Framing Smart Consumer Technology: Mediation, Materiality, and Material for Design
This article develops a conceptual understanding of smart consumer technology for interaction design research, articulated through the technological mediation, materials, and materiality of its concrete artefacts. It contrasts current forms of understanding that are based on functional and utilitarian criteria. Our central argument is that a bottom-up, material centric understanding would allow us to frame smart consumer technology as a material for design, and consequently allow for a clearer critical, reflective, and exploratory engagement with its design space. Applying Mediation theory, we develop a phenomenological analysis of technological mediation using the common artefacts of smart consumer technology while at the same time outlining their material composition and materiality. Complementing mediation theory with research through design, we use this understanding to frame material explorations and to articulate the outcomes and reflections derived from a concrete speculative design prototype. This article highlights how theory and exploratory practice can be engaged together to develop an evolving understanding of smart consumer technology as a material for design.
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