This iHome project is a research project on future home environments conducted by Center for Interactive Spaces involving Bang & Olufsen A/S, Aarhus University and the Aarhus School of Architecture.
The iHome project will establish visions and technologies for the interactive home of the future grounded in everyday lives of people. It exploits pervasive computing technologies to augment peoples’ lives, not by making the technology invisibly embedded in the environment, but through constructing new interactive domestic spaces, where the digital technology and material environment complement each other. We will not seek to provide anything-anywhere-anytime functionality, but instead provide solutions that are grounded in the specific problems, places and values of the home with their shifting meanings and participants. Finally the project will broaden up the criteria for success of interactive technologies through looking into the special characteristics of the household where values of aesthetics and experiences may become more important than transparency and efficiency.
Technological advances hold promises for integrating technologies in the home in ways unseen before. We see that IT increasingly become integrated in our everyday objects and environments and existing domestic technologies find new forms through technology convergence. While we have a long history of designing interactive technologies for the workplace, our methods, principles, and means of interacting with technology become challenged when designing for the home.
Through combining the competences of architects and computer scientists, we will develop visions of spaces that integrate interactive technologies in physical environments in a way that is sensitive to the specific context of the home. Visions that are grounded in the lives, wishes and needs of real people.
Rooted in the Scandinavian tradition of cooperative design, we will engage in close collaboration with a group of families in developing visions and designs for their future living. At the same time we will draw upon the critical design tradition represented by Gaver, Dunne and Raby seeking to establish new relationships between people and technology.
Experiments will be conducted both in terms of constructing a 1:1 scaled laboratory, but also through placing mock-ups and experimental technologies into real homes and investigate how they become adopted and adapted over time in the daily routines and lives of people. In doing the latter, we will draw upon our earlier experiences from studying long-term uses and learning in use of domestic technologies.
The iHome-project is running until March 2005.