To explore how artificial intelligence can augment education and learning through interactions designed to improve the user’s relationship with the environment and create sustainable behavioral changes.


Our team has created ORION, an IoT assistant that is designed to help users reduce their resource consumption in the home.

Read our team’s process blog »

Semester long course for Interaction Design Studio II and Research Methods Courses

Adrian Galvin, Laura Rodriguez-Eng, Mary Tsai

Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, XD, Keynote

Key Features

The Problem Space

Human impact on our environment leads to pollution, climate change, and natural resource depletion.

Furthermore, people lack concrete understanding of how their personal behavior and actions contribute to this impact.

We seek to help users develop and maintain sustainable behaviors, however successfully changing behavioral patterns is extremely difficult.

How might we teach people to understand the environmental impact of their daily home behavior and foster lasting behavior change to improve human sustainability?

How do we Learn?

Because our group was interested in self directed learning over longer periods of time, utilizing informal learning principals for this project made the most sense. We specifically focused on areas of community and social-based and self-directed learning.

We wanted to develop a concept that would allow for a continuous set of interactions with the user, or many users together.

But first, we needed to better understand how people perceive the environment and their connections to it.

User Research

Research for this project was divided into three categories: exploratory, generative, and evaluative.

Exploratory Research helped us to identify and outline the direction for this project. We interviewed relevant faculty members, local community activists, and administrators of environmental organizations in the Pittsburgh area.

We also conducted an extensive literature review to broaden our understanding of relevant topics, such as:

Generative Research allowed us to gain a better understanding of how people perceive the environment and environmentally sustainable behaviors.

We held a participatory workshop and asked our users to:

We also held a diary study where participants were asked to take two daily photos of what the environment meant to them.

Read more about our workshop and diary study »

User Testing & Feedback enabled our team to evaluate which of our ideas worked and made sense to potential users.

As we were exploring ways to build a device that could help with environmental awareness in a home, we wanted to know if this would be something that people would actually want to do.

Read more about our our evaluative research and concept development »

Research Insights

Based on our user research, we synthesized our qualitative data, results, and impressions to determine four design principals for ORION.


User Testing

ORION Takes Shape

April 3, 2018