A) 19″ Living Rack


Project developed by Léa Pereyre


19” Living Rack is an open source variation around the standardized 19” computer server rack (or cabinet). Dedicated to be distributed in domestic environments for personal or for small size community uses, the modular base of the standard rack is getting combined with additional functions, to address this renewed small office/home office context.

In making clear reference to the famous Ch. Eames toy, the modular House of Cards project, the 19” Living Rack comes in one technical “Base” that can then be combined and customized into three different types: “Office”, “Home”, and “Garden”, to set up personal and somehow undersized data centers.

For each configuration, air flows have been taken into consideration and act as design and functional factors: the air in the front part of the rack remains temperate before entering the rack and cooling the servers, while the back and top air flows are getting warmed up and dried due to the computers heating process. “Office” functions comes therefore mainly in the front part of the rack, “Home” on the back where elements can be tempered or dried, while “Garden” comes on the top, equipped with moistened plants to clean, re-humidify, perfume and cool down the air.

Cloud of Cards. Early pictures from the final artifacts, a photo shoot with Daniela & Tonatiuh

Photography by Daniela & Tonatiuh.

Design by Léa Pereyre, Lucien Langton and Patrick Keller

A “Home Cloud Kit” (evolution)

Note: the purpose of a “Home Cloud Kit” (working title) has been described in a previous post. It will be composed by four artifacts which will become the main outcomes of the design research Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s), along with one book about the ethnographic field study and another one about the design research process.

Below are four links leading to four posts describing and analyzing the current state of evolution for each part of this kit. We expect the research and the “kit” to be finished by the end of March 17.

The “kit” will be distributed freely at the end of the project.

-

The final phase of our research consists in the prototyping of artifacts which relevance have been identified along the process. Tools, infrastructures and services are therefore addressed and will constitute a “Home Cloud Kit”.

 

This final phase is organized into the four following lines of work:

 

A) A Personal Data Center (evolution, models)

04_IMG_5105_web

 

B) I&IC’s OwnCloud Core Processing Library (evolution)

iiclouds_005

 

C) A Personal Cloud (evolution)

owniicloud_04

D) My Data Controllers (evolution, models)

02_IMG_5119_web

A Personal Data Center (evolution, models)

Note: “A Personal Data Center” (working title) is part of a home cloud kit, which was described in a previous post and that will be composed by four various artifacts, both physical and digital.

The kit will be distributed freely at the end of the project.

-

After a few design iterations through sketches and a bit of 3D modelling, we recently produced a set of first prototypes of what our domestic 19″ server rack could look like and how it could handle domestic functions as well. As a matter of facts, we can consider this work an alternative approach to what was set up and analyzed at the beginning of our research, when we assembled our own “(small size) personal cloud infrastructure“.

Our approach was fueled by several references, the first one being House of Cards, by Ray and Charles Eames :

 

01_house-of-cards

 

 

The modular, simple and intuitive assembly process guided us for its adequacy within a Do-It-Yourself user context.

My Data Controllers (evolution, models)

Note: “My Data Controllers” (working title) is part of a home cloud kit, which was described in a previous post and that will be composed by four various artifacts, both physical and digital.

The kit will be distributed freely at the end of the project.

-

Continuing our design process, we milled the first prototypes of the five connected objects, which consist in tangible versions of the five main folders present in our alternative version of Owncloud (“A Personal Cloud”, working title as well).

As explained in this post, each object is based on the same elementary brick which brings and manages a natural interaction between the connected object, the personal cloud and its contained data, files and folders –therefore becoming a controller–. This elementary brick holds the Raspberry Pi, sensors and hardware necessary to physically interact with Owncloud. This interaction will be slow and discrete.

Furthermore than the identified objectives through the ethnographic field study and design sketches we’ve lead along the research, our approach to these networked objects was fueled by complementary meaningful references. The first one (image below) consisting in a different approach to the behavior users adopt in their interaction with the “technological home”, Shaker furniture:

 

00_shaker_pegs

“A Personal Cloud”: a home cloud kit for personal data (centers) / “reappropriate your dataself”!

We’re entering the final straight of the research project Inhabiting and Interfacing the Cloud(s) and we can give at this point a first glimpse of the four design artifacts we are working on at the moment. They will constitute the main outcomes of our joint experimental effort (ECAL, HEAD, EPFL-ECAL Lab) and a kind of “personal cloud kit” (explained below). These creations will be accompanied by two books: one will present the results of the ethnographic research about “the cloud”, the other will present the design research process and its results – both in pod/pdf.

We already pointed out in the recent post “Updated Design Scenario” where we were heading. Since then, the different projects were better identified and started to get shaped. Some got eliminated. Prototyping and further technical tests are running in parallel at the moment.

 

IMG_1239ct

From the original “final scenario” sketch to …

iiclouds_006

… a “Personal Cloud Kit”, composed of various physical and digital modular artifacts.

 

What emerged reinforced from the main design scenario is that we seek to deliver four artifacts (some physical, some digital, some combined) which themselves will constitute the building blocks of what we’ll call “A Personal Cloud Kit”. All four parts of this kit will be openly accessible on a dedicated website (e.g. in a similar way to what OpenDesk is doing).

The purpose of this “home kit” is to empower designers, makers and citizens at large who would be interested to start develop their own cloud projects, manage or interact with their data or even to set up small scale personal data centers at their places (homes, offices, garages …)