Glucoboy: blood sugar testing on Nintendo Gameboy

One example of an electronic product that is specifically desigined for safe living is the GlucoBoy.

The Glucoboy is claimed to be the first ever glucose level measuring machine to be designed specifically for children and teenagers. It gives a glucose level reading in 10 seconds using only a 0.6µL sample of blood. But the key draw to the meter is that it can be integrated with the Nintendo Game Boy Advance System to encourage kids to give blood samples. To access the video games, the Glucoboy must be inserted into the cartridge slot on a Nintendo Game Boy Advance System, or into the Game Boy cartridge slot on a Nintendo DS.

The design team behind the device has also set up GRiP (Guidance Reward Platform), which is a web community that diabetes sufferers can join to talk to each other, but also win points for each time they test their glucose levels. These points can be used to unlock games or converted into games currency, like arcade tokens.

Buried But Not Forgotten?: The Secret of Yucca Mountain

Yucca Mountain repository diagram Nuclear waste markers Landscape of Thorns Blue Yucca plant nuclear waste markers

Brian P. Bloomfield & Theo Vurdubakis – Department of Organisation, Work and Technology, Lancaster University

ABSTRACT: Yucca Mountain in Nye County, Nevada (USA), is the site of a very ambitious project to construct an underground repository for high-level nuclear waste. The object of scientific research and planning for over 20 years, and still facing significant political and legal challenges, the project aims to transport thousands of tons of radioactive waste from sites across the USA for storage at Yucca Mountain where it is meant to be kept safe for some10,000 years. Examination of the project highlights the relationships between social boundaries (proximity), language, and risk, geology and technoscience, in which the effort to realise safety materially (through the repository, and its situation within the local geology and geography) is complemented by efforts to communicate the dangers held within the mountain to the unknown (and unknowable) peoples of the distant future.


US department of Energy: Civilian Radioactive Waste Management

Yucca Mountian homepage

Peter Schwartz (founder of Global Business Network & wrote The Art of the Long View: see my FOSK blog entry) writes about the future of Yucca Mountain on The Long Now Foundation blog

Death in the Wrong Place: altered lifescapes of the 2001 Foot & Mouth Disease disaster


Foot and Mouth Disease Lifescapes’ – Maggie Mort, Institute for Health Research, Lancaster University

In May 2003, two years and three months after the outbreak of the world’s worst epidemic of Foot & Mouth Disease, a small group of people gathered on a bleak windy former airfield site to commemorate the slaughter and burial of more than one million farm animals. Great Orton was the largest disposal site in Cumbria, the county in Britain worst hit by the disaster. The former airfield became the scene of a massive disposal operation in 2001 after the British army was brought in to handle a crisis prompted by the sheer scale of the slaughter. The mass slaughter, often of healthy animals taken out under the contiguous cull, ‘dangerous contact’ rationales, or simply misdiagnosed, was all the more horrific because of its being out of place and out of time. This talk explores some of the alterations and disruptions to places, and the sense of place, enforced by the 2001 disaster. Such alterations involved both the symbolic/exotic, as in the memorial site at Great Orton or the acquisition of the ‘culled’ identity, and the everyday nexus of people/place/work routines. Combined, such disruption to so many aspects of individual and community lifescapes created a deep sense of disorder:

“There was no normality, normality had gone.” The term lifescape is used as a vehicle for the complexity of spatial, emotional and ethical dimensions of the relationship between landscape, livestock, farming and rural communities.

Download >The Foot & Mouth Disease Lifescapes presentation

‘The School Journey: visible and invisible dangers’

A childs depiction of air pollution and the school journey

Pollution data

Duncan Whyatt and Marion Walker, Geography, Lancaster University


This paper stems from an ESRC funded project that uses a combination of traditional and novel techniques to gain a deeper understanding of the school journey. A group of 30 teenagers were asked to use a customised mobile phone application, which automatically recorded their routes, to take photographs and write texts to describe their journeys. These images and texts were subsequently used in interviews with the teenagers to explore factors influencing the choice of route. In this paper we focus on visible and invisible dangers associated with such journeys and consider how this information may be used in the design of safer journeys.

