App spreads kindness on city's streets

A digital experiment is hoping to tackle large social issues by using an app to inspire an outbreak of small good deeds.

Picture of hands giving a bowl of soup

Running across Edinburgh in August, deedit will encourage users to carry out a pre-set act of kindness focussing on homelessness, the environment, and building community spirit.

By using the app to record interventions such as picking up litter, buying a sandwich for a stranger, or donating goods to a charity shop, users can track how single acts contribute to a much bigger, positive change.

Take part

The web-based app is available to use now - link below. 

The app also involves Social Bite, an Edinburgh-based homeless charity. Several of the deeds directly support their work, such as buying a meal or coffee for someone via their cafes.

Project Mercury 

Deedit has been developed as part of a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of Design Informatics and Tesco Bank that explores Fintech, develops talent and fosters innovation and creative thinking.

The Project Mercury partnership was facilitated by Edinburgh Innovations, the innovation management service for the University of Edinburgh.

One of the challenges we face is helping people understand the impact new data technologies will have on their lives. The partnership with Tesco Bank has been a fantastic help. Co-designing imaginative, human-centred experiences with the financial sector here in Edinburgh demonstrates that the city is becoming a world leader in FinTech design.

Chris SpeedDirector of the Centre for Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh 

Interactive pavilion

Deedit is part of Data Pipe Dreams: Glimpses of a Near Future, the annual interactive pavilion showcasing University prototypes and installations that explore designing with data.

The pavilion is free and open 2-25 August from 11am - 6pm. Designed by Pierre Forrisier and Adrianna Koluszko from Biomorphus, it is located outside the Assembly Rooms on George Street. It is part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

Empowering technology

It includes other work from the University’s Design Informatics staff and students, including a dining chair that reads the mood of whoever sits on it.

The chair is equipped with sensors that capture the position of the user. Through machine learning, it is hoped the chair will recognise the sitter’s body language and, by association, their emotional state.

Experts will also showcase the Seismic See-Saw, a technology that allows donations to be given to only when a precondition is met, such as a devastating earthquake.

Using smart contracts and blockchain, it is designed to empower donors and let charities know the exact funds at their disposal in the case of natural disasters.

Data and wellbeing

The pavilion features two other projects from Project Mercury – the University’s partnership with Tesco Bank - both at an early stage of development.

Lens allows visitors to the Pavilion to take part in an arcade game that highlights how their personal data – such as Facebook profile, Amazon purchases - might influence their success during a fictional job application.

Tess uses machine learning and lighting effects to communicate people’s financial wellbeing. Designed as a thought-provoking exercise, it uses different colours and levels of brightness to indicate the health of a customer’s spending habits.

Exciting collaborations

Project Mercury has been running for a year. Through a series of workshops, lectures and internships, University students and academics have worked with Tesco Bank’s digital department to explore the possibilities of emerging digital technologies such as blockchain.

Working with the University has provided a range of exciting development opportunities for our colleagues. Participants in Project Mercury have explored ways in which we can harness developments in data technologies and how these could be used to help deliver better services for our customers. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to talent development, innovation and the exploration of new and emerging technologies.

Grant BourboussonDigital Director at Tesco Bank 

Related links

Use deedit

Centre for Design Informatics

Tesco Bank

Edinburgh Innovations

Data Pipe Dreams: Glimpses of a Near Future

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