with a large monetary or tangible award can change behaviour, but not their attitudes (Festinger, 1957). Ergo, when this award either diminishes, or the user’s appreciation for it dwindles, then people simply stop their behaviour. They are essentially just trophy-hunting.
Our approach focuses on the intrinsic motivation of people. We offer comparison with other people to motivate, but other than pride there is no tangible award. Well, except for collectively improved living conditions of course.

Future possible implementations in our framework
  • Smart lighting. It can occur that your lights are still on while you’re not at home. In this case the app can ask you if the lights can be dimmed, thus saving energy. Visualisation then happens the same way as with the travel planner.
  • Collaboratory energy meter for the street/municipality. The app displays information concerning the entire city. To promote the system, municipalities can opt for showing the achievements of the city on for instance a central square to gloat.
  • Analyzing travelling behaviour for the self-formed communities (for instance people living in the same street) can yield valuable information, for instance it can automatically propose a carpool-ecosystem. Quite possible Twilio would be a suitable way of connecting people with each other.
  • Adding additional smart machines, possibly coupled with the rise in popularity of the Internet of Things, can extend the reach of our energy saving system even further!
  • Food advice. Recipes and individual food products can get an energy label based on their effect on the environment.

As you can see, the important thing is the framework existing. Within loads of contexts a solution, or at least an improvement, can be found, all adding to the final result of a clean city!

Our vision for the city of the future is one that can withstand the future, that can provide a clean and healthy living environment for our children, and one we can be proud off to give to the next generation.

Try it out


Team members