Metamorphosis of the Home: Proactive Information Technology as a Design Challenge

Kristo Kuusela, Ilpo Koskinen, Frans Mäyrä, Anne Soronen


The majority of microprocessors in the home are not found in PCs but in objects like toasters and toys. The number of microprocessors and sensors will continue to increase radically. The question is how to design this revolution in a way that people can accept and enjoy it. The notion of “proactive computing” is discussed as an extension of “ubiquitous computing.” We have approached this design problem by conducting scenario-based home interviews including priming materials. These priming materials included a minidesign of lamp that was suggestive of proactive technology features and questions. Our study suggests that design plays an important role in whether and how proactive technology is accepted. However, our study also suggests that design may make functions imperceptible, a consideration which should be taken seriously while creating the designs. However, some people accept proactive technology for doing the dirty work but that reactions were more cautious if the technology could interfere with people’s normal social behavior.

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