Download The school journey presentation

Workshop 3 Proximities: Nanonoia by Jessica Charlesworth + The RACE by Michael Burton



Images: from ‘Nanonoia’ by Jessica Charlesworth & ‘The Race’ by Michael Burton

I will be returning to Lancaster University on Thursday to not only be a rapporteur but to actually talk about my work alongside my colleague Michael Burton. We will both be discussing issues relating to nanotechnology, proximity, future health and safe living. I look forward to meeting all those who will be attending. Take a look at the proximities tab for more information.

C’elle: Stem Cells in Menstrual Blood

Menstrual Cup

A company called Cryo-cell International Inc. has launched its proprietary cryopreservation service, C’elle, which offers women the opportunity to bank stem cells from their menstrual blood. Using a menstrual cup to collect their blood is at the same time offering some vague belief that in the future you might be able to be saved by the possible stem cells collected from it. This company has already been under criticism from scienctists deeming the process to be all ‘hypothesis and hype’.

A caption taken from the C’elle promotional website:

“When it comes to making major life decisions, there is no time like the present. And when it comes to something as important as collecting potentially life-saving stem cells found naturally in menstrual blood, the ideal time is NOW. Thanks to C’elle’s patented technology, and easy-to-use collection kit, you have the reassurance and peace of mind you need, when it comes to collecting, isolating and preserving menstrual blood. Welcome to C’elle – where every month holds a miracle. ”

Read more about C’elle at BBC news and Bionews>

The Museum of Menstruation is unfortunately closed down but check out what the owner has to say about menstruation knickers and his menstrual cup ball gown.




Images from top left to right:
Radiation dosimeter wrist badge , geiger counter, handheld metal detecting mail scanner, dosimeter ring badge, blood pressure monitoring device, alcohol breath tester,dosimeter ring, fat calipers, pulse monitor, personal radiation Monitors, CT-80 explosive detection system.

Film series: SAFE

SAFE by Todd Haynes

On October 16th, Cindy Weber introduced the film ‘Safe’ directed by Todd Haynes and released in 1995. It is the first film in the program of films co-sponsored by Dukes Cinema and IAS program year New Sciences of Protection: Designing Safe Living. (see film schedule here>)

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Design -Introductory workshop – 4-5 Oct 2007 – Day 2

Gerd Kortuem (Computing, Lancaster University)

Reporting on a collaborative project (Nemo) that uses pervasive sensing technologies for industrial environments. We all work on computers, but many other people work physically. For instance, vibration exposure is a serious problem. It can lead to ‘vibration white finger.’ How can technology be brought in to improve the current practice? Understanding the organizational context requires an inter-disciplinary approach. The project has introduced technologies that measure vibration for individuals. They indicate when people have exceeded their daily limit. There is a whole system that streams the information all the way back to the enterprise using wireless networking. This is an elaborate surveillance system. Case studies of workplaces at different sites have been used. Video prototypes of technologies were shown to managers and others. What was learnt? Vibration is like smoking: action is difficult to connect to effects. So making visible the information collected is really valuable. People often don’t use safety equipment because it makes them feel work. So invisibility of the technology could be a goal of the system. Learning from other people might be more important than rules imposed from the top down. Who are we designing for anyway? The organisation, the worker, etc? What are we designing for? Protection, enforcement or empowerment? Finally, there is the question of surveillance and panoptic effects [see image below]. How to avoid this? We do do this, but try to anticipate the impacts of the technology. Informed design will hopefully make a difference to this.


The panopticon: A type of prison design in 1700s by Jeremy Bantham that allowed observers to observe prisoners without them being able to tell if they are being observed or not. Creating permanent sense of paranoia and invisible omnipresence.