When objects tell stories: Children designing future smart objects
Ugur Yavuz S
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As objects are animated artefacts coming to life through their interaction with user, they are often defined as agents, through which an individual make sense of his own existence and becomes a social individual. While our material world has been continuously changing through the influence of new technologies, our relation with objects has also altered, and consequently reaches new dimensions. Due to the fact that technology has been continuously penetrating our daily life and the objects facilitating it, it has practically eliminated the difference between a technological device and non-technological one. As a consequence, designers' role is becoming even more crucial in merging the digital and physical worlds in a more harmonious way. The Internet of Things has been widening the possibilities to make objects being connected to other objects, people and digital data, while smart materials and microelectronics have given rise to intelligent living like structures, having a defined character, behavioural patterns and even emotions. In this new realm, TANA (TAngible NArrators) research project, conducted at UNIBZ, Faculty of Design and Art, intends to explore possible future scenarios, in which objects become storytellers of many untold stories. This paper will represent the results and analysis of co-design workshops conducted with 7-8 years old children, in order to discover objects potential as storytelling agents. The workshops aimed at harnessing children’s free imagination and innovative power into generating new ideas and new concepts of smart products integrated into our daily life. The paper will reflect the results of the workshops with assumptions from both design and anthropological point of view discussing how through smart objects people can enhance, evoke or create new meanings and social relations.
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