Congresos de la Universitat Politècnica de València, Systems & Design: Beyond Processes and Thinking

Por defecto: 
Designing in the IoT Era: role and perspectives in design practices
Venanzio Arquilla, Ilaria Vitali

Última modificación: 19-07-2016


In the IoT Era technology is ubiquitous (Kuniavski, 2010) and redundant; in 2009 for the first time in history the number of devices connected to the internet surpassed the number of humans on earth initiating Web's first true evolution (Evans, 2011).

New waves of tech gadgets are starting to populate the global markets and the big players are competing with startups and DIY people to commercialize the most innovative and efficient gears.

Thanks to the digital fabrication and the open source culture, smart connected objects can be easily prototyped and sometimes crowdfunded (Jenkins, Bogost, 2014): this configures a Babel of black-boxed, plastic, gadget-like products and services, a first experiment of what is possible and feasible, that in some ways could be defined as an avant-garde trend.

But what about users and their lives? What about the utility and  meaning? of these objects in real life, with their material qualities and agency of interactions?

With a bottom-up approach the paper reflects on a case study in which we started to analyze connected products, reflecting on how technology can “enchant” (Rose, 2014) and augment a smart object  while giving value to its materical and tangible part.

The result demonstrate that design can define a balance between tangible and intangible functions of IoT devices, making them desirable  providing new meanings and  functions through its physicity, reinterpretating traditional artifacts.

Some consumers/prosumers are progressively accepting these new connected devices, monitoring health, behaviors and the environment around us, creating big data and modern scenarios for products and services (Acquity Group, 2014).

Physical products pervasively gain a new dimension made of intangible digital avatars (Semmelhack, 2013) able to be freely updated and offer different experiences.

However, technology is often seen as the core of these smart products, resulting in first naive solutions that merely apply electronic components and wireless capabilities to existing objects and in which designers, if presents, only manage the aestethical part.

This is an opportunity to apply Design methods and tools to create advanced desiderable scenarios for technological objects, bringing users and their interactions back as the nucleus of the product development.

Design practices are applied to mediate between users' behaviors and technology, generating devices that leave the gadget-dimension of useless accessories and create more  involvement.

This means changing the actual design perspective adding new skills and actitudes useful to design research, design education and for professional practices.


Palabras clave

Internet of Things, design, research, human centered design, tangible interaction, metadesign

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