Technology – Human – Design: Paradigms of Ubiquitous Computing

This interdisciplinary research project investigates ubiquitous computing technologies with regard to their world-constructing power. In particular, it focuses on the epistemological consequences of sensory actor systems, which increasingly influence our relationship to the environment in everyday life as well as in the sciences.

Content and goal of the research project
Ubiquitous computing technologies are currently being discussed everywhere, as they imperceptibly but lastingly shape our perception of the world by means of strategies of invisibility and immediacy. The associated, mostly implicit processes will be investigated in the following research questions:

  1. Technology: How are technical sensors constructed and how does their perceptual world emerge? What interaction situations do they generate?
  2. Human: How does the relationship between humans and machines change due to the disappearance of physical interfaces? Which strategies do humans develop to cognitively and emotionally access an environment enhanced by ubiComp?
  3. Design: Which creative forms of translation from technological sensor measurements to the sensually perceptible physical environment of humans (data mapping) are suitable so that they can experience them directly emotionally and grasp them cognitively? How do critical human-machine situations and appropriation processes arise?

These questions are addressed in a theory-based manner and examined in experimental design settings that are empirically evaluated with subjects. The Journey experiment is used to study human behavior and attitudes in unfamiliar territories, and the Periphery experiment is used to study the effects of environmental information systems in a work environment.

Scientific and social context
The project combines media theory, history of technology and artistic research in an innovative way and thus aims to contribute to a better understanding and critical assessment of current technological developments. The results will be published in a dissertation on the cultural history of sensory systems, in scientific articles and on a multimedia online platform, and presented to a wider public in an exhibition.

Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
Project number: 100016_185436 / 1
Start date: 01.11.2019
Duration: 42 months
Team: Jan Torpus (grant application, project management, concept, interaction design), Jonas Kellermeyer (PhD, media theory, concept), José Navarro (HW/SW development and management, audio design, interaction design), Sophie Kellner (concept, artistic implementation, HW development), Cedric Spindler (SW development, evaluation design, data analysis), Thomas Ryser (evaluation design and implementation), Toni Kovacevic (evaluation and analysis)
Partner: Prof. Dr. Christiane Heibach, University Regensburg (grant application, consulting)

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