Research Theme » The Internet of Things
What is the influence of IoT on everyday life? Can we design the IoT, and its data, towards more meaningful connectivity between devices and between people? What are the methods to supporting designers conceptualizing and rapidly prototyping complex connectivity in IoT scenarios?
The Internet of Things is now a household name with hundreds of new products being launched annually matched by increasing investment in smart products. Introducing ubiquitous sensing, connectivity and networking to domestic settings, IoT now shapes a range of routines and behaviors in everyday life. As such, Nansen suggests the need to consider a social IoT: “how objects already exist in established networks of relationships with people and how this sociality can be incorporated in situated, engaging, shared and meaningful ways (Nansen et al, 2014.)”
My recent work has emphasized this by conducting human centered studies of emerging human-product relationships. Working with Dr. Jonathan Cagan, we provided a kit of IoT devices to be deployed in the home of ten renters, while my current NSF research project (#1736189, PI Louw, Co-I Byrne) examines the design of smart, connected and tangible devices to augment learning, and specifically support documentation practices, in educational makerspaces. Recognizing that the dynamics of classroom culture and valuation of documentation practices is not uniformly shared, we have studied three instructional contexts (a high school, an informal summer program and higher ed makerspace) through participatory, co-design activities. Equally, my research has leveraged the development of new connected product experiences at scales ranging from objects to full architectural scale. Work with Dana Cupkova, enables a new design process that embeds reactive, electromechanical systems into rigid concrete panels (Cupkova, Byrne, Cascaval, 2018). While an ongoing collaboration with Grisha Coleman and a collaborative team of artists, has developed a complex sensor-driven interactive framework to support a real-time installation artwork. echo::system is an intelligent environment that evokes a simulacra of the desert in response to participant interactions and sensor streams (Coleman & Byrne, 2015.) It was featured at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in 2016.
In developing these systems, I’ve recognized the limitations of design frameworks for conceptualizing and prototyping networked interactions between smart products. Both in the currently funded NSF and in a parallel stream of research I have begun to investigate new frameworks for this.
- Nansen, B., van Ryn, L., Vetere, F., Robertson, T., Brereton, M., & Dourish, P. (2014, December). An internet of social things. In Proceedings of the 26th Australian Computer-Human Interaction Conference on Designing Futures: the Future of Design (pp. 87-96). ACM.