C3RI Research Seminar - The Internet of Soft Things - Dr Sarah Kettley (Nottingham Trent University)
Speaker: Dr Sarah Kettley, Senior Lecturer in Product Design, Nottingham Trent University.
Sarah Kettley is a Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, where she collaboratively develops wearable and smart textile technology concepts, with a focus on user configuration of the technology and its relationship to lifeworlds. An emphasis on users’ meaning making has led to person-centred approaches to the design of costumes for enhanced proprioception and for research in audience engagement with dance performance, and an interest in the representation of the individual in design processes. She is a member of the Design for Health and Wellbeing, and Advanced Textiles Research Groups at NTU. Her practice-led research resulted in the first user-centred application of the ubiquitous computing platform, Speckled Computing, in 2005.
Title: The Internet of Soft Things
The Internet of Soft Things project asks how a radically connected world can be designed to benefit human wellbeing, and in particular, what types of experience will be enabled by smart textile interfaces as an important part of this vision of the future. One in four of us is likely to experience mental health problems at some time in our lives, and wellbeing has come to be seen as a ‘grand challenge’, crucial to the future of our cities and even our security.
There are parallels between the scale of mental health issues and a purely technological vision of the Internet of Things (IoT); that is, that it occurs everywhere, but is often concealed. If the statistic of one in four people experiencing mental health problems is powerful, it becomes even more pervasive if we consider the mental wellbeing as a continuum upon which every one of us sits (and moves).
This project will build on recent research in smart embroidered interfaces to explore the potential benefits of an Internet of Soft Things for mental health and wellbeing. It will draw on recent research in wearable technology, which has challenged many of the initial assumptions of ‘ubiquitous’ computing, namely, that it should be concealed, and that we should not be aware when we are acting through it. These assumptions have led to a belief that no new things or forms need be developed, as technology would merely be hidden within the objects already familiar to us. In fact, what the last two decades of wearable research have shown is that an expressive use of technologies works better with the way we manage our social identities through things. There is therefore scope to explore a range of existing new experimental forms for personal networked design concepts while addressing the pressing need for more robust and reliable textile interfaces.