Supporting the Serendipitous Use of Domestic Technologies


The authors present an iterative design exploration to support serendipitous uses of technology: quick reconfigurations of the domestic environment to deal with inhabitants' current wants, whether they're transient and ephemeral or a lot of habitual. As a results of this exploration, the authors developed T4Tags, an open-ended toolkit for programming Internet-connected and versatile physical tokens embedded with different sensing technologies (together with near field Communication, physical buttons, and motion and environmental sensors) and will be simply integrated with existing artifacts. The planning of the toolkit was informed by fieldwork that provided style drivers for domestic technologies that may be repurposed or appropriated through features like end-user programming of device behavior and crowd-fueled appropriation by sharing "recipes" of programmed tokens. A user study with three families provides insights into system usefulness and also the recipe-sharing functionality. The authors additionally discuss opportunities and challenges, reflecting on the tradeoffs of an open system in terms of user engagement, inventive input, and real-world deployment. This text is part of a special issue on domestic pervasive computing.

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