Data visualization for a bio-digester in a communal kitchen in Amersfoort, to support the
cooking process and raise awareness for the system.
client: Enki Energy
Matthijs Nolst Trenité
A bio-digester is a machine that digests bread into methane through a
biological process with bacteria. The obtained methane powers the communal kitchen in a housing
complex in Amersfoort. As the system is very technical, it is not apparent to the residents how much
methane is left in the tank for cooking. The goal was to make this data visible to the residents and
sensitize them to the connection between the bio-digester and the kitchen.
In our ideation process, we connected a light concept as an
omnipresent indicator for the charge of the tank, with a more in-depth and informative mobile
application. We use an LED-strip to connect the bio-digester spatially with the kitchen and tablet.
The length and color of the LED-strip are changing due to the gas's consumption and indicate the
current status in live data visualization. On the tablet, the user will get further information
about the states and general information around the bio-digester, which even includes an explanation
To understand the impact of light on our concept, we built a
prototype with an Arduino Leonardo and LED-strip. We brought this prototype to Amersfoort to test it
with the residents and implemented the feedback in the next iteration.
For the client presentation, we built the LED-strip into a light
diffuser to create a softer light-beam and a cleaner look. We eventually connected the tablet to the
lights to get more feedback on the interaction between both components.
In the application – that is supposed to run on a tablet – the user
has the chance to make pre-settings, such as the selection of needed stove tops for the cooking
process so that the system could calculate the usage beforehand and provide more accurate data.
Furthermore, the user gets instructions on how to maintain the bio-digester or call for help if a
more significant issue appears.
For new residents, the mobile application includes a short
introduction video to get the user familiar with the process and explains some mandatory features.