Smart Objects as a booster to appropriating and giving meaning to the environment

Abstract

In a contemporary scenario characterized by rapid and pressing socio-economic, technical and productive changes, pursued or suffered mobility, reconfiguration and disintegration of interpersonal relationships, concepts such as the “sense of belonging”, “rootedness” and “re-appropriation of places” become extremely current topics (Buttimer, 1980; Casey, 1997; Tuan, 1975). Places, meaning “places in which we act” (Harrison and Dourish, 1996), are where we activate processes of modification, adaptation and appropriation of their physical / material / structural qualities and where we, at the same time, recognize cultural, social and personal dimensions. Until a few decades ago phenomena such as the increase and spread of new technologies, the emphasis on virtual reality - intended as something different from the ‘real world’- and the imaginative paradigm of cyberspace were perceived to be plausible, albeit problematic, universes; and these universes would take over and alienate individuals from the experience of ‘real’ environments. However, the recent evolution of technology has followed an almost diametrically opposite direction (McCullough, 2004; Ciolfi, 2011): the miniaturization of computing, the diffusion of all kinds of sensors, the continuous connection and expansion of the IoT has brought technology closer to individuals. Technology has become ‘human’ and individuals are provided with a new tool of domestication, appropriation and signification of the environment. This is the framework of the ‘BeMyPlace - Interactive Environments and Responsive De- sign Objects’ research, an applied research project aiming at designing innovative products and product-systems in the smart living sector: ‘smart’ items capable, through the integration of advanced sensors, of enabling new models of relationships between individuals and spaces and capable of integrating and transferring personal backgrounds such as memories, identity and culture

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oai:re.public.polimi.it:11311/1116324Last time updated on 12/2/2019

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