As part of his research into the creative application of novel digital technologies to the garden at De Montfort University, the CIC’s Bill Butterworth has been commissioned to design an interior environment for a Diabetes Compliance Study (as part of the development of a viable artificial pancreas). This will take the shape of a virtual garden and will be designed to deal with the following criteria:
1) To be creative with an interesting adaptation of novel digital technology whilst visually maintaining a certain scientific rigour and respectability
2) To be environmentally transformative but non intrusive – a difficult brief in an already heavily used and comparatively cramped space.
3) To reference nature and gardens without actually bringing anything natural (and especially potential contaminants) into the sterile laboratory environment.
4) To maintain existing fixtures and fitting more or less in situ.
Finally, in order to deliver the kind of therapeutic results for which we will be testing, this ‘experimental’ environment also needs be immersive even though the participants in the study are carrying out physical exercises whilst hooked up to an array of scientific measuring equipment.
Clearly, this environment must be predominantly virtual with any hardware designed to be as flexible and discreet as possible. Screens, where required to heighten the impact of projected imagery, will need to be retractable or, depending on their construction, designed to be swept aside, as the occasion demands.
In a similar fashion, personalised digital access should be designed holistically as part of the overall thematic development of the environment, as opposed to merely adding to an ever growing pile of intrusive hardware. To meet this design requirement we would like to reveal that a digital tree is currently taking shape on the drawing board – more detail will be available shortly!