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Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

Siobhan Anderson

Siobhan is a design engineer with a background in Kinesiology interested in how cross-disciplinary collaboration can be used to improve lives and contribute to a sustainable future. 

While pursuing her masters, she co-founded The Tyre Collective. Where she and the team invented a patent pending device to collect tyre wear emissions, the second largest microplastic pollution in our environment. 

Siobhan graduated with a Ma & MSc Distinction from the Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. Siobhan received her Bachelor of Science with honours from California State University, Sacramento in Kinesiology along with minor degrees in both Biology and Fine Art. 

Siobhan’s work has won international awards from organizations such as Core 77. Her projects have also been featured on the BBC, Designboom, and the London Evening Standard. They have also been invited to showcase at various institutions such as Imperial Lates and The Dyson Gallery. 


Degree Details

School of Design

Innovation Design Engineering (MA/MSc)

I am particularly interested in how design can be used to empower people. 

The devastating 2017 fires in California, my home state, started my first hand interest in this topic. Witnessing the lack of resources to ease the chaos and helplessness experienced by people is the primary motivator for my research.

This project explores an intervention opportunity in which design has not yet been applied. It brings together many lines of research explorations and nodes of innovation with the purpose of combining processes to create an explorative body of knowledge and demonstrate the application of technology.

Anemoi is a platform and interface that enables intelligent wayfinding in wildfire evacuations while considering human behaviour needs and environment constraints. It is designed to work in tandem with existing alert systems and technological platforms

As the planet gets hotter, we have an increased risk of wildfires. Each year fires are occurring more often and burning more intensely than ever before. Even when alerts have been sent, there is confusion from the public about what to do with the information they have received. This results in a loss of valuable time in a situation where time costs lives.

When under stress, people behave differently. This project takes a human-centred approach in designing wayfinding support for the public during emergency wildfire evacuations. Our future planet will have more wildfires, and we need a better way to support wayfinding during emergency evacuations.

Anemoi was developed using case studies, user and expert interviews, ethnographic research, and user testing. The project had two outcomes; an interface and a platform.

The interface is a tangible outcome that was created through the application of research principles and user testing to assist with wayfinding in wildfires. The platform consists of a set of principles that are a design philosophy to help guide creation and innovation within this field. It has three main chapters: Human Needs, Delivery Constraints, and Environment Information.

Future visions of Anemoi encompass the ability for the platform to be specified for different demographics, cultures, and risk groups.

In a world where climate change has left its mark, and we are confronted with the need to coexist with a changed planet, wildfires will no longer be an occasional occurrence but a omnipresent thread in many regions. This project's ambition is to create a framework for the future and a real-world solution promoting people’s agency in an uncertain environment.


3 months

Human Needs — 01: The What & The Why Complete information offering the What and the Why is essential for people to wayfind and continue taking preventative actions. Through expert interviews, experiments and literature reviews; the emergence decision making processes can be mapped. This research reveals that in order to encourage rapid action taking behavior, it is critical to supply complete, quickly comprehensible information in the order of this process. 02: Information Hierarchy People value first information on fire behavior, followed by evacuation route updates, the location of family members, and environment risks such as smoke levels. This structure was created and refined using ethnographic research and co-creative methods.

Delivery Constraints — 03: Colour Subtraction If one wants to counteract red light with another light source to make an environment appear more normal, blue light will help to neutralise the effects. But white light will counteract any colour completely. 04: Colour Addition In red light, colours will have different visual properties. The following table outlines how pigments will appear under different light. 05: Physiology of Vision The human eye switches to grayscale. Red light and dimmer environments can allow the human eye to switch to using primarily scotopic systems, or grayscale vision. This can be used as an advantage for seeing changes in luminosity, but our colour sensitivity will still be minimal.

Environment Information — 06 Toxic Smoke. Smoke from urban wildfires can be very dangerous, it is a source of PM2.5 pollution, contains airborne toxic materials, and can impair visibility during evacuation. The location and density of smoke can be predicted and modelled using wind and weather algorithms and incorporated into route planning. 07: Traffic Traffic patterns should be accounted for in route suggestions and preemptively planned by local governments for their evacuation plan. This allows for a better distribution of evacuation routes and faster escape times.

In emergency evacuations people have different behavior patterns, information needs, and time constraints. The current standard support methods are not sufficient in meeting these new needs. A method of quickly delivering this information and removing this burden is essential.

This is a wicked problem. There are currently no best practice methods surrounding how to design for wayfinding support. What is missing is a connection between past research, an understanding of what information people seek and in what order, and an appropriate delivery method. To solve this, I built my own set of design principles.

Applies Human Behavior Needs — During emergencies, our fundamental needs and mindset change. Anemoi is designed around those needs. It provides clear live fire updates and delivers the information in a way that is relevant to the user. The interface has three modes based on location alert urgency. In order of increased urgency they are: Blue, Amber and Red.

Utilises Environment Considerations — Wildfire evacuations face challenges beyond escaping the fire line. Often environmental considerations are not taken into account; resulting in incorrect advice or loss of valuable time. Anemoi utilizes environmental considerations in it’s route suggestions, including not only traffic, but also air quality. Allowing for the distribution of traffic flow and the avoidance of toxic smoke.

Takes a Human Centred Approach — We don't live in a bubble. At any point Anemoi allows you to quickly see the status of approved family and friends.

Makes Comprehensive Information Relevant — During wildfires, the type of information we need quick access to changes. Complete information offering advice on what to do and why is essential for encouraging intelligent decision making and enabling rapid evacuation. Anemo works in conjunction with existing alert systems, weather platforms, maps, and fire prediction models. The interface delivers this information in a comprehensive and user relevant format.

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