Gaming: serious about Africa’s health

Originally shared on Gearburn.com. No doubt you, or someone you love dearly, got swept up in the recent wave of health and fitness related apps and wearables. No doubt, you’ve had conversations with friends waving around their phone discussing how many calories they’ve avoided this week. No doubt, you’ve also noticed that after the initial […]

Smarter Living through interactive exhibits? A case study

Energy Game at the Smart Living Challenge Zone

The Smart Living Challenged Zone was installed at the Two Oceans Aquarium in November 2015 to create awareness around the sustainability issues of water, waste, energy and biodiversity.
Just under a year later, and with up to 1200 visitors to the exhibit each day, we commissioned Anne Van de Poel, a Dutch researcher living in Cape Town, to evaluate the Smart Living Challenge Zone.

Books versus tablets in South African schools?

stacks-of-books

Earlier this year, the Technical Association of Pulp and Paper Industry of South Africa (TAPPSA) has asked Michael Wolf a couple of questions for their journal around e-Learning and technology in South African classrooms.

Formula D wins gold award for innovative property app

07_Blok_Bookmarks

An innovative app that helped a developer sell more than R300-milllion worth of property in three months has won a Gold Award for Technical Innovation. The app provides potential buyers with a real-time, self-controlled “walk-through” experience of a selected apartment, seeing every corner and the actual view from every room and window.

Rethinking the process of museum making

Entrance sculpture

Khayelitsha, Cape Town’s biggest township, needs a museum to commemorate the area’s violent history of state-sanctioned racism, political activism and forced evictions. However, the precarious poverty situation in the neighbourhood bears the risk of resistance against any development that may not be seen as an immediate improvement of residents’ living conditions. To address this and other challenges, Formula D interactive devised an alternative approach to museum making. By means of technology tools, service design and interaction design, the project focuses on community engagement and collective oral history recording as a foundation for the new museum.

Formula D interactive tackles education crisis with human centered design processes


If you visit Masiphumelele Primary School in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha today, you are in for a surprise. A previously unused classroom has been transformed into a vibrant, energetic space where children are able to have fun and learn at the same time. The Learning Innovation Design Lab allows learners from previously disadvantaged communities to engage with technology through computer games and creative workshops. The initiative has already inspired an interest in information technology and design in roughly 100 children who may not have been previously exposed to them.

Catch of the day: SA interactive designers hook international science museum project

Cape Town-based interactive design company, Formula D interactive, leads a collaboration of South African specialist firms to design and build a ground-breaking, large-scale audiovisual installation for the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida. The museum is set to open in 2015, and  – a powerful, warm ocean current off the […]

South African design consultancy nominated for “Games for Change” award

Games for Change

Earlier this week, Games for Change, a non-profit that catalyzes social impact through digital games, announced the 2013 finalists for the Games for Change Awards in the following categories: Most Significant Impact; Most Innovative; Best Gameplay; and Game of the Year. The annual awards are designed to celebrate excellence in the year’s best “games for change.” The finalists were selected by a blue ribbon jury and the awards will be presented to winners during the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Games for Change Festival in NYC on Tuesday, June 18th 2013.

Eskom uses video game to inform public about Energy Demand Management

Eskom Energy Planner night view

An interview with designer Scott Chapman about designing the Eskom Energy Planner game

Recently Formula D interactive designed the Eskom Energy Planner Game to educate people on the different power generation technologies in an entertaining way. The online game allows players to take custody of a virtual city’s power plan and seek a balance between the most efficient technologies currently available and the most environmentally friendly ones. Players must also take into account the varying costs of production of the different technologies and face the challenge of maintaining an economically viable mix of all of these elements. We asked Scott Chapman, multimedia designer at Formula D, who was heading the development team at Formula D, what it takes to design an educational game like this.

How designers shape the world: A short essay on cartography, design and ideology

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World maps are not truer to the reality of the world then a spreadsheet with landmass figures of each continent. Both entail measurements and estimates, but are in fact abstract descriptions of known data about our world. Since our perception is visually dominated, designers have done a great deal for our understanding of the world by visually interpreting data from narratives, philosophical debate, firsthand observation and mathematical measurement. It is understandable that during the realisation of these representations, they often had to fill in gaps to make sense of incomplete data or address constraints of the medium they were using. The translation of data into a visual representation is subject to interpreting data. Design informs data and thus creates information. In today’s data rich world, data visualisation is one of the foremost design tasks since it delivers information necessary for the understanding of our world. Most world maps are iconographical depictions which describe the shape and size of land and water. But topography has often been corrupted by incomplete or incorrect data, bad design tools, or ruling ideology.

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