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Google Lunar X-Prize

 
 
 

Google Lunar XPRIZE

redesigning the experience of landing a rover on the moon

UX / UI Design

 
 

 
 

In the later months of 2014 until summer of 2015 I had the opportunity to work with a select group of designers from Carnegie Mellon on the Google Lunar X-Prize team that will be sending a moon rover named Andy to the moon in 2018. As part of the team, I worked on the user interface that would be used to drive Andy on the moon as well as manage the rover’s overall status through various sets of displays.

 
 

 Ex. of bundles of modules in action

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* Showing the actual email that will be sent to the client
* Prefilled text

 
 
 

Research


 
 
 

What information to display? 

Designing the UI for Andy was a new and interesting challenge because I had never previously been exposed to an interface for a rover. There were also more challenges because the rover needed to be able to display information about the environment on the moon (a much different environment from that of an Earth vehicle). The entire Andy team was broken down into a multitude of groups, each of which had a different responsibility. As part of the UI design team, it was our job to work alongside each of the teams to get information about what would need to be displayed in the UI and how it should be visualized.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Iterations


 
 
 

Designing for precision

Designing the UI for Andy was a new and interesting challenge because I had never previously been exposed to an interface for a rover. There were also more challenges because the rover needed to be able to display information about the environment on the moon (a much different environment from that of an Earth vehicle). 

 
 
 
 

Designing the UI for Andy was a new and interesting challenge because I had never previously been exposed to an interface for a rover. There were also more challenges because the rover needed to be able to display information about the environment on the moon (a much different environment from that of an Earth vehicle).

 
 
 
 

Driving on the moon

Designing the UI for Andy was a new and interesting challenge because I had never previously been exposed to an interface for a rover. There were also more challenges because the rover needed to be able to display information about the environment on the moon (a much different environment from that of an Earth vehicle).

 
 
 
 
 
 

Designing the UI for Andy was a new and interesting challenge because I had never previously been exposed to an interface for a rover. There were also more challenges because the rover needed to be able to display information about the environment on the moon (a much different environment from that of an Earth vehicle).

 
 
 
 

Ex. of bundles of modules in action

---
* Showing the actual email that will be sent to the client
* Prefilled text

 
 
 

Driving a rover on the moon is incredibly different from controlling a remote control vehicle on Earth. The delayed signal from the Earth to the moon provides unique challenges and as a team we ran tests to incorporate solutions into the user interface. Along with visualizations, our team also put together a usability study to collect more data that could be useful in maneuvering Andy. 

 
 
 
 

Ex. of bundles of modules in action

---
* Showing the actual email that will be sent to the client
* Prefilled text

 
 
 

A few examples of different information displays that the control team would use to monitor Andy while on the moon.

 
 
 

See what you want to see

Designing the UI for Andy was a new and interesting challenge because I had never previously been exposed to an interface for a rover. There were also more challenges because the rover needed to be able to display information about the environment on the moon (a much different environment from that of an Earth vehicle).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Ex. of bundles of modules in action

---
* Showing the actual email that will be sent to the client
* Prefilled text

 
 
 
 

Designing the UI for Andy was a new and interesting challenge because I had never previously been exposed to an interface for a rover. There were also more challenges because the rover needed to be able to display information about the environment on the moon (a much different environment from that of an Earth vehicle).

 
 
 
 

Ex. of bundles of modules in action

---
* Showing the actual email that will be sent to the client
* Prefilled text

 
 

Design Decisions


 
 
 
UI Displays-11.jpg
 

Ex. of bundles of modules in action

---
- Showing the actual email that will be sent to the client
- Prefilled text

 
 
 
Driving-01.jpg
 

Ex. of bundles of modules in action

---
* Showing the actual email that will be sent to the client
* Prefilled text

 
 
 
Rover UI Guide_Comms-09.jpg
 

Ex. of bundles of modules in action

---
* Showing the actual email that will be sent to the client
* Prefilled text

 
 

Design Decisions


 

As part of the design team I also worked on branding the project. Together with the other designers on the team we went through an ideation phase of whiteboard sketches and then later refined our favorite concepts that we presented to the rest of the Andy team. 

 

Social outreach was another aspect of the Andy project that our design team worked on. We decided that the best platform for reaching out to help spread the word about Andy as well as gain support was through a website redesign. We wanted the website to act as inspiration, inform viewers about our mission, and finally get interested users involved in any way possible.

Here is a video that we created for our website that helps convey our project goals and explains who Andy really is.

 

Head of the Andy Project at CMU, Red Whittaker, explained how essential it was for our website to promote involvement from people unassociated with Carnegie Mellon whether that be through donations or opening up the Robotics Highbay to give tours to interested high school students.

 

While explaining who Andy is and our goals once reaching the moon take priority on our website, we also wished to include a blog highlighting smaller accomplishments and works in process.